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tv   Alex Wagner Tonight  MSNBC  December 27, 2022 1:00am-2:00am PST

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good evening and thank you for joining us this hour happy holidays tonight we start back in may it was a monday night just after 8:30 eastern time when news broke that shook the entire country. "politico" had the once in a lifetime scoop about a draft opinion. supreme court has voted to overturn abortion rights
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we hold that rowe and casey must be overturned, justice alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court. that scoop, that headline changed everything and it certainly changed the course of the midterm elections. in that moment the stakes of the upcoming november election, they skyrocketed and gave democrats over a month and a half, head start, to start campaigning on that issue before the opinion was handed down in late june and on june 24th the supreme court struck down roe v. wade, the law of the land for nearly 50 years, and stripped away reproductive rights for millions in this country. just six weeks later the first test of abortion rights at the state ballot box came in kansas. voters in kansas headed to the polls in early august to vote on a constitutional amendment that would strip away abortion rights from the state constitution. in kansas of all places voters rejected that republican effort. people overwhelmingly voted to
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protect abortion rights in the state's constitution it was not even close. voters in kansas rejected the amendment by nearly 60%. turnout for that election soared it was the largest turnout for a primary in the state's history but beyond kansas that primary changed the entire midterm election landscape and gave democrats bona fide momentum, until that point all expectations were that the party was headed for a traditional and sizable midterm losses in congress, but that night in kansas expectations shifted, voters were engaged and they were showing up in a way that was largely unseen in modern political history. and then there was the special election in new york's 19th congressional district democrat path ryan campaigned on abortion rights, he even released his first ad that highlighted reproductive rights minutes after the supreme court overturned roe he labeled his election victory as a referendum on abortion rights and that strategy worked.
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coupled with that democrats headed into november with significant legislative momentum in congress. there was the american rescue plan and the infrastructure bill, there was the sweeping gun reform legislation, the first in decades that biden signed the day after roe fell in early august biden signed a landmark bill protecting veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits. democrats fought a long battle to get that one passed and they did it the same week the president also signed the chips and science act, a $52 billion investment? domestic chip manufacturing that's already start attracting international business to u.s. soil and then there was the inflation reduction act. president biden's massive and signature bill that invested hundreds of billions in climate change and health care, fighting inflation and setting a corporate minimum tax rate that bill that democrats passed into law is the largest investment in combating climate change ever. so it was against that backdrop that democrats headed into the
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midterm elections and yet in the closing weeks of that race questions about the economy and inflation and crime seemed to cloud the midterm landscape for democrats. despite the utter insanity of the republican field with candidates like kari lake and don bold duck and doug mastriano, the polls got really uncomfortably tight. there was finger pointing and questioning about the democrats' strategy and whether the party had focused on the wrong issues. expectations once again reverted back to historical patterns and then got worse, but as it turns out, the message had been the right one. the candidates had been the right ones against precedent the democrats did a lot better than expected they outperformed all predictions. this great so-called red wave never materialized and instead republicans squeaked out a nine-seat majority in the house and the democrats not only held onto the senate but they gained a seat with rafael warnock's
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victory in the georgia runoff. at the state level democrats just knocked it out of the park, they flipped four state legislative chambers, both chambers in michigan, the legislature in minnesota and the pennsylvania house they reelected gretchen whitmer, giving democrats control of all three bodies in that key swing state, the first time the body has had full governing control in michigan in nearly 40 years democrats depended off republicans from having a super majority in wisconsin and in kansas by defying the odds and maintaining control of the governorship in both states. so as we head into 2023 and the start of a new congress where do we go from here? what can we expect from this new congress where democrats will no longer be in control of the house and republicans are eager to exert their power whenever and wherever possible. what can even get done with a divided congress joining us now is former missouri democratic senator claire mccaskill and mark lean a
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vich author of "thank you for your servitude: donald trump's washington and the price of submission." it is great to close out the year with you. claire, you are a creature of the senate and know its contours well and someone who has led fierce campaigns yourself. is there anything about the midterm elections that surprised you? >> well, listen, i get it that dobbs was an earthquake politically. i also understand that democracy was very important, but at the answered of the day, alex, this is about candidate quality it really is if you look in pennsylvania, dr. oz, if you look in many states where we won look at georgia, for example when extreme candidates were nominated by the republican party, when trump election deniers were nominated, what most of these states did is they said, you know, we are not going
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to go down that road that is not what we're looking for in our elected representatives. as we look towards the next election and, believe me, a lot of people in the senate are already doing that i know it feels like we just got 51 24, 24 is brutal for us. brutal we have montana, we have west virginia, we have ohio, we have -- once again we have pennsylvania, we have wisconsin where ron johnson just got reelected. we can talk about victories in wisconsin, but ron johnson is a terrible senator and he just got reelected. and then arizona where it was a squeaker and nevada which was also a squeaker. those states are all up in 2024. so now it's going to be about supporting the incumbents and finding the right candidates if there are any open seats, which it doesn't look like there's going to be. >> mark, should democrats be dismayed at that assessment?
