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THE VAN JONES SHOW
The Van Jones Show. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 17, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VAN JONES, HOST, CNN: Welcome to The Van Jones Show. Look, tonight we're going to get inside two great leaders right here on the show. The first one hopes to go directly from the state house in Washington state to the Oval Office in Washington DC. Governor Jay Inslee is running for President and he is here with us tonight. Oh, I love it.
Second, we got a guy who might be able to help us make some sense of what's going on in this Presidential race and everything else that's happening in America, a personal hero of mine, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also in the house. So we're going to have a major, major thing tonight.
No - I'm going to ask him once we get him out here but first I want to talk. You know, sadly this summer has really been dominated by hate, by fear mongering, you know from the horrific violence in the streets to racially divisive rhetoric coming from the highest office in the land.
You know, I guess the attacks on the squad and Elijah Cummings and Baltimore weren't enough so this week Trump took to Twitter to tell Israel, it would show great weakness to allow a visit from two Democratic congresswomen of color. Now here's why I'm especially concerned about that.
Trump successes always relied on two things. One is a strong economy but the other one is stoking all these racial divides. That's kind of his formula. This week we saw some signs of potential economic vulnerability. So I'm worried the President's going to decide to double down now on all the inflammatory rhetoric.
And I'm especially concerned about what's happening to Latinas and Latinos in this country. Every day now that country - that committee is facing a double sided threat. On the one hand, you have this network of white nationalist terrorist growing online, these hate mongers are increasingly aiming their anger and their violence at Spanish speakers with brown skin.
And on the other hand, Latina and Latino immigrants face escalating threats from our government with the Trump administration unleashing raids, deporting parents, separating families at the border. Increasingly you got a community caught between hate violence and state violence. You can see daily evidence of this. The suspected killer who drove ten hours just to get to El Paso, Texas. Authorities said specifically to shoot Mexican immigrants. In Gilroy, California a murderer killed 3 people, injured 13 in a majority Latino community. Authorities have not ruled out white nationalism in that case.
Meanwhile on the first day of school, the United States government rounded up 680 undocumented immigrants in a Mississippi plant. Many of them were parents so predictably scores a little kids were left stunned and abandoned and traumatized.
In other words we have a specific group now in our country facing a specific set of threats based on a specific racially charged rationale that white people faced an invasion of brown skinned people who want to replace them.
That is the fear that unite Steven Miller who's an architect of Trump's immigration policy with these anonymous hate mongers online and these threats have Hispanics now looking over their shoulders, some avoiding speaking Spanish in public, seeking escape routes just in case, they're next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen a lot of fear in the community. Because of that and people know that they're in danger just because of the color of their skin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're being isolated for our color and we're being attacked and our government needs to steps in. If not the people here will step in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: You know, you can hear the fear in her voice. Now confronting racial hatred requires real leadership, ditto for climate change, criminal justice reform so many other issues. Luckily my first guest is showing real leadership across the board. Please welcome to The Van Jones Show, Governor Jay Inslee.
How are you brother? Good to see you.
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D) WASHINGTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIATE: Thank you. Thanks for setting up.
JONES: Anyway listen, it is an honor to have you here. In the face of all these, this gun violence, you've actually come out with a very aggressive plan to try to make the streets safer, to deal with - talk a little bit about your gun plan and why you - why you bringing that forth right now.
INSLEE: Well, we know the poll of fear that is coming out of the White House. And I think the first thing is part of the gun plan or the violence plan is to confront it and you know, I'm reminded of the signs in the airports if you see something, say something.
INSLEE: Well, I see something and I'm saying something. It's time to get white nationalism out of the White House. I feel that very, very strongly. And I think that's the first step is to know you're going to confront it. Basically it would re-engage the federal government to protect us as it should from the real threat of white nationalism.
And it is amazing to me when you have the FBI director say that this is a major threat of domestic terrorism is in fact white nationalism but the President denies it and in fact, attacks members of Congress, saying they should go back where they came from.
So that's the first order and then we have the whole set of gun safety rules that we need to adopt as part of my plan.
