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CNN Tonight

UK PM Liz Truss Resigns After 45 Days; New Book: American Boys And Men Are Struggling; Some Parents Claim Michigan Middle School Mural Promotes LGBTQ Propaganda, Witchcraft; Panel Discusses The Truth About Crime. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 20, 2022 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, Laura, what happens when a country's leader makes a really bad, unpopular decision? Well, apparently, that depends on the country. Because British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigning today after only six weeks in office. Her economic plan plunged Britain into turmoil, and her own conservative party turned against her.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, in this country, the voters decide, but the candidates are nominated by the two major parties, as you all know, which of course limits the leadership choices. But tonight, our dueling panels are back, Alisyn, taking on this very topic of how do you solve a problem like, well, unpopular leaders.

CAMEROTA: Okay, we are going to set the clock for four minutes. We each are going to get four minutes. We are going to see which panel can come up with the spicier answers about this.

COATES: This is not going to be like that that show where a horrible ending comes at the end, right? There is no death coming.

CAMEROTA: There is a slime. There is a huge bucket of slime that will fall on one of our heads if we don't deliver in the panel.

COATES: America, which person do you think will be more upset if their hair gets messed up? All right, let's begin with my panel here in Washington D.C. Will Jawando is a former official in the Obama White House, Susan Glasser is CNN's global affairs analyst, and Miles Taylor was chief of staff for former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Okay, guys, here is the clock up there. Tell me, the idea here that we have unpopular leaders, which is foreign to us, right? We don't have that problem here, right? Everyone loves our leadership. Your eyes are coming out of your head now, what is your thought?

MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN: I worked for the most popular president in the United States, honestly most popular that has ever been. Yeah, we know about this. Yes, we know about unpopular leaders. We know it all too well.

But why is this the case? Why do we have unpopular leaders winning? I am going to go straight in, it is because of how hyperpolarized our electorate has gotten, and both parties have tried to lock in their gains, gerrymandered the hell out of the map, and now it is harder and harder for non-extremists to win elections.

The pitchfork fringes are making decisions for 90% of America. Ten percent is making decisions for 90%. The result is that the sensible center has been left out, and our democracy is increasingly becoming uncompetitive. That is the problem.

COATES: Is England a blueprint? I mean, we left it, so we know that it is not our government, but the idea of getting rid of our leaders. In that fashion, we tried the impeachments, it does not work.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, if it was our system, we might have more leaders than Great Britain has had, and they certainly have been cycling through them pretty rapidly.

The problem is, in all of these countries, they are cycling right back to the same old unpopular leaders. They could end up right with Boris Johnson all over again. In Israel, they could end up with Benjamin Netanyahu all over again. We could end up with Donald Trump all over again.

So, what is amazing is that they are unpopular, but that somehow does not knock them out of politics, whether it is in our system or in a parliamentary system.

COATES: The popularity is always subjective, right, because Donald Trump, for example, had millions of votes. He is not universally unpopular, but he was very unpopular.

GLASSER: He was the most unpopular president in the history of Gallup polling. He is the only president of the United States who was never supported by the majority of this country for a single day when he was in office.

WILL JAWANDO, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: You know, I think there is this popularity. It is like a painful popularity, I would say, like if you think where it comes from, across all of these leaders, particularly, I would say, I don't think it is an equivalent on the left or the right. I have to say -- I just would say that.


But on the far-right in particular, you have people that are peddling fear and division appealing to this kind of populist moment of wealth and inequality, people suffering, changing economies, factory jobs leaving, and I think that, unfortunately, is part of this mix. I mean, I think if you had less inequality, you have less extreme unpopular, popular painful leaders.

COATES: You call the pitchfork fringes. I wonder, you know, in Jolly Old England, they are more fluid at their parties. They tend to abandon the parties more frequently than we do here in the United States of America where there will be a little bit more policy and position-oriented. Is that the future? We have a lot of red, blue, purple states popping up and thinking about it. Is that the real way to approach this?