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obviously there was a coordinated message. >> right. >> there were legislative victories, but, i mean, there is the reality that republicans ran bonkers candidates herschel walker was a bonkers candidate, so was mehmet oz, so was don bolduc. >> there is a very clear, you know, glass half empty view of this which is that herschel walker, kari lake, you know, adam laxalt came extremely close. despite all of herschel walker's herschel walkerness and kari lake's kari lakeness, this close, it could have gone the other way. the map was brutal this was supposed to be a favorable democratic map, they won one seat look, on a whole it's been a great -- it was a really good cycle, a surprisingly good cycle
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for democrats, but, no, i mean, this is not a one race the problem is i don't think republicans know how to learn a lesson here. i mean, this is not a rational party right now because donald trump is still driving it and if he falls in love with candidate x in montana and decides to go all in with him or her, that's potentially great news for jon tester or whoever the vulnerable democrat is. >> do you, claire, think that trump will hold that sway over the nominating process in terms of the senate in 2024? his record is so abysmal from 2022 and yet, you know, he's done plenty of things to cause departures from his loyal -- in terms of his loyalists and yet -- we always have to end every sentence with and yet he still is the center of this force inside the gop i'm asking you to look into a crystal ball, but at this moment do you think he still has the king-making power that he did in the last election?
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>> he had a brutal cycle and the last few weeks have not been kind to him but i see what's going on in the media right now and a narrative that trump is losing his grip and how desantis is rising and trump will be history in the rearview mirror any minute and it reminds me of all the polls that said democrats were going to have a brutal election in november and it was going to be this big red wave i think we have to wait and see. i think right now desantis is an unknown to most of america i think republicans are being fed his name by a lot of people who don't want trump but desantis has problems, too i mean, it's not like he's not wacky. i mean, he's banning books and, you know, arresting people on bogus charges who tried to vote that have fallen apart i mean, all kinds much things he's done that will become front and center he is an extreme guy joe biden is not an extreme guy. joe biden is a middle of the road guy who won because fs middle of the road
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so if they nominate either trump or desantis, i still think the democrats are in a commanding position if they stick to their knitting and the kitchen table stuff. health care, doing something about prescription drugs, continuing to bang away on the infrastructure victories and working on gun safety and the things they've gotten done i think -- you know, and it all -- presidential politics is going to come into play here because when you have the president at the top of the ticket every election is nationalized. >> mark, you have reported on ron desantis and his likability, which is actually a real factor when it comes to electing a president, but there's also his legislative record, we've covered it on the show, whether it's the stop woke act, don't say gay bill or fraudulent election police. he has done a lot of stuff that may play well in florida which is a strange laboratory, a state unlike any other, but could that become a political liability the more a light is shone on it on the national stage. >> there is no question about
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this i think if you look at pretty much all of the consequential attention getting stuff that he has done, it hasn't worn particularly well. he got all this attention over the summer when he sent the refugees from latin america to martha's vineyard, new york, wherever he did that i mean, this is taxpayer money when you sort of look -- when that thing sort of unfolded, it was not a good look for ron desantis i can't imagine florida's taxpayers, you know, beyond the initial spasm of, look, we've owned the liberals here, could be happy about this once these things play out. there is this pattern, very trump-like in some ways which is that, you know, you get this spasm of attention and then once it unfolds it becomes a bit of an embarrassment. >> his strategy seems to be so deeply rooted in owning the libs with literally nothing else as a goal i mean, just shuttle asylum seekers to points north with no resources when they get there to own the libs on immigration. prevent them from saying things about racism and systemic
