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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 31, 2020 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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tonight on a special edition of "all in" american democracy dodged a bullet. now as we enter 2021 it's time to fix the system. >> in my own lifetime republicans have only won the popular vote once. >> if you're from a small town like me with more elk than people, your vote should count. >> we'll talk about big structural changes like apologize accomplishing the electoral college, adding more supreme court justices or two more states to change the balance of power. >> the way the senate was
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designed was to give a lot of power to a little group of people. >> that and what biden can do on his own to ensure we never have a year like 2020 again when "all in" starts right now. joe biden won the presidency decisively and he did it in a country that is nearly as polarized as it has ever been. we know basically the fine vote count. biden's margin victory is over 7 million votes. 4.5 points in the popular vote. it a larger margin than barack obama in 2012. obama was an incumbent and larger than george w bush's win in 2004. get this, that 51.3% it's the highest vote share of any candidate challenging a sitting incumbent since fdrs win over
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herbert hoover and that's because it is hard to beat incumbents, so hard four elected presidents have lost in the last 100 years. the country rejected donald trump. in the weeks since election night we've been on this roller coaster ride. the polls are off again and trump look like he might pull it out on election night and the long drawn out counting process and waited for days for the outcome in key states and the president's on going attempted coup for lack of a better or more precise word. in the end, joe biden won cleanly and clearly and fair and square, but as that comes into view, we should not forget that we also dodged a bullet. i mean, the outcome in this election came down to just a few tens of thousands of votes in the right places. biden won arizona flipping it blue for the first time in more than 20 years by just over 10,000 votes. in georgia the margin was hardly any bigger, less than 12,000 votes and wisconsin was a little more than 20,000.
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those states, arizona, georgia wisconsin have 37 electoral votes and joe biden won by just under 43,000 votes. if you flipped those 43,000 to trump out of nearly, again, 160 million votes cast nationwide, the electoral college would have ended up tied 269 to 269 and we would be in a mess, a nightmare scenario where the house of representatives decide the election and each state delegation getting one vote. if you add one congressional district, nebraska's second district where biden won by 22,000 shots, that's a second term. it would take 65,000 votes a ti ti tiny fraction. a popular vote margin of 4.5%. this is the problem with the electoral college.
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it's random at a certain point. the thing itself is a slap dash compromise thrown together at the end of the constitutional convention as they were way out the door and for most elections in the history, the outcome of the electoral college is the same as the popular vote but now they are simaticly diverging. it happened twice in the previous five elections each going in the direction of the same party, the republicans winning without a popular vote and it is now a ticking time bomb. if we do not change it, it will absolutely cause some kind of constitutional crisis and democratic breakdown. i'm sure of that. scrapping the electoral college in favor of a simple vote would be an enormous change with a constitutional amendment or coordinated impact and both would be hard. they would represent huge structural shift in how the country is governed. that's the history of the country. we used to not have due processes in the 14th amendment. before the 17th amendment, we didn't directly elect senators.