JAWANDO: Look, I think right now, and I am very biased in this regard, I think right now is probably the most viable moment for third parties in American history. That is why Andrew Yang and I went and founded the Forward Party, is because we see right now, the electorate, a sea change in the electorate.

Fifty percent of Americans for the first time in U.S. history since we had polling on this say they are now political independents, they are not Democrats or Republicans. Twenty-five percent say they are Democrats. Twenty-five percent say they are Republicans. And even of those Democrats and Republicans, two-thirds say if there was a third part, they would vote for it.

COATES: Last words, Susan.

GLASSER: You know, I would like to say that it is all driven by policy, but I feel like the last few years in American politics have reinforced that it is actually a team sport and that it is much less about policy than we would like to think. Policy is not the reason that Donald Trump became the leader of the Republican Party.

COATES: Fascinating. Look at the timing. Alisyn, I'm going to hand it back to you, try to top that.


COATES: How is New York looking?

CAMEROTA: We are worried here because we feel like the Trump impression might have given you, guys, the advantage, okay? So, we are going to see if anyone here has an impression that they are going to bust out like Miles did, okay? So, set the clock, please, for four minutes. Okay, they set it.


CAMEROTA: Don't set it. I have to introduce my panel. My panel here is John Miller, CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, Jim Walden is a former federal prosecutor, and Mara S. Campo is here as well. Oh, my gosh, I am running out of time, I am burning daylight. Okay, Mara, we have presidents who make bad, unpopular decisions, why can't we oust them?

MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST: I would like to start by saying I do have a very good British impression that perhaps could counter what we just heard, but I'm going to leave that --

CAMEROTA: Liz Truss? I like this.

CAMPO: So, you know, the systems are structurally very different. So, it is not necessarily apples to apples. But there is a lot that we can compare and take from what we have seen here. You know, I think the big thing is, we have heard this mentioned, is this extreme, entranced polarization.

You know, Liz Truss's undoing was that she lost the support of her party. But what we have seen here in this country is that the polarization is so entrenched that you take something like January 6th where even those who were eyewitnesses to what took place did not demand accountability and tell the truth about what happened because the consequences would be too severe, as we saw with Liz Cheney. You see the same thing with voters.

The polarization is so deep, you remember Donald Trump saying that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose support. His support never went below 35%. Truss's was 10% this week!

CAMEROTA: Yes, that is one of the mind-blowing things, Jim. Her own party, her own party decided that they did not like what -- the decision they have made. Can you imagine that happening here?

JIM WALDEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I can't imagine it. But if you think, everyone is talking about the polarization, why are we there? We are there for two reasons and two reasons alone, because the Supreme Court allowed too much money in politics, and because it is not a crime to use disinformation to win an election.

If you lie or give misleading information in lots of different contexts, we call that fraud. But you can do it in an election and it is mast as First Amendment speech. You add that to social media and then incredible amounts of money and politics, that is why there is trivialization. So, you want an idea --


WALDEN: -- let's solve those problems.

CAMEROTA: Okay, I like that. You know how we have been solving problems, John. If somebody makes decision that we do not like, we have an insurrection on the Capitol. That is what recently we have decided as Americans. That is how we are going to fix the political system.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Which is the one thing that we and the rest of the world looking towards us thought could never happen here, at least since the original. So, I mean, I think if you look at the politics of it, we have seen in our generation that every president has an answer to the last.

You know, if Bush was an answer to Clinton, Obama was an answer to Bush, and Trump was an overreaction to Obama, and Biden is a, could we just have somebody who like operates like a normal politician for 10 minutes while we sort this out? We are seeing that.

As Jim pointed out, in the background, you have two factors that is really skewing our ability to get leaders, which is one, years of gerrymandering of congressional districts and elections where you have literally taken a country that is divided and sorted those divisions out so that they are very stark. And the social media factor --



MILLER: -- which Mara pointed out, which is truth, not a requirement, constant 24/7, and the conversation has become very damaged and skewed.

