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THE VAN JONES SHOW
Interview with Soccer Superstar, Megan Rapinoe; How Are President Trump's Recent Attacks Impacting Voters?; Interview With Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 20, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW. It is hot outside everywhere but at least our new studio is pretty cool. It's pretty awesome, I think. And thank you. And it's fitting because we got an awesome show for you tonight.
Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe is in the house you all. This is all going to be nuts. Plus you have not one but two swing state governors from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who might tell us how Democrats can actually win something in 2020, that would be great.
Got a lot to get to. But first let's talk, OK, the news cycles usually move on pretty fast these days but this week the country feels like it's been stuck on one big story which is Trump telling four women of color in Congress to go back and help fix the totally broken crime infested places from which they came even though they're all U.S. citizens and three of them were actually born here in United States.
Then he goes to a big rally, live into Rep. Ilhan Omar and stood back as thousands of his rabid followers chanted, "send her back, send her back." Which was disgusting. It's also legally and technically textbook racist and there's no need to debate about that at all. But I want to speak about it personally.
I grew up on the edge of a small town in rural West Tennessee. We lived in a modest brick home at the end of what was a gravel road at that time. No sidewalks, no streetlights but it was a good house. My parents were proud to be first time homeowners.
Unfortunately the day we moved in, the white family that lived next door immediately put a sign in their yard. For sale. They hated the idea of having black neighbors, even school teachers like my parents were. Then another white family moved in the neighborhood, very poor, had a lot of kids and we thought great, more kids for us to play with.
So I ventured down the street to say hello to these kids. The oldest one, 15 years old rode his bike directly up to me and he said, we aren't allowed to play with no niggas and he spat on the ground. I was a little bitty kid. I just turned away.
And as I turned away he said it, "Go back to Africa, go back to Africa." This 'go back' thing has been going on for a very long time and just to be clear as a 9th generation American, I've never even been to Africa, OK?
But I knew as a child that was not the point. He was saying, there was something about me that was fundamentally, permanently unacceptable and unwelcome, not because anything I had done but simply because of how much light my skin absorbs. And so we all know this controversy is not about these women criticizing America too much.
President Trump has never told any of his white critics to go back anywhere. Bernie Sanders is the son of an immigrant who criticized United States nonstop. Under Obama, Trump criticized United states to no end, even called us the laughing stock of the world.
But nobody has ever told Bernie or Trump or even Trump's immigrant wives to go back to any country. People never say stuff like that to white people. Which is how you know it's racist. And it's also reckless. One person has already been charged with conspiring to hurt Ilhan Omar and I'm worried there might be more to follow.
So that's why for me, the highlight of the week was the warm welcome that Ilhan Omar got when she did go back home to Minnesota. OK? And that was a reminder that we needed that the United States is the most beautiful, diverse democracy in the history of the world. Love it as it is or make it better.
But nobody has the right to tell any other citizen to leave, period, period. So look, my first guest is - I'm so glad she's here because she's a uninor and she's been working to bring out the best in the country. She is a world champion athlete and she's a champion fighting for equality off the field. Please welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW, the amazing Megan Rapinoe.
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.
MEGAN RAPINOE, CO-CAPTAIN, U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: Hi, hi.
JONES: Oh, I'm so happy right now. Oh, I'm so happy right now.
RAPINOE: Me too.
JONES: Oh my God. Oh my goodness. You are just a big old dose of sunshine and inspiration. What do you do? And how are you such a big power house to love in the middle of this nonsense?
RAPINOE: I don't know. I mean, I don't do well when I have a frown on my face. I think everyone's exhausted of all the fighting and the sort of negativity.
RAPINOE: And that doesn't mean that you can't stand for certain things and still be positive and I kind of just - it wasn't even conscious to be honest but I feel like something just clicked where I was like we don't even have to like address any of this, let's just like focus on what's important and the people that are important and spreading positivity and uniting and being able to have this conversation that we need to have. JONES: Well, you've done a beautiful job of it. How did you feel when
you saw President Trump, you know coming down so hard on four women of color in Congress and how do you feel about that?
RAPINOE: I mean it's disgusting to be honest. It's - I mean to say it's disappointing, it doesn't even come close. I mean it seems - I'm just like honestly waiting for like a racial slur to come out like we're not far from it all like how much closer do we need to be.
