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The Van Jones Show
Interview with Richard Ojeda; Interview with Carmelo Anthony; Discussion with Elizabeth Fiedler, Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 28, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:21] VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Good evening. And welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
We have another great show for you tonight. We are going to hear from 10 time NBA all-star, three-time Olympic gold medalist, the great Carmelo Anthony. He is on THE VAN JONES SHOW.
JONES: My, God. I love this guy. And he is not just an amazing basketball player. He is also making a huge difference in real people's lives off the court. I'm going to be talking him about that.
Also, we have been hearing about the need for a new type of candidate to help the Democrats win their elections in the fall. I have got four fresh faces on this show tonight. They got bold vision. They want to change the country. They want to change the party. I want to get a chance to talk to them.
But first, I want to talk to you.
This summer has turned out to be shocking, even by the standards of the Trump era, OK? Just this week we had a CNN reporter who was barred from a White House event for the crime of doing her job and asking some tough questions of the President.
Also, you had Trump threatening to yank away the security clearances from former top intelligence officials just out of spite, they didn't do anything wrong, just out of spite.
And we got to hear recordings of Trump two months before being elected President of the United States, talking about how to potentially pay off a Playboy model.
And before that we had the horror in Helsinki, where the President of the United States played lap dog to Vladimir Putin. I don't know how this meeting even happened. I mean, there was no agenda. How do you have a superpower summit and there's no agenda. You just got two guys running into a closet. And now you got American intelligence officials having to spy on the Russians to find out what America's President told Putin in a secret meeting. This stuff is so crazy, it wouldn't fly even as a plot line on "Scandal" or "House Of Cards," OK. That's where we are, OK.
And don't forget on a sad note, the children who got ripped away from their parents at the border, many of them are still suffering.
So after all, you said to yourself, how can anybody support this guy. Well, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think as the leader of the free world, he has shown strength. And I think it's about time we stop this witch trial about Russia and get on to the major issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has put people back to work. Record high employment for Hispanic, for African-Americans. Record high employment for the whole country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The money is -- the economy is good. The money seems to be flowing pretty well. I think people are pretty happy with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: OK. Now, listen, these are all fair points. The economy is growing at its fastest pace in 2014. The Dow is up, 40 percent. Unemployment down to four percent. So you have to give Trump some credit.
But these valid points miss a bigger point. In exchange for tax cuts, economic growth, some right wing judges, Republicans are now in danger of losing their core conservative principles and even their moral principles. You know, Republicans hated deficits under Obama, remember the tea party? But Trump's nearly trillion dollar deficit, no problem, all good.
The conservatives hated Obama for bailing our the auto industry. They called it socialism. But they are now just fine with Trump doing a $12 billion bailout for farmers.
Now, please remember, the only reason the farmers needed a bailout is because Trump started a trade war which is now devastating the farmers who voted for him. So Trump's solution to the problem he created is to move American farmers from work to welfare. How is that conservative?
And lastly, the party that pride itself on strength and morality, patriotism, is suddenly very quiet when it comes to flat-out lies, adultery and bowing down to foreign enemies like Putin.
What is going on here? Here is the answer. Too many Republicans have decided to let the good stuff blind them and silence them on the bad stuff, and that's dangerous. It's dangerous for conservatism and for America. No patriot should let themselves be seduced by short term promises of gain if it's going to cause long term decline for America. That's the danger that we are in. But meanwhile, the Democrats are making the opposite mistake. They
let all the bad stuff blind them to any good stuff take a listen to the liberals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems just like a bigot and a misogynist. And I just have not heard much come from his lips that I admired or made me think that he is a decent human being.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Credit where credit due. Trump, the economy is doing good under Trump. But also we are still in the after glow of the Obama years.
[19:05:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what positive short term gains we have, he sows a seed and lays a foundation of corruption and evil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anything he could do that would change your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now, look, both some good points there, not mad. But that kind of talk might motivate the base voters for Democrats, sure. But in many districts, don't forget the base voters who like that stuff are not enough to win a midterm election. And implying that nothing good is happening in the Trump era could make it harder for Democrats to understand those soft Trump voters and pull them away.
