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CNN Live Event/Special
Youngkin Leads in Virginia; Ciattarelli Leads in New Jersey. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired November 03, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The two Republican candidates that were on the ballot this evening.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Where do you want to start?
TAPPER: Let's go to New Jersey. It's more of a shocker.
KING: It is a shocker but we're not done here. Virginia, we'll get to in a minute. It is hard to go around the state, even though Democrat Terry McAuliffe has not conceded, it's hard to go through the state and make a case that he can come back. If we look at this, I'll show you the path.
TAPPER: So Ciattarelli is up by 23,000 votes.
KING: Look at that, 73 percent of the estimated reporting. It's an estimate. It's an off-year election. But the answer is, yes.
You ask why?
Let's just start right here. Passaic County, New Jersey, less than half the vote in, a place where Governor Murphy is winning. But you come down here, 72 percent. You think that's most of the vote in Essex County. But it's the third largest county. Nearly 30 percent of the vote out and you see the big margin there.
So if Phil Murphy's margin continues, the big chunk of change, he could make that up there. And 25 percent, in Hudson County, look at the margin. So if you go back to 2020, you remember Trump was ahead in Pennsylvania. But we were still waiting for some of the votes in Philadelphia.
Or you go to Georgia, where the counties around Atlanta. You see a big number like that, 25 percent of the vote still out, there's still a lot of votes to be made up for Phil Murphy.
Union County, only 19 percent left. But 61 percent to 38 percent, with more votes to come in.
So you could come out statewide and look at this map and say, 23,000 votes, is it plausible?
Yes, it is more than plausible.
TAPPER: Just do the math for me; 2 million votes have been counted. That's 73 percent.
So what does that mean, about 700,000 votes still out there?
KING: Somewhere in that ballpark.
TAPPER: And mostly in blue leaning counties.
KING: These are reliably Republican counties and you're at 95 percent and at 90 percent here. And you come over here, 62 percent. So a little bit here. The surprises have been down here, not a surprise maybe historically in New Jersey but in the last couple of elections, Phil Murphy won this county last time, 91 percent.
So it's possible Jack Ciattarelli picks up a little there. But they're closer here. So there are more votes to come in and by no means is it guaranteed that Phil Murphy can come up.
But you can look in these populous counties up here. Even in Bergen County, you still have 30 percent of the vote out here. If Ciattarelli stays on top, obviously he's adding as more comes in. But the Murphy campaign, they're saying, keeping an eye on this with 30 percent of the vote still out. They think this can perhaps flip. We'll see if that's true.
What campaigns say, sometimes it's true, sometimes it's not. But again, half of the vote still to come in here, in a place where -- what is that, 5,000 votes, a little shy of that. So it's possible you pick some up there. But then the larger counties, where there is still -- with 28 percent of the vote still out, you can do it right here.
TAPPER: Phil Murphy, the Democratic incumbent down by 22,000 votes.
TAPPER: He could make that up just in Essex County.
So what you're saying basically is, there is a plausible path to the governor's mansion for either of these candidates right now?
KING: Yes, a very strong performance by the Republican candidate right now. Some more votes to come in. But I can give you a plausible scenario for either to win. But I can give you a quite plausible scenario for the Democrat to come back here.
I cannot do the same if we move down here. It just gets very hard. I was just showing you those big Democratic counties.
KING: We're cautious here. But to the point, remember, I was just showing you counties where you had 20 percent of the vote still to be counted. You can't find that here.
TAPPER: But it's a deficit of 100,000 votes --
TAPPER: -- and how many votes are outstanding?
KING: This is about what was estimated, about 3 million votes.
TAPPER: By the way, whatever you feel about the results of this race, more than 3 million Virginians voted today. That is to be celebrated. Participatory democracy depends on people participating.
KING: Amen. You're adding voters. We added voters in the last presidential election, we want people to participate.
TAPPER: To be celebrated is all I'm saying.
So this is 3.1 million with 95 percent in.
How many votes we're still waiting for?
KING: You might have 20,000 votes here in Fairfax County, which is the largest county in Virginia in terms of population center. So you might have 20,000 votes, a little shy of that.
But how do you make up 96,000 when, maybe in the largest county, there might be 20,000 still out?
You move over here where it's more competitive; there's a little out but not very much. The difference between your Virginia and New Jersey, look at the blue places in Virginia and most of the vote is in. In New Jersey, still a lot of places Democrats can still make up ground.
TAPPER: All right, John King.
Dana Bash, this is one of the great things about Election Nights is, as I said earlier, polls and pundits can predict what they want and then the voters get their say. Right now, we still don't know what's going to happen.
If you look -- it's tightening even more in New Jersey, 49.9 percent for Ciattarelli versus 49.3 percent for Murphy, 11,000 vote lead for ciatt. There's a plausible path to the mansion for either candidate right now.
And who knows? We'll see what the voters have to say. But generally speaking, if I'm Joe Biden, I'm not feeling good tonight.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not. Anecdotally, I was in northern Virginia, Alexandria, on Saturday, 7:30 in the morning, this past Saturday, Jake. And it was for a Youngkin event and it was packed. The streets were overflowing with people.
And this was an area where Joe Biden won by 80 percent, 8-0, a year ago and it wasn't --
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He won 80 percent of the vote.
BASH: -- 80 percent of the vote in this area of Alexandria, Virginia, one year ago.
So did that mean that that was going to be determinative?
No. But I have been to enough events like that, as have you, where you feel what George H.W. Bush used to call the big mo, you feel the momentum. That was a suburb -- and, David, you were talking about that, talking about the northern Virginia suburbs, Bergen County and the other suburbs around New York City in New Jersey.