But I just see like the way everyone rallied around - I mean the homecoming for Ilhan Omar, like welcome back home. I mean that was just incredible. I think everyone's like disgusted by that. That's not who we want to be as a country and not just - I mean, I think even his own party is like -
What - too far. Too far for even us. But it you know it makes me you know, saddened that way but it's also like just energizes me so much and I hope it - I hope people feel that just like, oh hell no. like that. I hope people realize that the more -
JONES: Too far.
RAPINOE: Yes, way too far and the more that we just are upset about it and don't accept that kind of behavior from all sides then the better place going to be.
JONES: You said that you wouldn't go to the Trump White House but you did say you would go to DC and you did say you want to meet with AOC.
RAPINOE: Who doesn't?
JONES: Hey, exactly.
RAPINOE: AOC, bring them all.
JONES: Have you got a chance to talk with her yet in the middle of all this stuff that's going on?
RAPINOE: Not yet. It's been such a crazy whirlwind. I think there's people working behind the scenes to try to get an event together in DC that could be really cool. Hopefully, it's something that is uniting and that's talking about the things that we want to talk to and talk about - that's not just to say we want people that think like us.
But if you're going to come in and be there, you have to come genuinely and with serious intent to talk about some of these issues that we want to talk about and we can hash it out and get to a better place.
JONES: You know a lot of people are hoping that maybe you'll run for office and be the fifth number of the squad, would that be good?
JONES: Be the fifth number of the squad, is that possible?
RAPINOE: Yes. Can you imagine like walked into Congress with this outfit on?
JONES: That would be good. That would be good for Congress.
JONES: I think Congress would be much better off. Any chance to go to run. Everybody's saying you got to run. You going to run?
RAPINOE: No, I'm not going to run. I'm like a wildly unqualified to be running for office.
JONES: According to who?
RAPINOE: I'm happy to do - I mean, I'm wildly qualified actually all of sudden. I'm happy to throw my way behind someone and I always say like I think everyone has a responsibility to do something. Everybody can do something and you have to do something.
It's not like you just can't, like it's vital that you do something so I'll be doing something. I'm not sure, not exactly sure yet but it'll be vocal.
JONES: Do any of the candidates right now running for President, do any of those appeal to you yet? Are you still you still looking at all 27,000 of them?
RAPINOE: Yes, I certainly knocked some names off the list.
JONES: Like which.
RAPINOE: I'm interested in Warren, of course. Interested in Kamala Harris. Bernie Sanders, I don't think - I like his message but I'm not sure that - that it's for me necessarily and what we really like need as a country.
JONES: When you say not for you what do you mean?
RAPINOE: It's just I don't want to be ageist but he's very old. I like a lot of stuff he says though. I mean - I mean - and he's been saying it for a long time. And he's probably like I've been saying this forever.
JONES: Why do you like Elizabeth Warren?
RAPINOE: She's just so smart and like - like organized, like her thoughts are like organized. She has this clear message and she's powerful, I think. She just has that like something sort of intangible about her. I would never want to get an argument with Kamala Harris.
RAPINOE: I'm like you're right. Whatever it is.
JONES: You've been fight for you know, equal pay, women's issues, whatever it is. Is it time for us to have a female President? RAPINOE: Yes. Yes. Of course you don't want to - of course, you
wouldn't - you don't want to say, oh, we need to prop up a female so she can be President but like there's been so many that are qualified and overlooked.
We're so hard pick apart every single little thing and like maybe it's time for us as a country to just embrace a woman. Let's just see what happens.
JONES: See what happens, exactly.
RAPINOE: Let's take a step back, we'll just see what happens. We can always just go back to no presidency, OK?
JONES: Exactly. You know, this whole idea of patriotism is now kind of on trial. Like well, you know, you're not a patriot, you're not a patriot. I mean do you consider yourself to be a patriot?
RAPINOE: Yes. I think I'm super patriotic. I do consider myself extremely patriotic. I think like we love in America, to talk about you know, how good we are and how like we want to save the world and we're always intervening in places because they're not doing it right.
And meanwhile at home, we have not been doing that often times for our own people so I mean, I feel like even just to be a good person but certainly to be what I think of as a good American and all the ideals we want to talk about, I mean like, looking at the Statue of Liberty.