JONES: Well, let's take those one at a time. You've gone so far as to say the President of the United States Donald Trump is a white nationalist himself. Now, that's a very incendiary, explosive charge. He actually says it's good, good for him. Why would you use that label with the President of the United States.
INSLEE: Well, somebody asked me why I would refer to him as a white nationalist and it's because he's a white nationalist. That's why I said what I said. Look, I - you never know what's in a person's heart, that's unknowable to any of us. This is a guy who built his entire political capital on calling Barack Obama, a person born in Kenya.
He would not exist politically except for that racial lie that was intentional to try to create a group that would follow him over the cliff of racism. He followed up in the middle of his term with the saying people in Charlottesville, there were good people on both sides. Then most recently he attacks members of the United States Congress.
These are people who were duly elected as part of the United States Congress. Attacking them clearly on racial lines saying you need to go back where you come from. Now, it doesn't matter what's in his heart. What matters is what he's saying and what he's actually doing and those things amount to a full scale attack on what we hold dear in United States.
JONES: Some people might call that racial opportunism, any number of things. Is there a danger that Democrats by calling him that have a reaction from his base? Now you're saying everybody who supports Trump is racist. Everybody who supports Trump is some kind of white nationalist. How do you tell that kind of tough truth that you see about his record without spearing all his supporters who may or may not appreciate that way?
INSLEE: Well, the good news is that isn't happening. It's not going to happen because a lot of those folks who voted for Donald Trump have now had a belly full of cratering our economy on his trade war. They're tired of his tweets intruding on their personal lives. They're tired of his climate change denial which 75 percent of all Americans including half of Republicans know is a scientific reality.
I will tell you this Van. Those people are going to be voting for the Democratic nominee of President of United States this year. I believe that.
JONES: Well, we'll see. You know, the other part of what you're doing is you're - you're being really tough on the gun lobby, really tough on guns. In 1994, you voted for the assault weapons ban and it cost you your seat.
JONES: Why do you think an issue that cost you your seat in 1994 is a winning issue for you in 2020.
INSLEE: Well, two things. I did. I voted for as a freshman legislator to ban assault weapons and I knew if I did that I would lose my seat. But I have--
JONES: Why did you do it?
INSLEE: I have never regretted that vote for a nanosecond because it save people's lives and that's what the federal government ought to be doing. So I've never regretted that for a moment and during the 10 years that was in place, there was about a 30 percent reduction in the use of these assault weapons in mass assaults.
We did have a beneficial impact but the world has turned since 1994. People now know their kids have to worry not about a math test but whether they're going to be safe in school from gun violence. So this is now permeating our lives. People are crying for justice on the streets. I've got the NRA in the run in my state. I will have them on the run nationally. I'll guarantee you.
JONES: Why do say they're on the run in your state?
INSLEE: Because we're beating them. We now have passed three of the most aggressive gun safety laws in United States, not just extreme risk protection orders but gun owner responsibility laws so that they make sure guns are secured. By the way, this just isn't homicide. It's people taking their lives by suicide.
Guns in homes that are unsecured where kids can get him cause suicide. We got to realize that. We have a provision requires training. You have to be trained before you buy a semi-automatic weapon and we're not done yet so yes, we have them on the run.
JONES: So you have a track record of beating them in your state. You think it's a winning policy-
INSLEE: Definitely, definitely.
JONES: - in politics going forward.
INSLEE: Every county, every state in the country is ready for more assertive actions on gun safety. JONES: How will you get it passed?
INSLEE: What's that?
JONES: How would you get it passed? How would you go about getting it passed because you got a solid block against you in the Senate.
INSLEE: Well, there's a minority in the Senate. This is a very important point in the democratic primary because we as Democrats know our nation needs to move. This is not a moment for just incrementalism. We need big action on climate change. We need big action on guns. We need big actions on healthcare.
And none of those are going to be possible if we allow Mitch McConnell to have the filibuster and we have to get rid of the filibuster. The filibusters you know allows Mitch McConnell with only 40 votes to prevent even bipartisan measures from coming to the Senate.
