Return to Transcripts main page
Voters Are Nostalgic About Midterms; Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter; Climate Change a Key Factor for Voters; Celebrities Played a Huge Role in Elections; Kanye West Admires Adolf Hitler. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 27, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So that's tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern. Our coverage now continues with the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Laura Coates and the awesome, totally awesome Alisyn Camerota.
Those are movie lines. I don't know if -- I don't know if you know what movies those are from.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Awesome. Totally awesome? That's it from John Berman.
TAPPER: Key line from Fast Times of Ridgemont High. Fred Hamilton does with the thing at the coffee and Spicoli comes out of the bathroom. Awesome. Totally awesome. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, Laura, as a reference to Steve Martin's great film, "L.A. Story." He says, but he says he's falling in love. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. So, I go.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: And here, just thought it just came to mind because you saw me in Canary Yellow.
TAPPER: That's -- that's what inspired it. That's what inspired. Anyway, it was a cinematic theme.
CAMEROTA: I like --
COATES: I love this. A lot.
CAMEROTA: I like the trivia. I like the fun facts to start the show. That's awesome.
TAPPER: Next, I'm working on pop-up video for it.
CAMEROTA: OK. Very good. And you're awesome too, Jake. Thank you.
TAPPER: Talk to you, guys.
COATES: Good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates in Washington. And I'm Alisyn Camerota in New York. This is CNN Tonight.
COATES: And look, we're here not just to receive the pop culture puns from Jake Tapper, but we're also here with our panelists from across the political spectrum. There's actually one team here in Washington with me.
CAMEROTA: And the other team is here in New York with me. Basically, we have so much news tonight, Laura. We need two studios for it.
COATES: That's why I think happens and that's the beauty of it, right?
CAMEROTA: It doesn't fit. So, let's start with all of the developments heading up to the midterms. The big guns from Barack Obama to Donald Trump are about to hit the campaign trail. And we've also got new polling that tells us a lot about why people are choosing certain candidates and the kind of America that voters want to have.
COATES: Which of course is every candidate's dream to have this date. We're going to bring it to everyone. We also have a midterm issue that affects every single American, and frankly, for that matter, Alisyn, people all around the world. The climate crisis. And you know, Jane Fonda is going to be here to talk about her climate activism and really what she thinks will happen if Republicans retake the House and the Senate.
CAMEROTA: I look forward to that conversation. Meanwhile, we also have breaking news at this hour. Elon Musk has just closed that $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, and he's already fired the top people. What that means for all of us.
COATES: I guess yesterday was a preview, Alisyn, when he brought the sink in. Let that sink in America. There you go. Building off that meme. Well, we got a lot going on. Since get right to our countdown to the midterms, we're 12 days away.
COATES: Here with me now, National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru, and CNN Legal commentators Ashley Alisson and David Swerdlick.
I'm glad that you're all here. I mean, first of all, the Twitter news, we're going to get it to it. Don't worry. I think the world is about to change in a very
interesting way, 12 days before a midterm.
But there's also some data out there, and the polls are really, really striking. If you look at, I know it's a polar coaster, oftentimes there's a great poll out right now, and it talks about whether Americans think that things are going in the right direction.
And to put on the screen, overall, 74 percent think it's going in the wrong direction, everyone, the wrong direction. And it breaks down to 53 percent of Democrats feel this way, 76 percent of independents feel this way, 93 percent of Republicans, 93 percent of white Evangelicals, 80 percent of white voters, 58 percent of black voters, 66 percent of Hispanic voters. This is all people who think they're -- it's going in the wrong direction.
Look, you guys, we're 12 days out. What does this signal to you in terms of, should I say the two words together, the red wave? What do you think?
RAMESH PONNURU, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, I think that there's been a consensus in our country for most of this millennium that we're going in the wrong direction, but the fact is people don't agree on why we're going in the wrong direction.
You saw 53 percent of Democrats think we're going in the wrong direction, presumably that's for very different reasons. The 93 percent of Republicans think we're going in the wrong direction. But it is one of the reasons why midterm elections go badly for the party in power, because we've had this persistent unhappiness with the state of the country, there tends to be a kind of reaction to whoever is in power.
There were a lot of reasons Democrats thought maybe that wasn't going to happen this year. Maybe with the Dobbs decision overturning Roe.
COATES: They called it Roevember?
COATES: Is a possibility, right?
PONNURU: That you'd have a break in the usual pattern. And I think reality is starting to set in that we are getting much closer to the usual pattern here.