So I'm hoping that my first guest can shed some light on this because he knows a lot about both sides. He is a lifelong Democrat who actually voted for Donald Trump. Now he is running for Congress as a Democrat in in West Virginia which is not Democrat friendly. So this guy knows a bunch.
Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW, Richard Ojeda.
JONES: My goodness. Good to see you.
My goodness. Look, you are a decorated veteran. I want to just honor your service. And I want to honor you for choosing to run for office. Why you vote for Trump?
RICHARD OJEDA (D), WEST VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: I will tell you, Van. Basically for me, it was looking out my window, and looking at the people I know and I love. I live in the coal fields. And everybody who lives in the coal fields, that's the only opportunities that they have. Don't hate the coal minor for going after the only job that will allow you to feed your family.
JONES: That's right. And for keeping the lights on for the rest of us because there is a lot do it.
OJEDA: That's right, you know. And you know, other than that, it is you to have free jobs and it's part time work and it is low benefits and things like that. So, you know, I was looking at people that I grew up with, people that were part of my family, people that I loved. And they were struggling. And you know, Hillary Clinton come down there and she was talking about job training. But the training that she was talking about were of jobs that do not exist in West Virginia or they are were minimum wage jobs.
Coal mining is a job where you can start making $90,000 a year. And you want to tell a person that makes that that can feed their family, and like I said it is the only job that gives them the opportunity to do that, to now go ahead and settle for either moving out of state, which is where they live, where they from, or to take a job making minimum wage. And that's just not going to do it. And Donald Trump said he was going to get the coal miners back to work.
JONES: So that gave you a reason to vote for him. Now, we are almost two years later, how do you evaluate Donald Trump now? Are you proud of that vote? Do you have regrets about that vote? Help us understand how you think about that vote now.
OJEDA: Well, you know. First off, let me state that, you know, I do not want him to fail. He is the President of the United States of America. And anybody who wants the President to fail wants the aircraft that we are flying on to crash.
I want him to listen to his people that he surrounds himself with. Successful leaders surround themselves with intelligent people. He has got brilliant military man around here in generals Mattis and Kelly.
You know, in terms of the coal in West Virginia, the coal trucks are moving. The train cars are going and they are full of coal. And every coal miner is working and they are thought around opening mines. So in that case, I have to give him a thumbs up.
But there's a lot of things I'm not happy about. I'm not happy that he is not listening to the people that he is surrounding himself with. You know, we have a lot issues in this country right now.
JONES: So listen. I'm listening to you talk, and it you know, seems to me you are saying, you know, people are in pain. They voted for Donald Trump. They are getting a good opportunity. Well then, why should they vote for you? I mean, if everything is going so well now, why are you running for office for?
OJEDA: I relate to the people. You know, when I retired from the military, I come home. And the reason why I got into politics is, you know, I spent a lot of time away from my wife and my kids. And I come home, and I found out I have kids in my backyard that have it worse than the children I saw in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Iran and Afghanistan, a child that doesn't have a mother and a father, the village will raise the child. But here, you know, mom and dad's addicted to drugs and grandma and grandfathers, they are on Social Security and they are trying to raise a grandchild. They are already cutting their meds in half.
JONES: Now, you have Mexican heritage.
OJEDA: Yes, I do.
JONES: Your grandfather came here undocumented, made a good life for himself. You voted for a guy who hasn't said a good thing about a Mexican that I heard. Why -- was that not a barrier for you?
OJEDA: Once again, for me, it was about the people in which --
JONES: I understand that. But help us understand because you are Democrat. I am a Democrat. When I think about Donald Trump, I can't help but mainly relate to him as somebody who seems hostile to Muslims and immigrants and black football players and that kind of thing. But how did that land in your heart when you heard that rhetoric even as you were - and even today. Let's not talk about when you voted for him. Even today, how do you and folks in West Virginia feel about building the wall and that kind of rhetoric?
[19:10:06] OJEDA: First of, you know, the wall is not high on my priority list because it's into the going to put people, you know, to West Virginia to work. We are looking at -- people want to feed their families where I come from.