Like what does that mean? What is you know, what does the flag mean? I think it means standing up for people who maybe can't themselves, for speaking out about things, for being brave and kind of putting yourself out there and kind of sticking your chest out and being willing to take it and to make it better for everyone.
If we want to be considered the best in the world which I think we certainly consider ourselves, the best in the world for good reason. Why can't we always be better? Why does criticizing and looking within, why is that weakness?
To me that's not weakness, that's identifying a problem and saying, I know it's a problem. I'm going to fix that and make it better and then it's not a weakness anymore and then you're stronger so.
JONES: And maybe that's how you get to become a champion.
JONES: Well, look, coming up, I want to keep talking about all kind of issues including the personal reason why she has become such a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform and why she joined Colin Kaepernick in his kneeling protest when we get back.
JONES: Welcome back to THE VAN JONES SHOW. I'm with 2019 World Champion Megan Rapinoe. Look, I want to - I want to get into some of the more controversial stuff like you were one of the few white athletes in the world who also kneeled when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling.
Why was that important for you to do?
RAPINOE: I mean, I want to know why more people didn't kneel. Unless you don't believe that that's happening and if you really don't believe that's happening, there's other issues. But it's like if you know that that's having and you believe that that's happening. You know mass incarceration's happening. You know police brutality, you know the history of our country. For me, honestly it was kind of a no brainer. I just feel like there was something that I could do, like going back to what I was saying about your personal responsibility to do something, I felt like I can do this.
I'm a public figure, this is going to be impactful. Starts the conversation or keep the conversation going and bring a conversation to a totally different dynamic in different demographic of people and coming from someone you know, who looks like me, I actually felt like he was going to be - naive - I actually felt like it was going to be received a little better.
Like, OK, well, woman, white, sort of non-threatening. No, that was not the case.
JONES: Right, right. I mean, it was incredibly courageous for you to do. I mean, I've been working on criminal justice issues and police reform issues nearly for 25 years and you kind of hits very closely at home to me.
A lot of people don't know the issue of incarceration also hits close to you. Your brother Brian had spent most of his adult life in and out of a prison. How does that shape your world view and shape you willingness to speak up?
RAPINOE: I mean, I think it had a huge impact. From a very young age, I mean, I think he got arrested the first time it was like 15 and with drugs at school and so immediately just in - like obviously he needed rehab but immediately he's in the system you know by 18 and 20, he's in you know, the federal system.
He's in you know Pelican Bay and Susanville and these crazy like -
JONES: Pelican Bay is no joke.
RAPINOE: No, it's crazy that two instance in Pelican Bay and just to say the trajectory of his life when he needed rehab and he needed help is just you know - not to say that he didn't do anything wrong and certainly in prison.
He did wrong for sure but to know that you know, that it just immediately swept him up, just gave him that perspective from you know the age of 10 really.
JONES: You know, what do you wish that people knew about the impact on families because people think about the person who goes to prison. But this is like you know, he was like your - your hero. This is like, he's a person that put the soccer ball in front of you for the first time.
RAPINOE: I mean, I think the biggest thing I saw is just the - what he became while he was in prison and how hard that was. You know, caught up and a lot of race relations and obviously he's white and had you know Swastika tattoos and just like got kind of caught up in this life that was terrible.
And obviously all of a sudden on the other side knowing he needs treatment but he's kind of getting worse while he's in there and just not really feeling that hope or support and when he gets out it's like how much support are we going to give? We're always there for you but are you getting help?
Is there even resources to get help? Yes, it's just devastating in so many different ways. See what it does to your parents and kind of yes, just the family in general, it's just really difficult.
JONES: And then what you said is so important. It starts off as just an addiction, he's you know - some people the first time they tried drugs, they get hooked, they need a lot of help and not a lot of harm.
RAPINOE: Yes. I mean he's heroinotic, addicted to pills and stuff. We want to go a little bit deeper into that. I mean how available were pills, you know, the pharmaceutical companies and the opioid crisis as we've seen has just been devastating.
I mean, I feel like totally unavoidable. It's just not fair, that's not fair to the American people to be put in this situation.
JONES: You know, you fight for fairness. I mean on the issue of equal pay like weeks before the World Cup where most people would have been just like focusing on their you know, workout, you filed a lawsuit suing.
It was like no joke. Where are we in that? And everybody's behind those. Snoop Dog is with you.