COATES: I wonder though, do you guys say, I mean the pattern, I always am a little bit skeptical of it and call me. I mean, maybe it's the prosecutor. I mean, I'm skeptical of everyone. But I wonder how much of it's seed planting. If someone is saying to you, no, this is the foregone conclusion, here is history, past is prologue? Does it encourage voters? Does it discourage them? Does it get them out or make them say, never mind then? Is this poll reflective of that?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I agree that the direction of which way the country is going, some say they, you know, it's been going in the wrong direction since 1950. While that meant like women's rights, rights for black people, rights for basically everybody sitting at this panel have increased. And so, I think it's been going in the right direction since 1950.
I think for laying the groundwork. What are we defining as a red wave? Because if that means up and down the ballot, Republicans win all the governor's races. They take the House, they take the Senate. That's how I define a red wave. I don't think they're going to sweep the playing field. I think there will not be, maybe we lose one chamber of Congress, but I think that Democrats will still fare well and fare well better than Democrats or whoever is in power normally does in a midterm election.
COATES: And by the way, on those points of why people think things are failing, I mean, we've got a lot of flashpoint issues, hot button issues, right? These lightning rods you're talking about. Anything from abortion, for example, and particularly I mentioned Roe v. Wade. And Roevember, as it was called. It was always a thought about whether it was a miscalculation to believe that it would have the sustaining power of outrage for Dobbs to last too here.
But here was a moment when John Fetterman was speaking and talking about Dr. Oz in his statements on abortion. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: To hear Dr. Oz speak about what he really believes about abortion and the fact that it, it should be, be made by, by local political officials like the Doug Mastriano. I mean, it was -- it's alarming and I -- and the fact that now people realize exactly what he believes and the kind of vote he would make if he was in the Senate. It's -- you can't afford to give a clown a vote on Roe v. Wade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: So as to your point, Ashley, and Dave, I want to bring you in here.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
COATES: I mean, the idea of things going in the wrong direction, many would argue with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, that was a signal of a clear demarcation of wrong direction, and it's being played differently from Democrats and Republicans.
SWERDLICK: It was wrong direction if you look at polls which show the majority of Americans are pro-choice. It was -- it was wrong for Democrats though to rely on that so early in 2022 as something that was going to catapult them into stanching damage in the midterm elections. I don't think that Democrats are going to take that 2010 shellacking that they did, but I do think things are trending toward Republicans right now.
Part of it is because Democrats have had trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. Continuing to message on Roe, also trying to tout the positive aspects of President Biden's record, which there are positive aspects, but also trying to address in a way that voters will respond to the negative aspects of President Biden's record. You can do all those things at the same time. Democrats haven't done that the course.
COATES: But speaking of messaging though, here, listen to Senator Lindsey Graham because he was commenting on the messaging and how he thinks that Senate candidate Herschel Walker is so disruptive to the idea of what these identity politics tell us about our nation.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Why Herschel? They're beating all of our guys up. But what is, what is it about this guy? He changes the entire narrative of the left. We're a party of racists, Sean, me, and you're a racist. The Republican Party is racist. Well, what happens when the Republicans Party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an American Black Heisman trophy winner, right Olympian. It destroys the whole narrative.
John James, Tim Scott, Herschel Walker. Everybody in San Francisco is going to jump off a bridge if we elect this man, a black conservative, beats a black liberal in Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: What do you make of that statement? I mean, forget the jumping off the bridges in San Francisco. We'll put that to the side. But is it the idea that it's disruptive, is that with going on here, is that the critique.
PONNURU: Well, I think that a lot of Republicans believe, first of all, that it's important for the party to have more diverse representatives in congressmen. So, there's a special value that that people like Senator Graham attach to having successful black candidates.
And they also think sometimes justifiably, sometimes I think here unjustifiably, that minority Republicans are targeted for special criticism and attack. I think Walker's record, Walker's own past, Walker's inability to persuasively defend himself and make coherent statements on a consistent basis are really what has caused him to be as controversial candidate as he is.
COATES: Let's bring in, go to Alisyn. I want to hear her take and her panel as well. What do you think?
CAMEROTA: Well, we''ve been listening with great interest and, our panel is here. We're really interested in the polling. So, let's bring in CNN's John Berman, also Bill Kristol, editor at large at the Bulwark and journalist Mara S. Campo.
Great to have you, guys.
OK, so let's go back to that polling. This is from the Public Religion Research Institute, because I know that you guys were fascinated by some of these findings.
So, let's look at the 1950s, John, the 1950s, which I know you hold in very high regard. Since the 1950s American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worst. That's the question. Sixty-six percent of Republicans agree with that, 71 percent of white Evangelicals agree with that, 30 percent of Democrats agree with that.
