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Cuomo Prime Time

Parent Of Quarantined Florida Child On Judge's Ruling Allowing Mask Mandates To Continue In Schools; Child COVID Hospitalizations, Cases Hit All-Time High As Schools Open Across U.S.; Rep. Porter On Her Push To Increase Investment In Child Care. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 08, 2021 - 21:00   ET




SATER: But as soon as this system moved in, it's moving out, and be off, Georgia's coast, by probably 2 P.M., tomorrow afternoon. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Tom Sater, appreciate it. Thanks.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, we'll keep an eye on it, Anderson. Thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to the PRIME TIME COVID Command Center. And here's why we're doing it. This is the fact.

There's never been a more dangerous time for children in this pandemic than right now. The days of saying, "Well, at least the kids aren't getting this," those days are over. Kids make up more than one in four new weekly cases in America, one in four.

And now, the whole country is heading back to school. I got kids just starting in middle school, high school, and college, and I live in a pretty righty place. And still, parents are on edge, and worried about kids getting sick, especially the ones, who can't be vaccinated, and they're right to feel that way.

More than 251,000 kid infections, just in the past week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's the largest number since the pandemic began. Cases are accelerating. So are hospitalizations. And it would likely get worse, at least for a while. So, that's the problem.

What's the solution? Solution, as always, part them, part us. A lot of kids getting sick are unvaccinated. When will the FDA approve the vaccines for kids 12 and under, or under 12? Right now, it's 12 to 18.

I'll be talking tonight to an influential member of Congress, who's pushing for answers, and so will we. Los Angeles could become the first major school district, in the nation, to mandate COVID vaccines, for students 12 and older, attending class in-person, mandate. The Board of Education there has a vote scheduled for tomorrow.

Now, as for us, too many adults remain unvaccinated, and that puts kids at risk. Too many places are playing politics with masks. And that means refusing to wear them. That's the only kind of politics that can be played with masks. And the longer those politics are played, the worse the spreading will get.

COVID claimed the lives of 13 school employees, from the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, in Florida, over the last three weeks. Three weeks! All were unvaccinated.

The 2nd Circuit judge there just ruled against the governor's appeal, to ban mask mandates in schools, saying the governor's mandate would violate the Florida Parents' Bill of Rights.

The case will now be appealed. But during the appeal, the ban is banned.

Governor DeSantis remains defiant.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I don't know why the masks have politics around it. Let the parents make the decision that's best for their kids. If you want the masks, do it. If you don't, don't. That's fine.

We've seen the numbers decline, across the board, in Florida.

School - when school came in, the data has never supported that schools are driving community spread.


CUOMO: First of all, that's a false premise. The issue isn't whether schools are causing cases, all through the community. It's, how do you keep kids from getting sick, in communities? It's a false premise.

Now, the good news is new case numbers in Florida are down a bit, from a record high, last week, of more than 151,000. So, you would think this is a time to be extra safe. And the governor knows. He is making it political. Remember, he is "Mr. Don't Fauci My Florida."

This is about the school community, and what your kid exposes my kid to. See, that's where your freedom, to do what you want, ends, right? You get to do what you want, until it impacts somebody else, and their freedom. The governor knows this. He's an Ivy League-trained lawyer. He knew a judge would likely not allow him to ban masks.

Meanwhile, parents are paying the price for the politics. Let's bring in two of them, who were part of the lawsuit that led to this Florida judge's ruling, today, to allow mask mandates, in schools, without punishment. John and Robyn McCarthy, they got a 6-year-old, Liam (ph). He's got asthma. He's now quarantining at home because he was exposed to another first grader at school, who guess what, tested positive.

Welcome both of you to PRIMETIME. How's the little man?



CUOMO: Good.

J. MCCARTHY: Thank you.

CUOMO: And I know you've been doing some of the rapid tests, right? And so far, they're negatives, right?

J. MCCARTHY: We got both back today. They were negative, because we believe because of the mask. So, the masks work. They really do.

CUOMO: Look, better than nothing, right?

J. MCCARTHY: So, masks work.

CUOMO: Nobody thinks the mask is perfect. Nobody should think the vaccine is perfect. But they help.

Now, you guys are concerned about your kid. You're concerned about you. But John, you're also concerned about your parents, right?