WALDEN: And if I could just say, to build on John's point because I think it is the right one, we talk about gerrymandering, it is really election rigging. That is all it is. And it is not one party. The Democrats did it in New York. And there were two court cases to overturn the maps. It is happening all over the country. We are turning into an election country of cheats.

CAMEROTA: And also, Mara, one last thing, we do have an impeachment process, but we never remove everyone after it. We have exhausted impeachments, but nobody gets removed.

CAMPO: Well, removal and changing leadership in the U.K. is much different because it is a different process.

CAMEROTA: Lickety-split.

CAMPO: Lickety-split. It is much different. We have seen that happened twice in the last two or three years.


CAMEROTA: Okay, that is it. The bell signals that we are done. Okay, Laura, thoughts?

COATES: For whom the bell (INAUDIBLE).


COATES: You guys were good. I was intrigued the entire time. I will say, Mara, I do want to see the impersonation, I got to tell you.


CAMEROTA: Hold on, Laura.

CAMPO: Because I won a contest when I was 13 years old. It is a British accent contest.

CAMEROTA: Okay, go ahead.

CAMPO: I would like a spot of tea, please.


CAMEROTA: Well done. Well done.

COATES: I would like to know where this contest was. I would like to have --

CAMPO: It was at my summer camp.

CAMEROTA: I mean, well, there is no higher accolade I feel, that is very well done, Mara. Thank you.

COATES: Summer camp to CNN, I am here for it all day long. Up next, there is a really interesting conversation we are going to have here. The question, Alisyn, here it is. Are American men in crisis? Apparently, more and more men and boys are struggling at school, at work and life. So, is there a solution that doesn't come at the expense of women?

CAMEROTA: We will find out.

COATES: We will ask them next.

CAMEROTA: We'll find it.




COATES: Well, Americans have plenty of issues to worry about and we talk a lot about issues facing Americans, frankly, of all demographics. But our next guest says do not forget about the boys and the men. More and more, men and boys are struggling at school, at work, and in life.

Men are dropping out of the labor force in historic numbers, frankly, and they are less likely to graduate from high school and college. They are much more likely to have fewer, strong friendships today than even 30 years ago. And men account for two-thirds of so-called deaths of despair, dying of suicide and drug overdoses.

We are back now with Will Jawando and Susan Glasser. And joining us to help figure all of this out, Richard Reeves. He is senior fellow at the Brooklyn Institution and author of the new book "Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about it."

Richard, I am really glad you are here. I want to get one thing straight. Before you came on, we had a British impersonation. We apologize for that.

RICHARD REEVES, AUTHOR, SENIOR FELLOW AT BROOKLYN INSTITUTION: Yeah, I think the apology will be accepted in due course, a century or two, but this is my impersonation of a British person --


REEVES: So, I would rank the previous guest as maybe a seven out of 10, but this is 10 out of 10 British accent.

COATES: Well, I am here for it. I welcome you here. I also welcome this book because I am a mother of a little boy, and I often think about, you know, my son will say things like, mommy -- he is only nine years -- why so much girl power, what is that about? I kind of think to myself, wow, in the interest of trying to really empower and embolden our young girls, which we really want to do, I often wonder as a mom, is there something leaving him behind in his young mind, not understanding the wise?

REEVES: That is really power news script for girls and women now, which is a very different one to one we have even a generation ago, which is about empowerment, education, economic independence. So, we have this new very empowering script for girls and women. Like you, I am all for that.

But what is the new script for men? We have torn up the old script for men, which was about traditional bread-winning and stuff, that is also gone, but we have not replaced that with a new script for masculinity and that creates a dangerous vacuum in our culture.

We have to create space, I think, to take seriously the real problems of boys and men, which you just alluded to, and continue to focus on the remaining problems of girls and women. We can think two faults at once, and we can worry about two groups at the same time. I am very troubled right now that our mainstream discourse is not taking some of these problems of boys and men seriously enough.