Then you look at immigration. Immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background. Fifty-one percent of white Evangelicals agree. 55 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of Democrats. And then last newcomers threatened traditional American customs and values. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans agree, 65 percent of white Evangelicals, only 17 percent of Democrats.
And John, I mean, doesn't this just say that basically people, many people in this country, feel that the culture is shifting more quickly than they are comfortable with, and they will be voting for candidates who are promising to basically curtail immigration.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: You, you know what the 1950s were better for? Dying. OK. People died much younger. The life expectancy was 66. Now is 79. I don't know what people think they're harkening back to when they think of the 1950s --
CAMEROTA: A simpler time is what they're thinking.
BERMAN: They weren't alive. Most of the people in this poll weren't alive then. Like only 17 percent of the population is 65 older. So, you have people making stuff up here about what they see from the 1950s and, and God knows what TV show.
CAMEROTA: Happy days.
BERMAN: No. Because that was the 60s and 70s, which were way cooler. If they said the 60s for 70s, I'd be all in. But seriously, these people are making stuff up. It's nostalgia for something they know nothing about. They're creating this notion, this idealized notion of something, and you have to wonder what their motivations are. Their motivations, yes. You know, I honestly don't know.
CAMEROTA: Well, I think it's what I said, Bill. I mean, I think it's what I said that forget the 50s part of it for a second. It's the shifting sands of the culture and not everybody is comfortable with it. I think they've been pretty outspoken about that.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Yes. But I think John makes an important pointer and imply implicit distinction, which is, look, nosta -- I was a conservative for many years. I still have many issues. I mean, nostalgia can be harmless. Nostalgia can be even a pointer towards a kind of healthy don't assume everything's bad just because it's a later chronological time, right?
You want to have people in the country saying, wait a second. Not everything that you say is progress is automatically progress. Maybe our forefathers got and mothers got some things right, and you know, we should preserve those things or improve them or whatever, not just throw them overboard.
So, I was always more sympathetic to nostalgia in the past, but I've got to say in the last six or eight years when it's been weaponized the way it has entered into a bitter hostility to change to immigrants, to, you know, to minority groups. A refusal to face up to any of the problems in the past, the 50s.
I mean, there was kind of a lot of unpleasant stuff happening in the 50s and 60s and in that respect, I think I was too nice to nostalgia. And I think what we see in America today is this, this sort of downside of the politicization and as I say, almost a weaponization of a kind of nostalgia. CAMEROTA: Yes, and I'm not saying it's right or wrong, Mar, I'm just saying, doesn't that explain how some people are voting for these candidates who are promising to stop progress. I mean, at least stop progress, certainly on the immigration front and all of this has to do with.
MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST: But I don't think it's as innocent as just nostalgia of wanting to harken back to a time before school shootings and when your kids could ride their bikes until after dark.
I think this is a little bit more sinister than that. I think this is people who want to go back to a time when they had a little more power because the system was structured differently. Because there were fewer rights for blacks, because there were fewer rights for immigrants, because there were fewer rights for women.
I mean, women couldn't own credit cards until the 70s. Now credit cards weren't created until the late 50s, but it took 16 years before a woman could open a credit card without another man signing on. So, I think there were a lot of people who really want to go back to the time when they would've had more power.
It reminds me of when we first started hearing the slogan make America great again, and a lot of black people were saying, well, wait a minute, when you say again, exactly what time period are you referring to? Because it wasn't great for us back then. And there's no surprise that in this poll, the group of people that least wants to go back to the 1950s are blacks.
BERMAN: By the way, a quarter of the homes in America didn't have flush toilets.
BERMAN: In the 1950s? I read that in the Chicago Tribute today.
BERMAN: Yes. This is what people want to go back to.
CAMEROTA: You've done a deep dive on 1950s.
BERMAN: Because I think people are crazy.
CAMEROTA: Again, I think that that's a bit of a headline as opposed to what Laura is talking about, which is, I think it sounds good to go back before school shootings and when kids could ride their bikes after dark and there is a feeling of that don't -- like, I would say like, don't downplay that. That is a motivator for people, but I don't know that we can go back that --
CAMPO: But I think when you -- CAMEROTA: -- instead of problem solving now.
CAMPO: But I think when you look at the groups that want the most to go back to that time, it's very instructive because when you see, for example, I think the group that wanted to go back the most, the largest percentage where whites without a college degree, and the group that wants to go back the least are blacks.
So, I think you can learn a lot about what people think about that time period by seeing who wants to go back and who does not.
CAMEROTA: Laura, your thoughts?