J. MCCARTHY: Correct. I mean, a child gets it. If they have mask, I believe they're protected.

If they don't have mask, like some of the counties, in the State of Florida, they get it. The teachers get it. As you said, 13 teachers, here in Miami-Dade County had already died from this.

What do we have to do? I mean, we have to do it with the - follow the science, do what we have to do, to not just protect our children, but to protect our teachers, and protect the people that are elderly that are most vulnerable.

I believe my son, and others, in his class, are vulnerable as well. And that's why we are pushing, to keep this a common-sense thing. We're looking for a solution. We're not looking for a problem. We want just to keep our kids safe.


J. MCCARTHY: I mean, where in the United States of America, that we ever had to go to court, to keep our children safe? It's just I feel like I'm in a dry zone (ph). R. MCCARTHY: For us, what happened to us, this weekend, is that we weren't even told that the kid tested positive, until Tuesday. And we had already gone home to celebrate the Jewish holiday with my parents.

And my, my dad teaches at the University of Florida, and is a doctor and a professor. So, the whole - so the whole issue was is that we've endangered our parents. We exposed--

No, no, no, come on, Liam (ph).

CUOMO: Let him go. It's OK. Let him go. Let him do whatever he wants. I got three of them at home. You got to let them go! Go ahead, Robyn.

R. MCCARTHY: Sorry. It's bad timing.

CUOMO: Go ahead, Robyn.

R. MCCARTHY: Watch out. Watch out. Watch out.

Yes, so, yes, you can't control a 6-year-old.

So, we didn't even get told, until Tuesday. He was exposed - he was exposed on Friday. So, the whole issue is, is that we exposed so many people. But thank God, our PCR tests just came back, literally two hours ago, negative, so.

CUOMO: Well here's the good news. He's got plenty of energy. And I respect it. And I like the "Spider Man" shirt. Luckily, it's not "Iron Man." Then, we'd have a problem.

J. MCCARTHY: Oh, "Iron Man!"

CUOMO: But Robyn, first of all, Shanah Tovah, and a Happy New Year. It's not getting off to a great start, though, in terms of us caring about one another.

Robyn, why is the idea of "Let parents choose" not good enough?

R. MCCARTHY: For our situation - no, no.

For our situation, it's not good, because, as you can see, they just put our child in danger, not necessarily in his school. But he has asthma.

So, when parents send their kid to school, without a mask on, they potentially can expose him, which could be fatal, in our situation. So, for us, it's if you don't wear a mask, you could potentially endanger our child.

CUOMO: Now, the governor makes a different case. He says, "This is about parents making choices," John, "for their kids. And that's the way a school and a community should run."

What's your response?

J. MCCARTHY: I mean the governor, I don't believe - believes what he's saying. I mean, his kids are being homeschooled. So, it's either him or his wife.

But you have children going in. Look at some of the other counties where, they're having, to quarantine the whole school.

Our son was next to somebody, who had COVID. I don't believe he caught it at the school. The whole class - his whole class is fine. Why? Because we were following the science in Miami-Dade County. We know what works. And we're doing a fantastic job.

So, we have one child, out of 21 that had COVID. As of right now, none of those other kids in the class caught this. So, I - my response to the governor, DeSantis, is he's not sending his kids to school. He's homeschooling. And we don't have that luxury.

So, this is about using common sense, and keeping our kids safe. And I just I don't - I do not believe that he believes some of the things he's saying, or his wife doesn't, one of the two.

CUOMO: Robyn, you're part of a - of a separate--


CUOMO: Go ahead, John. Finish your point.

J. MCCARTHY: I mean, the point is, is that if he believed what he was saying, why isn't he sending his kids to school? He pulled his kids from school, what, back in August?

So, he wants our kids to go to school. We live in the largest county with the most cases. My niece works in Miami Children's Hospital, and they're just full there. This whole State of Florida is full.

And I'm talking children. This new variant of the Delta variant, I'm not a doctor, but it's supposed to be more transmittable, and more dangerous. And if you have a child, like my son, who has asthma, he can end up in the hospital.

My nephew was in the hospital, 14 days. Imagine a child being in the hospital, not being able to see Mommy and Daddy, can you imagine that? They have to stay outside, because they have COVID.