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women couldn't vote until 100 years ago. we need large scale democratic reform like before if we're going to save american democracy. i'm joined by someone fighting for that change introducing a package of bills called a blueprint for democracy, jeff merkley of oregon joins me. do you think as you look at this result about how close we came, senator? >> absolutely. it stunning when you have millions of votes different65,0 and i must say it put shivers down my spine. >> there is both the democratic problem but also the sort of nature of this process. we get the safe harbor deadlines and the state is announcing electors and all this opportunity for mischief the trump administration and campaign pursued without actually winning but we wouldn't have any of this if it was just
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straightforwardly who won the most votes. >> absolutely, and that's why i've introduced a constitutional amendment to do that. as you know and i know it very unlikely we're going to get two thirds in the chamber and the state to agree to a kons us too l chan -- constitutional change because too many states are red states to retain power when it has sie massive misrepresentation. >> there are tons of republicans not benefitted by this. millions and millions of california republicans who votes don't essentially count and republican voters in your state of oregon. i'm sure you hear from them a lot. they also kind of don't matter in this current setup. in someways, it's an insult to voters across the political spectrum even though it sort of has a systematic bias in terms
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of one political collision. >> we have kind of a bizarre twist that occurred in our history in that you have a situation where the constitution says the state can choose to allocate the votes in the electoral college as it wants, and states do it in a different fashion but most states decided to give all of the electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote in their state and they do that to magnify the importance of their state and hope candidates will campaign there. but the result is that blue states are basically states that the republican candidate doesn't visit and red states, the democratic candidate ignores and it comes down to a series of swing states. most of the country is ignored if the presidential campaign as these small set of swing states are fought over, and that's not healthy for our country at all. it would be much healthier under a situation where every vote counted to have the candidates of both parties proceeding to
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say i know i need to harvest votes everywhere i can find them. i'm a republican going to the blue states like california to harbor votes and similarly on the other side. it would be much better in terms of the dialogue called out during the election. >> one of the other things this weird post e lex perilection pe exposed, it unclear whether you get to vote for president. when they were toying with the idea as the president toyed with the idea of states overturning the popular vote in their states, you know, they can't do that because of state law but it just state law minding them. a state could pass a law that doesn't do that that comes up with another way of awarding the electors that doesn't give it to the people, the candidate that won the state. >> no, that's absolutely right so you can have a state saying hey, you know, we're a
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republican legislature and will allocate votes to whoever the republican candidate is regardless and that leads us to an interesting twist because that power can be stood on its head and that's where the interstate compact that you mentioned in the introduction comes in. if enough states by law they will award their electoral votes to the individual getting the most popular votes nationally, suddenly, we have a national popular vote system and that effort is well underway. >> yeah, there will a number of states, i forget the if you remember off the top of my head. how many do we have in the mpv? the compact is it doesn't kick in until you get the number of states that would go over 270 at which point it would be determined over the out come? >> we have 15 states and the district of colombia that opted in and totals 196 electoral votes.
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74 more are needed to get 270 so we're two-thirds of the way there. three fifths of the way there. so here we go. it definitely is possible to do and there is a lot more states still that have initiative systems where the issue can be put before the people of that state and so this is well worth pursuing across the country. it really the only way we can get there is the national popular vote compact. >> that's a fascinating point. in states where obviously a republican legislature that can't agree to this, if there is a state ballot initiative process to go that route? >> that's right. absolutely. >> all right. senator jeff merkley who is a strong voice for this utterly obvious and straightforward constitutional reform, thanks for making time. >> it a very important issue for america. we need to get it done. thank you, chris, for covering it. >> 2000 george w. bush by 2,000
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and al gore won by 500,000. we see a similar pattern. joe biden wins by 7.5 million votes and wins needed states by 6 0,000. it's another reason the college is dangerous. the margins are going to be closer and tighter and much more subject to mischief and litigation and attempt to steal and overturn the national vote. with me now is secretary of state of colorado whose state joined the national popular vote last year a multi state agreement that would ensure the candidate that wins the popular vote wins the electoral college and spokesperson for justice democrats, an organization that supports the abolition of the electoral college. secretary of state, let me start with you. you were a strong advocate for colorado joining this compact. what was that process like and why did you want to see it happen? >> chris, thank you for having me on tonight. i was a strong advocate. we pushed legislation in 2019.