COATES: I have to tell you, I mean, nostalgia is only as good as those who benefited from the memory, and I think that's part of what Mara is alluding to. And while I certainly do know the theme song for the Andy Griffith show and did like watching it, it's not an era I'd want to live in.
But I think the bigger issue here, Alisyn, is it's about the feeling and as, as much as all politics is local, that's how people capitalize on it. That's how people want to sort of cultivate and plant the seeds of, remember when, in some ways it's not all that different than the question, and I'm paraphrasing here of, you know, are you happier now than you were five years ago, or four years ago, or two years ago?
Making people use these comparison points makes the ones who are not in power sometimes feel like, see, I have the ticket in the vehicle for change.
So, it'll be fascinating to see how it all pans out. And it's not 13 days away, now, Alisyn, it's 12. So maybe nostalgia will be on the ballot next to all the other invisible ink. It's on the ballot.
CAMEROTA: I submit that it will be. And I also think that all politics is personal. I mean, not just local, it's personal and the feeling of what you think that candidate's going to give you, whether it's flush toilets, John, or other kinds of projects.
BERMAN: I'm all for that.
CAMEROTA: I know you are.
BERMAN: Sign me up.
CAMEROTA: I know you are.
BERMAN: I'll take two, I'll take -- you'll take a half bath too if you need it.
KRISTOL: Too much information, John. Really?
CAMEROTA: Who's getting this off to an interesting story.
CAMEROTA: Laura, help.
COATES: I'm going to -- I'm going to avoid this going down the drain. See I did there. See that was, and we're going to talk about tribal politics and next and what's really at the root of all of this. That's the real question. And anything else you want to say to Alisyn and me, tweet us at Alisyn Camerota and the Laura Coates. Please, no questions about toilets. I don't want to talk about that.
But up next, Elon Musk completes his deal, Alisyn, to buy Twitter, and the firing has already begun tonight.
COATES: We've got some late breaking news tonight, Alisyn. Elon Musk's, $44 billion Twitter take over is official. He's already target firing people, including Parag Agrawal, and two other executives. That according to two sources, it's pretty unbelievable.
CAMEROTA: Yes. He has said that he plans to rethink Twitter's policies and approach to free speech. And he's also said he disagrees with permanent bans for those who repeatedly violate its rules, which of course has a lot of people watching to see what will happen with former President Trump.
So, yes, I mean, I think that it's fair to ask what does this mean for all of our lives because it's -- it will have an impact.
COATES: Yes. Well, especially, I mean, remember it's not just the idea in a vacuum. We're talking about how close to midterm election in preparation for the 2024 presidential run. We know how impactful Twitter was when it came to candidates, to the idea of the certain entitlements that were bestowed upon those who were campaigning in the moment, and the idea of what was a public announcement or to be revered in some way or regarded.
I'm really curious to see also if President Trump comes back. He said he wouldn't.
COATES: I wonder if he will.
CAMEROTA: And also, what is Elon Musk's definition of free speech? So, let's get right to it. Let's bring in our panel. John Berman is back with us. Also, CNN international correspondent, Marc Stewart and CNN contributor Cari -- Cari Champion.
Cari, do you have thoughts on what this means for all of our lives?
CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you guys both touched on something that I thought of, will Donald Trump come back? I'm curious about that. And also, what's his interpretation? What is Elon Musk's interpretation of free speech?
So, as a black woman on Twitter, if I tweet anything in support of another black woman, I immediately find myself dealing with, a sea of bots, telling me that I am wrong for what I am doing, that I am racist, that it is wrong.
So, for instance, Britney Griner. I tweet, I'm in support of Brittney Griner. I want her gone. I want her home. I think it's unfair what is happening to her. And the reaction that I get is so vile and so disgusting. It makes me not even know if this is a place where I want to share my free speech.
Now, when he says he believes in free speech, does he take care of that? Does he get rid of the N word that I'm often called relentlessly? Does he say these are things that you can say to people and other things you can't say to people. How do you decide to be a referee of hate? And oftentimes that is what I get on social media.
CAMEROTA: That's awful. I'm so sorry to hear that. It's awful.
CAMEROTA: What a cesspool.
CHAMPION: It is disgusting and no one is there to regulate it. And in fact, it is normal. So, I know this is what I do, Alisyn, and this is an honest, this is an honest thing. I'm going to tweet anything, something innocuous in support of someone else, perhaps a marginalized group of people. I know without fail there will be so much hate in response to what I tweet.
So, is that the free speech he speaks of? I don't understand why we live in a world where supporting someone requires you to be a racist to live on other sides. He said in his statement today he believes in humanity. Well, what about the humanity of someone like me?
CAMEROTA: Yes. He has a lot of questions to answer about things like that. Mark, your thoughts. What does it mean for all of us?
MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it means that this is a new era of Twitter. If you are the owner of a grocery store or a car dealership, an airline, an insurance agency, the list goes on and on. If you need to make a change in the way you do business, you bring in new people. So, back to the point that Cari made about, what is this definition of free speech?
Well, I don't want to speak for Elon Musk, but perhaps the previous C suite had a much different view of what constitutes free speech than Elon Musk. If he wants to move forward with all of this, well, he is going to have to find people who agree with him and who see eye to eye.
I also think it's important to point out that even though some very big names have departed from Twitter, it doesn't mean everyone who works there is going to be fired. You still need people to do the day in day out tasks of administration of this, of this very valuable platform.
Perhaps there are people that Elon Musk will meet during his visits who feel the same way as him. Maybe these people will be elevated, but clearly a new era, a whole new view of principle. That's why we are seeing a huge change.
CAMEROTA: Here's the statement from Musk about all this. Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape. Although it is. Where anything can be said with no consequences. In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.
What could go wrong, John?
BERMAN: Well, you know, the statement goes on and he's basically begging advertisers to stick around. Don't quit me. That's the bulk of the statement, because he's nervous that people are going to rebel against him.
My question is, look, the guy has now taken over a company he didn't want, and he fired the people who were there.
CAMEROTA: He's on firing spree tonight.
BERMAN: Is he going to take it seriously? I mean, is this something that Elon Musk is going to care about in a week or two weeks or three weeks?
CAMEROTA: Right. Because you have to put the infrastructure in. And if you're really going to make this a welcoming place --
CAMEROTA: -- and fight the stuff that you're talking about, you have to pay attention to it.
BERMAN: Yes. And look, I mean, there are people who are overdependent on Twitter. I think Twitter dictates too much --
CHAMPION: I agree.
BERMAN: -- in our, you know, in parts of society. But there are people who depend on it for information and it would be nice to see a responsible steward of said place.
CAMEROTA: All right, thank you all very much. Great insights. Great to see you guys. All right. Now, will the climate crisis be on the ballot this midterm election? Actress and activist, Jane Fonda has a lot to say about that and we're going to talk to her, next.
COATES: We're talking a lot on this show about the issues that are going to decide the upcoming election, the economy, abortion, immigration, the future of our democracy. But how about the future of our planet?
You know, according to a recent report over just the last year alone, climate change caused by humans has affected 96 percent of the world's population.
And here in the U.S. between the results unfold in in all around us in the most devastating ways. You've seen them. Hurricanes, fires, floods, drought, extreme heat. My next guest is fighting to make sure that this November climate is on the ballot.
Joining me now is actress, activist and author, the great Jane Fonda.
It's so nice to see you. Thank you for joining us tonight.
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. It's good to see you.
COATES: You know, I think it's so remarkable not only your career, but how you have used your platform, particularly as it relates to something that impacts all of us. I mean, in the long run, in the short term, you are up against and you have been fighting against perceptions of climate change being something that's a conspiracy theory being dismissed, is that not being taken seriously?
Can you just talk to me a little bit about the work that is you're doing and why you have felt so compelled to ensure that you fight this good fight?
FONDA: Well, I mean, we, we are facing a civilizational crisis. This has never happened before since human beings have existed. We face a real climate catastrophe. You know, I like a lot of people, I have young grandchildren. I want to have a future for them. I don't -- I see how angry young people are because we really have put their future in jeopardy.
COATES: You know what's stunning is even with the current standards, meeting that goal you just stated seems to be something that at the present time is not as attainable as is hypothesized on these things.
And, you know, there's a cost to it, not just the cost in terms of what it does to our children, our future, our grandchildren. The future human civilization, but it actually has a cost associated. I mean, the extreme weather that is resulted, it's cost billions of dollars to the overall economy, the overall world.
And Jane, this is not a problem for just a select few. I mean, 96 percent of the world is impacted by the global climate change. It really is an all in it together. But do you feel as though it's being taken seriously globally in that realm?
FONDA: Yes. I think other countries are much more serious about it because they're more impacted perhaps. But, you know, over 70 percent of Americans are concerned about the climate crisis. The problem is that too many of our elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, take money from the fossil fuel industry.
Consequently, the real important legislation that we need to stem the burning of fossil fuels is not happening. And that's why recently I started the Jane Fonda Climate PAC to get climate champions elected to office so we can begin to, you know, pass legislation that will do something important. And we only have four election cycles left, and that includes this November.