COATES: So, what are some of those problems? I know that the idea of walking and chewing gum at the same time, we are in Washington, D.C., that might be very antithetical to what we are at times, but I do wonder, what are the struggles? Because there may be many who look at this and say, really? You had centuries of being able to be maybe dominant by design. So, why should people care and what are those issues?

REEVES: Well, I think, first of all, it has happened so quickly that we have seen this direct economic rise of women, which we have obviously said is a great thing, but what that does is that means it is very hard for us to catch up with what is happening on the ground.

And so, if we look at college graduation rates, for example, there is now a bigger gender gap in the percentage of women getting college degrees compared to men. Then there was in 1972 (INAUDIBLE) just the other way around. So, 50 years ago, men were 13 percentage points more likely to get a college degree. Now, women are 15% points more likely to get a college degree. That is a very rapid change.

I think it is quite hard for all of us to catch up with that. And then as you mentioned, the men who are in the labor market, many working- class men and Black men, especially have been hit very hard by economic trends.


So, most American men today earn less than most American men did in 1979. That is a very important economic fact that we need to take seriously as we think about what is happening in our culture. It leads to all kinds of other problems. In health, three times higher suicide rates. In family, we see a rise in fatherlessness and men not being able to be in touch with their children. So, it has a social and political consequences if we fail to take these problems seriously.

COATES: I think in your book, Will, about your "Seven Fathers" and just thinking about how you view this and the notion of boys and men being left behind really in the pursuit of equality, it sounds like.

JAWANDO: Yeah, it is really unfortunate confirmation. You know, I worked in the Obama White House on my brother's keeper. At the time, there was a big debate of should we even be having a program focused on Black men and boys. I think that we absolutely should. That doesn't mean there needs to be exclusion of anyone else.

But if you dig into the data and the biological signs of brain development, for example, boys and girls have different levels in times of brain development, boys being a little slower as far as certain parts of their cortex that help them make decision-making and all of those things. So, our strategies should respond to that.

But to the point, I think it is a great point, this change has happened so quickly and it has been a good response to toxic masculinity. But what does it mean? So, in my "Seven Black Fathers," I talk about the expansion of the definition of fathers, these men who were not all my biological fathers that stepped in and helped keep me on track.

I think that we have to figure out better solutions, mentoring programs, different supports that address these unique needs of boys and men across the demographics while we still address girls and women.

COATES: Susan, I wonder, can this all happened without coming at the expense of games for women?

GLASSER: Well, I think that is the great fear, we have tended to see these things in some politics. And, of course, at this moment, of incredible dysfunction, right? And often, you have a long history going back decades, really, to the idea of pinning (ph) those seeking better equity in our society against each other rather than understanding, you know, where they are both affected by common crises, and where they are not.

I think that is something, like you, I am the mother of a son, it is something that we all have to be invested in. And I think that part of the problem is we have, to your point, Richard, this toxic politics.

Let's be honest, we have just been coming through a number of years in our society where we have had acting out of literally the most toxic form, a caricature of masculinity in our national politics. What kind of message does that send to boys?

Talk about, you know, we used to talk about old-fashioned values, right? That was one party that used to say it was in favor of that. Well, when did we teach our sons to be sore losers? Come on.

REEVES: I think what has happened, absent of better conversation about this and polarization. There has been almost a celebration of an adolescent form of masculinity, kind of acting out as sort of middle finger kind of masculinity on the right specifically.

GLASSER: My son went to an all-boys school, and I spoke with the head of school about this, and he said, you would not imagine what it was like to be the head of an all-boys school during the Trump presidency. It was a disaster for boys.

COATES: I can imagine. This book is "Of Boys and Men." It is really fascinating. Alisyn, I want to bring you in here and your panel as well because it is a fascinating conversation just given this dynamic at play in politics and our sociological world as well. What do you think of it?

