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Don Lemon Tonight
Virginia Loss Not A Good One For Democrats; Regrets Comes At The End; House To Vote On The Bills Tomorrow; One Black Juror Sits In 11-Jury For Arber's Case; Juror Dismissed For Making Racist Joke; Jeffrey Clark To Face The January 6th Committee; Rep. Pete Aguilar (D- CA) Was Interviewed About The Select Committee's Request Of Documents; What Really Causes The Democrats' Loss. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 04, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): How many lives that -- or at least people's lives he put in potential jeopardy of getting sick and beyond, why is he being allowed to -- nobody else can do that. I can't. I have to get vaccinated to come into this building.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know how much he matters to that team?
LEMON: Everybody matters. Everybody matters
CUOMO: Not the same.
LEMON: Yes. No, no, no, no.
CUOMO: Not the same.
LEMON: Well, look.
CUOMO: Not the same. Not to that organization.
LEMON: Well, look, I get what you're saying, but -- well, it matters if he gives COVID to somebody else --
CUOMO: Of course, it does.
LEMON: -- and they get sick and then give it to their --
CUOMO: Of course, it does.
LEMON: -- sick grandmother or the person who has some autoimmune deficiency --
CUOMO: Of course, it does.
LEMON: -- or whatever. So why is Aaron -- why is Aaron Rodgers special? CUOMO: Because he's Aaron Rodgers and he means millions and millions
of dollars --
LEMON: Hell no. That is --
CUOMO: -- to that institution.
LEMON: That is, you know what up.
LEMON: That should not happen.
CUOMO: But that's the truth.
LEMON: That should not have happened.
CUOMO: It just did. It's happening right now. In fact, they still haven't owned it. Right now, they are paying, I guarantee you, a bunch of people as smart as you and me put together to figure out how to do deal with this. Because they were playing too cute by half.
He tried some homeopathic deal, says the reporting.
LEMON: My goodness.
CUOMO: And asked for a waiver. The team said no, but then never enforced any of the rules with him. Apparently. So.
LEMON: Are we sure he's not vaccinated?
CUOMO: He has not said that he is not vaccinated. When he was asked, he said --
LEMON: He said he was immunized.
CUOMO: -- I'm immunized and people just left it alone. But here's -- look. If you look at the --
LEMON: I hope -- I really hope that is -- I hope he's vaccinated.
CUOMO: I hope he's vaccinated, too, and I hope he doesn't have symptoms and he's OK with COVID and he has no long haul. All good wishes for him, but the truth matters, and let me tell you something, it would be really easy to clear up. If he was vaccinated, there should have been a statement out already.
LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: He's vaccinated. This is all wrong. Where is it?
CUOMO: And if he were vaccinated, he wouldn't have been treated the way that he's been treated since his positive. So unvaccinated players have to quarantine for 10 days after the test. Vaccinated players don't. It's 24 hours then you just need two negative tests within 24 hours.
CUOMO: That's not the way they're treating him. They're treating him like he's unvaccinated. That's why he's missing the game Sunday.
LEMON: Yes. OK.
CUOMO: But really, he should miss two games if he's unvaccinated. So, let's see how they handle it.
CUOMO: Especially Aaron Rodgers. It's a big character moment for him.
LEMON: Well, yes. Now I came on, and I said, he's not, you said he's not vaccinated. All right. I hope he clears it up. Because according to everything that is out there, he's not vaccinated. I honestly hope that we're wrong, that he is vaccinated and then we can go into we got it wrong, Aaron Rodgers is vaccinated.
CUOMO: I hope that we are right and that he owns it --
CUOMO: -- and set a new standard in our society among people that people look up to for whatever reason. And says, listen, here's why I'm not. I played a little fast and lose. I should have followed the rules, I didn't. I felt like I was safe and sick. But I'm going to own and it I'm going to tell you the truth. That would be huge. Huge
LEMON: Nobody should be above the rules or the law or anything. Aaron Rodgers is a human being and can spread COVID --
LEMON: -- like everybody else can --
LEMON: -- and if he tests positive -- if he's not vaccinated and his chances of spreading it or becoming ill because of it because he's not vaccinated, if they are increased because of that, then what the hell? What are we doing? What are we doing?
CUOMO: We are applying rules selectively in a way that plays to advantage, like we do in almost every arena of our society and all developed societies. But it's why it's so hard to create change right now. It's almost impossible to hold up a standard because people don't believe anybody holds any standard.