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injustice to own the libs and censor their language. this is the stuff that may play well among a specific slice of an engaged gop voter, but when it comes to the kind of person that someone wants to sit down and have a beer with it's hard to imagine the meanness and the cruelty that so an mates these policies plays well with the national voter >> also in his like haste to sort of stroke the erogenous zones of tucker carlson or lover -- >> did you really have to say that it's a family show. >> is it anyway, no, he did -- look, he went full anti-vaxxer here at the end of the year. he's basically -- he wants to investigate people who are studying vaccines at the cdc that's not where the country is. it might be where his rare if i had little conservative bubble in florida or conservative media is, but it's not where the country is so, you know, stay tuned. >> claire, what should president biden be thinking about in the closing hours of 2022 as we head
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towards a divided congress and trump who is officially running, desantis who is waiting in the wings and a presidential election that officially starts sometime next year >> well, i think he's got a big decision to make i don't think that he has made a final decision so first and foremost, he's got to figure out if he wants to run again and if he does and he has to start looking at his record and building a narrative about why the country should trust him to navigate another four years you know, that's always a tall order. it's very -- it's not easy to get elected to a second term i don't care who you are so he's got that in front of him. and then also he's going to have to manage, you know, crazy town over in the house of representatives. he's going to have to figure out if there's anything that mccarthy can get across the finish line that would be palatable to americans it's going to be tough because
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right now mccarthy is on bended knee to crazy town marjorie taylor greene and all of the others that are really the ones that can make him speaker and you can't be speaker without them, so you think boehner had trouble with the freedom caucus, you think that paul ryan had trouble with the right wing, you haven't seen anything until you see what's going to happen in the house of representatives with mccarthy and this very slim majority and everyone pushing and pulling to try to be more extreme than the next. >> this just seems like one of those situations where everybody needs to buckle up and brace for impact because next year is going to be a doozy in the lower chamber. thank you guys both for your time and closing out the year with me. >> thanks. >> thank you happy new year. >> happy new year. coming up, the one, the only, my interview with the recently departed host of ""the daily show"" trevor noah, his take on race in american, how
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the media should cover candidates like donald trump and what life has in store for him after ""the daily show." plus i went down to florida to explore desantis land what i found just ahead. plu to explore desantis land what i found just ahead. the dai" plus i went down to florida to explore desantis land what i found just ahead.
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for free information. (soft music) ♪ i screwed up. mhm. i got us t-mobile home internet. now cell phone users have priority over us. and your marriage survived that? you can almost feel the drag when people walk by with their phones. oh i can't hear you... you're froze-- ladies, please! you put it on airplane mode when you pass our house. i was trying to work. we're workin' it too. yeah! work it girl! woo! i want to hear you say it out loud. well, i could switch us to xfinity. those smiles. that's why i do what i do. that and the paycheck. just look around. this digital age we're living in, it's pretty unbelievable. problem is, not everyone's fully living in it. nobody should have to take a class or fill out a medical form on public wifi with a screen the size of your hand. home internet shouldn't be a luxury.