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our state legislature passed it and it went on the ballot. the people of colorado voted and decided to pass the national popular vote compact and colorado is now the first state to adopt the national popular vote by the people's vote. and i just think it's fantastic as secretary of state, i'm guided by the principle of one person, one vote and that's what national popular vote does. i'm excited to have this conversation and to continue to see the momentum of the national popular vote compact. >> i think some people think this is a fairly abstract affair and happened twice and doesn't affect our politics in the intervening periods but you're someone who works immanently in our politics to the ground level and i wonder if you think it has a kind of systematic skewing effect to how the parties operate, what our politics look
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like. >> yeah, i think everything democrats want whether you're conservative or progressive, whether it's action on health care, clean energy jobs or justice reform requires a democracy that requires the majority of people to govern and with the electoral college and several other institutions in the country, majorities have a really hard time governing. democrats of all stripes should support ways to make it easier for majorities to govern and that brings together, you know, all different factions of the party. one thing that is just has been so absurd to me is that in my own lifetime republicans have only won the popular vote once, and that is not -- you know, people keep asking why millennials are angry, that is a reason why. it only been once and then they get to look at the 2016 election and lose the popular vote and appoint three supreme court
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jui justices that would reform some of these institutions that would help majorities govern. >> secretary, in your state you did a ballot initiative the first state that did that. do you think this is a model for other states because there is a lot of states in which because the issue is so partisan and the split has a partisan advantage and disadvantage, i don't think any republican legislature anywhere will let this happen. >> in the past republican state legislatures have passed this law. and i think that advocates for free and fair democracy should look at all the tools in the tool box. at the end of the day if you ask americans do you believe your vote should count equally to other americans, the answer is going to be usually yes. and i'll tell you as someone who grew up very working class and rural colorado up in the mountains that a lot of people like me rural folks feel left
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behind and one thing i firmly believe in if you're from a small town like me with more elk than people, your vote told count i cannily wel equally. it about adding a level of fairness into the elections that is lacking. >> well, the secretary brings up a point that is a bigger issue that in someways is an increasingly defining issue of politics which is the kind of polarization in america and indeed the inefficiency of the collision that is tightly clustered. joe biden is anyone that ever won, more people 7 million more people because that's where the people are but this sort over, this kind of ways in which constitutional structures allow this minority to retain power, i think even exacerbates that kind of divide between the different parts of the country. >> yeah, i think at that time
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true. there are ways in which republicans clinging to rules to enshrine that rule. in new york where i live, there are lines around the block where black families, immigrant families were voting and imagine if there was an actual operation to turn out votes in states like illinois or new york or california, the popular vote margin would have been higher than 7 million people in terms of joe biden's defeat of donald trump. so i do think that if you want to deal with polarization and gridlock in the country and actually bring people together, you identify the country, you have to be able to break the institutions that perpetuate the polarization in the country and not actually solve it. >> final question for you, secretary, you have this job, it a very important job in particularly a high profile and important job if you're a state that's a swing state or the
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margin is thin, right? colorado is not that this year. joe biden won fairly comfortably. i think what we've seen is exposed that there is -- i guess i wonder like do you have confidence that every future iteration of a secretary of state with tremendous pressure brought to bear on them with margins of 500 votes or 1 to,00 will look the president of the united states and not succumb to pressure to overturn the votes of their state. >> well, i would say the job of secretary of state is important in all states, not just swing states to make sure that people have their voices heard. you know, especially in a pandemic making sure that elections are safe, secure and people don't have to risk their lives to vote is extremely important and i'll share over the last two years, we partnered in colorado with the native american tribes to increase participation rates by about 20%. which we're very proud of and love the partnership but to your
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point, we need guard rails on our democracy. we cannot just have rogue elected officials try to undermine our elections in a really corrupt attempt to take power for themselves. so that includes reforming how states apportion their electoral votes. that's what national popular vote compact is about. it also about a package of democracy reforms. we need federal law to make sure that every american has access to the ballot box. we need federal coordination to make sure we're countering for this information and that list of creating an america americans can believe in goes on and i know we'll get there and i'm so optimistic for our future. >> thank you both for your time. next up, fixing the system that allows minority rule in the united states senate. how more states and senators could restore balance to
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american democracy after this. ro american democracy after this. i'm not hungry!