So we got to get rid of the filibuster and I'm not very happy with my opponents who aren't signed up on this position yet.
JONES: But I mean listen, I mean, you know, I think Biden is concerned about eliminating the filibuster. Cory Booker's concerned about - Their argument is you're talking about radically changing the way the U.S. government has worked for centuries because you're frustrated with Mitch McConnell.
INSLEE: Look, I've been against a filibuster since at least 2009. This has not been part of American history for 200 years, it's actually just few decades if you will. And now it's being used totally differently than it was envisioned to be used and it's not in the U.S. constitution.
Look, this is just a rule. This is an anti-democracy action. Here's what - I know this is radical but I believe one person should have one vote and one senator should have one vote and no other senator should get 1.5 votes, that's what a filibuster is about.
JONES: We got a lot more to talk about with Governor Jay Inslee when we get back including the issues that he has put at the center of his entire candidacy. We are going to get into this climate crisis. Can this guy be the one who fixes it? We'll find out when we get back.
JONES: I am back with Washington state Governor and 2020 Democratic hopeful Jay Inslee so let's get into it, man. You know, climate is something - this climate crisis is something you have not only just put it at the center of your Presidential run. It's been the center of your governorship, it's been the center of your even when you were in Congress, when you were working on capital trade, when I was in the White House.
Now every other candidate though, it seems that they've got a plan too. Why are you different from everybody else's got a climate plan.
INSLEE: Because I'll be President of United States. How's that? That's the difference. How's that?
JONES: That's one.
INSLEE: I think there's three things and I'm glad other members are talking about this now. You know I think it's no secret that I have been the most passionate on this. This has been a multi decadal effort for me. We go co-authored a book about it. I started the U.S. Climate Alliance with Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo.
So I have a long, long track record that really is I think different than the other candidates who have all done good work in their own time but I don't think anyone can come within 1000 yards of my multi decadal leadership on this issue.
But I would say right now the three things that distinguish my candidacy is number one, I am the only candidate who's saying this should be the number one priority of the United States and I have pledged that if I become President - if I was given this high honor, I would make this the organizing principle of my administration.
It has to be the first, foremost in paramount duty of the next administration and the reason is if it's not job one, it won't get done. I think a lot of people have sort of put on the list of things to do. You know you have a list of things to do on your refrigerator?
INSLEE: And if this is number 3 or 4, it just isn't going to happen so I'm unique. Number one. And number two, I have clearly offered the most ambitious, aggressive,
robust and comprehensive plan to actually get this done. It's about 170 pages long. It's been called the Master's Thesis of Clean Energy.
And third, I've had experience as a leader, as a governor, as an executive of actually getting it done. So those three I think things are unique.
JONES: You have gotten a lot done as governor but we also took a loss when the ballot measure was put up in your state to actually tax carbon emissions, I came up there and fought, a bunch of us fought, we lost.
JONES: What did you learn from the loss in Washington state that will help you be a better President as we move forward?
INSLEE: Well, the most important lesson is that loss is temporary as it was because we just turned right around. I introduced five bills that would achieve the same level of carbon pollution reduction as the initial would have. We passed four of them and if I get a good decision from my Supreme Court, we'll essentially get the fifth done.
In the near future what I learned is the most powerful renewable fuel in the United States is the power of perseverance. OK? And you got to realize, this is a social - any social change, you have set backs, right? I mean every social change from you know, women's suffrage, the civil rights movement to marriage equality, you had set backs.
It's always you know, two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one - this is the nature of social.
JONES: I can - I can - I can feel your passion for this thing. Is that why you're so tough on Biden? I mean, Biden was out there, he was trying to get involved in the issue and you said you're just dealing with half measures. Why are you so tough on Biden when it comes to this issue?
INSLEE: Oh, I don't think I'm tough. I think that there is a difference in our approach and I think that it is profound because my plan does require us to get off coal in ten years. That is scientifically necessary. It does require that we're going to have fossil fuel, it does require we'll have fossil free electricity in 15.