You know, I understand that the need for, you know, having a strong borders. But you know, we need to realize that a lot of people look at the United States of America. That's a beacon of hope for them, you know. And we need to give people the ability to be placed on a path toward citizenship that doesn't take 20 years, you know. So I mean, there's a lot of things out there that I don't agree with, you know. We can do better.
JONES: Let me ask you a question now. In your state you got the governor who used to be a Democrat, he jumped to be a Republican. Joe Manchin, great Democrat but he is on a bicycle trying to get away from the Democrats a lot of the time. What is the advantage for you running as a Democrat? Why don't you just run as Republican? What is good about you being a Democrat?
OJEDA: Because I'm a real Democrat. And I believe that if the Democratic Party gets back to what the Democratic truly is, then we will be fine.
JONES: Tell me about it.
OJEDA: That is taking care of the working class citizens, taking care of our sick, our veterans, our elderly, and then finding opportunities for those who live in poverty to elevate themselves at a poverty with a hand up not a hand out. That's what the Democratic Party is supposed to be, and it has gone away from that.
JONES: You have so much passion. I have seen that videos that gone viral, showing you out there helping people. But you also were viciously, physically attacked and assaulted and almost killed, almost beaten to death because you are out there talking the way that you are talking.
Help me understand how we got this divided? And what can you do to bring us back together when we can't even have somebody like yourself, a decorated war veteran, speak the way you are speaking without possibly being killed?
OJEDA: Well, you know, a lot of times it's old politics, you know. It's the way politics are ran, you know, across this country. I just happen to start saying the things that needed to be said and it ruffled the feathers of the people who didn't want to be ruffled. And they just saw this as an opportunity to, I guess, either try to scare me to get out of politics or take me out. But no --.
JONES: Why didn't you back down? I tell you what? I might have considered a different job if I wind up in your situations.
OJEDA: Well, you know, I will tell you. I spent 24 years in the United States army. I have tattoos on my back of soldiers that didn't come home. They didn't die for this.
You know, I lived in a bubble, my whole entire military career where I thought that everything was perfect. And I thought that every time we went overseas and we fought for this country, we were doing it because we were trying to get other people a sliver of the greatness that we have here in the United States of America. And when I come home I was devastated. And I realize that my brothers did not have their hopes and dreams bleed out on a battlefield so we could have corrupt politicians that absolutely have their hands in the cookie jar blatantly and nobody can do anything about it.
And I can't tolerate that. I can't tolerate that I got children in my backyard that are struggling, when we are supposed to be great. I can't do it.
JONES: Hey, listen. I wish more people had your passion. More ordinary people.
JONES: We got a lot more to talk about with Richard, including his effort to instill a huge political protest (INAUDIBLE) in red states around the country to help teachers. And his take on the Trump administration's efforts to fight the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, when we get back.
[19:16:30] JONES: Welcome back to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
I'm still here with Richard Ojeda. He is a Democrat running for Congress in West Virginia, in a district that Trump won by double- digits. But they are now saying it's a tossup. You are neck and neck in a
district that Trump won and you are running as a Democrat.
I want to get a little bit deeper into the reason that you ran and that you are running? This opioid epidemic that is killing so many people, how do you evaluate the Trump response and what would you do to make it better?
OJEDA: Well, I think that he has definitely been lacking in that. Right now at the 3rd congressional district, I have 75 beds to address the opioid epidemic. Yet my area, my people were targeted by big pharma. They threw their oxycodone and (INAUDIBLE) on my people like tic tacs.
JONES: That's right.
OJEDA: And it is not - and every single, a family in West Virginia has been directly affects with us. My team, my campaign team, I have one person that works on my team that both parents died because due to the opioid epidemic. I have another person on my team that has lived with her aunt and uncle her whole life because of the opioid epidemic. I have another person on my team that actually found his brother dead due to an overdose. It has destroyed and ripped us apart.
JONES: What can be done about it that is not being done right now. They talk about it all day long.
OJEDA: Well, I think we need to check big pharma. You know, last year, we lost more lives in the United States of America due to the opioid epidemic than all of the lives lost during the Vietnam war. Now, who is the enemy here? And nobody does anything because big pharma goes into the capitols and they greases legislators pockets to get their protection. It is unacceptable.