LEMON: They don't believe in any rules or there's no rules, there's no nuance, there's no nothing. Right? When I -- I'm here in New York. Outside -- and every state in America. You don't have to be wearing a mask when you're outside. But if you go into a business in a place that requires masking, what do you do? You got to wear one.
CUOMO: You got wear one. No shirt, no shoes, no service.
LEMON: You got to wear one. Listen, I just thought about this. I had to go on for a personal matter go to Florida for a few hours. Tim and I were out by the pool and this woman started harassing us -- why aren't you wearing a mask? Like, what the hell are you talking about? You come to Florida and it's like -- no, you don't have to wear a mask anywhere in America outdoors. What the hell are you talking about?
So, people don't believe in -- they don't understand nuance, they don't understand what the rules are. Everything is a got you. Aaron Rodgers is not a got you. Aaron Rodgers is, as you -- if he's not vaccinated, flouting the rules, because you're supposed to be vaccinated. And if not, you do the testing or do whatever, but that doesn't appear to have happened.
CUOMO: And look, again, --
LEMON: It's crazy.
CUOMO: -- it's really easy to clear it up. The organization could clear it up right now --
CUOMO: -- with a tweet while we're speaking. Because look, Don is making a good point. There is no advantage found in got you.
CUOMO: Negativity is not a proxy for insight. And you just play --
LEMON: No, just makes you look dumb.
CUOMO: -- adamant and (Inaudible).
LEMON: It makes you look and stupid, yes.
CUOMO: So, I don't want bad things to happen to Aaron Rodgers. I want only good things. I love watching him. But there's a lot more importance to COVID than a game.
LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: And I really hope for his legacy that he owns this. Either way. Look, the good news is, if he's vaccinated, he comes out and says, hey, I'm vaccinated.
LEMON: That's it.
CUOMO: Now what? And then we come on and say, hey, I was wrong to advance that reporting the way I did. It turned out he corrected it.
CUOMO: And I would do it immediately.
LEMON: Immediately. That's what we do, though. We always do that.
CUOMO: And if he is not --
LEMON: But don't have to do that in some places. Yes.
CUOMO: -- he should say, I'm not.
CUOMO: When I said I was immunized I meant this, this, and this, and I went to the team. Show yourself to be the leader you are on the field off the field.
CUOMO: It will matter for your legacy.
CUOMO: More than anything you ever do with the ball in your life.
LEMON: Come here and talk to us. We'd love to have you, both of us. We'll interview you in The Handoff.
CUOMO: Come on. Three heads.
LEMON: Yes. All right. So, listen, I got to run. But, yes, got you moments don't work. It just makes you look dumb and like you are, you know.
CUOMO: Cheap, like everything else --
LEMON: Cheap. And yes --
CUOMO: -- that's passing for quality in our discourse right now. Cheap.
LEMON: It's like. Go away. Move along. Not you, but you know what I'm saying. But anyway, move along.
CUOMO: I know you're not doing that to me. I know you're not.
LEMON: I love you.
CUOMO: I love you.
LEMON: I'll see you. I got to get to a lot of breaking news.
Good evening, everyone. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
Yes, we have a lot of breaking news. And before I get to the breaking news I want to tell you, we're going to talk in a way I think about the court system in America that no other show is discussing about bringing light to what happens, the power that judges have, the inequalities in our court system, criminal justice system that need to be brought light. It's the only way this is going to change.
But our breaking news right now we're going to head to D.C. and talk about that. CNN is learning that the House will vote tomorrow on President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill and the infrastructure bill OK?
This is a moment of truth for Democrats, a real come to Jesus moment. Now, if the president's party doesn't learn the lessons of this election blood bath, really, they are going -- mark my words. I have been saying this a lot. I know guys get mad. Why are you beating up on the Democrats? I'm not. I'm just telling you the truth.
If they don't learn their lesson now -- should have learned it months ago -- actually should have learned it from the very beginning, number one, during the Obama administration. The Republicans didn't want to work with Obama. They don't want to work with Joe Biden.
So what do you do? Why are you still trying to work with them? It is not going to happen. Democrats don't learn now they're going to pay the price for years to come. Voters are speaking and they're speaking loud and clear. They spoke loud and clear.
They want to get something done. They don't care about the sausage making. They don't care that you can't get along with this person. I can't move this person. I got to cuddle this. They don't care. They don't care.