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everyone should have it and now a lot more people can. so let's go. the digital age is waiting. signed off from "the daily show" for the very last time ending his epic seven-year run with the show and just before he left i had the great pleasure of
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sitting down with him for a wide-ranging interview we spoke about the politics of race in america and the extreme polarization in our politics take a listen. >> joining us know is trevor noah, host of "the daily show," also executive producer of "the turn point." welcome, my friend. >> thank you so much for having me. >> it is a pleasure and honor. it's more -- it's more exciting for me, i guarantee you, than you with your star-studded his history. >> i don't think that's true. >> you were sitting there through that long wind up and i felt like it was really important to contextualize what is happening in this midterm election cycle amid the sort of, you know, hectic frenetic pace of campaigns there's something that is at the core of a lot of the campaigning that we're seeing and as someone who sort of covers this, albeit from a distance, i wonder if any of this -- if any of the dog whistles or the explicitly racist language or just the
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otherization of people of color whether any of that surprises you at this point. >> when i look at a buildup in the election, especially in america at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, struggling to pay for their groceries, wondering whether their next paycheck will be enough to live the life that they've been living, it always triggers an idea or a moment in time or a feeling that i will have whenever an election comes up, the same thing will happen in south africa is you are able to get people to think the worst of others when they themselves are in the worst position. i used to think that in life we could just change people and make them better or make them more inclusive or, you know -- but i've come to realize it's an unfortunate by-product, as soon as people start thinking that they do not have somebody can point to somebody else and say that's why you do not have i think we're going to see that a lot more now and unfortunately if politicians do not understand
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that the cause, you know, is more important than the symptom, we're going to be chasing a symptom forever. you can try to change people's opinions on other people's race, on people from other countries with immigrants. you can try to do that forever but really what we've seen is time and time again when people are struggling they are most susceptible to ideasthat will otherize other human beings. >> some of these people aren't struggling. >> they were told they are the irony in life i've realized in america is that the same image company a completely different connotation depending on how people want that image to be used. for instance, you will see people being arrested and there will be some politicians who say, see, things are getting better and crime is going down look, everything is getting bet sh, these people are being arrested they can use that same image to say look how many criminals are out there. it's the same image just how you
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tell the story completely changes depending on what you're trying to do. >> it feels like we have lost the common narrative, too. >> i think we're moving to a place where politics is now becoming the new religion of america. it's becoming the defining factor when people meet you, that's the first thing they say now you are a democrat or you are a republican this is how i vote i don't know if you remember there was a time when people didn't talk about that your vote is your secret i don't want to talk about that is correct let's talk about -- we don't want about voting people just voted and then they lived their lives but now people live to talk about how they voted and i think what it's created is a world where that supercedes everything. >> do you think that's a bad thing or a good thing? >> i think it's terrible. >> you think it's terrible. >> it's terrible and terrifying. >> the political landscape is so divided and the set of values inherent in each party is so extraordinarily different that it seems almost ear reconcilable to ask someone to forget no
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those are someone else's values. do you know what i'm saying? >> sometimes making heads or tails of the american system requires to you start at one -- have you ever tried to untangle a bunch of cords in your drawer? >> yes. >> trying to find one charger. >> yes. >> you think you found it and then it takes to you this charger and you go to that -- that's what it feels like sometimes looking at america and what's happening in the country because you see it reflected in other parts of the world but america's system is unique in the conversations that people have and why they have them. like what you're saying about the polarization is it's just going to become worse because we don't live in the same world anymore. we would all meet in one place, whether it was for the news, where people were watching whether it was walter cronkite, people would watch the same news and argue about it even tv shows. when you saw that angela lansbury passed away -- >> "murder she wrote." >> i wrote every single episode with my mom in south africa.
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that was a family thing. how many shows do we have like that, not the shows but how many moments. everybody is watching their own tv, kids are in a different world to their parents, apartments are in different world to their parents, you have this unshared reality that we are existing in. everyone sitting on a table in the subway, nobody is reading or experience the same thing other than maybe the dancers, that's about it what i think what that's done is it's created a hyper individualistic society. you can't -- >> there is no bridging it >> if you don't agree on the same world. >> when you were growing up in south africa apart from watching "murder she wrote" did you think that america had the whole racism thing figured out more than south africa did? >> that's an interesting question i think -- i had a caricature riced view of what america was "beverly hills cop" all of these movies gave me an idea of what america was and i don't think it
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was too far from what america was trying to be, funny enough, because everybody was coming together and watching the same thing. maybe there was some sort of world that people aspired to even if they couldn't achieve t but what i've learned when i moved to america is what makes a difference in south africa is we are very blatant about what was happening and i always say as crazy as it is to say out loud, i think the one benefit of the apartheid government's extreme hubris in what they were doing was that you didn't have to uncover it. >> right. >> they said -- >> explicit. >> -- we consider people of color, black people, indian people, colored people, whoever they may be, we consider them inferior and that is why we treat them this way. but in america over time -- and we know the history of it, but over time politicians realized that that wasn't suitable, that wasn't acceptable in public so they learned how to code the language, they learned how to change it so that people didn't hear the word black, people
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didn't hear the word hispanic or mexican but they thought it, they felt t and that has become more powerful because now instead of just fighting racism you have to spend half your time trying to prove it exists. >> also makes people who are racist feel better because they don't have to be explicitly racist. >> i would even say some people feel that they are not racist. coming up, my trip to florida to take a look at the lab governor ron desantis is creating and what he's been experimenting with on race, gender and education but first, more from my in-depth interview with trevor noah on his future plans that's next. we will be right back.