And then we'll have clean cars starting 10 years from now. His plan simply does not do those things. Now I do think that I've got again a unique passion on this subject and a knowledge bank that this is different than the Vice President's.
JONES: Well, what do you say to the coal miners and all those folks, you saying basically in 10 years, they don't have a job?
INSLEE: Oh, what I'm saying is a you are part of the American fabric, you are some of the hardest working people in the country, you've built the industrial might of the United States. You have a dignity about you that we have tremendous respect to and that we should do for you what we're doing in our state for our coal miners.
So we're closing our first - our last coal-fired plant but we just didn't switch the - flip the switch. We created a $55 million fund to make sure that those families have an economic future and this other point, Donald Trump is lying to you if you're a coal miner.
Because right now you know, one of the greatest threats to coal miners are the bosses who like bankruptcy just like Donald Trump did, who want to - who want to welch on their pension and health care benefits. We got to stand by these people. My plan will do that.
JONES: Another issue that we both care a lot about is criminal justice reform and you have a really strong plan on that. Going back to that 94 Crime bill, you know Biden's got a lot of heat for voting for that. You also voted for that 94 Crime bill. How do you think about that vote now? Do you regret making that vote in 94? How do you think about that Clinton Crime bill?
INSLEE: Well, there were things in the bill that I liked which was the Assault Weapon ban that I voted to make sure was in there but it clearly had a racially disparate impact, particularly in the drug law and we've learned that in the subsequent decades.
So I've been governor, as a governor, I've been very dedicated to writing the racial imbalance in our criminal justice system in a whole slew of ways. I was one of the first to offer pardons for thousands of people who had been caught in the drug wars because that has had substantial racial disparity.
INSLEE: And we've also embraced some changes so we stop the school to prison pipeline. We got to help young people make sure they end up having a good education so they're not part of that pipeline into the prison system. We're dedicated to that. So we also have a task force. It's going to look at our sentencing. I think it needs some significant reform. So as governor, I think we're doing great things in state of Washington in this regard and we're not done.
JONES: Well, listen you - give him a round of applause. He deserves it. I'll tell you. It's amazing to listen to you. You've been a prosecutor. You've been a congress person. You've been a governor and yet you still haven't gotten that traction yet that you need.
You may not even make the next debate, you got to get 1% in three polls, you got to get 135 thousand unique donors, is it - is it a liability or an asset to be as accomplished as you are in this kind of you know, weird moment?
INSLEE: Listen, we actually have had a real spark lately. The good news is so on the second debate, we finally got a chance to talk about climate change. It was only for a couple minutes but we finally had a chance. And as soon as we did that, since then we've had 46,000 new contributors to our campaign. It is a big burst of enthusiasm.
We're now within just a few thousand to get into that 130,000 donor mark and by the way, if you allow me to remind people, they can go to jayinslee.com tonight and send one dollar and they might be the hundred and thirty thousandth to get me over the break and so I hope people can consider that.
JONES: But you still need the polling.
INSLEE: Yes polling so we got to improve the polling so if somebody calls you, mention my name.
JONES: Hey, listen if you don't make this next debate what happens?
INSLEE: Well, I don't plan - you know I played a lot of basketball in my day and when I shoot a jump shot, I didn't think about it wasn't going in. Every shot I ever take in my opinion was going in so that's what we're planning on. No plan B and that's we're planning on.
And again we have had this burst. Now if we get to the 130,000, it's going to demonstrate big grassroots support for this issue. This was not some corporate deal. These are people responding to my climate change message finally when they heard it. They didn't hear it the first debate. JONES: They got a chance to hear it. You know Hickenlooper had a
pretty good record on climate. He actually dropped out. When you see people beginning to step back, does it bring the cold up in the your back your neck? I mean how do you think about--
INSLEE: No, no, I'm just - I'm always going to the hoop man. If you give me the ball, I'll take it to the hoop, that's what I'm doing.