CAMEROTA: I think it is a really important conversation and it is really troubling. So, let's bring in our panel. We have John Miller with us, Jim Walden and Catherine Rampell is joining us.

So, John, this is heartbreaking. I think it is heartbreaking to hear all of the ways in which men and boys are struggling in terms of school, in terms of the workforce, in terms of their earnings, in terms of their identity, in terms of they are more susceptible to depression and substantive use. I have seen this with my own friends. My guy friends struggle more than my girlfriends, frankly. And so, what is going on?

MILLER: Well, I think a few things are going on. I think Richard's work on this has been brilliant, though. When you look at how many men have departed from the work force as compared to women. But also, they departed to where? Not just unemployment, but higher death rates, higher suicide rates. But interestingly, higher rates of addiction to things like opioids.

You're seeing changes in men's place in society. If you take a look at the jobs of my father or his father's -- father's time, there is not that many coal mines. If you take a look at the auto business, how much of an assembly line is robotic now? How many men have been displaced as women have been entering the workforce?

CAMEROTA: And there are fewer manual labor jobs, which obviously men filled.

MILLER: There is that.


MILLER: But there are other dynamics which we have to think about, which is how many men got by in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s as middle level executives who were only vaguely confident, who were great buying a beer, you know, after work at the bar and terrific at their golf game with the boss who have been replaced by a growing pool of women executives and managers who are just better at the job and, you know, those are the X factors. CAMEROTA: Yes. And that raises, I think, two important questions,

Jim, which is basically, everyone needs a purpose, right? And an identity. So, obviously, that is being challenged for men. At the same time, our men just sort of naturally less adaptable. I mean, cultures change. Things have changed. Women have had to adapt. Is there something that men are not adapting to?

WALDEN: Well, I think there are a lot of men that are adapting, but I think that I would take a little bit of a hard-hearted approach to this. I mean, to Laura's point, women have been discriminated against in our society and in our world forever. And there is still major discrepancy between women's pay and men's pay.

And so, obviously, on the mental health stuff that we need to be taking seriously, Richard's points on -- some of his proposals are really interesting. But when it comes to the economics and the education, I think we should be celebrating the fact that women are making more.

CAMEROTA: But why does it have to come at the cost of men? Like Susan was saying, why zero-sum game?

WALDEM: Well, from the data that I've read, a lot of it was men staying where they were and women improving. And that to me sounds like something to be celebrated, not something to be a moment.

CAMEROTA: Catherine, tell us.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, OPINION COLUMNIST FOR WASHINGTON POST: I think a lot of this has to do with sort of a post-industrialized economy. So, as we have been talking about, these traditionally masculine, male-dominated industries like manufacturing, like coal mining, have declined.

And meanwhile, the industries that have shown among the biggest growth are sort of traditionally pink color industries, nursing, other kinds of health care jobs, services. And for whatever reason, men have not adapted to that. These are also jobs that often require more post- secondary schooling, by the way. You know, you need a degree to become a nurse, for example. You didn't necessarily need one in decades past to work in an auto plant.

So, you know, the challenges, even though there are more men who have entered nursing, it is still a very female-dominated field. These are still very good jobs, they are still very much in demand. How do you encourage a different vision of what it means to have a sufficiently manly job so that there isn't sort of this aversion to positions that are increasing, that pay well, and that men don't seem to want to go into?

Or does it require a different kind of socialization of boys, for example, so that they have the greater emotional and social skills that are valuable in many of these jobs, I would say, of the future, but frankly of the president.

So, a lot of it has to do with these economic forces that have changed for whatever reason. Men, excuse me, have become more demoralized rather than adapting. But I don't know that I put the blame on the men themselves necessarily so much as the role models that they have and what we are teaching boys is a laudable, you know, strongman ideal to aspire to.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, I guess -- I don't know if we are still teaching boys that. I mean, obviously, our culture has changed. But, that was traditional. So, what is the solution? If we all agree that toxic masculinity is bad or uncomfortable, I don't know a lot of toxically masculine guys. I mean, we all can spot one in a crowd. You know, like at every party, there is that guy.