CUOMO: Yes, I hear you.

J. MCCARTHY: So it's--

CUOMO: I get the fear. It's real. And that's why you've been so active, you, John, but also, you, Robyn.


CUOMO: You're part of a separate federal suit with other parents claiming that DeSantis' mandatory school mask ban violates the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, because it places your medically- sensitive kid, him having asthma, in jeopardy.

What's the update from the lawyers on that suit? [21:10:00]

R. MCCARTHY: They just had the hearing today. I believe DeSantis was arguing that we hadn't exhausted all the remedies. But that was kind of a moot point, because we're saying that all children should have access to safe schools.

So, I think we're just waiting on the judge's ruling. And we're just going to go from there. That's pretty much it.

CUOMO: I guess the fear has got to be that kids - how long have you been back in school?

R. MCCARTHY: Two weeks.

CUOMO: All right, so you're two weeks.


CUOMO: You're ahead of us, right? In the Northeast, we usually go back after Labor Day, a couple of schools, as school districts went back before. But it's just ramping up.

That's the concern, right? Kids are just starting to be together again, in big groups. We still don't know when we can get them vaccinated. Even if you can get Liam (ph) vaccinated, you're going to have to talk to the doctor, obviously, about the asthma.

But is that your concern, John, that this is just the beginning?

J. MCCARTHY: My concern is we do, everything, we can, to keep our children safe, until they can get vaccinated.

So, I don't know if it's going to be next month, or the month after. I think it's worth the wait. We shouldn't put any children in harm's away. With the vaccination, they say - some say it's going to be October, some say it's going to be November.

We're going to do what we got to do to get where we want to go. And that's what we're doing for our son, for the other children, for our teachers, and for our other Floridians, here in Florida, that are trying to keep everybody - this is a pandemic. I mean, my grandparents were from New York.

And in New York, they had the Spanish flu. And you know how they beat it. They used masks. They used it. They didn't have the science that we have now. And they were able to get over that.

So, we're going to do what we got to do to get where we want to go. And what we want is our child, at the end of the day, safe.

CUOMO: I got you.

J. MCCARTHY: And your child, and other children safe.

CUOMO: Let me ask you one thing, and then you can go, and take care of the kid. But I got to tell you, he's doing a good job. For a 6-year- old, I saw him share some of his snack. That's some rare air--


CUOMO: --for a 6-year-old boy, especially, to be sharing. You guys are doing a good job.

Let me ask you something. In fairness to DeSantis, you got a 6-year- old. His kids are like 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 1-year-old. So, a couple of them are barely in school yet. But I take your point about whether or not he believes what he's doing.

How have other parents, in your school, because your school was already going against DeSantis' ruling. Are the parents with you on this, John?

J. MCCARTHY: Yes, a 100 percent. I've never seen such a group. And remember, we live in Miami-Dade County. It's a multicultural county. There are, from all lives, people from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Europe, and New Yorkers, now, like us. So, it's, we've all come together. And--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just need the Oreo.

J. MCCARTHY: You need the Oreo? Want to get this one?

CUOMO: I want an Oreo. Liam (ph)?


CUOMO: Let me have one of those. Move it towards the camera. Let me have the cream side.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

R. MCCARTHY: People who eat this, unhealthy (ph). I promise you.

CUOMO: Listen, that's a--

J. MCCARTHY: You know?

CUOMO: --that's a staple of my diet right there. Oreo is like one of the food groups for me.

Listen, I'm going to let you go.

R. MCCARTHY: I'm glad the courts allowed (ph) masks. So, we're lucky in that respect.

CUOMO: That is true.


CUOMO: Look, God willing, he stays healthy. The tests hold up. And you guys get to keep your kids safe down there. And I appreciate you coming forward.


CUOMO: And I look forward to checking in with you. And again, Shanah Tovah. I hope that we have a very good and sweet New Year. We could use it.

R. MCCARTHY: Thank you. I appreciate it. You too.

J. MCCARTHY: Happy New Year.

CUOMO: All right, thanks for the cookie, Liam (ph).

J. MCCARTHY: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Appreciate you.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! One more! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

Talk to you later.

J. MCCARTHY: Give him one more.

CUOMO: That's the - oh! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

Thank you very much. Take care. Have a good night.

