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CNN Tonight

Control Of The Senate Could Come Down To GA Race; Federal Agents Fired Pepper Ball Projectiles At Venezuelan Protesters. Obama Did Final Campaign Pitch In Las Vegas; Panel Discusses About Being Tired Of Self-Checkout Machines. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 01, 2022 - 23:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: In case you haven't noticed, one week from tonight, polls are going to close all across the country. We will be following the votes all night long and probably the following days after that right her on CNN. Starting tonight, we are going to focus on some of the key races that are going to decide the future of this country.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, tonight, we begin with battleground Georgia. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enter is here with us. He is awake, he is alive, he is at the magic wall, he is fired up and ready to go as we can see. Okay, Harry, we love having you here, so tell us what is happening in the Georgia Senate race.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER, POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: I mean, look, look how close this is. This is the forecast for the Georgia Senate race. Herschel Walker with 49%, Raphael Warnock with 49%.

Normally, we don't include libertarian candidates, but I have here Chase Oliver at 2%. Why? Because the rules in Georgia basically stipulate that if the leading candidate does not, in fact, get a majority of the vote on election day in November, they will, in fact, be a runoff come December. And right now, the forecast suggests that neither Herschel Walker nor Raphael Warnock will, in fact, reach that majority of the vote.

I just want to point out how important Georgia is in terms of winning control of the United States Senate. If Herschel Walker wins, the Democrats' chance of retaining control of the Senate is just 26%. If Raphael Warnock wins, look at that, it jumps up to 76%. So, whoever wins Georgia has a pretty good shot of controlling the Senate overall.

And here is the only other thing I will sort of point out. The fact that Georgia is so close -- look at all of these races right now. Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada all within three points. Democrats must win probably three of these four races. And right now, it is just way too close to call.

CAMEROTA: I know this is your Super Bowl, baby. I know how excited you are about this. Okay, tell us about the Georgia governor's race. ENTEN: Yeah, so, if the Georgia Senate race is too close to call, the Georgia governor's race, not really. So, this is the forecast of the Georgia governor's race. Brian Kemp with 53%, Stacey Abrams, Democrat, just 45%. At this particular point, it looks like Kemp will get well above that 50% to avoid the runoff that would occur if he, in fact, got less than that or if Abrams and he got both less than that. So, at this point, while the Senate race looks like the governor's race, Brian kemp is the clear favorite heading into election day.

CAMEROTA: Harry Enten, thank you very much. Great to have you on the program.

ENTEN: My pleasure.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Laura, I think this calls for a dueling panel --


CAMEROTA: -- going on in Georgia.

COATES: I hear them getting excited behind you right now.

CAMEROTA: They are!

COATES: We are going to be (INAUDIBLE) soon in a moment here. We will start with you. We got five minutes on the clock. Remember --


COATES: Four minutes.


COATES: Oh, you didn't know the message? I guess she gets four minutes. I'm sorry.

CAMEROTA: All right, four minutes. Set the clock, please. I'm going to bring in S.E. Cupp, LZ Granderson, and John Avlon. I'm also going to waste some time playing this new anti-Biden ad that Stephen Miller of child separation in the border fame (ph), Trump aide, is putting out about how he believes that Biden is anti-white.


UNKNOWN (VOICE-OVER): When did racism against white people become OK? Joe Biden put white people last in line for COVID relief funds. Kamala Harris said disaster aid you go to non-white citizens first. Liberal politicians block access to medicine based on skin color. Progressive corporations, airlines, universities all openly discriminate against white Americans. Racism is always wrong. The left's anti-white bigotry must stop.


CAMEROTA: I have to read the statement from Stephen Miller's outlet called America First Legal. Our advertisements make the point that racism is always wrong - regardless of who it is targeted against. Does it? The goal of our educational advertisements that AFL is running simply informs the American people about something they all know to be true in 2022, but that major news outlets failed to report on. No one should face racial discrimination regardless of the circumstances.

S.E., he thinks that airlines and corporations discriminate against white people. His victimization, his level of victimization knows no bounds.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, this -- this kind of garbage is partly why we are here today with Paul Pelosi in the hospital, with a shortage on election workers because they are too afraid to go and do their job, with judges and public officials and lawmakers needing extra security because of death threats and threats to their family, because Trump and Republicans, some years ago, decided to tell every white man in America to be afraid of everybody else and to be angry at everybody else, and everybody else is coming for you.