And they have a lot in common that are sort of a telltale sign.
CHALIAN: Dana, as you guys know, the battle in American politics, like in electoral politics, has been the battle over America's suburbs. That's the period of American politics we're in.
And that's sort of the swing areas that we look at and a lot of critical contests. That is what New Jersey and Virginia have in common. They are big suburban states. There are lots and lots of suburban vote in these states.
And what we saw in Virginia in the exit polls tonight is that Youngkin won the suburbs -- by the way, we say 60 percent of the vote was from the suburbs; it's categorized -- by 6 points. Just a year ago, also they made up 60 percent of the vote. Joe Biden won the suburbs by 8 points.
That is a 14-point swing in the opposite direction. That's the story of what we're seeing tonight in these two states.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is also a story about race, right?
We talk about the suburbs, about 70 percent white. If you see a lot of these voters who have switched sides, some of the data is suggesting that this is white women, who are swinging back and forth.
So I think what we know about white, college-educated voters in the suburbs is that they are susceptible -- add economic issues of course but also some of these cultural issues as well and you don't have a party in the Democratic Party that has a coalition that is easy to keep together, because it's white, college-educated voters, it's Black voters of all socioeconomic backgrounds; young voters, Latino voters and AAPI voters. That is an unwieldy coalition.
And it's hard to target a message to all those voters who don't worship together by and large. They don't live together. They often don't send their kids to the same schools, either. And so finding one message that is going to bring those voters out consistently is incredibly hard for Democrats.
We see a failure tonight in some of these races to do that. Again, we don't know what's going to happen. But it looks like this is a big problem for the Democrats.
CHALIAN: I would add, a broad ideological spectrum even within the Democratic Party, as well.
TAPPER: One other thing I'm hearing from moderate Democratic lawmakers this evening, who are obviously panicked.
TAPPER: They are the ones most likely to feel the effects of this anti-Democratic wind if it continues to blow next year. One of the things I'm hearing is that their voters -- and don't shoot the messenger, I'm passing on what I'm hearing from somebody talking about what their voters feel -- their voters feel looked down upon.
I'm not talking about Republican voters feeling like they're being looked down upon; I'm talking about moderate to conservative Democrats, feeling like they're looked down upon by pundits, progressives, by other people, who say that -- who, if they express a feeling that maybe the schools should open, even if the teachers don't want them to, maybe teachers should listen to parents more often when it comes to what they're hearing.
This is from a Virginian. Maybe Joe Manchin has a point when he says $1.5 trillion or $1.7 trillion is a lot of money, let's take our time with it. They think that makes sense to me. And they don't want to be insulted by progressives, called whatever names for that.
BASH: Yes, I think that's a lot of it. And I'm hearing similar things from Democrats, who are probably among the most worried. It's that and there's no question race is a component -- it's always a component. That's the reality. But it's -- right now, in this day and age, it is also a COVID hangover.
It is the -- in the suburbs that David was talking about, it is the school board meetings, that we have seen in a lot of these places, where parents are just angry and fed up and exhausted about school closures, about, you know, a lot of them don't want their kids to wear masks. That's a debate that's going on.
But it is causing so much angst and frustration and anger with incumbents, with people who are in charge.
In Virginia, Terry McAuliffe was, for all intents and purposes, an incumbent. One of the things that was so fascinating that Glenn Youngkin did, when I saw him on the stump, on the issue of, you know, the culture wars.
Yes, he did the red meat to -- which Terry McAuliffe called a dog whistle about critical race theory. But before he did that, he also said, look, there is a broad, complicated history in Virginia. There is good history and there is bad history. And we should teach it all in Virginia.
That is an appeal to people, who consider themselves, you know, kind of independent-minded parents. But then he went to the next step and said but we -- he had the --
BASH: But the broader message was, I understand that there are people who are extremely frustrated; the history of their culture has not been taught. But I also understand that the culture is moving so quickly, that people are very, very concerned about it in a lot of corners.
And the biggest corners where that is true is the suburbs. And that's where the voters are.
HENDERSON: White voters do have anxiety about a changing America, that it is Blacker, it is Browner. People who always didn't have a say in what their children should read are now having a say.
I told you, I went to school for 12 years in a Black town in South Carolina, in a Black school and I had one book assigned by an African American author, that was "Invisible Man" in the 12th grade. But things are changing now and it is causing some anxiety among white people.
And that is to be expected, right?
And it's sort of normal and it speaks to the history of this country. And Democrats don't really know how to do it, to figure that out. And they also don't have a way to speak to Black voters consistently.
Some of the Black pollsters and strategists I've been talking to are blaming Terry McAuliffe for not engaging Black voters early and often and enough. And that's often what you hear from Democratic strategists, complaining about the Democratic Party.
You've got this base of African American voters, that you don't know how to consistently court and deliver to. And then you've got this other issue of white swing voters, who are moved by some of these very potent cultural issues.
TAPPER: I think one of the points that we were talking about earlier is -- and you can credit him or blame him -- Glenn Youngkin didn't call for the banning of Toni Morrison's "Beloved." What he did was, there is a woman in Virginia, who was uncomfortable with the book.
TAPPER: Because her son, who we should note was a senior in A.P. literature, read it. And she thought it was too salacious or too sexual. It didn't necessarily have to do with race, based on the contemporary coverage I read about it, I think in 2011 or something like that.
And what Glenn Youngkin did was feature this woman in an ad, talking about how her son brought this book home and it was shocking. And Terry McAuliffe doesn't even want parents to have a say in what their kids read.