RAPINOE: Yes, right.
JONES: I mean, everybody is with you. Where are we? You going to win the house? What's happened?
RAPINOE: I think we're going to win. I think we got a pretty strong, strong case. We're showing well on the polls right now. We have agreed to mediation. It's happening in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure of the date, it's not quite set yet.
It'll be interesting to get everyone back together and see sort of where the federation is right now. Obviously the players are in the same place that we're always in but I think there needs to be like a major paradigm shift in the way that they're thinking about this.
I think sometimes it's just too in the weeds, you can't see the forest or the trees.
And we need to step back and think, what do we want for this federation for you know, the next 50 years, next 100 years? What do we - what message do we want to send to FIFA and the rest of the world about how you treat women and how you treat athletes and just fairness in general.
JONES: It's amazing. My boys are you know, soccer heads and you know, when they talk about great athletes, they talk about Lebron James and Steph Curry and you in the same sentence. You know, for the next generation, it's not like, well, she's good for a woman, it's like no, she's just dope.
And so you know, so my last question is just you know, you're part of this sort of you know, power couple, athletic, royalty, you know with Sue Bird. I just want to know like you guys -
RAPINOE: Lesser accomplished by about ten championships.
JONES: But listen, as a couple you got five gold medals, four basketball World Cups, 3 NCAA championship, 3 WNBA championships and two soccer World Cups. That's kind of an amazing thing.
How has she made you a better person? How has she made you a better athlete?
RAPINOE: Gosh, she's just incredible. She's so low key and so humble but has this brilliant mind to have that you know, that balance every single day, someone who knows me so well, who feels the same way and kind of can help me like think through things sometimes.
She's like maybe you should think about that for one second before you push send on that tweet. Oh, OK, you're right.
JONES: You're right.
RAPINOE: So she's just - yes, she has such a huge heart and is just so low key and wonderful.
JONES: Well, you are not low key but you are wonderful. This is Megan Rapinoe on THE VAN JONES SHOW. Thank you so much. Look, coming up. Did Trump's racist comments actually cost him some voters in 2020?
I went to one of the swingiest of swing counties in the country to find out. You're going to want to hear about what this group has to say when we get back.
[19:25:00] JONES: Welcome back to THE VAN JONES SHOW. You've been hearing from pundits like me and politicians all week about how President Trump's recent attacks have just been awful but how is this actually impacting voters?
So I traveled to North Hampton county in Pennsylvania. It's as purple as they come, that county went from Obama Blue twice to Trump red in 2016. It's also the home of a lot of blue collar, steel workers, supposedly Trump's base. But voters there switched back to the Democrats in the 2018 midterm election.
So all eyes are on places like this heading into 2020. I sat down with a group of five voters from across the political spectrum to find out how the most recent political controversies and candidates and debates are landing there. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So the first question I got to ask, show your hands, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, raise your hands. Two, are you planning to vote for Donald Trump in 2020?
KURT ZUHIKE, OBAMA-TRUMP VOTER: Well, I haven't made up my mind yet whether to vote for him or not. I am leaning more towards him than I am the other candidates right now. The economic situation for me and my business is going very well.
So that you know, economics is a big important issue here.
JONES: Yes, and what about you?
KEVIN MARTIN, VOTED FOR TRUMP: Yes, I am. For me, all this kind of this far left talk is kind of scaring me when it comes to the border, decriminalizing illegal immigration.
JONES: So let's just adjust to open in a room. You're like a young black dude with tattoos and stuff. Why do you support Donald Trump given some of his racially inflammatory rhetoric?
MARTIN: Yes, well, I think so - look, I mean, I was raised in a conservative family and I'm in business, business is great. Like gentleman here said, I don't want to lose that, and I know that you know a lot of the rhetoric that comes out of White House off Twitter is concerning but putting personal feeling aside, I think that we're having a great economic boom.
JONES: How do you size up this whole thing where President Trump comes out and says to these women, go back to whatever country came from?
FRANK BEHUM, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: It's a man in desperation. He's desperate.
JONES: Desperate for what?
BEHUM: To be President. The only person he cares about is himself. Donald Trump has been exposed from his own mouth. He did everything to put out the image and he caters to people who are how would you put it, not quite right it seems.
You know, they think it's OK, right? To cause all kinds of problems with the white nationalist problem and things of that nature. They think this is the way it should be in this country.