And that meant the media was lying to you, minorities are coming for your jobs, women are coming to emasculate you, the deep state is coming to -- I don't know -- raid Mar-a-Lago. Whatever it was, they were coming for you, and you need to hate them. And the white male grievance machine has brought us here to very scary times.


So, that ad -- that ad is the culmination of, and I think sort of the trigger, the catalyst of so much of this awful political rhetoric and violence.

CUPP: This is running in Georgia right now. I'm so confused. Does Stephen Miller want voters to vote for Herschel Walker or would he prefer they voter for a white candidate?

LZ GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: I don't know. I just think Stephen Miller is just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. But I will say this, I don't think it is a, you know, sort of like reiteration of something. This is a continuation of something. And it's a continuation that really began since reconstruction with birth of a nation, like I am going to take it all the way back there.

The very first thing they did was set up a structure of white grievance. Black people are coming, they're coming to get you, and that message has been used over and over again in a variety of different ways. Stephen Miller is just the latest of the continuation. This is not new.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: White grievance politics and the idea that, you know, that anything -- everything is discriminated against white people, giving (INAUDIBLE), this goes back to Andrew Johnson vetoing the Civil Rights Act in 1865, 1866.

So, you know, this is Jesse Helms versus Harvey Gantt, the black hand takes away the white guy (INAUDIBLE). This is a distillation of white grievance politics we've seen. I guess, you know, kudos to actually just really distilling it that well, but this is the kind of B.S. we see all the time and it is just rug (ph) racism.

CAMEROTA: And so, but again, in Georgia, that -- who does this help?

GRANDERSON: That's what I'm saying.

AVLON: We know exactly what it is about.


AVLON: It is not -- this is not arguing intelligently against affirmative action.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Panel, thank you very much for that. Laura, fascinating, and I am sorry that Stephen Miller ate up a minute of my time.

COATES: Well, any time, but right now, I have with me today Donte Stallworth, David Safavian, and Kirsten Powers. They're all back with me right now. We will start the clock because obviously apparent right now that race is a huge part of this particular election, particularly in Georgia.

Remember this moment and reaction to what they were saying earlier. Senator Lindsey Graham had to say about Walker, the disruption of the so-called liberal narrative. Listen to this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We are a party of racists, Sean. Me and you are racists. The Republican Party is racist. What happens when the Republican Party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an African American Black Heisman trophy winner, right, Olympian? It destroys the whole narrative. They are scared to death of Herschel Walker because if Herschel Walker becomes a Republican, maybe every other young child in America of color might want to be a Republican.


COATES: Is that the fear? Is that the goal? Is that the thought here? What do you think? You're laughing.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's just a grievance, right? it's just this grievance of like oh, poor us, like people call us racist or the complaints about the anti-white racism. Anti-white racism is not a thing. That does not exist, right?

I mean, racism is systemic. It's something that is backed by power. It's institutional. There is no institutional racism. There is no power structure that is organized against white people. It just does not exist. So, this is just a story that Republicans are telling and, you know, it's not true that everybody runs around calling them racists all the time. When people do racist things, people say that. And so, I think, you know, it just feels like he is using Herschel Walker right there. You know, he just sorts of pointed to him like, look, we are going to use him to prove that we are not racists, which is also another one of these things that people say, oh, I can't be racist because my best friend is Black, or whatever it is.

Guess what? You actually can be racist and support Herschel Walker. It's a lot more complicated than that. I'm not saying you are, but the idea that he is saying like, I can't be, is ridiculous.

COATES: I hear you. What do you think? Why is this being the narrative? Is it because it's working?

DAVID SAFAVIAN, GENERAL COUNSEL, CPAC: I don't know if it's working. I mean, if you look at the polling numbers, they're neck and neck, right? It's 49-49.2. I turn around a little bit, Kirsten. I look at some of the attacks that Herschel suffered, and they are consistent with some of the attacks that we have seen on other African American conservatives.

You know, Clarence Thomas, Byron Donalds, I mean, heck, the Congressional Black Caucus is now supporting a white liberal progressive congressman from Gary, Indiana over an African American woman who happens to be a Republican.