Now Glenn Youngkin -- she didn't mention the book or that her son was a senior in A.P. literature. But it was an ad and obviously the media covered, this is what the book was, it was a Pulitzer Prize winning book by Toni Morrison and it was about slavery and an incredibly important book.
The woman in the ad was in favor of at least temporarily banning the book, at least temporarily. Glenn Youngkin is not in favor of banning "Beloved," according to his campaign.
But there was -- it's politics. And an interpretation by Van Jones, by you, by lots of people, that this was a wink and a nod -- and he was trying to have it both ways, featuring somebody who wanted to ban a book without mentioning that she wanted to ban a book, without mentioning the kid was 17 or 18 years old, et cetera, et cetera.
Terry McAuliffe returned to his dog whistle politics --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racist, he used the word racist.
TAPPER: Yes, et cetera.
And the question is, where are the lines here?
You're certainly identifying something going on in American politics, which is the fact that the demographics are changing and people feel uncomfortable with it. Glenn Youngkin was not calling for banning Toni Morrison's book. But he was using a woman who wanted to at least temporarily ban the book.
Does it make it better or worse, does it make it deft?
Does it make it cynical?
HENDERSON: I think it makes it deft. He can have the dog whistle but sort of pretend not to. I think this is sort of the lesson of this campaign.
If you think about Ed Gillespie, he tries to go into some of these cultural issues too, ran ads about MS-13, killers are going to take over the suburbs.
HENDERSON: This was a bullhorn. But Glenn Youngkin played the race card for a reason, because he knows it works on certain white voters. White, college-educated voters, as well as white rural voters have anxiety about the changing demographics of this country.
Even if you think about the history of the suburbs, part of the history of the suburbs is about white anxiety, white flight. Schools are incredibly contested sites around racial issues. So of course, he's going to play this card that he's been dealt in this campaign. Certainly didn't help that Terry McAuliffe walked right into it.
BASH: It's race, it's gender issues.
HENDERSON: It's changing.
BASH: It's major change in a way that it's generational, that the younger generation, our kids and I think kids across the country don't see it the same way as their parents do. But that's the history of this country. That always happens. There were parents who wouldn't let their kids listen to Elvis. That's what happens.
HENDERSON: Swiveling hips --
CHALIAN: The education issues, to get your point about Youngkin, where it worked is because it was dual tracked, right?
The critical race theory was all about -- if you ask their campaign -- that was base motivator. That was keeping the Trump base enthused while keeping at arm's length with Trump. That's the critical race theory.
But they also understood that the education piece of parental rights and having a say in your kids' education and being concerned about what is being targeted or not, that could have a more independent appeal and appeal maybe some of those voters, who were in the middle and did not like Trump, drifted to the Democratic Party, get some of them back.
So by doing this education piece, he got to do both simultaneously, which, just from a pure politics, as you say deft, that's how you build a majority. Base plus try to win back some folks that drifted the other way.
TAPPER: I agree. It was deft politics. That's not a moral judgment; that's a judgment about a political strategy --
TAPPER: -- not whether it's right or wrong. The idea that critical race theory, though, is not actually being taught in Virginia schools --
CHALIAN: Makes it that more disingenuous.
TAPPER: -- or one could say cynical or -- you were saying on the campaign trail that he would say we need to keep critical race theory out of our schools. But then he would do a nod to the people that understand this country also is built on a foundation of some very ugly things, including slavery and genocide of Native Americans, et cetera.
He would say...
BASH: He would say that history is complicated and we need to teach it all. So he would give a nod to -- I wouldn't say wokism but he would come up to the line, to try to convince people, who are interested in having a more fulsome discussion in education for children, in a way that you didn't have, in a way that I didn't have -- but also kept the other side at bay.
TAPPER: Which is, as you say, is politics.
John King, what's going on in New Jersey?
KING: We have -- it's fascinating is what's going on. We have the Republican in the lead, very close, 22,184 votes. Last time you were over here, there was one county that had not reported any votes, Salem County the smallest county in the state of New Jersey. It's now reported most of its votes.
That's part of the reason Jack Ciattarelli, his lead was 11,000. Now it's back up to 22,000, in part because of Salem; in part because one of the places the Murphy campaign told us to keep watching is Passaic.
A piece of that vote came in just a few minutes ago and it flipped the county from blue to red. A place where the Murphy campaign believed it would pick up votes, at least at the moment, has lost some votes, 58 percent reporting there. Ciattarelli ahead, just barely. But a Democratic suburb in recent years.
Right now, Jack Ciattarelli leading in those suburbs. But -- and here's the most important but -- 75 percent of the vote reported statewide.
The question is, are there enough votes out there in blue areas for Phil Murphy to come back?
The answer, this is not definitive. But there are more than enough. Essex County, Newark, 72 percent of the vote; look at the giant lopsided lead. So if the margin stays close to that and the rest of that vote comes in, right there alone, there's more than enough votes to make up the lead that the Republican candidate has right now.
Ditto, almost, in the sense of Hudson County, which is Jersey City, the suburbs are surrounding it. Again, about a quarter of the vote still to count. Look at the big margin. So if Phil Murphy continues to run with a lead in that ballpark, there are a lot more votes to come in for the Democrat here.
Not quite as big here. Only 20 percent of the vote here; 19 percent left estimated, Union County. But look at the margin. If that holds up close to that, as the rest of that vote comes in, you get the point I'm making. There are more than enough places for Phil Murphy to make up 22,000 votes.
That doesn't guarantee he will; just means there's more than enough possibility on the map.