But what are we replacing it with? And I think that -- you know, I read somewhere that like honorable masculinity, like we do need to give them something, we need to give them a role. And what is the solution?

MILLER: Well, I'm going to have to talk to Don Draper about that and say, where do we get from where you started this in terms of pop culture? But, I had COVID. You know, my first nurse was a man. I credit him with saving my life. And he wasn't what I was expecting. I worked in the boys' club.

CAMEROTA: You sure did.


CAMEROTA: You sure did.

MILLER: And my last commissioner was a woman, a woman of color, which the place had some adjusting to do towards.

CAMEROTA: And did they adjust?

MILLER: Sure, they did. And, you know, I think that these shifts are a big learning curve. I think that the neurological piece needs study because we have to figure out what that really is, and Richard (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: Yes. And so, I think that he will tell us what the solutions are. Laura? What is the answer here?

COATES: Well, it's so fast, but I think that -- let's bring in the author of the book we're talking about. I wonder what he really thought about the topic. You and I were talking about this, Alisyn. But, I mean, hearing all the response and how we're thinking about it, I mean, it's really mind-blowing. Richard, what is the big takeaway that you want people to best understand in your incredible book?


REEVES: The key thing, I just want to underline what Susan said, which is that it is not a zero-sum game, even though the politicians try to pretend that it is. It is that we can continue to work on behalf of women and girls. In the many areas of society, that is true. But also, these troubling areas in health, education, employment where boys and men are really struggling, because unless we take those problems seriously and we take responsible action in the education system and the labor market, then you can be sure that other people would benefit from the problems that boys and men have.

So, as a culture, as parents, as school teachers, let's take this problem seriously because if responsible people don't address these problems squarely in the face, then irresponsible people will exploit them. And I think that's the point we are at now. We could have a grown-up conversation about the problems facing boys and men without abandoning any of our commitment to women and girls.

COATES: Really fascinating.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is. Thank you so much for all the research and for the great conversation with you, guys. That was really thought- provoking, as Laura said. So, what do you all think about the issues affecting men and boys today? That and anything else you want to say to Laura and me, tweet us at @thelauracoates and @alisyncamerota.




CAMEROTA: Let us all see this mural. A sophomore in high school painted this lovely mural with animals and hearts and all this nice imagery, and the parents believe that she has sort of put in hidden, coded messages that read to them as gay pride and bisexual signaling and witchcraft and satanism.

COATES: By the way, she won an art contest, right? She didn't just go to a playground and just starts painting. She put it up there after winning something and she says -- quote -- "I put my artwork up there to make people feel welcomed. That's not what I'm a part of. That's not what I'm trying to put out there."

It is pretty unbelievable to think of the reaction that she has gotten. She left, I think, a board meeting in tears because of how it is being received.

It really just goes to show you, Alisyn, with so many respects, that it is almost like people are looking for an issue, looking to think that everyone is somehow trying to indoctrinate children or that every symbol is supposed to be nefarious and problematic. This is an example of that. I believe that people are going too far, pushing this notion that our children are exposed to secret signals.

CAMEROTA: Either we are living in a crazy conspiratorial time or she did do something subversive and put in some sort of like Easter eggs and maybe she did sneak in some symbols. But I don't think that it is because she is in to witchcraft and Satanism. I mean, she was trying to, you know, paint this very like inclusive welcoming mural. And the fact that the parents gained up on her that school meeting and left her in tears, she was quivering and said, I was just trying to make people feel welcomed. It has gone crazy.

COATES: I mean, I don't see the symbolism they're talking about. I mean, I'm just not seeing it, but I will say, the school did decide to to (INAUDIBLE) this mural, Alisyn, but she is going to make some small

changes because apparently, there is an original pitch from the student that they had pre-cleared, and they are going to now change it to look exactly like that original pitch.