So, you know, I think that there is a lot of race injected into all of this unnecessarily and it would be really nice if we got back on who is qualified, who is the best representative of my personal beliefs because that's who I'm going to elect.

COATES: The thing about that, though, Donte, is I think they will often argue that the reason they're not supporting is not -- because being of the same race as some of the affinity organization does not automatically qualify you or endear you. It has to be the qualifications.


DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Yeah, it does. When you look at what Herschel Walker is and what he has done throughout his life, it doesn't add up, it doesn't compare to what Raphael Warnock has done. He has dedicated his entire life. He has a lifetime of service. And so, when the GOP comes out there and says that Herschel Walker is going to be the one that young Black children look up to, it is just not true.

And I think that we have seen that throughout this entire campaign where the Black community more so identifies with Raphael Warnock, someone who has given a lifetime of service, someone who is speaking out for student debt, someone who is speaking out for health care, universal health care, all these things that most Black Americans identify with in the south. They did not identify with Herschel Walker at all.

COATES: I wonder if it comes down to the idea of -- the assumption that as long as you put a Black candidate up, you will assume that you have a particular demographic that will follow. It's not a field of dreams. If you build it, they don't obviously just necessarily vote.


COATES: Kevin Costner reference -- boom.


CAMEROTA: Laura, wow! The timing is impeccable. But also, your panel was so provocative that our panel wanted in. Do you have some Herschel Walker?


COATES: These aren't the rules.


CAMEROTA: I'm inventing new rules. New rules. Go.

COATES: Is (INAUDIBLE) James Earl Jones? No. I know the "Field of Dreams" reference. It ends there fine.

CAMEROTA: Okay, thank you. (INAUDIBLE). Go.

GRANDERSON: I would just simply say when it comes to Herschel Walker is that his positioning right now is the epitome of racism to me.


GRANDERSON: Because he is clearly not qualified for this position. And yes, they did just prop up anyone that they could control because they know once they have him in place, he is going to vote where they want him to, and he won't represent where he is coming from.

AVLON: That is actually literally the argument that is being made. Well, maybe he did pay for some abortions, but we know he will vote along Mitch McConnell.


AVLON: That is the argument that is being made. So, if the argument is let's get past race -- by the way, we should have much more racial diversity between the two parties, but if the argument is that we got to get past that and focus on qualifications, you're just telling on yourself.

CAMEROTA: Okay. I told you, it was worth it.

COATES: Okay. Wonderful. I love it. All of it is a perfect conversation and a conversation we will keep having. Guess what, Alisyn, we have seven days to go.

CAMEROTA: I am glad that you are keeping tabs because I've no idea what day it is. But we do want to know what you all think about the Georgia race and whether it will actually decide control of the Senate. You can tweet us at the @thelauracoates and @alisyncamerota. We'll be right back.




CAMEROTA: We have some new video tonight that shows federal agents firing pepper ball projectiles to push Venezuelan migrants back into Mexico. This was at the southern border near El Paso, Texas on Monday.

That's where officials say several migrants became combative with at least one throwing a rock, injuring an agent. Another reportedly assaulting an agent with a flagpole.

So, let's talk about the border situation and what's really happening. We're back with S.E. Cupp, CNN political commentator. Maria Cardona is joining us. We have John Avlon here as well. John, are enough Democrats talking about what's happening at the border? Republicans are talking about it every day. But why aren't Democrats talking about this?

AVLON: Democrats should be playing offense on the border, offense when it comes to immigration, offense when it comes to crime. I mean, there's no reason to see these issues. This whole fiction that Democrats are in favor of open borders is total B.S. There's a lot of ways to measure that, one of which is, you know, there are a record of high number of apprehensions to the border last year. I want to stress the word apprehension. That implies enforcement.

It is not working. The border is a mess. But Democrats should be trying to own it and say that, you know what, we want to pass a bipartisan comprehension for comprehensive reform. And, you're not probably going to get that from folks on the far-right. But they're not, and that's a big mistake.

CAMEROTA: I don't care why they're not doing that, Maria.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They should be talking about it more. And, in fact, when Republicans bring it up as a point of criticizing Democrats, they are talking about in, because, John, you're absolutely right, the history is that Democrats have always been the one that have offered comprehensive immigration reform. And, in the last 10 years, it has been Republicans, the ones who have completely shut the door.