Even so, as we wait for more votes, the fact that we are standing here at 12:23 am in the morning and the Republican candidate is ahead in the state of New Jersey and then you pull out wider and the Republican candidate is ahead more comfortably in the state of Virginia, where it is getting improbable to find a Democratic comeback, that tells you tonight is a message.
That message is not complete yet but there's a clear message coming out tonight.
Still to be determined as we count votes here.
TAPPER: John, let me just ask you, because we're waiting for the last 5 percent from the Commonwealth of Virginia, what is the holdup?
What is going on?
Are these absentee ballots, write-in ballots?
What is the issue?
KING: We have people asking those questions. What often happens is there is a different answer, depending on which county. This is an estimated vote. It's an off-year election; we're in the COVID pandemic.
We had the COVID rules left in place in Virginia, where you had much more early voting this time than in previous gubernatorial elections, because they didn't have expanded early vote.
So we're asking that as we go through. We say this is an estimate. So just take Fairfax County. It's by far the largest county in the state of Virginia. You see Terry McAuliffe, 64 percent to 35 percent. You look again at the statewide total.
KING: Can he -- is there any way the Democrat can make up, with about 95 percent of the vote counted, 87,000-plus votes?
The answer is probably not. We just like to be extra cautious here, given the volatility of the age. So you say, oh, it would be here. Let's assume maybe, there might be 20,000 more votes to be counted in Fairfax County.
Again, Terry McAuliffe is getting 64 percent of them. If he got 100 percent of them, if it's 20,000, it wouldn't be enough.
Are there other places where you can say here, Loudoun County? I've gone through this dozens of times during the panel conversation.
It's just very hard. It is not impossible but highly improbable, when you go 95 percent in Portsmouth, 75 percent in Norfolk, 25 percent of the vote still to be counted.
But with 75 percent counted, Terry McAuliffe has a net 15,000 roughly vote lead there. So if you extrapolate that, maybe he gets 5,000 more votes out of there. So I can find you 5,000 here, 10,000 here and get there.
So because we could -- just because you could conceivably cut that lead, we're being cautious. And, again, when you look at 12:25 in the morning, it leaves open the possibility that's pretty clear, the path back for Terry McAuliffe is improbable.
But you can bet, he's talking to his lawyers. They're looking at the recount laws in Virginia. And they're just going to wait and see, as more trickle in, in the early morning hours, and then have some very difficult conferences a around the breakfast table in the morning.
TAPPER: What about New Jersey?
KING: Let's see if it has changed at all, still at 75 percent statewide. There's excitement in Election Nights and we have had a lot tonight. And sometimes there's just that area where you're waiting and waiting. And it usually happens when you get up to here.
Virginia, we're at 75 percent.
So we're saying you're looking around and saying OK, where is the rest, right?
Again, we live in pandemic times. Most of these county election officials are understaffed. We talked a lot in recent years the threats many have faced. It's hard. It's hard, especially when you are understaffed.
Even though we kick the can, sometimes, we should also have some grace; 77 percent here in Camden County. You move over here, only 28 percent in Burlington County, where the Republican is winning quite big. It's in the middle.
We're waiting for more votes here. Here is a place where the Ciattarelli campaign is saying, hold on, we may pull some more votes out, too.
So we have to wait. We go to Trenton, which is Mercer County. That's a lot of votes still to be counted. So as you move around here, again, Middlesex County, a good area for Phil Murphy, 20 percent of the vote still to be counted.
It's simply sometimes --
TAPPER: John, I have to interrupt. We're listening to Democratic incumbent governor Phil Murphy right now speaking to his supporters.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Thank you all so much for sticking around. We're going to have to wait a little while longer than we had hoped. We're going to wait for every vote to be counted and that's how our democracy works.
MURPHY: For almost four years now, our focus has not been on trying to do more for those who already have much but to do much for those in the middle and at the bottom so that they have more opportunity.
Our cause has not been looking out for people gathered around a corporate board table but for the family gathered around their kitchen table, like mine growing up.
Our mission has been simple: to build a state where every child, regardless of race or gender, creed or zip code, has the opportunity to live out their hopes and achieve their American dream. These are the values we've put to work.
We're leading with compassion and empathy, not anger and despair. We're following science and facts, not the political winds.
MURPHY: We may not always agree but, when we disagree, we sit down and we treat each other with respect and understanding, always seeking common ground. Our shared values are far more important than any one person.
What we can already take from tonight is, knowing that many of our friends and neighbors like us do not want to go backward; to lieutenant governor, Sheila Oliver, chairman --
TAPPER: We interrupt the governor of New Jersey to now make a major projection in the Virginia governor's race.
TAPPER (voice-over): CNN is projecting that Republican Glenn Youngkin has been elected governor of Virginia, defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin pulling off a critical victory for his party.
This is the first time Republicans have won an election for Virginia's top office in 12 years. Again, CNN projecting Glenn Youngkin has been elected governor of Virginia.
And Dana Bash, this is the announcement that Joe Biden will not be happy to hear, and it also shows how incredibly divided this country is.
BASH: Incredibly divided. Joe Biden isn't happy to hear because he and other very high-profile Democrats went to try to help Terry McAuliffe. Terry McAuliffe tried to nationalize this race by bringing in help from national Democrats, while Glenn Youngkin made it incredibly Virginia focused. He said this is about me, this is about the people in Virginia. That gave him the added benefit of being able to say no, Mr. former president, Donald Trump, you can't come here. I don't want you to come here. So that strategy worked for him.
But I think that what you saw in Glenn Youngkin is going to be, for sure, the playbook that Republicans are going to try to emulate going forward in 2022, and then also in 2024. The question is whether it is possible to emulate because he is a very unique person. He's never been in public office before. And I saw him on the stump. He was really and is a very good candidate for what he was trying to do.