JONES: You're my favorite kind of environmentalist because you believe look, you don't think we have any throwaway species or resources, you also don't believe me I mean throwaway people or neighborhoods or children. Thank you so much for your leadership. Give him a round of applause. I'm glad you're here. Appreciate you very much.
INSLEE: Thank you.
JONES: Now coming up, we all saw that heart breaking video. That little girl who was crying after her father was rounded up and detained in those ICE raids down in Mississippi. This is impacting thousands of children who are living in United States. We going to get some insight from one of the stars of 'Orange is the New Black.' She's going to talk about her personal story of her own family being separated when we come back.
JONES: This week the Trump administration put forward a proposal that will potentially deny green cards to immigrants who use certain government services and Trump's top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli put a racist spin on words just below the Statue of Liberty.
You know the words. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. He says well, that's just about Europeans. All right? So listen all this comes after the controversial ICE raids that separated hundreds of families in Mississippi leaving kids in tears and in terror and Cuccinelli warned there's likely to be more to come.
OK now, this is a personal issue for the actress and immigration activist Diane Guerrero. She was born in the United States after her parents came here from Colombia escaping violence. But when she was 14 years old her parents were deported while she was at school. Now these themes are a part of a new season for her show 'Orange is the New Black' but I want you to take a look at what she has to say about this whole topic.
Well, first of all congratulations on the show. The success of the show. You coming back on the show but I would just want to start out on the personal side. Look, I've got a son that just turned 15. I got a little boy that just - that's going to turn 11 this month. I can't imagine them coming home to an empty house with the parents being gone.
Talk to us about that experience so people understand this is not an abstract debating point.
DIANE GUERRERO, ACTRESS AND IMMIGRATION ACTIVIST: Right, well, it was something that I - my family and I always feared and then it actually happened and we were unprepared. You know, at the time the nation really wasn't having conversations like the ones we're having now and even still we're having these conversations and still--
JONES: Still happening.
GUERRERO: Still happening. Families are being separated. It was really scary. It was really, really scary and I didn't - I didn't know that I had any rights. I didn't. I mean, I didn't think I belonged here even though I know that I was - I was born here and I - it was - if it wasn't for my community, if it wasn't for friends and family that took me in after that, I don't think I would have survived.
And you know, I get a lot of comments on like well, why didn't you go back to Colombia? Well, what do you - how do you think?
JONES: Hard to go back to place you never been. Start with that.
GUERRERO: Yes, I've never been there. I don't know. I'm an American citizen and I had to carry out some of the things that I wanted to carry out. I wanted to continue my education. I wanted to support my family. I wanted to do something that that meant something bigger than me.
JONES: The amazing thing is that you were able to do all those things but I want to talk about something even before your parents were deported, you knew that that could possibly happen. Can you talk about the stress of young people right now across this country who are just living in fear every day.
Even if it never happens to them, what's the impact of living in fear that you could open that door any day and see it empty.
GUERRERO: I mean it's - it's this trauma that you're living with in constant fear. I mean think about it.
A child thinking about, I'm going to come home from school today and my parents are going to be gone. How hard it is to concentrate. How hard it is to study. How hard it is to think about anything else other than that. Children shouldn't be worrying about these issues. Children should be worrying about expanding their brain and learning and living a full life.
And that's no way for a child. I mean that severely impacts a child's growth. People in this country that regardless of status, undocumented or otherwise have certain rights under the Constitution and if there's one thing that you can do, I would say is to lead with power and not panic. And I know it's difficult because at this time the tactics that this
administration is using are severe. All these threats of raids, we're coming to your house. I just wanted to remind people that you do have certain rights under the law and if anybody comes to your house, there's this card and I'm going to pull it out of my back here.
I work with an organization, the ILRC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center and it's a card here that has your rights and it comes in eight languages and one side is the language of your choosing and the other side is are your rights in English and if an agent comes to your house you can slip that through the door.
And knowledge is power and knowing your rights is power so if anybody--
INSLEE: How can people get this card?
GUERRERO: You can download it online or you can go to the ILRC.
GUERRERO: ILRC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center and they have them there.