In 2013, it was John Boehner who famously told Barack Obama, I am not going to bring this up on the floor because I cannot have this pass with majority Democratic votes.

In 2017, if you all remember, Donald Trump had the opportunity to be a transformational president on comprehensive immigration reform. He was looking at a deal where he would legalize millions of undocumented immigrants that were here in exchange for billions, billions, 25 billion to be exact that Chuck Schumer offered him for that deal. Let him get involved, you guys were talking about him earlier, Stephen Miller. He said, absolutely not. So, twice, shut the door, it was Republicans. Democrats have always been at the table to get this done, and that's what we need to do.

CAMEROTA: And yet, the narrative, as you well know and maybe you have something to say about this, is that, you know, Democrats do not care about the border. You know, Vice President Kamala Harris who is tasked with it, you know, Republicans paint her as being sort of slip of the switch.

CUPP: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: And so, what's going wrong here?

CUPP: I think that immigration has become too valuable a wedge issue for both parties to actually solve it. There's not a reason that we cannot solve immigration problems. But, look, closed borders and kids in cages? That is not a policy solution nor sanctuary cities. That is not a policy solution either.

And instead, both sides really, I think, use immigration to fearmonger, make people afraid, and it keeps these problems. What we saw is heartbreaking. You can't assault border cops.


And it's heartbreaking that these people are fleeing awful circumstances and being thrown back into Mexico. This is heartbreaking all around. And I wish --

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm not sure -- I hear what you're saying about it being a very handy bogeyman for election years for sure. But how does it benefit Democrats?

CUPP: Oh, because then they get to say that the republicans are, you know, going to jail migrants, send them home --

CAMEROTA: Except --

CUPP: Al things Republicans have done. But, listen, you know, the back and forth, it's very much to me like the gun debate. The back and forth that you're this, you're awful, your murderer, you're for this, you're for that, you want to break the Constitution, it gets us nowhere. And I have seen that because I've covered this for as long as you have. I have seen this kind of argument happen over and over again.

CARDONA: Except for, I would say, we can't really both sides of this because Democrats, we are on the verge of doing this. They were looking at the Republicans. There were eight Republicans in the Senate who are ready to pass this in 2013 and they did.

AVLON: They did! They did!

CAMEROTA: Right. CARDONA: And some of those same ones are in Congress right now and there is no way in hell we would do this today. So, it is not both parties, S.E. And in fact --

CUPP: Well --

CARDONA: -- Democrats would love to solve this.

CUPP: I'm not both siding, but the Democrats throwing wrenches into --quote-unquote -- "comprehensive immigration reform" in order to make it impossible for Republicans --

CARDONA: But we were right there! We were right there!

CUPP: -- is a thing, too, that Democrats have done.

CARDONA: That wasn't an impossibility for Republicans --

CUPP: Obviously --

CARDONA: John Boehner said no. It was completely political.

AVLON: Definitionally, to get any kind of comprehensive immigration reform, you're not going to get the far-left, you're not going to get the far-right, and that's more than fine.

You know what? You're going to have to do a lot more money for border security, you have to finish Trump's wall perhaps, and you're going to find a way to legalize the undocumented in this country and get a pathway to citizenship, but also work visas.

CUPP: That's right.

CARDONA: Legal status, right? It's what most immigrants want.

AVLON: George W. Bush tried to pack this and he got attacked from the right. And, you know, let's not forget that piece of this puzzle, too.

CUPP: Yes.

CARDONA: And sanctuary cities, by the way, has never for Democrats been a solution. It has been something that has been necessary because immigrants have been attacked so horrifically in so many of these places that they had to come up with something so that they could actually --

CUPP: But it hasn't been temporary. There has been a long time to solve this.

CARDONA: Wall, it has to be solved, S.E. They will exist.

CUPP: That was exactly my point.

CARDONA: They will exist, and so --

CUPP: We've lived with these non-solution solutions.

CAMEROTA: Hold on, I just want to follow up with something you said, John. The wall. That's interesting. It is interesting to think about how you might have to finish Trump's wall because it has been demonized, as you know, by the Democrats who at one time actually, you know, decades ago thought that that might be a solution.

AVLON: Well, Democrats referred to more border security for sure.