People care about gas prices, they care about the cost of feeding their families, right? How much does bacon cost? How much do eggs cost? What about milk? What about, you know, you want a beer every now and then, how much? They care. They care about crime. They care about whether parents should have the say in what's taught in schools. There's nuance to that. We're going to talk about that as well.
All of that, plus vaccines and masks in the middle of what feels like a never-ending pandemic. There are real issues and real concerns that go way beyond the manufactured outrage over critical race theory. Critical race theory is the new, you know, buzzword. Remember, remember this? Think about it. OK, some of you, like, young,
you don't remember all this. Remember on the propaganda channel, my gosh, the new Black Panthers! It's like four people. Acorn! That went away. Antifa! That's gone away. And now it's critical race theory. The White House today saying that Republicans are lying about CRT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: But we also need to be honest here about what's going on here. Republicans are lying. They're not being honest. They're not being truthful about where we stand, and they're cynically trying to use our kids as a political football.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, the GOP is already ramping up, you know, to take the strategy that succeed in the Virginia nationwide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We will soon unroll a parents' bill of rights. You have a right to know what's being taught in school. You have a right to participate. Education is the great equalizer. We're all created equal, and we're going to make sure we make that happen across this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Let me just say something. So, Republicans are very good at messaging. But they're also very good at overplaying their hands. And that is a changer here for them. And it looks like Kevin McCarthy is about to overplay his hand.
But, having said that, Democrats, read the room. Read the room. There's a mirror. I don't have it here. Hold up a mirror. Because that manufactured outrage over critical race theory, right, -- that's what it is, it's manufactured. It's not just a racist dog whistle.
It preys on fears of parents and children that their children are being taught to hate white people. OK, that's not what it is. We know what it is, right? It's manufactured, even though critical race theory is not taught in Virginia schools. But the outrage, right, there is real outrage there. Because they think -- because they think it's happening, right?
So that part is manufactured a little bit as well. The concerns, I should say, about education, are very real. The outrage is manufactured. The concerns are real. Democrats need a much better argument than just. It's not being taught. OK, it's not being taught. But there are a lot of people who believe it's being taught. It's not.
Another lesson from this election, again, as I have said for a couple of years now, I'm tired of fighting about it, but I'm going say it. Defund the police was the worst rallying cry ever!
And if you don't -- go back and look, I have always said defund the police was the dumbest thing I've ever -- slogan I had ever heard. I don't care if you get mad, progressives. Dumb. Activists, dumb. That was the worst, whoever came one that.
Even Minneapolis, a city where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer rejecting a ballot measure to overall policing. But here we are, just days after Democrats got their clocks cleaned, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that they have to do something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Virginia Democrats were very critical of the decision not to put the infrastructure bill on the floor before the election --
NANCY PELOSI (D), U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Yes.
RAJU: -- and they say that contributed to Terry McAuliffe's loss. Do you believe the House Democrats in any way were partially responsible for what happened on Tuesday?
PELOSI: What I said was, any sign of progress is always good for the public when they understand what it is, and I think they understand infrastructure pretty well. So it would have been better if we had. I don't know, because I haven't seen the data, but it was not a good night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): OK, so there is an admission there. And maybe it was, you know -- there was always a knee jerk reaction, maybe the data will show something different or maybe it's more nuanced than they got shellacked, but no, they got shellacked. They know what they have to do. But can they get out of their own way?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): This election on Tuesday showed us how seriously we have to take these issues, these pocketbook issues, and the reality is the Build Back Better Act is going to reduce costs for poor families and working families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And can they figure out how to get -- don't get mad. Don't shoot the messenger here -- the de facto president on board? And you know who that is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We can't go too far left. This is not a center left or a left country. We are a center, if anything, a center right country, and that's being -- that's being shown, and we ought to be able to recognize that. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Listen, you know, that was a bit tongue in cheek, but that's what it amounts to. Even the president said in our town hall, when you have 50 potential little presidents in the Senate and in the Congress.
There is something that I -- as I was watching, I watched Joe Manchin on our morning show this morning and on all the morning shows, and he's talking about coal and China and firing up all the plants and that sort of thing, which seemed like a really good argument, quite honestly. I don't know if he realized that he was making it. For climate change legislation.
I was like, does he realize he's actually making the argument for climate change legislation while talking about coal? It's a very good reason to have climate change legislation to boost it, to put it in the infrastructure bill and get behind it.