J. MCCARTHY: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, look, we need to understand not only how many of our kids are getting COVID, but you got to see where and, of course, why. That's why we have the Wizard of Odds.

He's been looking at the numbers region by region. What are the distinguishers? He's got some interesting points to make. And the numbers come from the CDC. Next.









CUOMO: I like to do the micro/macro, the inside/outside, when it comes to COVID. Take you into the home, take you to a place of the practitioner, in the hospital, where people are living it, as many of us are, right? And then, let's take a look at the kind of typography. Let's look at the numbers. Let's look at the trends, all right?

So, we heard from the parents of that 6-year-old beautiful kid, Liam (ph), Florida boy, quarantining, because he's got asthma, but really because he was exposed to a classmate, who tested positive, for COVID, on Friday, OK?

Tonight, his parents are celebrating the small victory, from the judge's ruling, on mask mandates, while the case is appealed, meaning that DeSantis can't stop schools, from mandating masks, and keeping kids safe.

Now, those parents aren't alone. Nationally, an overwhelming number of parents support mask mandates in schools. There you have it, OK? And parents across the country have critical reason, to feel that way, considering the numbers of Coronavirus cases, among kids, are rising dramatically.

Harry Enten, the Wizard of Odds, joins us now, to break down the numbers.

So, let's look at it first, in terms of new cases, where, and then let's get to why.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I mean, here's the key thing, I want to get to the why as well, which is that if we look at this, what do we see? We're seeing more. That's the word I keep using, "More."

We're seeing, look at this surge, in pediatric cases, versus all cases, in the latest data that we have, pediatric cases are overwhelmingly growing compared to all cases.

Why? Here's the reasons why, or some potential reasons why. Number one, more people are generally going out taking more risks. More, more transmissible, the Delta variant, far more transmissible.


Kids, more of them are going back to school, and that potentially raises the risk. And more, more of them are not wearing masks because of a lot of the restrictions, or mandates that we're seeing, and more people taking risks, just generally speaking.

Now, I think what's important to point out though is we sort of have a pandemic, in different regions, right? We're in different stages.

So, if you take a look here, at the top five States, where there have been the most childhood cases, over the last week, look at this, about 1,000 new cases per - on average, per 100,000, where there're the most new cases, and the five States where there're the least new cases, look at that, only about 125 new cases per 100,000.

Now, what's the difference between these two places? Well, one thing that we know is it's not just mask, where people might be wearing - where people wear a lot of masks, it's not just that they're wearing masks. More people are vaccinated in those areas as well.

And look at this, where there are the most new cases, how many people are actually vaccinated, at this point? This, I think, tells the entire story.

What we see is 72 percent of the folks are vaccinated of the eligible population, in the States with the least number of new cases versus in the States with the most number of new cases, only about 54 percent are fully vaccinated, of the eligible population.

CUOMO: Now, let's just hit one more beat here, about the vaccine.

Once again, we're hearing numbers, "Ah, you know, they said it was going to be a panacea. They said the vaccine would be perfect. But now, I'm hearing about more and more breakthrough cases. So maybe it's not so good. Maybe I don't need it."

First, only Trump said that the vaccine was a panacea. He said it would be magic, and it would make the virus just disappear.

Fauci and the others have been qualifying it. You can argue with their messaging and whether they've stayed ahead of the data enough, in terms of how they inform us. I would say they could have done better. But nobody has said it was a panacea.

But what does the data show us, Harry, about the difference, in terms of real illness, if you're vaccinated or unvaccinated?

ENTEN: Look, we'll concentrate right now, on the childhood hospitalizations, those zero to 17. Obviously, some of those folks can be vaccinated, but a lot of them can't.

Look at the Trump States versus the Biden States. And we obviously know there are a lot more vaccination in the Biden States.

What we see is it's basically a flat line, right, if we go back to last September? Look at the Trump States, at their all-time high, in terms of Coronavirus hospitalizations, among residents aged zero to 17.

So, we know, we know that in the places, in which we have the most vaccinations, we know that the hospitalizations are lowest, among the most vulnerable. This is, to me, as clear a sign that you can see that the vaccine works, not just to keep cases down, but to prevent kids from going to the hospital.