AVLON: But, yeah, if you want to really in good faith pass a comprehensive immigration reform, you're going to have to give something to Republicans that gives them cover. And by the way --

CARDONA: Twenty-five billion dollars in security.

AVLON: But the symbolism of the wall is powerful to some folks, fine. The important thing is we need to stop demagoguing this issue and start dealing with this.

CAMEROTA: Exactly right.

AVLON: And that's going to mean both sides are going to give and the far-left and the far-right aren't going to like it, that's fine.

CAMEROTA: But John, you agree with S.E. that for the Republicans, and she is saying also the Democrats, it's too handy of an election wedge issue.

AVLON: It can be.

CARDONA: No. I have to say, Alisyn, for Democrats, it's not. This is an issue that is personal to me. As an immigrant, I understand, I know these people that are desperate and that are coming over, fleeing fascism, by the way --


CARDONA: I mean, the Venezuelans --


AVLON: Absolutely right.

CARDONA: -- are people that Republicans should want to embrace and come over here and nurture.

AVLON: Refugee status.

CARDONA: Refugee status. Asylum. But this is part, frankly, of the ultra-extremist MAGA faction of the Republican Party that has said absolutely no more immigrants or migrants.

CAMEROTA: It's a cultural war now.

CARDONA: Thanks to Stephen Miller. AVLON: It is. First of all, God bless people fleeing Maduro's regime or (INAUDIBLE) regime. These are major problems that are filling this. But also, if you're coming here for refugee status you deserve, don't attack the border patrol with foreign flag, for God sake. It's ridiculous.

CAMEROTA: Yes, obviously. Okay, Laura?

COATES: You know, it's pretty incredible to think about where you are, Alisyn, in the conversation. I'm seeing you're listening and thinking about these notions. Immigration, this is such a lightning rod conversation and one in which I think will be the evergreen conversation in the ballot box.

In fact, Jim Jordan, the congressman from Ohio, was talking about this. I asked him the question of, look, what if Republicans are the ones to get the majority? What's the plan to address these issues? Here's his response.


COATES: So, how do you intend, as a Republican, if you're a majority, to -- you call it a totally open border, which, you know, you have to agree is a hyperbole, but how do you intend to curve illegal immigration?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): What would you call 2.3 million people who have come into our country?


The half a million -- quote -- "known got-aways" is the term of our use by Homeland Security, and then all the people we don't know about. What would you call that if that's not just open? What would you say -- how is that not going from a secure border to no border?

COATES: But you attribute it exclusively to the Biden administration.

JORDAN: That we actually have a secure border but yet Mayorkas will stand -- he'll sit in front of our committee and say the border is secure. You just want to laugh at the guy. The border security and you can't answer a question about the status on the people on the terrorist watch list?

So, well, the answer is to go back to the policies that were working, but the left can't do that because, no, no, no, those were Trump policies, those were conservative policies. Those were commonsense policies that the country actually wanted. But no, so the left can't go back to that. And that is why we're again in this ridiculous situation.


COATES: I mean, Alisyn, for anyone who tells you that the Trump shadow is not still looming on these issues and there's always a notion of -- your panel was talking about the whataboutism and what's happening. I mean, this is the conversation that people are really happening about open borders, about who was able to curve it best, about the crisis and the non-crisis. This is what people are talking about.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, as our panel was just noting, you know, Congressman Jim Jordan is a little slippery. You had a great question for him and everybody was all ears. And he says like, let's go back to the policies. But he conveniently doesn't spell out what those policies are.

CARDONA: It's the cages, is that what he wants to go back to?

AVLON: But, yeah, exactly. I mean, first of all, you need comprehensive immigration reform to get this done. But actually, ironically, part of the thing that the Biden team has reluctantly (INAUDIBLE) Title 42 has actually -- let us just walk out on everybody for a second -- that has led to a high degree of recidivism across the border because people are not processed. So, actually, it's part of the Trump policies that are currently in place that are leading to the recidivism across the border.


COATES: Look, I'm going to tell you something. I want my panel to weigh in because we are chomping at the bit over here and going, we want, we want in, and we're going to come back.

CAMEROTA: I know that feeling.

COATES: You know what? You have feeling. I know what's coming right now. We're going to talk about this with our panel as well in just a moment. And, by the way, President Obama was also speaking. We're going to talk a little bit about what he had to say as well on the other side of the break, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: We'll be right back.





BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remember, you know, when I had a test in math. Sometimes, I didn't study hard enough. I stayed up too late the night before and it would be nice if you could just write down eight for every answer. You know, just have the same answer over and over again. Except, you know what? That's the wrong answer.

And the republican policies, they're not going to help you. But that is why Democrats actually have plans to take on drug companies to lower prices, to get the oil industry to clean up its act, to pass laws to make housing more affordable, to make sure big corporations are creating jobs instead of overseas. They got a plan. That is the choice in this election. That is what this is about.


COATES: Margaret Talev, David Safavian, and Kirsten Powers are all back with me. That is the choice that many are presenting. The idea of those who have the opportunities to plan and those who have the chance to criticize. When you look at this, is that what you're seeing as the choice? Is it actually happening to the American people?

SAFAVIAN: You know, I look at that, I look at Obama up there, and the person I feel most hurtful (ph) is Joe Biden, because he pales -- he pales by comparison. You know, the fact that Biden is not there, Obama is, that tells you a little bit more about the White House and how this White House is shrinking, and what its internal polls look like.

You, know I come back to Obama and he's -- I got to say, he is a likable guy. I see him on screen. I want to go and have a beer with until he starts attacking Republicans, and then I start backing off. But he's an incredibly effective communicator, and I think that he highlights just all of those challenges that Biden and the Biden White House are dealing with.

COATES: Is the criticism justified, Kirsten?

POWERS: Which one?

COATES: Republicans and the failure and absence of a plan?

POWERS: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the Republicans have been very, very good at fearmongering, right? About saying, here are the things that are wrong. A lot of the things are legitimately wrong. Some of them, they're exaggerating, but they are focusing on things that are scaring people.

But Obama is right. They're not telling you that they're going to do anything different. It's not like they're going to solve that problem. They're just basically (INAUDIBLE) every problem in the world on Joe Biden, whether it's his fault or not, right?

I mean, you can't really blame Joe Biden for inflation, right? It's not something that just happened because of something Joe Biden did. It happened for a lot of different reasons. He's the president, he'll be held accountable for it.

But I think what Democrats are starting to argue, and I think Obama is good at arguing, is basically, what are Republicans going to do about it? Because that's not really what they talk about. They just attack Democrats.

SAFAVIAN: But let's just take a quick timeout here because Democrats control, you know, the White House, the Senate and the House. They drove all of the inflation drive and legislation over the last two years.

POWERS: Well, that's debatable. I mean, it's debatable but it's not -- SAFAVIAN: It's not debatable.

POWERS: But that's not -- if you were to go back to look at what economists say caused inflation, it's not just a bill that was passed by Democrats.


SAFAVIAN: You can ask Larry Summers who came back --

POWERS: I don't think Larry Summers would say that one bill is responsible entirely for inflation. I think that he would probably say that there are other things that contributed to it like supply chain issues, the fact that they had a global pandemic, and all of these other things, right?

So, yes, there's plenty of criticism to go around, but what I'm saying is that it is not something that if the Republicans were there that they're able to snap their fingers and fix.

COATES: Well, the point that you're going make probably, too, is the point of the midterms, the point of the talking point is to be reductive, right? The idea of trying to condemn and synthesize in a way that is eliciting, evoking a visceral reaction, and that is part of what is happening.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The midterms are a test for the party in power, and democrats, by the thinnest of margins, are the party in power through a global pandemic that is driven in ways and major entrenched economic policies, and all of those right now were overpowering what Democrats were hoping could be a debate about women's rights or reproductive rights, democracy or any of these other things.

Every time you fill up the gas pump, you're faced with the implications of this. Every time you pay your grocery bills, you're facing the implications of this. And whether or not it's Democrats' fault or whether or not it would happen to a Republican president and marginally Republican-led Congress, it doesn't matter because right now, it's a referendum on the party in power. So, that is where we are.

But I think, when you are -- when you are making the closing arguments for the Democratic Party, you're trying to do two things, and one is that you're trying to convince persuadable voters that they should care more about certain issues and less about other issues.

And then, you also try to turn out your base. You know, you try to turn out people who may believe very strongly in the Democrat's case that the Democrats are the better representatives of them but may feel deflated, unenthusiastic, feel that it's already, you know, over.