That as the January 6th committee is continuing its work. Sources telling CNN that former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark is expected to appear tomorrow for an interview with the committee. Now Clark was subpoenaed after failing to voluntarily cooperate. He was one of the DOJ officials who pushed the former president's big lie of bogus election fraud claims.
Now I talked about that just this morning with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was at our CNN citizen -- a citizen by CNN. Remember when the then-president told Raffensperger this?
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So, look, all I want to do is this -- I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): He just came right out and said, this is what I need. These are the votes that I need. Go get them. Spoiler alert, though, they didn't. They didn't do it. Now Raffensperger tells me why the big lie is alive and well even now a year later.
LLEMON: Eight in 10 -- even still, eight in 10 Republicans still believe in the big lie. That is what the polling shows. Why is that, secretary? Do you have an explanation for that?
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, SECRETARY OF STATE OF GEORGIA: No. I do know that last year we were combatting rumors on a daily basis, which I document in my book. In which, you'll - really, we had 40,000 Twitter followers and President Trump had 80 million, so it got out there, became an urban legend, an urban myth. Much like, you know, going back to 2018. (END VIDEOTAPE)
LEMON (on camera): OK, so that's the politics. This has a little bit to do with politics. This is what I said when I talked about our courts and court reform, criminal justice reform. I think the reformation of our legal system as well.
Because what is happening in two courtrooms across the country is -- you should pay attention. All right. The first one is in Wisconsin. The second one is in Georgia. It shows us just how divided we still are on race, the attention that needs to be brought to what's happening, what happens in our courts, and reform.
Arguments set to begin tomorrow morning in the trial of three white men accused of killing a 25-year-old black man, Ahmaud Arbery who was fatally shot while jogging last year. Nearly all-white jury, nearly all-white jury, jury of your peers. This time all white. They will decide the case. Eleven white jurors, one black. Ahmaud Arbery's mother speaking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I was very shocked that we only had one black African-American man. I mean, that was devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Now imagine if it was reversed. All black jurors for someone. I mean, just imagine that. Protesters taking to the street today even though the judge said that there appeared -- judge's own words -- there appeared to be discrimination, but ruled the case would go forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, JUDGE, SUPERIOR COURT EASTERN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT: This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination. Again, quite a few African-American jurors were excused through preemptory strikes exercise by the defense. But that doesn't mean that the court has the authority to reseat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): I don't care how you feel about it. I mean, look, if you're sitting around and you're saying, man, that is messed up. Come on. The defense explicitly called for more white males over 40, so called -- and I quote here -- "bubbas or Joe six packs on the jury."
That's what defense attorney Kevin Gough called them. The jury that will decide the fate of three white men accused of killing a black man out running in a Georgia neighborhood. And I just want you to see what happened, because we might never have known what happened to George to -- excuse me, Ahmaud Arbery, if it weren't for the shooting being caught on camera. And I warn you, it's disturbing to watch. They weren't police officers.
Meanwhile, a courtroom in Kenosha, a juror was dismissed from Kyle Rittenhouse's homicidal -- homicide trial after he told a racist joke to a deputy earlier this week about the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man shot in the back seven times by a white police officer and left paralyzed.
He was later -- it was later said that he picked up a knife that he had dropped but didn't intend to use it. Now both the defense and the prosecution agreed to dismiss the juror, the judge saying that it is clear that the appearance to bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case.
You should be paying attention to this case. Both of these cases. And we've got a lot more on both of them tonight coming up. Stay tuned.
Two new subpoenas on the way from the January 6th committee. Who's in the crosshairs? I'm going to talk with a member of the committee, Congressman Pete Aguilar, next.
LEMON (on camera): Yes. Still, big developments tonight in the House investigation into the January 6th insurrection. The chair of the committee saying that he has signed about 20 new subpoenas and they're going out soon, possibly tomorrow.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the former president in federal court fighting in court to block the release of the Trump administration documents related to January 6th. A skeptical judge saying, and I quote here, "are you really saying that the president's notes, talking points, telephone conversations on January 6th have no relation to the matter on which Congress is considering legislation? The January 6th riot happened in the capitol. That is literally Congress' house."
But the judge also suggesting that the House select committee's request for documents could be too broad. Lots to discuss with Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California, a member of the select committee.
Congressman, good to see you. Thank you. Let's get into this.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, the judge sound -- sounding deeply skeptical about the Trump's case, but she also said that the request from your committee was alarmingly broad. Are you willing to narrow the scope of what you're asking for if it comes to that?