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what does that mean? we are doomed. [laughter] that's it. i figured it out! we're going to give togetherness. that sounds dumb. we're going to take all those family moments and package them. hmm. [laughing] that works. one of the longest lasting legacies of donald trump will likely be his judicial appointees filling the bench with conservatives and justices including three lifetime appointments to the supreme cou court. the reason he's been able to do that is the snot where those nominees are confirmed and where
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the will of the majority of the country is not really represe represent represented. i mean, over time as the country has gone and americans clustered around population centers, the senate drift further and further away from the median voter. we're stuck in a situation where 40 million californians have the same amount of representation in the senate thanless than 800,000 north dakotaens and 1 million montanaens. short of getting rid of the senate, i don't think that will happen what to do about this really crazy structural undemocratic unbalance. well, we could just do what we've done in the past and add new states to our union. nearly 4 million americans live in puerto rico and washington d.c. and have zero representation in the senate right now. if we gave that diverse group of americans four new votes that would go a long way towards creating something
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representative out of the body. i'm joined by historian jon meacham and vander built university author of "his truth" marching on and unofficial advisor to president elect biden and megan is director of democracy policy indivisible and she wrote about the senate is broken washington d.c. statehood can save it." there is an argument for the people of d.c. deserve to have representation and what's the argument? >> as a d.c. resident, all i want for my life is voting representation in congress. that would be great. it is what is built into our democracy itself. the way the senate is designed is to give a lot of power to a little group of people, mostly
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land owning white gentlemen and to deny infranchisement equal representation to the largely population of d.c. at the time and continues to be true to this day. so to give statehood to d.c. would be a huge win for d.c. residents but a huge win for everybody who wants to solve climate change or get health care or have a better supreme court because d.c. right now doesn't have a say in any of that because the senate is designed to give a lot of power to a very small group of people and to deny power to us. so that starts to sort of balance out the numbers problem in the senate. >> you know, john, i think that first of all, 100 is a nice round number in terms of the u.s. senate which i think is always ending up working on people in d.c. more than it should but there is a sense adding states you can't do that but of course, we've done it a ton and every time it been
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partly a political progress sce. we've added states for political reasons. >> it's always been political. it always been political and about power. in fact, from the very beginning in fact, it was the disputes over the powers over the states versus the central government and articles of confederation that led to the constitutional convention and for what it's worth, james madison had two ideas that would have been good. he wanted proportional representation in the senate as well as the house and lost that and wanted a federal veto over state laws which was a non-starter but an interesting nationalist view at that point. we've -- the battles over the civil war, the battles that led to the civil war obviously were about state hood and what would be allowed in those states so the various compromises that ultimately proved unsatisfactory
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and led to the cwar and blessedy to emancipation. the last time we did this it was kind of a cold war experiment in the late 1950s with alaska and hawaii. complicated stories. very political. hawaii was seen as an attempt to bring as a state in that would be a different race, ethnicity for those issues to kind of soften our image around the world because literally because we were still under jim crow. we were still a segregated country and part of the thinking was hey, we're not racist. look. we just let a state in. >> wow. >> and so that's an important part of that political dynamic and alaska is a state not least because of its geographic strategic importance in the cold war.
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so we've done loats of things admitting states for lots of different reasons. >> that's a great point about the kind of pragmatic calculations of the time of the things that sort of what we now think of as essential structures of the nation were made. you're not going to go back and lop off alaska or get rid of hawaii but there was some decision at some point these people should be part of the union and part of the problem, too, megan, we're seeing this kind of structural problem. when people talk about the electoral college where there is a 4.5 point swing joe biden winning the popular vote and his electoral college victory by 40,000, 50,000 votes is bigger than the senate. they have to win by seven points nationally. in a polarized country that is hard. you locked in this minority rule problem. >> it shouldn't be the case
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that, you foknow, one party win tens of thousands more votes overall and the best we can do at best, best case scenario is a 50/50 split in the senate. that speaks to a bad design in the way you fix that problem is to just like you said bring in new states and the fact we're talking about bringing if states of people disenfranchised makes the cake a little sweeter. this should not be the case. i think democrats feed to start thinking big about some of the various ways we can start to address this problem because it can't just be every to to four years that we have an election and we're scraping and tooth and nail for a majority of one in the senate even though we're democrats are very clearly the majority party. >> that's the thing. there is a durable national majority i'm probably through seven or eight elections. john, the hawaii experience matches the closest to what puerto rico would be. this is a place that was