And so, it is two different groups that you're trying to turn out. Obama, to your point, is a very effective communicator.

COATES: Well, I want to hear him one more time because he actually is speaking about an issue, and I appreciate the civility of this conversation. He actually addresses the idea of the rhetoric, and it's not what's happening at this table.


OBAMA: And then you've got this erosion of just basic stability and democratic norms. You've got politicians who, instead of wanting to bring people together, do their best disturb the vision and make us angry and afraid of one another. All for their own advantages.

And all of this gets amped up. It gets hyped up 24/7 on social media because they find it more profitable to stir controversy and conflict than to lift up the truth and facts.


COATES: I mean, this idea of divisive rhetoric and what's happening, I mean, there is a lot of truth to the idea that there is something, there is some form of an appetite for the rhetoric, and it's being exploited. Who, though, is the question that people are asking at the polls. Who is to blame for that incitement?

SAFAVIAN: Everyone. Everyone is to blame for that incitement. I mean, I don't know about you, but when I surf on social media, I have to check myself because I'm always looking for things that reinforce my own obvious, right? And then we all get into that feedback loop and the next thing, you know, we think our neighbors are antichrist.

But, at the end of the day, it is a little bit hard to swallow that the White House has cleaned hands here when you look at, you know, just what was it, two months ago? Joe Biden marched out in front of that big backdrop and was basically beating the snot out of MAGA Republicans for a guy that campaigned as being the great uniter. It's a little hard to swallow.

COATES: What do you think?

POWERS: Well, I don't -- I mean, I have to say that Joe Biden, as far as politicians go, ranks pretty high on the civility test. You know, he's somebody who does speak kindly about people in the other party. It's something that he ran on. I think that in order to unite a country, you have to have people who want to unite. And I'm not sure if there are really people who are buying what he's selling.

And criticizing, you know, MAGA Republicans is not criticizing all Republicans. I mean, there are lots of Republicans who don't necessarily agree with that. I think that there are some highly problematic things that have happened.

I think -- you know, I think that Donald Trump, I guess you would disagree with me, has played an outsized role in kind of creating this more divisive environment in the way that he spoke as president and sort of -- I know there are a lot of people that follow his lead.

But I also think that you are right, that we are all responsible for what we do. We can't use that as an excuse, right? We can't say that because somebody does something that it's okay for us to behave that way.

COATES: Well, I've been wanting to see, Alisyn, what former President Obama had to say about this vicious, brutal attack on the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi's husband.


And he actually -- he weighed in on this point tonight, speaking about civility (ph) and the rhetoric and the consequences. Listen to this.


OBAMA: A friend of mine, Mr. Paul Pelosi, was attacked viciously. Somebody broke into his home, looking for his wife, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. And thankfully, I spoke to Paul a couple of days ago. He's going to be okay.


OBAMA: But even as investigators do their job to find out what exactly motivated this person, one thing is clear, this increasing habit of demonizing political opponents creates a dangerous climate.

And elected officials who did not explicitly reject or participate in over the top rhetoric, if that's what they're doing, if they just ignore or make light of that kind of violence, or if they encourage their supporters to stand outside of voting places, armed with guns and dressed in tactical gear, if that is the environment that we create, more people are going to get hurt.


COATES: Alisyn, obviously, if we are repeating, he mentioned it on Friday, talking about it again today, because we know this is a perpetual motion, unfortunately, the idea of the consequences of this rhetoric.

CAMEROTA: I also heard him say something interesting there. He said we. He said we a lot. I think that that's a device that you use when you're trying to unite as opposed to saying they, they, they always do this. I think he was just saying if that's the climate we are creating. And so, I just think even in that little way, there is a way to not demonize and put somebody into that other category.

COATES: The great order, many say, for those very reason. Those were devices to acknowledge the all in together. But will it actually be appreciated by the electorate in the endgame? How many days from now, Alisyn? Seven days away.

CAMEROTA: Still, okay.


CAMEROTA: But now, I think you're really going to enjoy this next segment, because I know it is something you and I have bonded over, and I think every human being has some frustration. We are about to talk about it because from grocery stores to pharmacies to airports, we are all doing our own check out. Why? Whatever happened to humans? I miss humans.