HENDERSON: Yes. And David, you made this point earlier, didn't have the baggage that a lot of Republicans serving as Trump was in office. He didn't have that baggage because he's sort of a blank slate and new to politics. Can Republicans find similar candidates in all of these races we're going to see in 2022?
Listen, Democrats were panicking a lot before tonight. They were going to panic anyway. I think if Terry McAuliffe won, because it would have been a narrow margin if he had won, and we see obviously that he is -- he will lose and he won't be the next governor of Virginia. So Democrats have to figure out how are they talking to these voters in 2022? What are the deliverables? How are they saying your life is better now under Biden and the Democrats?
That is the big puzzle that Democrats have to figure out. And it's hard when you think about inflation and all of these issues and the cultural issues, too.
CHALIAN: Because, you know, you're right, this will be the playbook available to Republicans and they'll see if they can replicate it in blue areas or purple areas, and a lot of the marginal districts that the battle for the House will be fought on and the battle for control of the Senate.
On the Democratic side, they're going to have to figure out if they need a new playbook because trying to make Glenn Youngkin Donald Trump clearly didn't work. You know, I know we saw it in the California recall, right? With Larry Elder and what Gavin Newsom was trying to do there. But Glenn Youngkin is not Larry Elder.
CHALIAN: And Virginia is not California. And neither are these districts that are going to determine control of the House and these Senate races that are going to determine control of the Senate. They're far more closely contested. And so I do think Democrats are now going to have to think, is this notion of trying to inject Trump as a way to motivate Democratic voters to turn out, is that well dry with Donald Trump no longer in office?
TAPPER: Yes, one of the other things I think that is important is what are Democrats delivering? Right? Democrats control the House of Representatives, as you noted. One, Democrats control the U.S. Senate, Democrats control the White House. And what are they delivering right now? I mean, that's the question for voters. And you just saw -- I mean, Democrats are not doing well tonight. Let's just put it that way, right?
I mean, you have the Democratic candidate who is now the new mayor of New Jersey, I mean, mayor of New York City, is a more moderate Democrat. A former law enforcement officer. In Buffalo, the socialist Democrat that won the nomination, it looks like -- we haven't called it yet because they have to count the write-in votes, but it looks like the incumbent Democrat, a more conservative guy, a moderate Democrat, it looks like he's going to win a write-in campaign.
We have that Minneapolis police -- the elimination of the police department losing in Minneapolis. That is a very liberal town. And then you have Terry McAuliffe, basically Democratic royalty in this country, losing the governor's race to Glenn Youngkin. I don't know what's happening in New Jersey but it's anybody's race, including a guy whose name we're all still learning how to pronounce, especially me, Jack Ciattarelli.
This is a bad night for Democrats and they control everything. It is -- I don't know if it's a rejection of the Democratic Party or the party moving too much to the left or the party not delivering on progressivism. That's for the Democrats to work out but it is a rejection.
BASH: Yes. I mean, it's -- I don't remember if it was David Axelrod or Van Jones saying it, but I'm hearing similar sentiment from Democrats who are on the ballot in 2022 in tough races is that the party is not where those voters are in terms of the issues that they care about right now.
Having said that, look, on the legislation that they're talking about now, there are hugely popular pieces of policy in there, whether it's, you know, helping people out with child care, paid family leave is no longer in there. But there are popular things that the Democrats say that they want to do, but that's all getting lost.
TAPPER: Let's go -- I'm sorry to interrupt. Jack Ciattarelli is speaking right now. Let's go to Bridgeton, New Jersey, where he is speaking. Or Bridgewater, rather.
JACK CIATTARELLI (R), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Like all of you, I love this state. And I realize it's broken, you know it's broken, and I'm convinced, I'm convinced that together we can fix this state. We could fix it. So here's what we're going to do. Sometime real soon, when we can declare unequivocally a victory, we will begin to fix the state of New Jersey and make this state someplace where everyone feels confident they can live, work, retire, start a business, raise a family.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CIATTARELLI: And let me say one other thing when we are able to declare victory sometime real soon. Diane Allen is going to be one hell of a lieutenant governor.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CIATTARELLI: And you know that woman that won the primary for me because she took care of that guy in the primary studio? She's going to be one hell of a first lady.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CIATTARELLI: Now, there's close to 1,000 of you here, and I wish I could come out there and give every one of you a hug and a kiss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll give you a hug.
CIATTARELLI: Chris, you give good hugs. Yes. Last time you hugged me I was sore for a week. But here's what I need to do. We've already got to go in and begin the planning what needs to be done to make sure that we can declare this victory. And so you can watch us closely over the next week or so in order for us to do what needs to be done to certify this win.
The great news, guys, is we have sent the message to the people of New Jersey. What I love about this state.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CIATTARELLI: And although it was not my intention, we have sent the message to the entire country, but this is what I love about this state, if you study its history. Every single time it's gone too far off track, the people of this state have pushed, pulled, and prodded it, right back to where it needs to be.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CIATTARELLI: And so listen, sometime real soon we're going to do this again. Like we're doing it right now and we will declare a victory. Guys, hang in with me. Thank you all so very, very much. Thank you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TAPPER: Jack Ciattarelli in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The Republican nominee. Not declaring victory, but certainly expressing a positive message for his campaign's chances. It's entirely possible we will not know this evening the results of the New Jersey governor's race. It is so close. And such a surprise. And yet there you have the Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy coming out speaking to his supporters. The Republican Jack Ciattarelli coming out speaking to his supporters. What a wild night.
BASH: What a wild night.