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a few months ago i had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to someone who knows the media inside and out, trevor noah, who recently signed off as the host of "the daily show" after an epic seven-year run he sat down to talk with me about how the media has covered everything from donald trump to extremist republicans, those two are kind of similar. we also spoke about his decision to leave "the daily show" and his plans for the future take a look. >> i've really been lucky to embark on, you know, multiple journeys i've got -- i've had the pleasure of executive producing this docuseries, working with fantastic producers and directors, filmmakers.
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i've had the pleasure of doing standup in and around america and the rest of the world. i've had the pleasure of hosting "the daily show" for seven years, but, you know, at some point you have to figure out how you want to use your time, where you want to be and how you want to spend, you know, your heartbeats as i call them. >> a finite number of them. >> and covid -- i think covid gave everybody is moment to sit down and think who are you. >> yeah. >> who are you trying to be? how are you spending your time who are you spending it with why are you spending it that way? i realized i would never want to be in a position where people feel like i'm not giving my all and so i thought i will give my all until i feel like i even have a little bit left, but let me take what i have left and then try everything else that inspires me, whether it be docuseries or being in movies or, you know, doing more standup or whatever it may be. >> you have a perspective on the media that i think a lot of people don't have and i wonder how you would grade us at this
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stage in the game because i was talking to rachel maddow -- >> interesting. >> -- my great predecessor in this hour and we were talking about the responsibility here as journalists. when you have a character like donald trump, on one hand you have to cover some of the things he's saying and doing, but how do you do it in a way that doesn't give him the megaphone do you think we've gotten better how do you -- what can we do bet. >> reporter: >> here is is. >> here is what i think happened, america has blurred the line between news and entertainment for so long at some point entertainment took over and became the news and if there's one thing donald trump has always known how to do it's how to be entertaining you look at the very inception, the beginning of the idea of donald trump being on the news it was campaigns reaching out to cnn and saying, hey, you need to cover -- this is funny, this is great, this is great for us. a lot of democrats have to look at themselves and say why did we encourage this i've spoken about this on my show, the fact that there are still democrats, you know,
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machines that are funding extreme republicans like basically putting them forward, i think it's gross negligence. forget everything else that you're trying to do in life, it is grossly negligent to say i believe this person is going to destroy democracy but do you know what i'll do, i'm going to take money that people donated to our campaigns and use them to prop them up because i think they will be easier to beat. are you willing to take the risk that this person may be ease why err to beat? you don't remember what happened with donald trump? turned out he was a lot harder to beat than you think when it comes to the grading, i don't grade anybody, i'm not a master at this, i don't claim to be but i look at what people can do differently i think the media learned a lesson i think every news outlet went we thought it was a joke, we played with the joke and now he turned it on us. i don't know if the genie will ever go back into the bottle but i think the media can ask tsel questions about the why's. why? why do we put people on? what are we trying to get from this is it a ratings push
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is it it is be honest, we're doing this to get ratings. don't hide it, don't add icing to the cake to make it seem it is what it isn't. >> be more explicit like they are in south africa. >> say this is what it is. we're doing this because it's great for ratings. do it and go ahead, but i think a lot of the time american news will masquerade, will live in this world of, oh, no, this is so important it's like it's great for ratings and i understand that challenge, but also acknowledge that there is a country that is watching what you are creating. we have much more ahead tonight. stay with us oh. oh! hi there. you're jonathan, right? the 995 plan! yes, from colonial penn. your 995 plan fits my budget just right. excuse me? aren't you jonathan from tv, that 995 plan? yes, from colonial penn. i love your lifetime rate lock. that's what sold me. she thinks you're jonathan, with the 995 plan. -are you? -yes, from colonial penn. we were concerned we couldn't get coverage,
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name a lot republican governor of florida and likely 2024 presidential contender ron desantis since taking office in 2019 governor desantis has been on a crew said against seemingly everything, especially when it comes to public education. if a conversation about a student's race or nationality makes a student feel, quote, discomfort, then it can't be taught in the classroom, an inclusive curriculum, nope anything, quote, woke, whatever that means, nope so desantis signed the stop woke act. sexual orientation and gender identity, nope desantis signed the so-called don't say gay bill earlier this year i took a trip to florida to hear from students and educators and what they say on the ground about these new policies and governor desantis' efforts to reshape public