JONES: You know, it's really extraordinary because you know a lot of actors, a lot of entertainers, they're so focused on their careers, they got so much to do. Why are you so active and passionate and involved with these issues now? I mean, listen you're fine now.
JONES: You don't have to do this. Why do you do it?
GUERRERO: Why aren't all of us? Think about your children. Think about your children. Would you be OK if your children were ripped away from you and put in in a camp or a prison or another house or anywhere else other - other than with you. Think about that.
JONES: Right, did you get a chance to watch the debates?
GUERRERO: I hear a lot of this discussion about decriminalizing entry, right? And yes, I think it should be a civil offense. It should not be a criminal offense and this is what they do with us, right? They categorize you as a criminal and that way it's so easy to strip you from your rights, to dehumanize you and to throw you away.
This is what we're - what we're talking about on 'Orange is the New Black' is how you just label someone a criminal and then just throw you away and then what I hope that people take out of the show and these families being separated and these deaths that are occurring all over our country that we're missing an opportunity to embody a new set of inclusive values in our country by not doing the work.
By not doing the work. You're telling me that the only source, that the only way to fix things is incarcerating people. JONES: When you're talking and I'm listening to you, I resonate with
what you're saying like don't criminalize people. I also worry though in the context of an election against Donald Trump, if we say don't criminalize anybody, it may sound like we're saying just open the borders up. But can you explain why when people are saying, decriminalize the border, they're not actually saying just let everybody in.
GUERRERO: They're not just saying let everybody in. We're telling you we're not - we're not saying that because it's not about open borders, it's about fixing our immigration system. It's about comprehensive immigration reform and getting rid of terrible laws like the laws enacted in 1996 that we can do process that expanded detention centers and the privatization of human - of prisons.
JONES: Your character in some ways lives out your actual life story. What is that like to be playing somebody who you know, winds up dealing with this deportation question?
GUERRERO: I think it was. I think now that I've talked about it and it's out and of course, every I mean yesterday after I did a bunch of interviews, I went home and I cried because it was so emotional for me. But in a way it was - it was empower - I was feeling empowered and energized.
And I think that's how I fought with Orange is that man, we're getting to tell these stories and I'm so glad that a show that opened the doors for me, that I've worked on for seven years had the guts--
JONES: To take it on.
GUERRERO: - to take it on.
JONES: It's so abstract for people so I really appreciate you making a real for people. So many people love you. They watch you on Netflix, they don't know this part of your story. We appreciate you very, very much.
She's got a lot of guts. You can watch the seventh and final season of 'Orange is the New Black' on Netflix right now. Up next, Democrats are now scrutinizing President Obama's legacy in an effort to criticize Vice President Biden. Is that a smart strategy? I'm going to talk about that about that next with a leader who's both a progressive and a pragmatic, former governor Deval Patrick when we get back. (APPLAUSE)
JONES: You know, I love the progressive policies that were once considered beyond the pale are now front and center of the Democratic primary. You know Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, the Green New Deal, universal basic income, you know big problems need big solutions and I love that we're talking about that stuff. And for that by the way, don't just thank the politicians, thank the
people's movements. Black Lives Matter, The Dreamers, Occupy Wall Street, The Climate Youth and the Sunrise movements. It's grassroots rebellions that are remaking this party from the ground up and that's exciting to me.
I love it. I love it. I love it but so quote Spider-man's Uncle Ben, "with great power comes great responsibility." And our main responsibility is still to defeat Donald Trump. Now some progressive ideas can help us but I worry that some might actually hurt us.
For instance, most Americans want everybody who is sick to be able to see a doctor.
And they even like the idea of having an expanded government healthcare option but getting rid of all private insurance completely, having only government-run health care that's a much tougher sell. So how do we walk the line between solutions and drastic slogans that might lead to four more years of Trump.
That's a tough one. So I recently spoke with a Democratic Party rock star who understands politics and people as well as anybody in our country. Check out my conversation with former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Oh my God. It is so good to see you.
DEVAL PATRICK (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: It's wonderful to see you.