But that does also mean, Alisyn, that the LGBTQ flag from the shirt, which is the problem with it at one point, will stay as they were in the original.

CAMEROTA: Here's the part that she has to take. I don't know if you can see it because it is sort of small. On the left side of it, there's the hamza hand there which is, you know, the hand of God and some middle eastern cultures. And so, they don't like that she put that in there? So, that has to go.

And, then there's a mask somewhere. I couldn't find. I studied this mural before we came on. There is a mask somewhere in there that they think mean Satanism or something and that has to go. But, if you can't find it, I'm not sure the message is really getting -- it's not having the desired effect if we can't find it.

COATES: I mean, this kind of reminds me of (INAUDIBLE) old Highlights magazine. He had the hidden figures and you try to find things on there.


COATES: That's what we have to do tonight. I'd ask my kids about it. I'm not afraid to expose them to art.


COATES: Listen, the GOP also has been pushing a claim that cities with progressive prosecutors have higher crime rates, Alisyn, which is actually not true. We'll tell you what's really going on with crime, next.




CAMEROTA: As you know, Republicans are hammering Democrats on crime, claiming that liberal-led cities are unsafe, and they're going after everything from sanctuary cities to progressive prosecutors, to cashless bail initiatives.

But our friend, Ron Brownstein, has a new article in "The Atlantic" titled "What's Really Going on With the Crime Rate?" He writes about this new study from researchers at the liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress. Quote -- "Countering conventional wisdom, the study found that homicides over recent years increased less rapidly in cities with progressive prosecutors than in those with more traditional district attorneys. It also found no meaningful differences between cities with progressive or traditional Das in the trends for larceny and robbery." -- end quote.

That reinforces another study earlier this year from centrist Democratic group, Third Way, that found that the murder rate was higher in 2020 in states that voted for Donald Trump.

Back with me now to discuss, we have John Miller, Mara S. Campo, and Catherine Rampell. Wait a minute, John, I thought that progressive cities like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon were, you know, hotbeds of crime right now.


CAMEROTA: That is not true?

MILLER: I think it is true. I mean, if you look at the places that have the most progressive district attorneys, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles -- I mean, violence is off the hook in Philadelphia, off the hook in Chicago.

But I also think that the studies are missing something. One, when you go by percentages and we don't see the raw in numbers, you can tell if crime was 68% higher in the city because they had 10 murders that year and it went up by a small number.

CAMEROTA: Do you -- are you saying that you reject the premise? That you do think that places with progressive leaders are more crime- infested? I mean, because that other study about the red states where Donald Trump -- I think we have CDC map. So there -- of the 10 states where the crime -- no, where murder is the highest are red states where there is not progressive in charge.

MILLER: So, I think that if you look at who did the studies and how the studies were done, they had the answer before they did the study. I think that when you have to put on the other --

CAMEROTA: That one was a CDC, about the map of the highest murder rates.

MILLER: Okay, but I think if you look at -- you know, you have places that have progressive district attorneys and we have five district attorneys, some of whom you would say progressives, some of whom you would say less so, but 35 states implemented criminal justice reform laws that took the DAs who would have otherwise been not progressive and made them progressive because they were literally legislated out of entire categories of crimes that would've been prosecuted.

So, I think the studies needed to be broader. I think that Brownstein's writing about the studies was smarter than the studies because he quoted people outside of the studies who said much more research needs to be done in this.

CAMPO: Well, I do think the one thing that does speak to is the difference between the narrative and what the facts support. And, you, know, the narrative is that these progressive policies are so overly worked that they're destroying cities. But when you drill down and you actually look at what a lot of them are saying, I don't think that most people will have a problem with them.

You know, they're talking about things like trying to reduce the number of juveniles being tried as adults, prosecuting police officers for misconduct, trying to reduce cash bail.

And cash bail, specifically, is a very big problem because it is estimated that up to 70% of people who are currently in county and city jails are just there because they cannot afford bail. They have not yet been convicted of anything. And 43% of those people are Black.