AGUILAR: We're willing to follow the Presidential Records Act. And that's what governs the presidential documents here. And that's what our attorneys laid out. That's the case that they made. It's important to note that this is a comprehensive review so they are going to seek comprehensive documents.
And this goes back early into 2020 clearly when the president started fomenting the big lie. And so, we want to make sure that we're getting every document we can, but specifically leading up to January 5th and January 6th, those rallies in the documents and logs and, clearly that is all within the scope as the judge indicated.
LEMON: Yes. And listen, there are -- you often have to, you know, make a -- you know, sometimes cut things down or whatever in these cases, so we'll see what you have to do. But the committee chair Bennie Thompson says that he's signed 20 new subpoenas that are going out sooner. And I know that you can't confirm if Trump lawyer John Eastman is part of that group. Although CNN is reporting the committee plans to subpoena him at some point.
But what can you tell me about this new batch of subpoenas, sir?
AGUILAR: Well, what I can tell you is the chairman, Chairman Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney will break any news related to future activities, be that, hearings or investigative activities, but we're making significant progress. That's what I can tell you.
Over 150 interviews and discussions that we've had with individuals as we try to, you know, build the case document here and try to gather more information as to what happened on January 5th and January 6th and the rallies and the brutal insurrection.
So, we want to make sure we do this right and we do that by following every lead. And so, you know, I want to thank the committee staff for their work and Chairman Thompson and his leadership for making sure that we lift up every rock and we look everywhere we can to find the material that's necessary to give a comprehensive review and to tell the story of January 6th.
LEMON: Congressman, CNN is learning that your committee is expected to interview former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark tomorrow. He tried to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. What do you want to know about what was going on inside the DOJ to subvert the election?
AGUILAR: Well, I can't comment on any future interviews that we -- that we may be having, but what I can tell you is that one key element we are discussing is the DOJ pressure campaign that clearly was underway by and navigated by the Trump White House. And from all the conversations that they have to, you know, continuing to push the big lie that we saw that led to this.
All of that, you know, the critical hub of this was the Department of justice and the work that they did in giving the president advice on certification of the election. And again, that gets back to -- that gets back to some of the documents that we're looking for and working through the national archives process. We think that's all-in game.
But clearly, the DOJ a pressure campaign is what we're seeking to try to unravel here, and that's a critical element of what we need to discuss.
LEMON: Congressman, we as everyone else watching very closely. Thank you. We appreciate you joining. We'll have you back soon. Thanks. Good luck.
AGUILAR: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, is wokeness to blame for Democratic -- Democrats' losses? That's what one of the party's most prominent strategists says. Stay with us.
LEMON (on camera): OK, so the finger pointing in full swing on the Democrats after crushing defeats in Tuesday's election. Democratic strategist James Carville making no bones about what he thinks is the blame. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRAT STRATEGIST: What went wrong is the stupid wokeness. All right? Just don't look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island. Look at Buffalo. Look at Minneapolis. Even look at Seattle, Washington.
I mean, this defund the police lunacy, just take Abraham Lincoln's name off the schools, I mean, that -- people see that. They're expressing a language that people just don't use, and there's a backlash and a frustration at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Listen, I've heard James Carville say that before. That was his mantra before the election. So, the question is, now -- the fruit of it, is that what's happening now, right? So, do Democrats need a lesson in messaging as well?
Joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentators Ashley Allison and Scott Jennings.
Hello to both of you. Scott, are you getting any sleep? Because I saw you this morning for citizen. You're on late. You're early. I mean, you're working. So.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm the second hardest working man in showbusiness right guy behind you, Don Lemon.
LEMON: Well, that's why I'm going start with Ashley. She's fresh early. Ashley, hello. Fifty-one percent of Virginian --
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
LEMON: -- voter said the Democratic Party was too liberal, that's according to exit polls. Should the party be listening to Carville?
ALLISON: No. I think what James Carville said is flawed and, it's not accurate. I mean, he made reference to Buffalo and Seattle. It's not like those states' races actually flipped to Republicans. They just elected more moderates.
But then he left out Cincinnati, and Cleveland and Lima and Pittsburgh and Boston where I am now, all that elected young people of color progressive candidates. In Virginia, yes, Democrats didn't win but it wasn't because Terry McAuliffe was a, quote, unquote, "woke candidate," and I even don't like that term, because what does that mean.
A candidate that stands up for poor people, black people, people who don't think that people should be killed at the hands of police? So, I don't think James Carville is right on that, and it's highly problematic if that's what the Democrats are going to follow.