VANESSA WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Almost everyone has a story of being told go back to your country. And I think that it's kind of like one of the oldest you know, tricks in the book, if you - when it comes to phraseology, maybe outside of the N word, that that comes to mind when you're talking about racist language.
ZUHIKE: I've had people tell me want to go back to when you come from. I've had people when I moved to Pennsylvania said you're a New Yorker, why don't you go back to New York where you belong? Well, you know, those are just human emotion remarks that people are frustrated.
And they are frustrated. He's frustrated from the very beginning. They have attacked him, his family, his wife, his kids, it's disgusting, it really is.
PHYLIS ALEXANDER, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Let us go back to values. I value treating people with dignity. I value creating climates and opportunities that allow people and encourage people to reach their fullest capacity.
And if there's anything that is incongruent with those values then I'm not for that and so I'm not going to put profit over my values.
JONES: Are you putting your profit over your values?
ALEXANDER: That would be a yes. That would be a yes.
MARTIN: Look, I think that this go back comment hit a lot of us that support him. It hit a lot of us in the gut and I think that the President is putting a lot of us in a very precarious situation.
People that would have supported him. I think the President has a base and he has a far right wing base and there's a lot of white nationalists, a lot of racists, a lot of anti-Semites in that base so what I'm going to do is I'm going to have a PR strategy that is going to rile up the base and so I feel like - a lot of us feel like wow, like where do we fit in you know, anymore?
Do we - are we still welcome in this movement, are we - are people of color still welcome. And I'll tell you a lot of my friends that are black conservatives, a lot of them have jumped off the Trump train. They've gone over to Kamala Harris's side. They've got involved in her campaign and also Joe Biden's.
And so I think it's up to the President, it's up to the President. Do you really want to have an inclusive campaign? Do you want to have an increasing run? Do you want to have an inclusive administration or don't you?
JONES: That's from a Republican. Any of the Democrats running for President that you like it
ZUHIKE: Well, I did like Biden a little bit but then you know, I remember you know when he was in office and hey, you know, he's a nice guy but he really didn't do as much.
MARTIN: And I talk to a lot of my Republican friends and they're just like we like Joe Biden. We like Kamala Harris.
JONES: Did that make you happy or sad to hear the joke that Republicans -
WILLIAMS: It doesn't surprise me.
JONES: Why not?
WILLIAMS: It doesn't surprise me. We're in Pennsylvania, right? So we're in Joe Biden country and I think it's because they look there of an era and look like what people think of politician. You know, a certain generational white man.
JONES: Who do you like?
WILLIAMS: I like Kamala Harris. I think you know, you have people like Joe Biden who frankly are bringing in toxic masculinity every - every other word when you're talking about - talked about hitting him in the mouth and a couple days ago, he said something about doing a push up with contest with them.
I'm like who wants to see him doing push ups, I'm sorry, I don't.
JONES: Who do you like?
ALEXANDER: Elizabeth Warren.
JONES: Why Warren?
ALEXANDER: I like that she understands finances, money, big banks, big business. I like that she thinks well, has a plan.
JONES: So we have Democrats fighting each other in the primary. You got Democrats fighting each other in the House. What do you think about the AOC versus Pelosi dynamic? How do you read that? How do you see that?
ALEXANDER: I said go girl. You know let me -
JONES: To who?
ALEXANDER: To AOC. I mean, like absolutely bring it.
WILLIAMS: I agree with her that she should not have to adapt to a broken system.
ALEXANDER: Shake it up. Make it right. They could be bolder. They could be more courageous. They could be more of unapologetic. You know, this is the time where incremental change is not going to get us where we need to be. So folks need -
JONES: Is she singing your song?
BEHUM: She is singing my song and those four women are the best thing ever to happen to the Democratic party. I don't care what anybody says. They have to put the rest of the people, their feet in the fire.
ALEXANDER: The status quo will get us nowhere.
BEHUM: Get with the program.
ALEXANDER: It will continue to benefit who's benefiting and it will continue to marginalized, who's marginalized.
JONES: Are you are you happy to hear the Democrats going this far left?
ALEXANDER: I'm not going left.
ZUHIKE: That's why I think Trump will win.
ALEXANDER: No, I'm not going left. I'm not talking left.