CUOMO: Right. And look, raises a couple of questions. One, how many more people can you get vaccinated? But two, when can you get the kids? Because zero to 17? The bulk of that can't get vaccinated.

Harry Enten, thank you very much for taking us through it. Appreciate you.

ENTEN: My pleasure, Chris.

CUOMO: So, on the one side, the clinical side, when will the FDA approve the vaccine for kids? Not saying they rush it. But how fast can they get it done?

We have an influential parent. She's a member of Congress, leading the bipartisan effort to get answers. We have Katie Porter. What has she heard from the FDA? What does she know? What does she want to know? And what's her plan to help families, like hers, going forward? Next.









CUOMO: Calls for the FDA, to authorize a COVID vaccine, for kids, are growing, every day. Parents, teachers, even, the American Academy of Pediatrics, have joined the chorus. Now lawmakers are leading the fight for answers.

Last month, more than 100 members of Congress, led by Democratic representatives, Ro Khanna, and Katie Porter, signed on to a bipartisan letter, demanding a briefing, from the FDA, to clarify this timeline.

Congressman Porter joins me now.

It's good to see you. Three weeks ago, what have you heard?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, we did get a response, back from the FDA. It was very brief. Essentially repeated what we already knew, which is that the FDA is working on it.

But we did schedule an in-person briefing, when we're back in Washington, so that Congress can get more information.

I think the biggest concern I have is just the confusion. We have people saying, beginning of next year. We have people saying, November. Pfizer is going to submit the data in September.

We missed a real opportunity to be in conversation with parents at back-to-school, which is really, and trust me, as a parent, I'm getting a lot of information on back-to-school time, would have been nice to have a better sense of what are the steps in the process, and what is the potential timeline.

CUOMO: Right, because we care about the kids. I mean, you've got two teens, and a 9-year-old. I've got two teens, and an 11-year-old. We care about them being sick, the younger they get, right? It scares parents more and more. So unfortunately, the bulk of the kids that we're most worried about are in the age category that can't get vaccinated.

So, here's the fine line, for you to walk. You need to get it done. But if they say you're rushing them, then you're really in the soup, because now people aren't going to want to take it.

PORTER: Well, I think that's exactly what we're concerned about is the information flow.

So the more that the FDA tells families about "These are the steps in the process. This is where we are. This is what comes next. This is what we're looking for scientifically. These are the data that we're - they're collecting," the more transparent they are, the more trust they're going to build in the process.

So, when the science says that it's safe to vaccinate kids, we'll have parents, ready to go, trusting and informed. So, nobody is suggesting that we rush the science. What we are suggesting is that the FDA could keep Americans better-informed about this process.

CUOMO: Right. And look, they don't have a great track record for this. This would be for emergency use for the kids.


And they had all this data. And we kept having all these big shots, come on the show, and say, with the regular vaccine, for adults, "Look? It's fine. It's really good. They're just crossing the T's and dotting the I's. They already have all the data they need. It's fine. It's fine. They're going to approve it."

But they didn't approve it. And you had about one in three people, who are vaccine-hesitant, not resistant, say, "Yes, that would matter to me, if it were approved." So, they didn't do that great, the last time. They're not doing it great this time either.

PORTER: Well, and it's a black box, right? So, we all need to trust the FDA and the scientific process. And I do. But, as a member of Congress, I also have an obligation to get answers, and to do oversight of the FDA.

It's their job to build that trust, in the vaccine process, in the Emergency Use Authorization process. And part of that is helping parents understand the steps. What is coming? What is next? How many kids in the trial? What's the steps?

And back-to-school, we've known back-to-school was coming for a while. My kids start counting down the day, that school starts, the day they get out on vacation.

So, we could have used that critical back-to-school time, to inform parents about what to expect, when they were likely to see this vaccine, to answer questions about it. We missed that opportunity. But I'm going to try to get information, and share it with my constituents, as much as I can.

CUOMO: Look, I mean, we had orientation for the middle-schooler today. And everybody's running around, "Oh, I've got my mask," because the kids have to have the masks on in school. It's public school. But they want the kids masked up.

And people are on edge. They want the information. And you're right, Congressman. If you don't prepare the parents, when they're told to give the kid, the vaccine, they're going to have all those questions that they could have, right now.

Now, let me ask you about something else that I think is actually trickier, as a situation. You want to prioritize child care in the new budget bill. And I totally understand the need.