LEMON: Scott, you're smiling because you're like, keep doing it because we're going to keep winning if you keep thinking that way. I'm not saying that she's wrong but I see that you're smiling and kind of reading your thoughts here.
JENNINGS: Yes. Well, I mean, James Carville was brave enough to say it. I mean, I think there's a lot of people out there thinking it but they're just not brave enough to say it because if you're a Democrat these days and you get out of line, they come for you in a hurry just like they're coming for James Carville today. His comments have set off outrage on the American left.
But you can't read these election results any other way. I also think some of this, lays at the feet of Joe Biden, frankly. You know, he ran as a moderate. I mean, in the Democratic primary he was the moderate guy, and then in the general election he said I'm a moderate competent dealmaker.
And he's not moderate. He's become a progressive. He's not competent and he's not making any deals. And so, the big part of that to me though, was he kind of ran as a middle America competent, I'm going sort of take the drama out of our lives, kind of guy.
And what has been shocking to me is how much he's been willing to outsource his messaging in his administration to the progressives, the woke progressives, if that's the term that we're talking about tonight, and I don't think the American people like it because that's not what they signed up for.
So, I think Carville has a strong point. The problem for the Democrats is a lot of the energy in the party is with the people who don't agree with James Carville, and so they've got a bit of an interfamily feud to settle. And right now, it doesn't look like they're anywhere settling it.
LEMON: Ashley, I mean, Joe Biden is not a moderate? Is Joe Biden a -- ALLISON: Yes.
LEMON: -- progressive in your look?
ALLISON: No, Joe Biden stands for paid leave and people having good education and affordable housing that doesn't seem progressive. That seems like what we want for a just America. I'm not sure what you want to define Joe Biden as a progressive, Scott.
But, America, yes, Joe Biden is struggling right now with his approval ratings but this is a normal trend. After every first year of a president's election, New Jersey and Virginia's governors usually flip, so what happened actually was we did better than normal because we didn't lose New Jersey's governorship and we won -- but we did lose Virginia. So, I mean, I think that to say that Joe Biden is progressive is a stretch --
LEMON: Ashley, I got to say, though, listen, if you look at the trend lines, you look at Virginia, it has been tilting blue. Joe Biden just won by 10 points. Terry McAuliffe had a huge lead.
ALLISON: But we can't ignore what happened in Virginia.
ALLISON: We also had --
LEMON: You can't ignore what happened in New Jersey as well.
ALLISON: -- race-baiting language around --
LEMON: But go on.
ALLISON: But there was race baiting language and lies around critical race theory, and they weren't addressed head on in Virginia. But when you look at races across the board in Wisconsin, in New Hampshire, in Ohio, people who did anti-mask campaigns that were running for school board and city council or anti-CRT campaigns in those places, they were not successful. But that's because those candidates went local, talked to voters and addressed it normally.
ALLISON: And addressed the issue in a fair and accurate way. So, I mean, Virginia was not a good night for Dems, and I think there are some lessons to learn, but I don't think it was because of what James Carville is saying, woke politics, and I don't think it's because people think Joe Biden is a progressive.
LEMON: Scott, listen, she has a point, because Republicans capitalizing in these elections on fear around the boogeyman of critical race theory, it's not actually being taught. They clearly see that as a winning strategy. Yes, it was embraced in Virginia.
I know that you think people are sick of being called racists but if you're fighting against something that's called critical race theory and it's not actually being taught, then how does any of that make sense? How do you not call that out?
JENNINGS: Well, people I think people in Virginia were tired of being condescended to about having the audacity to ask questions about what's going on in their kids' schools. It has far more to do with a cascade of issues than one issue regarding the curriculum. It all started --
LEMON: Scott, I think you're -- listen, I think you're exactly right on that, but what I'm saying is that people -- critical race theory was manufactured. Yes, you are right. Terry McAuliffe made a huge error by saying people shouldn't, you know, be able to participate in their kids' schooling.
Again, I don't think that's what he meant, but that's how it came across. That was his error. So, fine, I'm not making an excuse for that. But to say critical race theory was taught in schools that was -- that was manufactured. And so, it is called critical race theory that people bought into, so how do you -- how does one defend that?
JENNINGS: Well, I mean, first of all, there is a whole show we could do on critical race theory and whether it's being taught or not. It does appear on some of the educational institution web sites in the state of Virginia and that's been well reported. If it's being taught in every classroom versus some classrooms, I don't know. But there is evidence --
LEMON: Is it being taught -- is there evidence that it's being taught in any classroom?