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fundamentally colinized and the history was quite ugly, that that was the case in hawaii and been the case in puerto rico where there was resistance i think on the ground to even the giving up self-determination sovereignty but a vote in puerto rico. there seems to be movement in that. that seems to be the closest analog in terms of our history. >> there is a rich literature on this which goes to many of the essential questions about color and ethnicity and race that we continue to grapple with, which was and there are scholars that argued that having people who are asian immigrants especially, not immigrants but asians -- of asian descent to become part of the united states that that was a more virtuous and kind of immigrant. right? and puerto rico would not be. so the role of race in this which fund mentally obviously is
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part of the current conversation was a part of the conversation the then. the idea of american-ism and who are the desirable people. it part of the conversation but one we had, one we need to continue to have and the great thing about the constitution as hard as it is to amend, it was built to amend. >> that's also true. great discussion from both of you john, megan, enjoyed that. thank you both for that. appreciate it. >> thank you. still ahead, pushing to expand the supreme court. what it would take to add more justices and restructure the highest court in the land. we'll talk about that next. t in. we'll talk about that next and just stuff everything in. it works. and of course, everyone thinks their way is right. i stood in line for hours to get this. it has to be washed on delicate. it has to be cold water, it's better for the planet. the secret is, with tide pods it all works. of course it does. told ya! they're going to do it their way,
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one of the most maddening to my mind stupidist news cycles during the presidential campaign was the great court packing controversy. will joe biden endorse adding more supreme justices? it was a science fiction question depending on things happening together like flipping
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the senate first and ending the fill ibuster and we don't know those things will happen. most likely they won't even though we can't get those two weeks or so of our lives back and there is a stub tubstantivee packed by donald trump and mitch mcconnell and that's why there is an urgent and concrete argument for democrats now to think about how to restructure the judiciary. somewhat radicalized is long-time democratic operative, hillary clinton's former press secretary perhaps singularly focused on making the courts ex founder of demand justice and organization that is devoted to doing just that. layout for me just like let's get rid of constraints or any sort of constraints. if you had a magic want, what would a plan for restructuring the judiciary or expanding it look like if you could do whatever you wanted to do?
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>> well, i think kwoyou'd want do two things with the last two va can s vacancies and unprecedented maneuvers to block any consideration of barack obama's nominee in 2016 that was unprecedented and just this year you have another unprecedented move in terms of confirming a justice, rushing to do so right before an election, confirming somebody closer to an election than ever happened before and republicans say hey, that's fair game. that's within the rules. that's not unconstitutional to which i say fine, but neither is expanding the size of the supreme court. at that time happened seven times in our history during the 1860s it happened three times in that decade alone during a period the nation was undergoing a big political shift and entertaining big questions what it means to be a citizen, what is entailed by the right to vote not unlike the debates we're having now. people need to imagine and open
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themselves up to the possibility adding to the size of the supreme court will restore balance. 6-3 the margin in the court now is something that when you poll average people they will push majority levels to the public and the other thing i'd add is term limits. we can do both in combination. we should bring a sense of regularity to vacancies. if you're elected as president to a four f year term you should have certainty you can appoint justices in the window. jimmy carter won one term and didn't get to name anybody to the supreme court and donald trump won a similar four-year term and picked three justices and that's how we end up with randomness of democrats winning the popular vote in seven out of the last eight elections and republicans picking 15 of the last 19 supreme court justices. i put everyone on an 18-fixed term so seats are expiring an x
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expand the overall number to 13. >> that's important and good. there is nothing like it in american politics the death watch for supreme court j justices. it's sick and bizarre like buzzards circling overhead. there is nothing like it. it a lifetime appointment obviously. justices can choose when they retire but if they don't as we saw with ruth bader ginsburg who battled with fortitude for so long, that's the situation. the spin of fate's wheel. you're saying get rid of that. it a good idea. >> if you add to the number of seats to the court and fixed terms, the death or the retirement, the timing of a retirement would beless less op the presses war because each individual seat is less high stakes if you have more than
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nine seats and if there is some rule set in to every president is fixed in terms of the number they can appoint in any four-year window, then it prevents the incentive to keep a seat open and create an extra seat for the president to fill. it would restore sanity to the process and depoliticize things and if people as bipartisan support for this, nobody less than john roberts himself when he was a region administration lawyer in the 1980s pinned a memo suggesting there should be term limits. 70% support with the public. i think there is going to be a more robust conversation here not least because the biden administration is committed to appointing a court reform commission in 2021 that i think is going to look at both of tea these proposals and then some and the commission include voices like eric holder, the .