JONES: So you won't take their money?
OJEDA: Let me tell you something. They will never be allowed in my office.
JONES: Well, listen. You can -- I think applaud that.
JONES: Because, you know, part of the thing that we have is we don't have people who do their party, that are willing to stand up to money. And the fact that you are willing to do so.
OJEDA: Well, believe it or now, my bill, sb386 is what made West Virginia the 29th state to become legal for medical cannabis. We know for a fact that is a non-addictive form of pain management. States that have accepted medical cannabis have solid 24 percent decrease in opioid abuse. It can help people wit Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, severe (INAUDIBLE), post-traumatic stress disorder, soldiers. Twenty-two soldiers are committing suicide every day. And as a veteran, it's my duty to reduce that number from 22 to zero. The reason why big pharma doesn't like it is because big pharma
doesn't know how to control the money. So they continue to villainize marijuana.
JONES: You mentioned being a veteran --.
JONES: You mentioned being a veteran, how do you evaluate Trump as commander in-chief, especially this whole situation with Russia and Helsinki and all that.
OJEDA: Well, you know, successful leaders surround themselves with intelligent people. Like I said he has two brilliant military minds in generals Kelly and Mattis. He needs to listen to them.
JONES: I notice -- you seem a little hesitant to be directly critical of Donald Trump. Is that because you have a lot of love for him in your heart? Is it because you are concerned that your constituents care about it? Help me understand that because most Democrats come out boom, boom on Trump. You're a little but less boom, boom.
OJEDA: Well, you know, like I said, from where I live, he has done pretty good for southern West Virginia. Believe it or not. My people are working, and that's my family. I have to give him a thumbs up on that. But there's a lot of things I'm not happy with. If Donald Trump has a good idea, I will support it wholeheartedly, if he doesn't I won't. And that's the way I am with anybody.
[19:20:00] JONES: Listen. I share your passion to make sure the coal minors are treated right and treated well. They are hardworking folks. But you also have a climate crisis and the whole global warming situation. How do you as a Democrat deal with that issue?
OJEDA: Well, I believe global warming absolutely exists.
OJEDA: But when it comes -- you know, in terms of coal mining, you know, what I say is that the most important thing that ever comes out of a coal mine needs to be the coal minor. But I expect for you to protect my water and you protect my air. And as long as you can do that, then we can find that balance. Because we still need coal.
Make no mistake about it, you know, this country suffers from infrastructure issues. We have a military mite that is crumbling right now. And you know, if we want to fix those, we want steel. And we want the best steel to be able to fix those issues. And the best steel comes from metal or coal and that coal comes from my mountains.
JONES: Listen. Even that the steel, we need to make some of the winter by. I'm excited about it. It is going to be made with that thing, coal. So there is a way for us to work together. And I'm glad you recognize that.
Let me move on. You were out there before a lot of other people helping these teachers, who were suffering from budget cuts, over stuffed classrooms, and not enough supplies. And this movement spread like wildfire. I have never seen so many teachers in red states standing up for themselves. I want to play a clip of you out there rallying a different kind of troops that you used around. And we can play that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OJEDA: Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for us to start looking past the faces of the people that are here that are fighting for nothing more than profits for the people that aren't even from our states that are making millions and billions that don't care about us and start looking at those faces in the gallery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Do you think the fire and the passion that you saw when you were out there leading those movements is going to translate to the ballot box? It's a different thing to march and hoot and holler than to go and vote.
OJEDA: Make no mistake about it. The 55 strong will remember in November.
JONES: That sounds --.
JONES: That's a mike drop.
I want to thank you so much for being here. I want you -- good luck on your race. I'm going to be watching your race. It's a tossup now.
Coming up, we have the 10-time NBA all-star, Carmelo Anthony. He is making big moves on the court and off the court. We are going to talk with him about all that when we get back.
[19:26:14] JONES: If you've been following the sports headlines this week, you sure have been hearing an awful lot about my next guest, Carmelo Anthony. He is a three-time gold medalist, 10-time NBA all- star, he is a scoring champion, but it's his major efforts off the court that to me are even more impressive than anything he's doing on the court.