ZUHIKE: Well, that is left, that's socialism.
JONES: Why you say it's socialist?
ZUHIKE: Because that's all they want to do is they want to be the provider to everybody. They want to tell you what to do, what to eat, when to eat, how to eat. They just want to build more rules and regulations.
WILLIAMS: So I think one of the things that they - they really figured out how to command media attention, how to do talking points, how to rally the beast and I think you know, kind of channeling into the real anger and honestly that's out there.
The Democratic Party is this big giant tent with dysfunctional family and it's always been that way. You know so obviously there's going to be natural clashes in that but that's government, that's how it works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: You know it's always great to have discussion with real voters. Up next, we're going to get more insight from Governors of two swing states. The Democrats in states that Trump actually won. What do the 2020 need to do to turn their states blue. We're going to talk to them about that when we get back.
JONES: My next guest are governors of two important states that Democrats were trying to win back in 2020. They're hoping to rebuild that blue wall Democrats used to have. Please welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in the House.
Both of them at the same time. Two winners. Listen, you are two governors that have been figuring out a way to win as Democrats in states that Trump won so I don't care what anybody else says, you are the experts at how you pull this thing off in these swing states.
And the first thing I - we've been talking a lot about these racist attacks. How do you think these attacks play in your state and what impact did this kind of behavior from the President is t going to have in 2020?
That's a great question. First of all obviously, it was a racist rant on his part. But I think you know, everybody knows that's part of this DNA and so I believe to win Wisconsin, we're going to have focus on issues.
GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): I think we own the values. I think the Democrats own the values in this race. I'm not diminishing the negativity of Donald Trump and the horrible things he says but we all know that. I mean, we've been witnessing that for several years. We need we need to focus on what people of Wisconsin -
JONES: But isn't that tough? I mean, you can't really ignore it but you can't focus on it. I mean, you wouldn't counsel that we just give him a pass on this stuff.
GOV. TOM WOLF (D-PA): No, you can't ignore and I agree with Tony. I don't think, it's going to play well in Pennsylvania. We were founded on the basis of tolerance and inclusion. We obviously are not perfect, we have a long way to go but our future does not lie in divisiveness, does not lie in bigotry.
JONES: Sometimes I feel like Democrats get so angry with Trump, they say all of Trump supporters, all of his voters are all bigots, are all idiots, are all racists. Is there a danger that saying those kinds of things actually winds up helping Trump.
WOLF: Yes, I don't think we are saying that and I don't think we should say that and Tony and I were talking earlier. I think one of the things that we Democrats have to recognizes is that progressive - progressivism is actually very pragmatic philosophy. Inclusion is actually smart.
The tenets, the central tenets of progressive ideology are actually pragmatically aimed at helping the people that and in too many ways I think, Donald Trump pretended to try to go after in the last election.
EVERS: There's no reason why, rural Pennsylvania, rural Wisconsin should be Donald Trump territory. It makes no sense.
JONES: Why not?
EVERS: Because the issues that rural Wisconsin are facing are wrong, making sure they have to have good healthcare and good education system that they are - they need to have in order to move forward.
JONES: But I mean the people keep saying the economy is great. I mean those are kitchen table issues and look, you got unemployment below 4 percent and in your both your states and pushing down close to 3 percent. I mean, how are you going to say we're going to run on kitchen table issues when the economy is going gangbusters.
EVERS: I just did. I just won on that.
JONES: Never mind.
EVERS: We got 2.8 percent which is unemployment which is really low but we have 800,000 families in the state of Wisconsin that can't afford to have child care, health care and health insurance. Those, I mean, there's people working but they're working 2 or 3 jobs, they're low paid jobs so we've got a long way to go.
JONES: Beat him on that.
WOLF: His economic policies certainly haven't helped Pennsylvania farmers. The trade war has hurt farmers who want to export Diary products to Canada, it's hurt the immigration policy that he's promoting hurts farmers who want to use seasonal workers. I mean, just practically it the people he pretended to help, he's really hurting.
JONES: You guys sound like, don't say, I like AOC, you sound sort of like just any type of people and so what do you think about like the AOCs and the Bernies and the other people that they are bringing more the fire, man. I mean, isn't that we're supposed to go?
EVERS: Absolutely but we're -
WOLF: We're old white guys.
EVERS: We're old white guys and another wrong one.