JONES: You were at the debates.
PATRICK: I was.
JONES: You were watching both nights. You were going to run. People thought you might run and then you said on your Facebook page that you weren't going to run. Do you regret now seeing this whole mess that you didn't run?
PATRICK: My-my wife looks at it and says I'm so glad, you didn't run. No, look, first of all, it's a humbling thing to think seriously about something like that. I think for anybody maybe most especially for a kid from the south side of Chicago. I thought hard about it and we worked our way through this. My wife and me and she's a - she was a reluctant but brilliant first lady yes.
But she you know, she's a private person and - and she but you know she was ready and then just before we thought we were going to step out, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and she's fine, she's great, she had surgery right before Thanksgiving. She's in terrific - terrific shape but it brings your - you know, brings your feet right back down to the ground. Yes.
And then you know that the truth of our politics today is that you sign up but everybody you love gets dragged along behind you, whether they want to go along or not.
JONES: Sitting there in the audience though, did at any point you just want to climb up on the stage and say, look guys, here's how to do it. Every did you feel any pull?
PATRICK: Listen, I want to be clear. I think what we are - there were moments when I wanted to say look folks, there's more than one way to skin the cat. Nobody and no party has a corner on all the best ideas so put your framework out there and then take from others what they have.
Listen to what others have to offer but the main point is there's one party that believes everybody should have access to affordable high- quality care and another party that doesn't. That is the point. That is the choice.
JONES: You know you're very close to Obama and Obama was talking about that fear of the circular firing squad.
JONES: That we can sometimes get into this you know kind of almost obsession around small differences. Did you see a little bit of that?
PATRICK: Well, there's a lot of that.
JONES: A lot of that.
PATRICK: But it's - it's - in a way it's unavoidable, right? I mean, it's kind of set up so that we're set off against each other and we have to - we have to say no, you know my plan is good and not stop there but we have to say you and your plan is bad because it's not my plan.
JONES: Yes, yes. What do you think about Medicare for all? I mean that there was a time when that was completely off the table. Now it seems to be the center of debate. Again, you are one of the few people, you've actually had to do this in real time, not a soundbite, not a speech, not a proposal, you've made it happen.
PATRICK: I think what you want is a system where there is lots and lots of fruitful tension. Meaning you want innovation, you want - you want Medicare to get better because it's trying to compete with private plans. You want private plans to say wait a second you know, how come they're drawing everybody in that direction? What do we need to do differently?
And I think that makes us all better. There is a tremendous amount of excess cost in the healthcare system and so I think having other players and in particular a Medicare or Medicare type player, a government organized familiar, widely available and radically more affordable plan in the - in the market raises everybody's game.
And we'll see where we go as we learn. JONES: Yes, I love that the pragmatism in it but also the heart that
you bring. You know look, you were in some ways to me, you were like Obama before Obama and then--
But seriously in that - that 2006 race you're an African-American man. You were coming in some ways out of nowhere like you said, you weren't a politician. So much of what became the Obama way you know, the biography is almost more important than the ideology. The grassroots, including everybody.
You are really in some ways set the template for what we call now the politics of hope and change. How do you feel now? It seems to me that we're moving away from that. It seems to me that you have Trump obviously as a negative reaction against that but even in our party, it's - the tone is different.
PATRICK: I think it is - I think the tone of our politics has gotten worse but I don't think all that's happening is bad. I think the one truth that candidate Trump spoke, candidate Trump spoke was that conventional or establishment politics wasn't working well enough for most people.
It's as - it's a truth similar to what Senator Sanders spoke. It's the same thing Barack Obama was saying a decade and a half before. Many, many of us feel unheard and unseen and what I began to discover through this grassroots effort philosophically, was very much about the gesture of respect shown by going to people and meeting them where they are in every sense of the term.
You know that I know. I think that kind of politics actually has taken - has real purchase even now and then many, many people coming off the sidelines and getting involved.