BASH: I mean, really, Republicans will tell you that they didn't -- no matter what happens in New Jersey, from here on out, no matter who is declared the winner. Given where they are right now, such a close race, especially compared to where they thought it was. It really is -- it's a wakeup call for Democrats and Republicans.
Now, again, there are a lot of reasons why these particular states might be different than others, but like David was saying, there are pockets in each state -- Commonwealth in Virginia, that --
TAPPER: Yes. Thank you.
BASH: You're welcome. That are emblematic of what you're going to see, particularly in the 2022 midterm because that will determine not just the majority but how deep the majority is.
HENDERSON: Yes. And that feeling that Americans have of fear, stress, anxiety, frustration, about all sorts of issues, right?
And they might not have the same kind of anxiety about the same issue, but there is this feeling of dread, of discontent, of a country that's sort of stalled out and not delivering in the way that Biden promised, that Democrats have promised as well in this last election. So --
CHALIAN: And that Americans are eager to see.
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes.
CHALIAN: Depending on either party's vision of what that is, but out of this stalled moment that you're talking about.
TAPPER: But remember also the strategy. Remember the moment when President Biden came out and linked the bipartisan infrastructure bill with his larger Build Back Better Act, which has expansions of social programs and clean energy efforts, et cetera. When he linked them, that was a decision, right? That was a decision, the progressives want me to do this. And that gave the progressives momentum to keep saying, we're not going to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless you moderate Democrats can commit to vote for the Build Back Better Act.
That was a decision by President Biden. Now, if he had made -- of course, I'm doing 20/20 hindsight. This is what we do now in elections. If he had made a different decision. If he had said let us just pass the infrastructure bill, that's ready, that's bipartisan, that's what I promised, that's what I pledged, we will do the other expansion of social programs, et cetera, in a different process.
I mean, I'm not saying we wouldn't be where we are today.
CHALIAN: He might not have gotten it done. We don't know.
TAPPER: He might not have been able to get it done. Well, we don't know if the progressives would have rebelled any way.
CHALIAN: Was it a decision or was it a tactic because he thought that was the way to get both of these bills done?
TAPPER: Yes. Exactly. Maybe that's it. But whatever the math and whatever the strategizing, and maybe you're right, alternatively, maybe you're not.
CHALIAN: Of course.
TAPPER: Yes, of course. But like, if, for example, they had the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed right now and like you -- and people were starting to like hammer in New Jersey roads or in Virginia or whatever, I don't know that things would have been different. I mean, we still would have had inflation. We still would have had home heating oil prices and the like going up. But there would have been something to point to beyond the stalemate in Washington. Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, we are waiting for Glenn Youngkin to speak in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Until then, David Axelrod, I mean, is the message tonight -- you have Eric Adams winning in New York City. You've got the socialist candidate losing in Buffalo. Democratic socialist. Minneapolis ballot initiative to defund police, get rid of police department, that did not get voted on. The GOP candidate winning in Virginia, New Jersey, the race there.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
COOPER: What is the message to Democrats that they should wake up and think about in the morning?
AXELROD: Well, look, I -- the issue of public safety in some of these communities is paramount in people's minds. You know, the issue in Virginia relative to schools, although education was the second most important issue. The economy was the first most important issue. What's interesting was Terry McAuliffe, who had a good record on the economy when he was governor, actually did less well among voters than Youngkin did on the issue of the economy.
COOPER: But, you know, the debate among Democrats tomorrow is going to be, you know, the same debate that has been had now for forever, the liberal wing is going to say, well, you see what happens when we backtrack from our principles.
AXELROD: No, it will be, and --
COOPER: And the moderates will say, we're just -- it's too far to the left.
AXELROD: It's a tedious debate. We should point out, because the news wasn't uniform. I mean progressive candidates won in Boston, in Cleveland, in Cincinnati and turned back attacks that -- some of which in some of those cities were based on public safety. So there's still a big progressive core in the party, and certainly in the city. But we had this discussion earlier. Obviously, a Democratic Party needs to reassess here.
And some of it is beyond their control. You know, Jake said that they have total control and, you know, and things are not going well. The fact of the matter is that you don't have total control over events. You don't have total control over the virus. But there's no doubt that there is a sense right now of disorder, and the fact that they have narrow majorities in both Houses, which are obviously hard to navigate, still doesn't absent the Democratic Party from responsibility for that in the minds of voters.
And so, you know, they're going to have to I think probably try and pass these bills. It's going to be harder now. But pass these bills and show progress and be able to come back and say, we can get things done, we are moving on these issues. And I think -- I would also advise them, if I were there, that I'd focus on these sort of day-to- day issues, the price of gas, the supply chain. I would really emphasize those things that are affecting people in their daily lives.
COOPER: But, Gloria, I mean, if you're Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema watching this --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. You're saying, I'm right. You're saying, look, look at the voters in Virginia, 53 percent of the voters in Virginia think the Democratic Party is too liberal. There you go. We're on the right side of this. If I'm a moderate running for re-election, I'm a little nervous, if I'm a moderate Democrat.
Let me just say one thing here, which I think is important about Virginia, which is that there was a record shattering turnout for an off-year election in the state of Virginia. So the good news here for everyone is that despite the fact that Donald Trump is still trying to relitigate the last election, whatever, people came out to vote because they thought that their votes would count. And maybe it's because it's so-called easier to vote now. We've made it more convenience for people. I think that's a good thing.
But people did vote. No matter how dysfunctional the political system that they're seeing, they say we've got problems, you need to fix them and they thought that Glenn Youngkin was going to be the guy.
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: There's not an enthusiasm issue. You raised a great point about turnout.