JONES: Another wrong one there. But how do - aren't you worried though.
WOLF: It's a big tent Democrats have. I have - I have 15 plus people in my primary running for governor and you know, the whole spectrum, right? But you know we pretended that we were so far apart but in actuality it was pretty close. So we had 15 people all across the state, talking about the same thing.
A big tent is a good thing, it's not a bad thing.
EVERS: I think - I think part of -
WOLF: In politics we have to engender some excitement obviously. We have a little challenge in that regard but I think we also have to have to make sure the people are saying we're not just - just you know spouting platitudes. We actually really believe that the policies that we support make a difference. And that that that is maybe not as passionate a message or delivered
in as exciting away but it's never less true.
JONES: Behind the scenes, Democratic governors are worried though that the party is going too far left. Is that a reasonable fear?
EVERS: Well, I think the fear is around being pragmatic at the end of the day. I think the people of Wisconsin want to see issues resolved and that pragmatism, I think will carry the day but I think anyone of 20 plus that are running for President have to be pragmatic.
They have to think about how we're going to get from point A to point B.
JONES: Which of these candidates are going to do well in a place like Pennsylvania.
WOLF: I think it's still unfolding but again, to -
JONES: Who do you like?
WOLF: I'm staying out of this.
JONES: Who do you like?
EVERS: I'm real happy with every single one of them. I just want every single one of them to come to Wisconsin before the primaries.
JONES: Yes, because sometimes people - people take you guys for granted.
EVERS: Absolutely. But they'll energize the base. You know -
JONES: How are they showing up? Are candidates showing up in Wisconsin?
EVERS: Well, yes but Donald Trump has been here several times too. We need to have everybody here. This is an important -
JONES: That blue wall got neglected last time. I am curious to know - you talk about the big tent but it can't be good to have a party this divided.
WOLF: I don't think the party's divided. I think we're having an open and honest debate. Again, we need to have some excitement. We need to make sure people are watching but we also I think that's the first step to making sure that we are being sensitive in terms of - universal health care that I mean, that's a wonderful thing to sell and it's very exciting.
It also happens to make perfect sense.
JONES: Well, you know and that's actually exactly where - a good spot for us to come back to, I want to talk with you when we get back about universal healthcare in the slogan that I think may actually come to bite us in the butt and harm us in 2020. I'll explain when we get back.
JONES: Hey I'm back with Governors Tom Wolf from Pennsylvania and Tony Evers from Wisconsin. Let's talk about health care. You know this week, our former Vice President Biden rolled out his plan which some are calling Obamacare 2.0. He also criticized Medicare for all clashing with Bernie Sanders.
This is going to be a huge issue on the debate stage and it's going to be a make or break issue for voters but I'm worried about how this one 's going to play out so check out this video I made to tell you why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: The U.S. healthcare system is a mess and fixing it is a huge political opportunity for Democrats going into 2020 but I worry that one popular as well then could be a political disaster if it's handled badly.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Medicare for all.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I support Medicare for all.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL Candidate: I will fight for Medicare for all.
JONES: Think of our public healthcare system, the way you think about public transportation if our federal healthcare system were a subway system, the only people who could ride would either be very old, Medicare or very poor, Medicaid. Almost nobody else would be allowed on the subway system which means you'd have to buy a car or get a cab or get a Pogo stick, do something.
In other words you have to buy private health insurance. The problem is many of these private insurance policies are just too expensive. So some people are forced to opt out.
In fact right now, more than 30 million Americans don't have coverage at all and yet Americans spent nearly twice as much and many other developed countries on healthcare and still have worse health outcomes. So we need to do better. Now Democrats are offering several tracks on how to do that.
The most controversial proposal like Sen. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Medicare for all, period. Now these plans would essentially do away with private insurance as we know it. Everyone would have to ride the subway. No more cars, no more taxis to hail.
SANDERS: If you want to save money, you have got to get rid of the profiteering of the insurance company.
JONES: Now there are honestly, really a lot of good reasons to go with this approach. Many developed countries rely on public healthcare with great outcomes and I agree with them in theory but I got real concerns. Eliminating choice is not something that Americans are likely to go for.
The term Medicare for all is actually very popular but a recent poll shows that most Americans oppose eliminating private health insurance companies. They do however overwhelmingly support what's known as a public option. Now that's what former Vice President Joe Biden is calling for.