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education in florida here is what students and a local school board member had to say. >> i think it's really frightening how we already have such limited access to all this information and important parts of history and now we're restrict tg even more. it's very scary that there's going to be more ignorance. >> it's really pitiful to think that now like kids that are going into school, younger kids, younger generations, people who are being made into the future are going to have no idea of what's going on because we can't pick and choose the past, we can't pick and choose what to teach in history classes. >> i mean, i think the governor thinks you can pick and choose what you think. >> i guess i wonder like are students going to accept that? it sounds like you think that some of them are. >> i think that if that's what we're taught from a young age then that's what we're going to accept and start to repeat back to other kids. >> tell me if you could recount the experience you've had facing the animated crowd of people who are proponents of this anti-crt
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stuff. you understand in a visceral way the passion that is ignited when you talk about this stuff. >> you know, i have had people on my front lawn protesting, i've had people send me death threats, i've had people try to recall me, and none of that has anything to do with crt, none of that has anything to do with lgbtq. they just use those as tools to target and attack me, and truthfully the reason i feel like i even had to deal with any of that animosity is because i'm a loud, proud, dominant democrat on this school board. >> i mean, i guess what you're saying is this is basically for a political movement that is much more about republican power than actually -- >> 100%. >> -- some deep-seated emotional belief about correcting some wongs in schools i guess i wonder on the other side of the coin do you feel like you are equipped with the tools to counter what has been a
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pretty successful multipronged effort to change the whole system of education in the florida public school system >> i hate to be a mess amidst but the reality is we need the voters to get out and vote if we have these people in office there's really not a whole lot we can do because they put this into law. >> do you hear from teachers who are grappling with the changes that are going to be in place in the classroom this fall? >> all the time. people asking for answers to how do we implement these laws or these policies how is this going to affect my classroom and my instruction and one of the things that's really frightening about these laws that are passed is that the state passed them with no instruction. >> what do you think people who are concerned about the direction that things are heading in, what should they be focused on in the months and year ahead >> i'm just so scared about the future of public education here in florida and i'm scared that it will create this movement across the nation. this is a concerted effort to
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defragment public education, to make it unstable in order to privatize education, right so we have over 9,500 instructional vacancies in the state of florida and we're starting school tomorrow the fact that we are making them feel like they can literally be brought to court for teaching actual facts about history or about real families that are in their classroom. at the same exact time we have a governor that's taking over what power the school boards have, putting in place essentially school board candidates that he chooses to be on the school board. >> yeah. >> i mean, it's scary. i also had the opportunity to speak to a florida high school teacher who blew the whistle on state sponsored training provided to teachers and decided to speak out about what exactly was being instructed here is what she told me about how the state trains its teachers about slavery take a listen. >> the only thing i can find in this slide -- in this entire presentation about enslaved people it's one slide and it
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says less than 4% of slavery in the western hemisphere was in colonial america the number of enslaved people increased in america through birth. what is happening here in this slide? >> yeah. so this is a map kind of showing how the transatlantic slave trade brought enslaved people to both of the americas there is a heavy emphasis that those people were brought to south america. >> it's a much bigger arrow. >> right and where we're at in north america, you know, our colonies are very small sliver and there was this heavy emphasis that most of our enslaved people were born here. almost to say it was less bad. >> to enslave children. >> right >> for generations. >> to say they were born here, we didn't steal them and bring them on a boat is kind of what it felt like. >> sort of making a difference between slaves born in the