JENNINGS: Because on the one hand you could argue, well, Democrats are demoralized that Biden hasn't gotten things done, so why would they show up? Well, they did show up. I mean, it looks like McAuliffe is going to get about 1.6 million votes.
BORGER: More than Northam got. JENNINGS: Northam got 1.4 million and won running away. It's not about
enthusiasm, it's about persuasion. And I think a bunch of -- I mean, quite obviously a bunch of Democrats who once voted for Northam, who once voted for Joe Biden just a year ago showed up and voted for Glenn Youngkin tonight. And obviously in New Jersey, the same thing happened. And so you have people who are motivated to show up.
By the way, I agree, it's never been easier or more invoked to vote, and that's a good thing. But you obviously had people who showed up, who'd been voting Democrat and said, this country is off the rails and I have to send a message. And I can't change what's happening in Washington, in the Virginia governor's mansion, but I can send a message.
Now where do they go again next year? I don't know. But for right now, the message is, there's a leadership vacuum in the United States.
BORGER: Well, and the question is, the Donald Trump. I mean, you know, they showed up to vote, and it wasn't about that they really wanted support -- to support Donald Trump. What they wanted to do was support Glenn Youngkin in this race. No matter how many press releases Donald Trump sends out.
AXELROD: Or they wanted to vote against -- or the Trump voters wanted to vote against Joe Biden.
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think -- first of all, there is no such thing any more as a low turnout election. You have that much pent-up desire for civic participation, than an off -- this is not off year, this is an off, off year election.
JONES: You have record turnout. So that means the audience is paying attention. That's a good thing. I'm waiting to hear now about voter fraud. I'm waiting to hear about it because it was all, you know, voter fraud, can't trust elections, when a Republican wins, suddenly everything is fixed. So that's going to be -- I don't want to hear about voter fraud anymore. People are participating, the system works.
But I think that what David said just a few minutes ago is really important. This is a big deal. These numbers are bad. This is not some -- these are our voters. These are voters that came to us in 2018, came to us in 2020, and have abandoned us in droves in two states that should be in our column. That's a big deal. That's a -- that is -- that is a five-alarm fire. And I think that -- look, I hope we can pass these big bills.
Bill Clinton was able to turn his ship around and survive after the shellacking in '94 by doing a lot of small stuff. That just lets you know he was on your side. He was talking about school uniforms. He was talking V-chips. He was talking about all -- but you know what, for ordinary folks, that guy cares about me. That guy understands what I'm going through.
If this party doesn't wake up tomorrow morning and figure out how can we run back to regular folks, and regular folks, issue. Now some say we've been talking about good stuff, you know, helping grandmas, helping kids, but it's been buried, it's been lost in this cold big D.C. conversation about trillions of dollars.
We have got to, both from a legislative point of view, and from a messaging point of view, start resettling the ordinary folks that we get it. Otherwise, look, we're a year out from the Trump election, looking back. And you're a year away from midterms looking forward. You see how much to turn in 12 months. That's the good news. People want to participate. That's the good news. But we've got to take this message very, very seriously tonight.
JONES: It's a big deal.
JENNINGS: I just wonder. You make powerful arguments for your party's ideas. And your counsel to Democrats is to show up and have a debate about ideas, programs, plans and policies. What McAuliffe did tonight was show up and tried to turn Youngkin into Trump and make the entire thing about white supremacy, racism, Donald Trump, and Glenn Youngkin. I mean, they're even talking about the fact that he was wearing a, you know, a fleece vest. And that's evidence of, you know, that's the new uniform for white -- so what you're saying is we need to have a debate in this country over policies and ideas, which, by the way, I agree with.
I think that's healthy. And the Democrats did literally the exact opposite. And they're paying for it tonight. And I wonder, will they learn that lesson going into the midterms?
BORGER: But the political system is so dysfunctional right now. The margins are so small. And the Republicans are not voting for anything. How do you get anything done?
JENNINGS: Well, that's not entirely true. He had 19 in the Senate for the infrastructure bill.
BORGER: On the infrastructure bill but let's talk about the second package. The second package which you would agree contains some stuff that is interesting to a lot of Republicans. And how do you get -- how do you get any of that done?
JENNINGS: If Van is right --
BORGER: They didn't vote for the --
JENNINGS: If Van is right and this stuff is popular, then no Democrat should fear a debate on the issues. But in these races tonight, no Democrat wanted to debate the issues. They want to talk about Donald Trump. And I wonder, if it's as popular as you say, why aren't they willing to engage?
JONES: Well, first of all I appreciate and always have that you do want to talk about the issues. And I think you've been true to that your whole career. What I will say is, it's not just the Democrats that sometimes wanders off in bizarre directions. The Republican Party, mixed in with some of the stuff that I think you would like. I don't think that this is the Archie stuff, and I keep beating the drum about it because it really lands badly with me. It's good.
I think some of the stuff is dog whistling. And so look, both parties can see now that there's a way forward. This guy was more substantive and less inflammatory than Donald Trump. It paid off for him. Hope Republicans take that seriously. But for Democrats, I think that we've got some ideas that we have not even been able to communicate in terms of making some errors ourselves. We need to get back to that.
COOPER: In a healthy Republican Party, I assume some Republicans would look -- if the party was healthy, would look at this and say, well, you know what? There's a path away from the former president. We don't need to be beholden to this guy. But, I mean, you're not -- you don't believe that that -- your happiness tonight is because Donald Trump is not front and center right now in the Republican Party, Glenn Youngkin is.