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professor at harvard they would make the case for particular reforms would be valuable voices on that commission. >> my understanding is there is conservatives, i believe the law professor and co-founder of the federal society has written about term limits, as well. the idea of regularizing, i didn't say that right but we'll keep moving, of these terms such that everyone has a kind of democratic transparency going into election, that's part of what is crazy, right? you then know okay, we're voting for a person who is going to appoint x many seats as opposed to a vail of ignorance and depending on the luck and there is no, like, there is no conservative or liberal vail to the question. >> right. and i think that we should also approach this with a goal in mind of trying to undue vesting of our system that lend
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ourselves to minority rule. the supreme court as it's set up now is really the 6-3 majority on the court now is the outcome of two count er majority factor to compounded into this 6-3 court on everything from health care to gun safety to climate change because you have in donald trump somebody that lost the popular vote by 3 million votes who made three selections to the supreme court confirmed by senate republican majorities that represent less than a majority of the public in the country and i think all these proposals go together. the idea of rethinking the electoral college, eliminating the filibuster in the senate and adding states and reforming the supreme court. >> democracy, thank you for making time tonight. >> ahead, how can joe biden breakthrough the wall of bad faith opposition? how about trying to do everything all at once on day one? the biden blitz theory of getting things done coming up. z
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i think it's painfully obvious american politics are divided. we're as polarized and parties are as competitive with each other than over 100 years and two ways to think about what to do with that state of apaiir f . if the country is divided, you have to be close to the middle. if you try to do too much, if you go too far, if you're too extreme or too energetic or too oppositional or ambitious, you will be punished because the middle of the country is where the politics are happening in a divided nation. there is another way of thinking about the structural polarization and what it means. it's something and i think donald trump and his own ferrel way figured out. if the country is divided, picture polarized, if you do a ton of stuff. if you try and fail, if you're bold and ambitious and remake
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the government and improve people's lives and do everything you possibly can, even if slightly half the country doesn't like it, slightly half the country will be with you and maybe you face no punishment politically whatsoever. maybe the fact of polarization means instead of being careful and small and compromised in the middle, maybe the fact of polarization means you just do what you think is best and let the chips fall where they may. the case for a biden blitz ahead. a biden blitz ahead. did you know diarrhea is often caused by bad bacteria in food?
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when joe biden takes the oath of office at noon on january 20th, he will of course take over a deeply divided country, facing immense challenges that have only grown worse over the past four years and particularly over this past year. some of those challenges will take significant time and effort to tackle. but there's actually a lot biden can do starting on day one whether or not republicans maintain control of the senate. and the speed at which he acts will matter too. writer david roberts says the
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way for biden to succeed in this hyperpolarized environment is to run a blitz where he does everything at once, because the only thing biden will have real control over is his administration and what it does. and his north star, his organizing principle, should be doing as much good on as many fronts as fast as possible. this is one area where biden can actually learn from trump's example, roberts says. by constantly acting, being on the offensive, generating new stories and controversies, trump simply overwhelmed the ability of the system to fasten on any one thing. the idea is to take on everything quickly and boldly knowing some of it won't work. you'll take hits, get backlash. but at the end of the day, all that matters is what gets done, put on paper and into law. the rest is vapor. i'm joined now by the author of that piece, david roberts, who writes about energy and climate change. david, i really liked the piece, and it made me think a lot. lay out the sort of theory of the blitz as you understand it. >> sure. the idea is that, you know, i sort of set it up in contrast to obama's administration, who had
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this idea that he had a certain amount of political capital and he could elicit cooperation from republicans by moving slowly and deliberately, doing one thing at a time, taking plenty of time to negotiate. basically, offering good faith attempts at cooperation. and what happened was he just got rope-a-doped again and again, and it became clear -- i think it's especially clear now in retrospect, that there was never any intent to help him. it was all -- it was all intended to waste time because mitch mcconnell has recognized accurately, i think, that in hyperpolarized two-party politics, it really is a zero-sum game. and anything -- any victory that a democratic president gets hurts republicans. so biden should assume that up front, i think. and if we needed any more proof of what the right is now, i think the trump years have cleared that up.