COATES: And we've got 12 days left until the midterm elections coming up. And you know, democracy is on the ballot, the issue surrounding abortion around the ballot. You've got the actual different legislative initiatives and ballots across the country, and you've got people who are denying the elections on the ballot just to name a few of the things people are grappling with.
Do you think that people are looking at climate as a very important factor in their decision leading up to the midterm elections. I mean, obviously it's something that ought to be contemplated. Have the politicians, have the incumbents, have the candidates on both sides done a good job of bridging that gap for the public and the electorate.
FONDA: Well, I think the media is partly responsible for the problem. I've been traveling the country, working with climate champions who
are running for office and they are very clear. They all have a climate plan. They know what we're facing. And the people that I met in these states as I was campaigning, they are aware and they are going to be voting for these people because they're concerned.
I mean, you take, for example, you know, the Hurricane Ian that just devastated parts of Florida. Now just imagine that two days later, another one hits, and then another one hits in Texas, and then another one hits a, you know, it's pretty soon we're not going to have time to rebuild and collect ourselves and pay for what needs to be paid for. And, you know, it's just, it's going to get worse and we just have to act fast.
COATES: You know, just using your celebrity, using your platform to, to raise more awareness and about the urgency, we know the clear and present dangers that are presented, imposed, and it's not lost on me. Your critique of the media coverage and what can feel myopic on certain topics. I know people complain a great deal about, and I can appreciate that philosophy.
But in terms of using your celebrity. I wonder the way that you have gone about it from Fire Drill Fridays and beyond, the way you've gone about to be consistent. What do you make of what we're seeing in some, you know, art museums, in some areas of the world where people are throwing food onto revered works of art as a way to draw attention.
Do you think that this tactic is something that is getting the attention and put -- and moving the needle in the way that say, your work has?
FONDA: It certainly gets attention, but I, I think that it makes people angry. You know, I mean, I have been arrested a lot of times for engaging in civil disobedience, which is doing things that are against the law if the law is wrong. but I have avoided, for example, blocking freeways. And things that will, you know, the average person wants to get home for dinner or wants to get to where their kids are in school or whatever.
So, I'm not particularly in, I understand where the anger comes from. I'm not in favor of doing things that are going to make the average working person angry because it affects them and their -- and their lives.
COATES: And you know, some argue that maybe it affects the way they view the overall movement. That could be counterproductive.
COATES: You never know. But all I know is the amount of work that's being done and the work through your PAC as well. Thank you for joining us this evening and making sure that the lines are drawn and the bridges are felt for the electorate about what is on the ballot, even if some things feel like they're an invisible ink. Thank you, Jane.
FONDA: Yes, thanks a lot. I appreciate being here. Thanks.
COATES: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Really interesting.
COATES: Really -- yes. Wasn't it? I mean, just thinking about especially her response about the tactics that are being used now, because that's getting a lot of attention in terms of defacing artwork and what that means and that overall conversation.
Well, what's more important to you? This art or the long term, you know, sustainability of our planet.
COATES: It's really fascinating.
CAMEROTA: I think so too. But I also thought that, I appreciated what she said, that she tries not to do things that get in the way of working people because you, you need their support for your cause. You know, you don't want to work at cross purposes with people.
And look, Jane Fonda has been politically active and socially conscious forever. I mean, you know, she is somebody who has been doing this for decades, so, you know, she walks the walk here. COATES: She certainly does. And she looks damn good doing it.
CAMEROTA: She really does.
COATES: We say, I was like, can we -- can we lower my lights?
CAMEROTA: Yes, we can agree on that. OK, Laura, here's the question.
CAMEROTA: Where's the LeBron James? And that's not rhetorical, really where is he.
COATES: I think he should be in L.A. playing for Lakers, but you know, I mean, I'm not going to do the where, but I get your point.
CAMEROTA: Because --
COATES: I get your point.
CAMEROTA: Here's the point. He played a huge role in the 2020 election, but he's oddly missing from this midterm season. Why? That's next.
CAMEROTA: So, we just heard from Jane Fonda about how she's fighting climate crisis. Of course, she's always been politically active and she's not alone. Many celebrities, musicians, star athletes are championing social causes and political endorsements, but do celebrities actually move the needle?
We're back with John Berman, Bill Kristol, and Cari Champion.
OK, so here's who's out on the stump this week. Lynn Manuel Miranda is stumping with Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock, actor Paul Rudd and Dave Matthews are out for John Fetterman. UFC Champion wrestler, Henry Cejudo is turning out for Kari Lake in Arizona. There's a whole bunch of them.
Bill, can you think of a time that a celebrity has actually moved the needle for a candidate.
KRISTOL: Donald Trump got himself elected.
CAMEROTA: OK. He said he was running.