JENNINGS: There's evidence that it's being discussed by the people who run the education institutions in Virginia. But here's the issue. Parents believe that if it's being taught or if it's under consideration for being taught, that they want to stand up and say, I don't want my five, six, seven-year-old kid being told that if they were born white that they're inherently wrong evil, bad, racist. Because they're not.
LEMON: Scott, that's not true either.
JENNINGS: That's what parents are concerned about.
ALLISON: That's not what's happening.
JENNINGS: But it's more -- but it's beyond, but it's more than that.
LEMON: That's not happening.
ALLISON: And he knows that's not what's happening.
JENNINGS: It's more -- but if there's more going on in the schools, it was the closures, it was the masks, it was the little girl who was sexually assault in the bathroom, and they tried to cover it up. It was a cascade of issues in which parents believe that, yes, woke administrators were putting woke policies ahead of what was best for the kids and parents.
And if Democrats believe that's not what was going on, they are whistling Dixie Pass the graveyard in Virginia and in every other state because it's going to come back to bite them in the next election.
LEMON: Scott, I think you're right. There are a cascade of issues, you are absolutely right on that. But on this critical race theory, that is, I mean, if people are talking about critical race theory and part of it are educated and they're not, you -- people discuss a lot of things that don't necessarily make it to the classroom.
Should it be on the curriculum, should it not be on the curriculum? Should we teach new math or old math? I mean, but that doesn't mean it's going to trickle down into the system. I think a lot of things should be discussed.
My issue is not -- I think you're absolutely 300 percent right on the trickle-down issues, and parents care about what their kids are being taught, but critical race theory is a boogeyman that is not necessarily real, and that's -- that is a problem. We must -- we have to live with a shared reality of what's true, and critical race theory is not on the curriculum in Virginia, and it was a boogeyman.
JENNINGS: But there are parents who have been living with their kids on --
ALLISON: And I would just say --
JENNINGS: -- Zoomed, Don, who have clearly heard things that they don't like. And so, I know you say it's not being taught, but things have been said in classrooms that have reached parent's ears that they were alarmed by, and then they have the audacity to go ask a question about it and they're told, you're lying it's not real.
When they heard, they clearly heard something with their own ears or their kids heard something, and they want to know exactly what's being taught and what's going on in that classroom. That was the core issue. I have a right to know as a parent. That's what people voted.
LEMON: And there's a lot of I heard, I heard, I heard but again the evidence doesn't show that.
ALLISON: But that wasn't the issue.
LEMON: But go on. Go on, Ashley, please.
ALLISON: The -- here's the thing. We should stop using words like wokeism, we should stop using terms like critical race theory to describe things that are not actually that. We should start telling the truth. And what happened in Virginia is that Youngkin and the Republicans launched a campaign with race baiting language. That is the truth.
Now, if you want to argue on criminal justice reform or housing policy or actual education policy, like what's in the Build Back Better plan like universal pre-K or free community college, I'll have that debate. But what was done in West Virginia was inauthentic, it was disinformation.
ALLISON: And it was intentional. Excuse me, Virginia. And it was intentional. It was to mislead the voters --
JENNINGS: Don, Don, can I --
LEMON: I got to go, Scott.
ALLISON: -- and bake the Republican base.
LEMON: I got to go. Quick, quick, quick. I got to go.
JENNINGS: You got to give me five seconds on this.
JENNINGS: Because I just have to say if it is true that Republicans were running a racist campaign in Virginia, they did a poor job because three of the people we elected were people of color, an African-American female lieutenant governor and a Hispanic for attorney general. Two of our candidates weren't even white, and somehow all these racists showed up and elected a 66 percent minority ticket?
LEMON: Well, that's a whole another discussion.
JENNINGS: That argument stands up by a clean --
ALLISON: Yes, that's a flawed argument.
LEMON: That's an -- I have a black friend argument. I can't let you get away with that. But listen, I have to go.
JENNINGS: But they are candidates for office who attracted votes.
LEMON: I got to go. I got to go. I got to go. Thank you both. We'll continue the conversation.
The former president is not on the ballot this year. He won't be next year. But that doesn't mean his influence won't be everywhere.
LEMON (on camera): GOP officials around the country are taking note after Glenn Youngkin's success in Virginia and Jack Ciattarelli's near win in New Jersey.