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and he should just take that onboard and realize he's not going to get help. he's going to be confined to what he can do on his own, and he should just do it. >> now, part of that, i mean "do it" is a little complicated because even if there's a 50-50 senate, which democrats control nominally, but they can't lose a single vote, or if mitch mcconnell controls the senate, like they can't just like ram through legislation, right? so what does that mean in sort of real terms with the legislative bottlenecks there might be? >> honestly, my assumption has been that democrats are unlikely to win these two georgia runoffs, and thus mitch mcconnell is likely to be senate majority leader. and thus that legislation is more or less off the table. that's my assumption other than these sort of emergency spending bills that have to go through to keep the government running. but you're seeing now they're already gearing up to worry
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about the deficit. they're already gearing up for opposition. so i think joe biden should already be thinking what is the maximum freedom of motion i have? what is the maximum i can do without congress, without legislation? and it turns out there is a lot. the presidency is extremely powerful, but i think in the past, like obama was leery about using that power too much, at least early in his administration, because he didn't want to flip out the right. he didn't want to sort of lose this cooperation he thought he might get. but if joe biden is clear-eyed about the fact he's not going to get it, period, he can just start pulling those administrative levers the second he walks in the door. >> and that's a really interesting idea, right, because if you think -- i mean i think what obama thought was there was a possibility of consensus. he also was waiting on that 60th vote in the senate. he wanted to do these big legislative things, so it was a calculation. if you go in thinking -- particularly if you don't win the runoffs, i'm not getting anything out of a mcconnell senate other than maybe avoiding
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shutdowns, maybe -- >> yeah, that's not certainly. >> you know, i think one of the things that's interesting in your piece, i think there was an idea -- there has been an idea, and i think joe biden might have this idea because he served in the senate so long, if you take these administrative actions that are provocative, you poison the well for whatever bipartisan comedy there might be. and your argument is like there's none to be had, so you might as well do it. >> the well is full of poison. what more proof do we need? what do we need to see? the last ten years have been 100% consistent on the right. they have not deviated from the course of action for ten years now. the only doubt that's ever been raised about what they're going to do next is from democrats, who seem endlessly credulous about the next promise of cooperation. so the well is poisoned. that means what matters is the power you have and what you can do with it. and that should be biden's overwhelming focus. >> and the other -- so the other
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thing that's really interesting is this idea of pacing, right? this, i think, is a real interesting lesson of trump because there's obviously a lot of things he did horribly terribly, like govern. but a certain way of hacking the news cycle because i think that one of the things that i've seen among democratic politicians, this was true of obama. they didn't want to make news. >> right. >> because if you're making news, then you've got controversy. and if you've got controversy, then you're ebbing political capital. you're getting questions about that. one of the ways that trump hacked that was to make so much news. and you sort of think that can be a model. like if you do a lot of stuff, everyone's always chasing the last thing you did. >> right, right. and if you try not to make news, the sort of perverse outcome is you get the media really wanting to make news. they end up chasing every little thing. so if you wear, say, a tan suit and there's a republican willing to accuse you of treason for it, that will be a two or three-day story because there's nothing else.
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but what trump did is just make news every five minutes. so, you know, one scandal after another passed just because everybody was still busy sort of harumphing and trying to understand it by the time the next one arrived. so no one could make a real story out of any one of these things. what i thought might be nice to try for once, for biden, is to just do good things at the same pace so that -- so that, you know, the inevitable sort of like -- republicans are going to howl about this. there's going to be pundits in d.c. who scratch their chin and worry that he's not being -- you know, he's not reaching out enough, and there's going to be all the usual, you know, chatter in d.c. but he can just ignore that stuff, and by the time a narrative settles or sort of congeals, he's on to the next thing, doing something else. so, you know, let's try to like use the news cycle the way trump used it, you know, for the
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forces of good, i guess, is my idea. >> it's a really, really good idea, i think. i really enjoyed the piece. you can read it at david roberts wrote it. david, thank you so much. >> thanks, chris. >> that is "all in" for this evening. good night. happy holidays. we're almost at the end of a year like no other. a presidency like no other. this year has been so long it felt like it ate its own tail and become a never ending swirl. there would never be any point of finish. it will finish. do you believe this year started with the impeachment trial in the senate? the night before the impeachment began i sat down with an


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