CAMEROTA: Our panel has a lot to say about this, next.

COATES: Oh, my gosh.




CAMEROTA: Have you gone into a supermarket or drugstore lately, Laura?


CAMEROTA: If so, you have probably been asked to scan your own items at the self-checkout.


CAMEROTA: And if you're like me, that makes you want to run screaming out of the store.

COATES: Yeah, well, how about when that machine actually stopped scanning your items, and then they come over to help you? It also makes you want to scream. That happened to me this morning.

CAMEROTA: Indeed, it does. And what about when you're checking your bags at an airport? Wouldn't it help to talk to a human? To put it plainly, I miss humans.


COATES: I've actually got that little sticker stuck on my clothing before going on a flight. It's a whole mess. But if all of this sounds like you out there, well, guess what? You're not alone.

"Washington Post" columnist Rick Reilly is out with a piece today titled, "Dear grocery store owners, I don't work for you!"

CAMEROTA: He says, why do I have to ring up my own groceries? What do I have to bag my own groceries? Why do I have to get yelled at by the robo-nagger? "Please put the item in the bagging area." Hey, I'm trying, but the "bagging area" isn't big enough to fit a roll of Life Savers.


CAMEROTA: I want to bring back my panel, S.E. Cupp, Maria Cardona and John Avlon, who have all had this experience. I was at a McDonald's last week and I had to ring up my own order on this keyboard. First of all, this is fast food. It doubled the time of me spending the time. And it's McDonald's.

CUPP: You're not trained in this.

CAMEROTA: I'm not trained.

CUPP: I'm not trained either.


CUPP: And I just -- why is this concept never anywhere like useful, like the DMV. I'd love to check myself out at the DMV or somewhere fun like the bar. Can I just get behind there? I'll make it myself. Believe me.

CAMEROTA: Great idea.

CUPP: I mean, that would actually be okay.

CAMEROTA: Maria, I am not trying to steal stuff, but I am stealing stuff inadvertently because when I know the thing is working, if it is actually registering it, and I'm just putting in my bag, (INAUDIBLE).

CARDONA: Exactly, and then the robo-nagger comes on and -- it is not only please put the item in the bagging area, but it's double check the item. And so, you're right, maybe it's in there, maybe it's not. How many bags are you using? You gave me tiny bags, maybe zero.

CAMEROTA: I'm sure they're losing money on this.

AVLON: Well, look, it is certainly done in the name of efficiency and also, obviously, decreasing the number of people they have to employ, but it's not more efficient for the customers. And that's the point of Rick Reilly. This is a great humor call, right?

CARDONA: Well, it's what we were all thinking.

AVLON: Totally. And he said this very line, it is like, I don't work at grocery store.


AVLON: Apparently, I worked at American Airlines, too, CVS, Target. I'm checking myself out more than a seventh-grade girl on TikTok.


CARDONA: Well, I wonder if it's generational because my kids love it.

CAMEROTA: They do?


AVLON: Really? Love it? That's a big word for this.

CARDONA: In fact, when I'm like in the middle of it, trying to figure it out, they are like, mama, and they grab it and they do it faster.

CAMEROTA: Oh, that's their way.

CARDONA: I know. Exactly.

CAMEROTA: I'm trying to bring humans back. That's what I want.

CARDONA: It's technology.

CAMEROTA: All right, it's time for all of you to sound off. We will read your tweets, next.


COATES: All right, time to sound off. Let's see what you are saying out there tonight. This one on self-checkouts from Paul White. Shouldn't we get an employee discount for self-checkout?


CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, Laura. This one also on the same thing. The self- checkout lines take longer, because nobody knows what to do. I agree with you, I miss humans. Thank you.

COATES: There you go. Here we go, also in self-checkouts, it's a very popular one, from Sara Manson. I don't use self-checkout. These machines have replaced cashiers who don't make much money as it is. I'd rather have a human cashier bag my purchase, and get paid to do so.

CAMEROTA: Me, too. We are all in agreement. I mean, I hope that CVS and Walgreens and Albertsons and everybody who is listening, everybody is unanimous. We want to deal with human beings.

COATES: Until we don't.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

COATES: Of course, you know where to find us, two human beings, everyone else, @alisyncamerota and @thelauracoates.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for watching, everybody.

COATES: Our coverage continues.