JENNINGS: I'm happy tonight. No. I'm happy tonight because the Republican Party proved you can run an issues-based campaign, compete in a blue state, and win. That's what I'm happy about. Whether it was Glenn Youngkin or somebody else. The fact that he had the wherewithal to write a platform on the issues that people care about and put it forward, and have enough confidence in that, to run a race in a blue state.
I've got conservative solutions to the problems you care about. He did it in a blue state and he has won the race. That's what I'm happy about because Trump never did that. Let's be honest. He had ideas about certain things and it did touch nerves in the electorate but he didn't even write a platform last year. And so in this race, there's an issue agenda. It was put forward to the voters and they accepted it. And that's what I want Republicans to do.
AXELROD: Well, look, I mean, listen, he was a good candidate.
AXELROD: He ran a good campaign. Candidates and campaigns matter. OK. And, you know, I always look at campaigns and I think, who is dictating the terms of the decision when you get to the polling place? Whose message is resonating for? And Youngkin seized control. Now he scooped up the football when McAuliffe fumbled it on the issue of parents and schools, and took out of context somewhat what McAuliffe said and did do what Van said, which was dog whistling.
So to the extent that Republican candidates take away the message that you can have a P.G. version of Trump arouse his base and still win, that wouldn't be a good outcome here. But that I think is what's going to happen.
JENNINGS: But I have to say, I guess, this idea, you all keep saying it's dog whistling and they're touching on these race issues. Glenn Youngkin ran around the state of Virginia, with an African-American woman who is now the first lieutenant governor, African-American female, and a Hispanic candidate for attorney general. It was a diverse ticket.
AXELROD: Yes, I know --
JENNINGS: It looked and sounded like America. And you all keep saying, the only reason he is winning is because he's doing racist dog whistling. Meantime, he's put together this diverse ticket --
AXELROD: I didn't say that was the only reason --
JENNINGS: I just, I just, I don't think --
AXELROD: I didn't say it was the only reason he was winning. I just said that he did do that. I mean, the fact is --
JONES: Yes. He did pick on Toni Morrison. I mean, look, I love, you see the good in your candidate, I think that's great. But you also have to acknowledge, if you really want to run issues, what the heck does Toni Morrison have to do with anything? Why do you think he decided to jump on Toni Morrison?
JENNINGS: Because he did not like or approve of the content that is in the book or think it is appropriate for children. That's why. And that's it.
JONES: It's a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. A national treasure.
JENNINGS: Could you read it on this air right now and have this thing on? Could you ready --
JONES: Well, first of all it would be very, very long. I mean, first of all it's a very long book. And so we wouldn't have enough time. And so --
BORGER: There are lots of great books you couldn't read on the air. I mean --
JENNINGS: I know. And that was the issue was. Is it appropriate? That is why he put it forward. Was it the decider of the race? I don't know. But that's why he put it forward.
JONES: I can't believe that you actually believe that. There's a reason that this tough works. And he's poking at stuff and he's picking at scabs and for all the good that he did, he also did that. And that is bad, and it shouldn't be -- you shouldn't apologize for it, if it's not happening. It is happening. You've got to get more of that out of your party. I've got to get the elites out of my party. I've got to get the demoralizing out of my party. But you've got to get some of this racial dog whistling out of your party.
AXELROD: Well, and also, let's get -- I mean, when we're talking about schools, yes, parents of course should be involved in their schools. But politicians shouldn't be involved in their schools. You've got a legislator down in Texas, who has a list of 825 books that he would -- that he thinks are inappropriate for the schools and he's calling school boards and investigating which -- and some of these books are classic books. That is not where we want to be as a country.
And I'll tell you something, if you push that too hard, you're going to kick those suburban voters right back to the Democrats. So I would just be cautious about this.
BORGER: Here's another thing which is that Youngkin was an outsider. And not involved in politics. Didn't have a long political resume. Won a convention, not a primary. Didn't know a lot about him. Looked passable enough. Very hard to kind of say he's Donald Trump. He didn't appear like Donald Trump. And I think that helped him tremendously.
BORGER: And I think, as you look towards other races, and Donald Trump was an outsider to a great degree. As you look towards other races, the question is, what happens to professional politicians versus people who are coming into a very dysfunctional political system. And I think that Youngkin in another way may be a template for 2022 for Republicans if they -- or Democrats, for that matter.
Will outsiders sort of say, OK, the system is broken, it's ridiculous, it doesn't work? Joe Biden had been in politics for -- in the Senate for 36 years, in politics forever. Maybe that is something also to take away from this evening.
AXELROD: Well, one of the -- I mean, one of the reasons that Republicans did well in 2020, in the House races, is they recruited in a different way. They were all male, all white, basically. In the House, with very few exceptions, they went out and recruited a bunch of candidates, women, some candidates of color and so on. And you're touting, as you should, the diversity of your ticket. I suspect they will learn some lessons from that.
The question that looms over all of it is what do you do about Trump? What do you do about Trumpism? And, you know, I agree with you that you would have to say that the strategy failed. It failed -- it will end up failing narrowly in Virginia. But there's a real issue which is, where do you stand on Trump? Because Trump is, you know, clearly setting up to run again. He's made that clear.
And ultimately, do you feel any obligation to stand up to someone who is basically suggesting that the -- not basically, he's suggesting the election is stolen, that the system is corrupt. He is encouraging, you know, insurrectionists or has. You've been very outspoken of these things. And I think the idea that you can, as a party, say we're just going to put that aside and we're not going to talk about it. And if we don't mention it, it's all right, even as he is the most --
and anybody would acknowledge this -- the most powerful force in your party. You cannot be a nominee in the Republican Party without his (INAUDIBLE), which is why Glenn Youngkin accepted his (INAUDIBLE) when he was --