You may not know this, but Carmelo has been leading a philanthropic effort to provide hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, to aid the people who are dealing with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He is working on gun violence in Baltimore and so much more. His commitment to charitable work actually started with the vow he took as a young guy. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JONES: First of all, welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
Obviously, such a massive hero on court with all the accolades and whatever, I didn't really realize, though, how much heroic stuff you are doing off the court. You are putting Puerto Rico on your shoulders, You put Baltimore on your shoulders, you are doing stuff in South Africa. Before we get into all that, why are you doing this? Why are you using your platform in a way that you are?
CARMELO ANTHONY, NBA ALL-STAR: I think I kind of just understanding kind of what my platform is and what I'm capable of doing. And how strong of a voice I have. And once I realize that, the rest of it was easy for me. It was just going and doing it. You know, I felt like I had a vow to do it.
JONES: You talk about this vow. How old were you when you made this vow?
ANTHONY: The vow was to -- like my crew. It was just like, you know, when I make it, this is what we are doing, we are giving back, you know. It was more so to them, and being that they are still there, and I always feel obligated.
JONES: I got some news for you, though. Everybody says that, everybody says -- I know you thought you were special everybody says it, nobody does it.
ANTHONY: When you're from there, it's easy, right. Because you, you are a product of that environment and you know what's going on. You know the struggle. And you know the cry, the cry out for help and those people, you know. If you are not from there, then it's easy to say that you are going to do it and then shy away from it.
JONES: You know, the thing that I think for me, I didn't realize the depth of your commitment until you walked out on stage that time at the ESPIES (ph).
JONES: And it was like you and Lebron and Dwyane Wade. I like this is like the titans coming out in open just another. What are they talking about?
Why did you do that? I mean, that's not -- never been done before, never been done since. It was an iconic moment. What was your thought process to say, we are all going to walk out here and take this stand for justice?
ANTHONY: Well, where we was at, at the time, and we still there, but where we was at the time that as a society of the country, it was like, you had all the athletes in one place at one time. So that was a perfect place to do that, to send that message, deliver that message. And almost a call for help, it kind of spearheaded something, not just with athletes but with everything. JONES: You know, a lot of athletes, you know, back in the '90s, they
really stayed out of politics. And on the '60s they were political, 70s, 80s, 90s, not so much political. Why do you think so many athletes, not just yourself and NFL, why are athletes now stepping to the forefront in a different way?
ANTHONY: Well, I think the game has changed as far as the business of the game, the focus of the game. I think one good thing that we realize as basketball players is we are the league, you know. There's no league without the players. We support the owners, they support us, but most importantly, our commissioner. Adam Silver does a great job of supporting our causes. And he never try to interrupt. He would try to team up with us. (INAUDIBLE) deliver that message. But he gives us a, you know, that freedom of speech to go out there.
But I think at the end of the day he understands that we are those people, you know. And some way, somehow we are affected by it too.
[19:30:04] JONES: You are going to be a part of this documentary series on Trayvon Martin, "Rest In Power, the rock nation pull together."
ANTHONY: Trayvon became the face of our community. We had to go to war for him.
JONES: Why is that an important thing for you to be a part of? Why is that issue so important to you?
ANTHONY: Well, I think at the end of the day, we all know what happened to Trayvon Martin, to even speak on that is, you know, is touching, it's hurtful. But at the end of the day it was almost a sacrifice.
I had an opportunity to meet the family. You know, so I know the mom, I know the -- father and I know the hurt that they was going through at that time. I met with them right after, you know, the tragedy. So, to see where they were at, at that point in time, to see where they are at right now, to see how society, you know, gathers around them, rallying around them, uplifting them, kind of, they are the voice for that. I mean, other families, you know, who have been through the same situation. They are to be the backbone and be their strength as well.
JONES: Do you feel like we are making progress from those Trayvon Martin days? Are we still there? Do you see much improvement yet?
ANTHONY: Not at all. It's actually gotten worse. Now we are actually seeing it live on our fingertips, so we feel compel that we have to do something and I think that's the uproar.
JONES: Is that why you sent -- I think you have 4500 kids go to the march for our lives. I mean, you are trying to help the next generation find their voice?