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united states and those born in africa and suggesting somehow that slave life -- that our moral debt is less because they were born into slavery as opposed to snatched from their homes. >> yes, that's definitely how i felt they were portraying this information. >> and also that less than 4% of slavery in the western hemisphere was in colonial america. is that to minimize the number of slaves that were here, which still numbered in the millions >> i believe so. this year i also traveled to wisconsin to talk to a local elections official there about the threats he and his staff have been facing in the run up to the midterms, dane county which includes madison is one of the two counties in wisconsin where donald trump demanded a recount in 2020. to give you a sense of the key role that dane county played in the last presidential election, the official i spoke to recently received a subpoena from the justice department special counsel investigating january 6th and donald trump's efforts to subvert that election the subpoena asks for any and all communications with trump and his campaign through
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inauguration day 2021. here is what dane county clerk scott mcdonald told me about threats to his office. >> when did you start doing this job? >> ten years ago. >> and like what was it like ten years ago, this job? >> it was great. we had the first same-sex marriage license done here, we did marriages out on the front of the steps and it was fun, but it's become sort of a darker version of that now. i am worried about my staff, i'm worried about the staff across the hall, that's the city clerk's office, there isn't adequate security in this building this building wasn't set up to be secure, it was set up to be open. >> yeah. >> i mean, your own staff was glad that they could just walk right in that's kind of the problem, they didn't have to go through weapons screening. that's a good thing, that's an open government, but for us you can't just be able to walk in off the street and come all the way back to my office like you used to be able to do. we have stop the steal rallies a block away and it wouldn't be hard to point that down here at our office. >> have you received death
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threats? >> i have gotten some vague ones. >> what are vague death threats? >> like you should -- you've committed sedition there's a lot of that. but they're just vague enough. you know, when you talk to the police they're always like it almost feels like a game of clue, they have to have an iron pipe in the billiards room and they have to tell you a time they're going to attack you for them to listen to it that's been a problem for clerks around the country but they're just vague enough that nothing happens with them >> do you worry about your safety do you worry about the safety of your colleagues? >> it's more like russian roulette because it seems like something has to happen that ties to this place because i remember one time the president tweeted about my office, but he didn't say anything negative and it felt like a click in a chamber like it just missed, nothing happened. >> i have to stop and note that this is the county clerk's office and you have plexiglas and panic buttons. what has happened to american
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democracy? >> yeah, it's not a good sign. >> these are people who are involved in the running of government and elections like this requires a totally different set of skills to manage, a, an incredibly stressful situation, but then also resolve it. >> right. >> that's a lot to ask of a clerk. what is the general emotional tenor of people who come here and are really angry i would assume they are all like kind of -- >> so this office we haven't gotten much of that. it was -- the recount was really on full display. they were -- like they were closed arms, red faced, yelling, not listening. >> how responsive has law enforcement been to your concerns about threats that you may be facing? >> well, they've been helpful. i think part of the problem, though, is that they deal with people getting threatened all day long so when they hear, you know, i got a threat on email from a proton email that you
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can't trace it's hard for them to do a lot about it and for them it's kind of common but, you know, what i try to explain to them is but it's meant to destabilize our democracy. because if people leave who know what they're doing who are they replaced by? >> right. >> and then what happens they make mistakes and it just continues to fuel the cycle of, ah-ha, we have a scandal, see it's all messed up or it's fraud and that searcrves the interestf raising money on line or intimidating election officials. >> we will be right back
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one final note before we say goodnight. "alex wagner tonight" has officially been on the air for just over four months now. it literally -- literally does take a village to launch a new show and to put it on night after night. while you just see me sitting at this table, there is an army of ridiculously smart and talented people, really truly working behind the scenes to put this show on the air each and every night. here are the wonderful people who bring you not only "alex wagner tonight" but also the rachel maddow show roll them. ♪ ♪
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♪ >> that does it for us tonight thanks for joining us. more ahead on msnbc right after this parts of the country are still under feet of snow this morning as the death toll from a major winter storm continues to climb. in western new york rescue crews are going car by car searching for stranded survivors. this


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