KRISTOL: No, and I -- and I think we all. I certainly, personally, I looked at his issues. I didn't like him, of course, you know, and all this. I wildly underestimated the pure celebrity side of Trump, the, you know, Apprentice and 14 seasons. Look who's running for Senate this year incidently in, not accidentally as Trump supported candidates. Dr. Oz, why is he of candidate presented in Pennsylvania? Because he's
a TV celebrity, Herschel Walker. Why is he a candidate in Georgia? Not maybe because he's the best qualified person to be senator.
CAMEROTA: And we actually have a graphic of some other celebrities. Because running as a celebrity certainly works. So here as you'll see Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzenegger, we have Jerry Springer.
BERMAN: Jerry Springer was the actually a mayor before he was a celebrity.
CAMEROTA: That's right.
BERMAN: You had that wrong.
CAMEROTA: Now, what I love about this though is Sonny Bono was actually alive during color film. Like for some reason he used a black and white photo from, I don't know what era, I guess the Sonny & Cher show.
KRISTOL: Sonny & Cher in the 50s.
CAMEROTA: But I -- exactly. We're back in the 50s. I take your point. But that's different than a celebrity endorsement.
KRISTOL: I agree. No.
CAMEROTA: So, do you, you don't think it moves in needle?
KRISTOL: No. Not much.
CHAMPION: I do. I think it not only moves the needle. It gets people involved. You mentioned LeBron, where is he? And he's been so quiet for a very long period of time. More Than a Vote, which was his inspired organization to make sure that he made sure that people were getting out to vote.
CAMEROTA: In 2020 it was huge.
CHAMPION: It was huge. I remember them working, I actually partnered with them to do a couple of different projects to make sure people were actually getting to the polls. And it mattered because what happens is, is that whether they want to be or not, they're heroes, they're idols and people do pay attention to what they're doing. And it becomes not necessarily trendy, because I don't want to say they were doing it for trend, but it brings issues awareness to a group of people that otherwise would not care.
I know there are people who work in a lot of different atmospheres that say voting doesn't matter. But if you have someone who has been able to, and this is why so many people argue about LeBron's effect. There is such a thing as the LeBron effect. He has it on and off the court.
CAMEROTA: So where is he this time around?
CHAMPION: He purposely, I believe, is not speaking because no matter what he does, no matter what he says, he's always criticized. And I think this year he wanted to really focus on as we approach this 20th year on playing ball. His family. If it takes away from that, he can't focus on that.
I do believe we'll see him when it matters. I do believe if someone he believes in says, can you explicitly get out and stump for me. He will, but he's being very particular. He's not lending out that endorsement just because, because it cost him too much. Too much peace, I believe, for his family, for his friends, for the team, and people have to have that balance.
CAMEROTA: John, can you think of a time?
BERMAN: Yes. I mean, I think the last biggest time was when Oprah came out for Obama early, and it was when she did it. Now, look, Barack Obama probably would've won --
BERMAN: -- without Oprah. But when she came out for Obama, it conferred on him. Conveyed on him this huge, huge sense of being the "it" candidate, which he carried with him to the point actually where it got to be almost too much for the campaign.
The McCain campaign ran a whole series of ads calling Obama the biggest celebrity in the world. I don't if you remember that. And it sounded just like that. So, yes, I think -- I think Oprah matter for Obama. And if, McCain had a hard time sort of fighting back against that.
BERMAN: He brought people on the trail with him. And I remember I did at piece once, it was a Good Morning America about how he had Wilford Brimley out on the campaign trail with him to support a candidate.
BERMAN: That's not a joke. It actually happened.
KRISTOL: Didn't know for come out for Obama when she was in the primary.
KRISTOL: Hillary, no, which is which straighten at your point. That was why it was so important. Here's this upstart Hillary Clinton, first woman, president.
CHAMPION: I just (Inaudible) that --
KRISTOL: Then Oprah says, I prefer Obama. That's a -- that was a big moment. I kind of think --
CHAMPION: I just feel like Obama had a star factor anyway, like, but there was something about him when he, for me, perspective wise, not even working in politics, but there was something about him that was an X factor there. You watch certain people and you pay attention and you believe them, and there is an authenticity. And yes, Oprah obviously boosted that.
CAMEROTA: And they did find that after Oprah came out for him, she did, they -- Northwestern University did a study that they believe directly linked her to voter turnout and to more donations.
BERMAN: More than that. Well, she went to Iowa.
CHAMPION: Yes, she went to the place.
KRISTOL: North Carolina.