ANTHONY: Yes, because at the end of the day, we know -- I know how powerful the youth voice are. And I think now is it the time where we are going to start hearing more and more voices from the youth. They understand how powerful they are now. And they can move and shake. They can make things happen to you. I think a lot of people are tired of hearing, you know, the adults talk. But when you hear the kids speak, when you hear the youth speak, it's a little but more touching. And people feel obligated to get something done.
JONES: When you were growing up, did you see gun violence, that kind of stuff, was the neighborhood that tough? Or is that something that's gotten worse if you --?
ANTHONY: I would like to talk about it, but it's easy, but neighborhood was called the pharmacy for a reason, right. It was the pharmacy. And they made a TV show about my neighborhood, the Wire. So a lot of those things before TV, but there is a lot of things in there that were real.
ANTHONY: Just, you know, the drugs, the prostitution, the fighting, the killing, the police brutality, the school system, and the prison system, like I have been a part of all of that growing up, so I know what that feeling is like. And it almost -- you almost become immune to that when you was growing up, but now that I'm able to step back and see exactly what I was going through, dealing with, like I feel like I have to do something out there.
JONES: I want to walk-through some of the stuff you are doing, just to get people a sense. I think a lot of people that are watching the news. They feel completely helpless. Talk about this tools for teachers. Why are you trying to give teachers better tools and technology. Like why are teachers in your heart?
ANTHONY: I mean, let's face it, it's -- teachers get treated like -- we all know what the teachers get treated like, you know, the education system, the school system turns their back on the teachers. When you go around and actually talk to these teachers and then listen to their stories about their relationship with the kids, as far as having to give kids utensils and book bags and books and --
JONES: How about food?
ANTHONY: You know, at the end of the day, they become, you know, kind of one of their parents or their chaperone, somebody they have to look after more so than just a teacher to a kid. So when you hear those stories, you want to give back. And I mean, that was the easy part, you know, giving pencils and pens and book bags and books and you know, arts and craft supplies, those things go a long way.
JONES: You are also helping the kids. You do the courts for kids stuff. And that, 20-plus courts save spaces for kids here and around the world.
JONES: What's the story for that whole idea? ANTHONY: Well, the court for kids idea came out - I grew up on an
outside court. Nowadays people don't play outside. So it is a little bit different. But that is what I wanted to kind of bring back that community field, and put up a basketball court. Because basketball -- sports in general kind of connects everything in life.
JONES: Why South Africa, though. I mean, so I can get - you know, you're kind of way outside the lines. I mean, one thing you say (INAUDIBLE) and Baltimore who is in Baltimore. You don't have that many homeboys in South Africa. Why are you doing court in South Africa?
ANTHONY: I think it makes sense. You know, I have been to South Africa a couple years ago. You know, I did the whole safari thing, and kind of fell in love with the, you know, with the kids.
OJEDA: I took my kids there too, look. They are taller than you.
ANTHONY: Once you see that, and you see the other side of things, like, OK, this is what I want to be a part of, how can my foundation help?
[19:35:04] JONES: You mean the poverty?
ANTHONY: The poverty. Just, you know, that (INAUDIBLE) area that is over there. It's just another place I wanted to add on, you know, to my foundation as far as the outreach.
JONES: You know, we have also done stuff in Puerto Rico. And you have a real Puerto Rican heritage.
JONES: You know, the hurricane really tore up Puerto Rico, and yet I didn't see the White House responding to that in a way that they should have. Does that bother you to see the White House kind of missing in action during a crisis in Puerto Rico?
ANTHONY: It hurt. Someone who spends a lot of time down there on the island. Someone who kind of got an opportunity to talk to those people. And over the years, I have been down there for almost 10-plus years and I have been going back and forth helping out. So, to see that I got to see our government turn their back to that.
JONES: The Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
ANTHONY: They are American citizens. So, if you, you know, you turn your back to your own American citizens, then you can do anything. That was something that I felt like, it was a low blow, you know, kind of -- to me and to all the Puerto Ricans down there. Because we can't control a hurricane -- we just couldn't control that. So that the least you can do is send the resources down there. But we, you know, we did a great job. We sent, you know, airplanes down there with supplies, tools down there, we teamed up with, you know, a couple other big companies and you know, trying to get the supplies down there. JONES: So it was just a lot. And it was just sad that we had to go
through that in order to help people.