My next guest says it's all because of the former president was not on the ballot. So, joining me now Bloomberg opinion columnist, Mr. Timothy O'Brien. Good to see you, Tim. He is the author of by the way --
TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, OPINION COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG: Hey, Don.
LEMON: -- "Trump Nation" and his News Article is Virginia and New Jersey voters like their Trumpism without Trump. Ok, Tim, again, hello.
So, let's start with defining Trumpism. This is what you write. You said, I'm defining Trumpism in the same terms the former president himself first outlined when he rode down that Trump tower escalator in 2015, anti-institutional, anti-elite backlash wedded to cold-blooded us versus them identity politics often shrouded in bigotry and racism.
So, you believe that Glenn Youngkin and jack Ciattarelli learn from the former president's example, what was that example? What was that lesson, I should say?
O'BRIEN: That lesson is that unfortunately is a very powerful political message. I think that Trump made great hay not by delivering on policy, not by bringing people together, but by trying to frighten people into supporting him because he was going to stand in the way of these big oppressive institutions run by elites that were oppressing his supporters. And he rode into power by overtly appealing to bigotry and racism in a
way -- and he not only touched the third rail that the GOP had been dancing around for decades, he climbed on it and danced on it and did it for four years.
But because he was an incompetent, I think buffoon prone to histrionics het made people uncomfortable, he was unpredictable, unreliable that was disquieting to a certain portion of the GOP. I think what you're seeing now is people like Youngkin or like Ron DeSantis or --
O'BRIEN: -- other who are campaigning --
O'BRIEN: -- Ciattarelli for sure campaigning as Trump like, embracing Trumpism but keeping Trump himself at bay. And I think that that's going to be the road map going into the midterms and into 2024 from a political standpoint. But I also think we have to really worry about how grotesque this is degrading the public dialogue and what -- how are we are going to respond to that.
LEMON: Well, that's my question.
O'BRIEN: Because --
LEMON: Is how do we respond to it, but more importantly, how do Democrats respond, right? Because this is a Republican tactic. How do the Democrats respond?
Tim, if you'll just -- I want to take a break and I'll come back, we'll talk on the other side.
LEMON (on camera): So, I'm now with Bloomberg opinion columnist Tim O'Brien. So, Tim, you talk about how it's eroding the conversation. How did -- how did Democrats take this on. Because Trumpism as you laid out is rooted in lies and white grievance?
O'BRIEN: Well, you know I think we have to also really define what happen in these two elections to begin with. You know, I couldn't disagree more with my friend James Carville about this being about wokeism. It was not about wokeism. I think Scott Jennings was just pulling analysis out of his ear in your last segment.
But all of the polling data that came both of those elections that first thing voters care about was the economy, jobs, taxes, and their wallet. The second thing was education. And when they talking about education, most voters in New Jersey and Virginia were incensed about how the lockdowns were handled.
Both of the Republican candidates in those states were smart to zero in on education as their issue but they went beyond the lockdowns and also talked about the idea that parents and children minds were being poisoned by being taught accurate versions of U.S. history about slavery and racism. It had nothing to do with CRT.
But what happened to that election is that both the Democratic candidates let that messaging get out of their hands. And this is happening at the federal level around the legislation. Democrats are trying to push through Congress.
The Democrats should be making a better case than they have for the opportunity that they're providing by taking on these great existential issues of our time. Climate change, economic and equality, a melting infrastructure base around the country. These are things that have to be solved. They're not partisan. They make us a stronger country.
And they've allowed the Republicans to tar all of those programs as big spending over weaning government, just tax and spend, tax and spend, when in fact it is problem solving and opportunity creations.
And I think -- I think they have to make a better case for what they are already doing and when they're talking about legislation and on the social front, they have to come back very strongly when the Republicans propagandize and use racism to divide people and to mystify them and to make them think that that is the root cause of what ails them right now.
O'BRIEN: And there is no indication that wokeism was the core issue that voters were responding to here.
O'BRIEN: It was bread and butter issue, the economy and education.
LEMON: Tim, it's always a pleasure. We love having you on. And we'll have you back.
O'BRIEN: Sorry, Don, we don't have much time.
LEMON: I know. We need a longer conversation. Thank you, Tim. I'll see you soon. I appreciate you're appearing.
O'BRIEN: All right.
LEMON: All right. O'BRIEN: Thanks.
LEMON: We'll be right back, everyone.