BERMAN: You know, I mean, she went and worked for it and I think we forget because, you know, he was in power for eight years. I mean, he actually only won by a very little bit in the primaries. We just only barely inched out Hillary Clinton. So, did Oprah make that difference? Who knows? But couldn't hurt.
CAMEROTA: Wilford Brimley. Scott Baio.
BERMAN: I know. I know.
CAMEROTA: Those are two --
BERMAN: I've actually felt guilty this day that I did this piece for joking about Wilford Brimley because I think he's a wonderful --
CAMEROTA: He's a lovely man.
BERMAN: He's a lovely man. Rest in peace.
CHAMPION: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: OK. Laura, your thoughts.
COATES: On Wilford Brimley? I don't have this the moment.
COATES: I don't, but I will tell you, I mean, it's funny to think about the definition of celebrities versus where people are now, like TikTok influencers. I mean that's who's invited to the White House now. That's what they're trying to covet. The idea of who's going to have a similar influence to what traditionally, even in the years gone by, were the big name celebrities.
Now it's people that have memes. Now it's people who are running the game in terms of TikTok and social media. And so, as you know, the Biden administration tapped into that this very week trying to have their influence.
And so, it's just fascinating to think about how quickly and turned on a dime. Influence and influencers are no longer who we think of as celebrities, so to speak.
CAMEROTA: Such a, a great point.
CAMEROTA: Particularly with younger people. There's also micro influencers.
CAMEROTA: That different groups are using for like your own neighborhood, your own community, people that you trust. So, it's, you're right, the game has changed.
COATES: Micro influencers, microaggressions, I mean, the world just --
COATES: There's a microwave.
BERMAN: Very small people like I want to be a micro influencer where I only influence --
CAMEROTA: It is me.
BERMAN: -- tiny, tiny people.
CHAMPION: At least perhaps you are? We -- you never know.
CHAMPION: You never you are.
CAMEROTA: OK. Laura, sorry about that.
COATES: No. I want to hear more about the --
COATES: I want -- I want just not the toilet conversation. I'm good with that. Everything else I'm with you. But, you know, speaking of not maybe a microaggression here, but a maximum aggression, and we're talking about anti-Semitism and bigotry. We all know that he made comments and anti-Semitic comments that shocked the world, but did they shock the people closest to Kanye West?
And what should it mean for the accountability there perhaps in the conversations we're having. Because it turns out, it turns out, Alisyn, he's got a disturbing history of apparently admiring Hitler. We'll dig into it, next.
CAMEROTA: We have more revelations tonight about Ye. Formerly known as Kanye West. We're learning that he's long been fascinated by Adolf Hitler. A business executive who worked for Ye said that at the time, Kanye created a hostile work environment, in part because of his quote, "obsession with Hitler."
COATES: Now that obsession runs so deep that apparently, he'd originally wanted to title 2018 album Hitler. Now, that was later released with the title Ye. But frankly, the new revelations coming amid a slew of deeply anti-Semitic remarks from yay on multiple podcasts and TV shows. And so, you got to think, Alisyn, I mean, how many people have known, and the word enabler comes to mind in a context like this. And I wonder about the accountability factor of who knew what, when, and who profited in the meantime.
CAMEROTA: Well, it sounds like some people were so disgusted and felt that it was so oppressive. It wasn't just a fascination with Hitler. Some people have described it as an admiration for the Nazis. And so some people left. I mean, it sounds like they had to actually leave their positions as executives because it was so pronounced.
CAMEROTA: And that he has, expressed admiration for their use of propaganda and how they were able to become, the Nazis, and how they were able to become so powerful.
COATES: That's unbelieve -- I mean, it's just sounding to me, frankly, and I'm a student of history, I know you are as well, and just thinking about that, but what perhaps is even more disturbing is the collateral damage that this is happening.
I mean, you've got, he's, you know, has a school called Donda Academy. It's named for his late mother. And in one instance, you had the high school basketball team, I believe, I think it was in Louisville, who weren't allowed to participate in a tournament. They were removed from it, I think, in part because of the association with the anti-Semitic comments.
So, I mean, the collateral damage of this, in addition to the horrible ant-Semitism. I mean, this is -- this is perpetuating.
CAMEROTA: Yes. And I'm not sure that that's fair. I mean, the kids didn't say the anti-Semitic stuff. Kanye did. And so, the fact that they can't participate in a tournament, as you say, the ripple effect for the people who are hurt from these horrible anti-Semitic comments.
COATES: It really is. And we'll continue to see what happens. I suspect it's not going to end here, but the fairness aspect needs to be discussed.
Tell us what you think out there about Kanye West. Tweet us at Alisyn Camerota and at the Laura Coates and stay with us because guess what? The dueling panels are coming back.