ANTHONY: You can't do everything, I get that. You can't help everything and help everybody out. But the things and people that really need attention to, that's what you are supposed to be, you know, giving our attention to as far as the government, as far as our leader of our country.
Puerto Rico is part of this country. And just I felt like, you know, the government completely turned their backs, you know, to them.
JONES: We all have platforms, you are using yours brilliantly. And I appreciate you being on.
ANTHONY: Thank you, man.
JONES: All right, brother.
ANTHONY: Thank you.
JONES: Can I have a hat? You are wearing those hats.
ANTHONY: We'll send you one.
JONES: All right.
ANTHONY: We'll send you a couple.
JONES: I love that guy.
Listen, 2018 is became called the year of the woman in politics. We have a record number of women that are running for office, state level, national level, local level.
When we come back, we are going to hear from three millennial women who have unseated men who have more experience in their quest for public office. Find out what's motivating them when we get back.
[19:41:18] JONES: like there is a lot of momentum on the far left wing of the Democratic Party, with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, championing Democratic socialism. Now, that is a concept that's new to a whole lot of people. And a lot of traditional Democrats are very worried about their party being taken over by a bunch of Marxists. But before anybody freaks out, I put together this explainer video
about Democratic socialism to hopefully ease some of your fears. Take a look.
JONES: The term socialism historically has been a little bit scary for people on the right and the left.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Palin actually accused me of socialism. Socialism.
JONES: You may hear it and think of communist regimes like Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. But Democratic socialism is not communism or authoritarianism. Instead of Cuba or China, Think Sweden. Democratic socialists have controlled their government for decades.
Now, socialism is an economic system not a political one. It allows for citizens to control the country's production, industry and trade as a collective. The goal is to minimize economic inequality and allow everybody to benefit.
Denmark and Finland offer free education, universal health care and public pensions. But their citizens also have to pay a much higher tax burden as opposed to our system of capitalism where business and industry are controlled by private owners and corporations for personal profit.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: We cannot continue to have a government dominated by the billionaire class.
JONES: Some dictators and strong men have given socialism a bad wrap, forcing the system on people through brutality and violence or exploiting it for personal gain.
But Democratic socialists denounce all that. The key word for them, democratic. They believe the government and the economy should be run by the people by way of the ballot box. That means voting on whether to use collective tax dollars for things like free college tuition, healthcare for all, paid family leave, affordable housing or raising the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the modern, moral and wealthy society no person in America should be too poor to live.
JONES: We have some real life democratic socialists who are joining us now. Three women who demolished their establishment, male opponent in Democratic primaries for state representative in the beautiful, beautiful state of Pennsylvania. Each of these women are regular working folk. They are not backed by big donors.
Please welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW Summer Lee, she is running in Pennsylvania's 34th district outside of Pittsburgh. Sarah Innamorato who is running in the 21st district, also the Pittsburgh area. And Elizabeth Fiedler, who is running in the 184th district in South Philly.
JONES: Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
So before we get into the whole socialist thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go straight to it.
JONES: I have been in politics my whole life. Incumbents are hard to knock off. How did you do it? What is your secret to being able to come from no place and knock these folks off?
ELIZABETH FIEDLER (D), NOMINEE FOR PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: For my campaign, it was working really, really hard. I was told in the beginning that it was impossible. This is someone who has been in office for 25 years. An incumbent who is, you know, been in there for quite a long time. It's impossible. You can't do it. And that made me really angry.
JONES: But did you do?
FIEDLER: We knocked on 53,000 doors.
FIEDLER: And I knocked on a lot of doors myself. I have two little kids. I knocked on the doors with one of my kids with me and people saw that at their doors. Like you said, they saw that I was regular person. I'm their neighbor. I'm invested in public schools.
[19:45:08] JONES: Is that somewhat you did?