Creating a broader government run option, not called Medicare to compete with the private plans. He says he'll also find some ways to make those private insurance plans cheaper like offering more government subsidies.
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You build on Obamacare like I'm doing and you provide a Medicare option.
JONES: So that's kind of like offering a new subway line while saying you got to give some discounts and rebates for people who want to buy cars. Sounds good but some people say it's not good enough to solve the problem. Now, I think Mayor Pete Buttigieg is playing this very smart. His plan is spinning it as Medicare for all who want it.
So it's working towards universal healthcare system but it doesn't wipe out private insurance.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You take some flavor of Medicare, you make it available on the exchange as kind of public option, that's ultimately going to be more efficient over time and more cost effective.
JONES: That's like saying anybody who wants to ride the subway, they're free to do it. Young or old, rich or poor, doesn't matter. But if you don't want to be on the subway and you want to buy your own car or your own helicopter, you're free to do it. To me, that makes more sense.
I don't think saying Medicare for all who don't want it is a great bumper sticker. It's definitely not going to push on the fast track to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: All right, so that's my - how do you see this issue of Medicare for all, universal healthcare playing out in the primary and general?
EVERS: Yes, well, that is - that is obviously the number one topic in the country. I do believe that you know, having a much stronger public option, I think is really important. One of the candidates who's used this term and I like it. In order to hit a grand slam home run you got to have somebody for a second or third and we don't have anybody on first or second or third. And so it is important to make some steps forward and I think it's
good to know where we're going but I think the value of choice is really important for the people.
JONES: How do you see it?
WOLF: Yes, I believe we ought to have universal healthcare and I think to the extent, we can put options in that and give people choices. I am for that. So I think there are some real great things to our Medicare system right now. I did expand Medicaid. I could do that when I first started and I've improved on the Affordable Care Act to get more people coverage.
JONES: Would you wipe out private health insurance companies?
WOLF: No, I wouldn't.
JONES: You would not, you would not, why not?
WOLF: Because I think that's one way to give people choices. We should be working toward universal healthcare. We shouldn't be defining exactly how people -
JONES: If we define it in the - and the wipe out the health insurance companies, is that going to make it tough for Democrats, is that ammunition for Republicans in the swing states or not?
EVERS: I think so. I mean, the fact of the matter is - there's - I mean, nationally this isn't a huge number but 2 million people work for private health insurance companies. Why lose 2 million votes right off the bat? It doesn't make sense.
JONES: Let's talk about another issue that is becoming more hot which is a criminal justice reform issue. I know both you guys are passionate about that. What - why do you care so much about criminal justice reform?
EVERS: It's a moral issue. That's what's so important about this issue. We can look at it financially. We can look at it morally. I look at it as a moral issue. We have people in prison that shouldn't be in prison. We have great disparities in the color of the skin, the people that are in our prisons in Wisconsin versus people that look like me.
WOLF: Tony is right, it's an important moral but it's also a pragmatic one. We are taking people who could be making genuine contributions to our economy, to our neighborhoods, to our communities and we're locking them up.
We're creating a sense of complete unfairness because we're not doing it in an equitable way. We're doing it in a way that negatively affects certain groups of people more than others. If we don't have the sense that this is a level playing field for everybody, we're hurting ourselves. JONES: You and I work closely together through the reform alliance on
trying to fix probation and parole. Now roughly we had got 2 million people who are locked up which is terrible in United States but there's 4 million people who are caught up on probation and parole who just become a revolving door.
Why do you care so much about probation and parole reform in particular?
WOLF: I care about criminal justice reform in general and that's the central part of it as you know. We need bail bond reform as well in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania at this point is one of the few states that does not have probation limits. We've got a - and that's unfair to the people.
EVERS: We have a lots of people in our state that are in prison because they had - their probation was revoked but they didn't commit a crime.
EVERS: Think about that.
WOLF: Now in Pennsylvania that can't happen.
JONES: Yes, we're moving in the right direction there so listen, I got one last question for you, very simple. Will your states in 2020 be blue or red?
JONES: Blue. All right, well. Tom Wolf and Tony Evers, I want to thank you so much for being here and thank you for watching THE VAN JONES SHOW, heading on some good news at least for me. I'm Van Jones. Peace and love for one another.