But politically, I think that your party is in a jam, because you have this spending bill, somehow married to the infrastructure bill. And I've been saying for a long time there's no way these two things happen at the same time.

And do you think that you can find a way, through your party, to get a reconciliation bill done on spending that gets anything done that you want?

PORTER: Absolutely. Look, when we talk about infrastructure, we talk about making an investment, in our economy. We talk about how improving roads or bridges or ports would help our economy grow, would help us compete globally.

It is the exact same conversation with regard to child care. The lack of affordable child care is creating a productivity crisis. It's creating a weaker economy. And there's no American, whether they are parent, or not, who doesn't benefit from a strong economy.

So, these things are absolutely tied together. They're tied together in President Biden's "Build Back Better" plan. And they're going to be moving through Congress, at the exact same time.

It doesn't do any good to create roads and bridges, if workers can't leave their homes, they can't leave their children, to go to those jobs.

CUOMO: Now, they got to write the bill.

Let me just tell the audience, the part of it that I think is very interesting. "Low- and middle-income households would pay no more than 7 percent of their income, on child care, for kids younger than age five."

Wages for those in the child care workforce would also be raised to $15 an hour. Now, that is really important, because that's the group of parents that struggle the most, to make ends meet.

But do you think that you should just draft that bill as a standalone? Because the moderates in your party, and - I don't think it's just Joe Manchin. I think you got several of them. They just let him do the talking, in the Senate. They don't like the price tag.

PORTER: Let me be clear. Investing in child care is worth every single dollar we put in it.

Let me give some quick facts. Women's workforce participation is at a 30-year low. The job numbers that we saw in August, 12 percent of those jobs went to women. And child care in this country, in more than half of the States, cost more than in-state college tuition.

It's not just low- and middle-income families, who can't afford child care. It's all American families, in the exact same way that we see a lot of families, up and down the income spectrum, struggling to afford college.

So, I'm pushing for a bill, in which no American family has to pay more than 7 percent, of its income, for child care, and those lower- income workers won't pay anything. That's going to give us the maximum workforce participation.

It's going to help businesses put workers into jobs. It's going to help women go into leadership positions. It's going to help us be globally competitive, with other countries, who have, long ago, made these investments, in child care.

We absolutely need to make this investment in our workforce, if we want to have a strong, stable, and growing, economy, going forward.


CUOMO: I disagree with none of that. And, in fact, we have seen that exacerbated, by COVID, and kids having to stay home from school.

And, very often, it has been mothers, who have been sacrificed, to have to stay home, because they - now they can't work. They're not getting back into the workforce as quickly. There's no question.

I'm saying, the politics, are you better off making it a standalone, because I do not think that you're going to get through your own party, a bill that has anywhere near the price tag that you guys keep throwing out there, of $3.5 billion - trillion, wherever it is that they're not going to want to do it.

Should you try to go small ball here? This is very important. Make it a standalone, make people have to vote on this.

PORTER: We need to do this part and parcel, because part of what we're conveying is that women are part of the workforce. Women are part of the economy. This matters.

We tie these things together, because they are tied together, in reality, in people's families. You can create jobs. You can build roads and bridges. But, like I said, if people can't leave their houses, they can't take those jobs.

With regard to what this is going to cost, look, it's an investment. You look at every dollar you spend, and what is our economy going to get back. And also, we are not done in Congress, working to figure out how we're going to pay for this bill.

We have large corporations that are paying nothing, nothing, in taxes, even as low- and middle-income families, and parents, are dropping out of the workforce, because they can't afford, to even get to their workplaces, with child care.

So, we need to raise the revenues, through having a fair tax system, so that we can pay, for things that will make our economy grow, for everybody.

CUOMO: I am not questioning the problem at all. I just want that to be clear.

I am just saying, when you mix this remedy, this wrong, arguably, and the remedy, in with all the other stuff that's going to be in that bill, it may get, at a minimum, slowed up, if not, hacked up in, for the sake of some deal. That's why I was laying it out there.

I appreciate you making the case. It's hard to rebut, because the facts are the facts.

Congresswoman Katie Porter, the problem, you are right about. I hope your solution helps a lot of families, and a lot of women, in this country, because they need it. Thank you for joining us.