So, I think when you drill down and you look at what's actually being proposed and enacted in these cities, they are really things that a lot of people would have problems with.

And so, because crime is so multilayered, I think that saying what is progressive policies, of course, it's a very simple cell and it's a very simple thing for voters to buy because it's easy to say that someone is soft on crime that is why you're seeing all of this crime. But I think it's much more nuanced than that.

CAMEROTA: But I also think the narrative, at least, Catherine, is that things are being prosecuted. So, there are shoplifting things. There's obviously a homelessness problem in San Francisco. Not that that is a crime, but that there's a feeling of lawlessness. There's a feeling that police have backed off or they're not getting the support or things are not being prosecuted.

RAMPELL: I think it probably has become a lot more difficult to become a police officer in the past couple of years for good reasons and bad. You know, I mean, there are some things that should be more -- they should pause before doing like shooting an unarmed person, for example. And, you know, there's probably also somewhat of a chilling effect on things that would be helpful for them to engage in.

But, you know, I think that part of the issue here is that this is a lot more about perception and kind of vibes. It is true, crime has gone up across the country. But if you look at the cities that have the highest murder rates, you know, it is not San Francisco, it is not New York, it's like St. Louis, you know?

A number of states in the south have city -- red states have cities, they might have a Democratic mayor, but I wouldn't necessarily call them like bastion of bleeding-heart liberalism, you know, progressive, you know, let's let out the criminals-kind of mindset. But, you know, there are a lot of parts of the country that I think are perceived as being the more dangerous areas but that doesn't actually match what the crime stats show.

It's not that we want more crime in any of these places, right? That's not good. But I think a lot of this is really about perception. And it's about, to some extent, scaring the people who don't live in those places rather than convincing the people who do.

I mean, like, I hear from friends of mine who -- I live in Manhattan. I hear from friends of mine who live in West Charleston who will ask me, like, isn't it really scary to be in New York right now? I'm like, no, they're not homeless people, but no, I'm not terrified walking around. There are parts of the country I would be probably scared about.

MILLER: But I think when you get right down to the numbers in 2016, 2017, 2018, New York City had the lowest crime in recorded history.


We had under 300 murders in the city of 8.6 million. We had --

CAMEROTA: And then what changed?

MILLER: What changed was we had sweeping criminal justice reform. That was meant to address a number of the problems you brought up, which have already been solved here. We had the lowest incarceration rate. We had the lowest number of --

CAMEROTA: So, they were overcorrected?

MILLER: They were overcorrected. And the physics of politics has always been, for every action, there's an equal but opposite overreaction. And now, you know, we go through a year where murders are up 38%, shootings are doubled, and people are scratching their head as academics pretending to wonder how this happened. That's how it happened.

CAMEROTA: Laura, I know you've been listening to this conversation.

COATES: It's fascinating. I mean, the idea here of perception being king, one of the things that creates that perception, of course, are the narratives. And people hear things over and over again. They believe that there is some (INAUDIBLE) truth and then they run with it.

Speaking of inertia, everything in motion will stay in motion until they are disrupted. And I wonder if the truth will do just that. It is really fascinating.

Great conversation. It's also time for all of you to sound off. We'll read your tweets, next.




COATES: All right, it's social time. What do we have from the world of Twitter? Well, let us read a few. One comes from James Abbott. It says, if we had a vote of no confidence here in the U.S., Biden would be a former president.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Here is one on democracy quoting President Reagan. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Yes, it is.

COATES: Here is one that Disney (INAUDIBLE), Alisyn. It says, why is it every few years when I can finally afford to go to Disney, Disney says nope.

CAMEROTA: Here's one I like. Disney? No thanks. Heading to Italy with the fam in December. Can I go with you guys?

COATES: Oh, we want to go, too. Actually, I'll come with you as well. You know where to find all of us. It's not in Italy, it's right here, and we are at @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates, everyone. Thank you for watching.

CAMEROTA: Our coverage continues now.