JONES: There's an irony though because now in the party, it's the Obama-Biden establishment that some people now want to run against. You saw at the debate. People were saying well, you know Obama did too many deportations. The trade policy wasn't tough enough on China. So now you have you know the outside dynamic actually challenges the Obama legacy.
But Obama is 90 percent popular. Is it smart for outsiders to take on Obama or is that just what happens as we move forward?
PATRICK: I don't know. Look, you know, I think Barack Obama and the Obama administration accomplished extraordinary things particularly given the resolution made by the other side to stop them at all costs.
JONES: That's right.
PATRICK: And they made that decision because they recognize the power of the politics of hope and change. They recognized it and they understood in a very sophisticated way, in some ways better than we did that if they didn't shut that bad boy down then it was going to be big, big trouble for a long, long time. JONES: Yes.
PATRICK: So I think - yes, I'm disappointed by the tone today but the level of engagement, the fact that people are engaged and paying attention, I think is terrific and frankly I think that has also contributed to the numbers of incredibly talented candidates who stepped up.
JONES: One of the things is engaging people now as the politics of race on all sides. When we come back I'm going to talk to Governor Patrick about Trump's latest round of a racist attacks. We know that they're going to continue into 2020. How should we be responding to that? Thinking about that. We'll talk about that when we get back. (APPLAUSE)
JONES: Former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. Listen, let's talk about the tough stuff man. I mean, you have Donald Trump now who seems to have set his 2020 playbook on stoking some of these resentments and whether he's going after the squad, talked about Baltimore being a rat-infested - rodent-infested place.
How do we deal with that? I mean, you know, you were the first black governor of Massachusetts. How do you deal with that person every day and how should we be thinking about it as a country and as a party?
PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think that the President is behaving just as he's always behaved so there's - it shouldn't surprise us. This is - this is the President being himself. It's also not a new political playbook to drive division and discord as a way to get a political outcome.
What is particularly troubling to me is the silence from the other side but that's you know, the number of times throughout our history in this country that we have looked the other way when there was some other agenda at work is more than a couple.
PATRICK: I think - which is why I think you know if the character of the candidate is always the issue, this time it's the character of the country. Right now, it's the character of the country and that is what I'm - and I say this as a Democrat who doesn't think you have to hate Republicans to be a good Democrat.
JONES: That's right.
PATRICK: That's what I want our candidates to address because I'm - I'm confident and I want to believe that if the question is about the character of the country then the - then the kindness of Americans will come forward.
Now I think that has to be also backed up by an agenda that doesn't imply you know, we just have to as they say get rid of Donald Trump because if you have nothing else to say, that implies we can go back to doing what we used to do and that wasn't good enough.
JONES: I worry about almost like a racial reconciliation fatigue, it seems to me now that there are a lot of white people, they're just tired of hearing about race and there a lot of African-Americans and other people of color who are tired of explaining race like we don't feel like we should have to explain it and they don't want to hear it.
PATRICK: Oh, that's true.
JONES: OK? So that ain't going to work.
PATRICK: Yes, let me tell you how I think about it. I grew up on the south side of Chicago as you know. Most of that time on welfare.
I remember when the steel mills upped and left and left families reeling and feeling like the economy had just kind of finished with them and moved on. You know we had opioid addiction in the neighborhood, in our own household. Now
Now, there are lots and lots of communities white and black, urban and rural that are having that same experience. And the GDP growth doesn't tell us. It's about that that sense of economic anxiety and social upheaval and the fact that folks don't feel seen and heard.
You know, you could - you could and I think the President does - he sees that or he has an instinct for he says I see a wedge, I'm going to drive it. And I can blame this one for that one. Or you could see it as an opportunity to invite people to see common cause and that the solutions benefit all of us.
JONES: I just want to say how much I appreciate what you have done and who you are. You have been that moral leader in the private sector, in the public sector. We need your voice. I'm so proud to have you as a part of The Van Jones Show. Give his brother, a round of applause.
Deval Patrick, always the voice we're going to listen. I want to thank him and all my guests tonight. Thank you for watching The Van Jones Show. I'm Van Jones. peace and love for one another.