PORTER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

PORTER: Let's keep firing up your brains, right?

Katie Porter's super-smart. But again, will her party make that deal? The need is there. Should it be a standalone? We'll see.

There's a quiz. I want you to take the quiz. It's easy. You can't not get the questions right. And we're going to talk about it, on the other side of the break, OK?

Go to "The New York Times" website. And no, I'm not - it's just this story's in "The New York Times." I don't care about "The Times." I'm not a big "Times" fan. What I'm saying is this quiz is there on its website. It has to do with who you are, in these polarizing political times.

I am going to take a basic advocacy position, although I am going to question what I'm advocating for, with the mastermind, behind this quiz that you're going to take. The two-party system has failed us. Everybody agrees. What is the fix?

I just tweeted out the quiz, a link to it, on my page, @ChrisCuomo, OK?

Take the interactive test. And then, we'll talk about what that could mean for us, next.








CUOMO: Here's my position. The two-party system sucks. The ideological spectrum is too broad now. We need a system that reflects the stakeholders.

So many, of you identify yourself, as Independent now, because you don't want to be Democrat or Republican. And most of you don't even get the difference these days anyway, because there seems to be Left and Right, but never Reasonable.

Did you take the time, during the commercial break, to take the quiz? If you did, you'd see when you went there that there is a different paradigm, six parties, basically breaking each of the existing ones, into three.

So, let's bring in the better mind that put that format together, for "The New York Times." He's also the Author of "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America," Lee Drutman.

It's good to see you too.

LEE DRUTMAN, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW AMERICA, AUTHOR, "BREAKING THE TWO- PARTY DOOM LOOP": It's good to see you too. Glad to have you on board.

CUOMO: Well, absolutely. I have been saying this for - I'm much older than you.

I've been saying this for a very long time because the two-party system, being binary in nature, foments division, and makes opposition a legitimate position, which is "As long as Drutman sucks, I am OK." And what it does is it stymies progress. And we see where we are now, and we see why it seems so intractable.

But let's do it Socratically here, in terms of, why it won't happen. First, let's start with the benefit. Why do you believe six parties, four parties, five parties would be better than two?

DRUTMAN: Well, first of all, for the reason that you mentioned, which is I'm tired of you saying that I suck. But the lesser of two evils only works when there's just two parties.

When you have four or five or six parties, you can't get away with that, in campaigning. You got to actually stand for something. So, we get rid of the demonization.

Fundamental problem of our governing now is that everything is in terms of wins and losses, for one of the two parties, because both of the parties are trying to get back into power, or getting a hold on power. So, nobody wants to actually solve any public problems. They just want to have issues that allow them to win the next election.


And it also creates a situation, in which we have one party that's the party of the cities, of cosmopolitan, multiracial America, and another party that's the party of rural small-town traditionalist Christian America.

And they are so separated, in geographical space, and by social networks that they view the other party as a fundamental threat, as fundamentally different. And when you have a binary system, in which people are sorted like that, it's really easy to demonize.

But you have five, six parties, people are going to have more diverse social networks, and be willing to engage with other ideas. It makes politics more complicated, and that forces us to actually think.

CUOMO: So, just going Right to Left, basically, the way Lee did it was you got your Christian conservatives that are morality first, then you've got your Trump-type people, your jingoistic populist Americans, and then you have the growth, and whatever you want to call it, growth and progress, which are traditional Republicans, fiscal austerity, but center-center-right, on social issues.

Then you get to the new liberals, which would be like, Cory Booker, and then you get, which is the old Democratic Party, which is where Joe Biden wants to be, working for populists, and that stuff.

Then you get into what the Democratic Party has become, which is the intellectual elites, right? And then you have the far-left progressive wing of it, which would be the AOCs and the Ilhan Omars with the "Defund the Police," and the radical ideas of a lot more spending and a welfare state.

So, that would be the ideological spectrum, which is not that far off. In terms of timing, historically, we've had moments that create fundamental change, almost always from the ground up.

The Revolutionary War, the 1830s, more people get the right to vote, then the 1890s, the Gilded Age. Corruption leads to the Progressive Era. You get direct primaries instead of conventions, recall elections, et cetera, et cetera. We used to have States pick the senators, and eventually went direct. So, things can move. You have the Civil Rights Era.

It's about 60-year cycles of reform. You think we're ready for one?

DRUTMAN: Oh, I'm ready. Are you ready?

CUOMO: I've been ready, because this seems unworkable to me. But now, here's the problem.

Lee, and if you read his piece, and if you look, at his book, he outlines how you're going to have to change how you do congressional races, to make them bigger catchment areas, so that you can have multi representatives, which then would encourage other parties, other stakeholders.

And then what you would have is an exigency on cutting deals, so that you could keep your plurality, you could keep your power in place.

But here's the big obstacle, Lee, the Electoral College, because all these other parties would be squeezed out, in the Electoral College, and it wouldn't be an equal footing to become president. And if a party doesn't have any chance of ever having a president, why would people get on board?

DRUTMAN: Well, that is an obstacle. You can certainly do it for Congress. And there's legislation, the Fair Representation Act, which would create multi-member districts with ranked-choice voting, for the House, which I'm very much on board with.

I'd love to change the Electoral College. It's a weird, strange, antiquated thing that we have. But you're right. It is going to put a strong pressure, on us having two parties, at the presidential level, or at least two major candidates.

Although, I will note that there have been a few elections, in our political history, in which we've had four parties competing for president. And those have been really elections that have kind of transformed American politics, 1824, 1860, 1912. So, it's certainly possible that you could see that.

But I think what we would see at the presidential level is less focus on the D or the R, in front of the candidate, or whatever labels are most popular, and more focus on the candidates themselves, and their policies, and their promises, and their character.

And so, people would be more open to voting for different candidates, for president. And those presidents would be able to govern in a more, broader unifying way, and work with Congress, of the opposite party, sometimes, you get - or opposite parties, get pushback from Congress.

It would be more of the kind of checks and balances system that we had at an earlier era when, in which--

CUOMO: Absolutely.


CUOMO: I'm with you. And look, I had a caller, just today, on my radio show. And Lee, I want to have you on there, and have a longer conversation about this.

DRUTMAN: Oh, absolutely.

CUOMO: Say to me, "Hey, look? If Trump ran again, I don't like what he says, I don't like a lot of these things, but, you know what? I'm not voting for a Democrat. So, I'd vote for him again, yes." That is a broken system!

Lee Drutman, thank you for doing the brain-work of thinking about ways to make it better. And let's keep talking about it. I appreciate you.

DRUTMAN: Yes, well, let's fix it. It's really up to us and.

CUOMO: I mean here's the benefit we have. We know the way it is now. It can't stay this way.


All right, I'm going to take a break.

DRUTMAN: Absolutely not.

CUOMO: I'll be right back after this break, with a very important BOLO, next.








CUOMO: BOLO, Be On the Look-Out for this guy.

The FBI says this guy is the guy, who planted pipe bombs, near the Democratic and Republican Party headquarters, the night before the Capitol was attacked, a reminder that what we all saw that day was not just another protest.

The reality is people like this guy are considered domestic terrorists, by the government. And he is among those still at large. The reward for finding the would-be bomber is up to $100,000 now, you know why? In part because of what he did, and part because of what authorities are worried people like him may do again.

The next legit concern is in less than 10 days, September 18th, the date for what's being called, perversely, "Justice for J6."


I say "Perverse" because it's this notion that those who attacked the Capitol are somehow victims. Those we all saw storm the cradle of our democracy, and attack Police officers, they say they report - they support. (VIDEO - JANUARY 6 U.S. CAPITOL HILL RIOT)

CUOMO: Look, I'm going to keep showing you this video, because I hear and see too many trying to change the reality. That's not going to happen on my watch, especially when these same insurrectionist types are planning more chaos.

An internal Capitol Police memo, reviewed by CNN, notes, the Intel Community is seeing a noticeable uptick in violent chatter, so much so they want to put the fence back up, to protect the Capitol.

The same people saying that freedom means not wearing a mask are really OK with people attacking the bastion, of our freedom, and planning more violence?


We'll be right back with the handoff.


CUOMO: Thank you for watching.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" with the big star D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Those fences are going to go back up, at the White House, and around the Capitol, I should say. Wow! That is, here we are, eight months later, and it seems like we're in the same spot.

CUOMO: It's because we are.