SARA INNAMORATO (D), NOMINEE FOR PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Absolutely. And it is also trusting yourself. I had worked in nonprofits and community development. So I knew the groups and I knew my neighbors really well. And I knew that we weren't being represented from someone who had a shared value system. So it was tuning out the professionals and the consultants have said that this was unwinnable and trusting my gut. And using the time that we had and the resources we had to knock on doors. And we didn't knock on as many. I think I came in third place. I knocked about 35,000 doors during our campaign.
JONES: That's great. What about you?
SUMMER LEE (D), NOMINEE FOR PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Knocked about 40,000, probably. But no, really, just doing it. It was - no, but that's really what it is, that's the secret. You can't win a seat you don't run for. And most of the time, you know, these folks sitting in these seats, and no one runs against them. And then any time someone does run against them, they say you can't do it. Why don't you wait. Go back home. Try again some other time. And we were just, why not do it right now?
JONES: Why not right now.
LEE: Why not doing right now.
JONES: I mean, it's so inspiring, and I know a lot of people at home they watch the news, they feel frustrated. Don't think they can do anything. You guys are doing stuff. And at the same time, you are inspiring people. You are also freaking a lot of people out. You all have been endorsed by the Democratic socialists of America. And you know, Nancy Pelosi saying, no, there is no socialism in that party. You had - even Comey says, Democrats, please don't lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This is a bad idea.
I mean, so. How do you respond to people who look at you guys and they don't feel hope, they feel fear.
FIEDLER: We reflected on that quote from Comey earlier today.
FIEDLER: And for me, healthcare, education, clean water, clean air, these are human rights. These are things that we should all have that's something I'm deeply invested in. And I think we need to have politicians who really reflect those values, who are fighting for those things.
JONES: Socialism used to be something that Democrats ran away from. How do you think about it as a label?
INNAMORATO: When it's a one-on-one conversation, it is just saying, hey, what do you care about? And more than likely, they are going to talk about healthcare. They are going to talk about education. They are going to talk about the lack of affordable housing.
JONES: Well, let's talk about that. And here is ta deal. I have the same schizophrenia as anyone else. I want real rich people to get taxed to help everybody, but I want to keep all of my money. So how do we deal with the price tag, the stuff you guys are talking about. You talk about free this and free that. I'm scared to pay for it. How do you deal with people asking you? How do you pay for this?
LEE: I mean, so when we talked about at the state level and when we talk about Pennsylvania, specifically, I mean, we have and we spend more money on incarcerating people than we do on educating them. This is talking about reprioritizing money that we already have. Pennsylvania, we are blown of money.
LEE: So our first instinct is not to say, we are going to tax everybody. Which I would say is also not the worst thing in the world. But it's not saying that's what we are going to do. JONES: Well, when you think about the direction of the Democratic
Party beyond the doors you are knocking on. You think about the big party. You have people like Conor Lamb, and he is running and he is not running as a socialist. He is running, you know, much more to the right. Is Conor Lamb wrong? Do you guys think that Conor Lamb is a problem?
INNAMORATO: So it's funny to be now going do a Democratic primary, you see all of these people in Pennsylvania at different events. And, you know, I have spoken with Conor and we know where we differ, but we need to have a conversation and we need to say what - you know, my goal, right, is to kind of push him further, right, to challenge where he is at, but also recognize that his constituency looks different than my constituency.
JONES: Go ahead.
LEE: I mean, because personally, yes, I do believe we need to have a conversation. And perhaps our constituency looks different. Maybe his constituency is whiter than mine. They are not poorer than mine. I think when we talk about Medicare for all, when we talk about a living wage, who doesn't deserve a living wage in this country? Everyone deserves a living wage. That's for everyone. Reproductive rights are for everyone. So I don't believe that, you know, well, you have to run that way because it's a little bit more conservative district.
FIEDLER: I would say, for me, as someone who grew up in a rural place, people are struggling there, too. They are struggling with the opioid crisis. They want pharmaceutical companies to be held accountable. They want their kids to get a good education and be able to go to college. They want all of these same things and I really think they picture, we need to have a Democratic Party that talks about us as people. That stop trying to divide us along these lines because working people share so much in common. And if we unite, then that's when we really win. That's when we go bigger and bigger.
JONES: (INAUDIBLE) as you guys are. I want to get into that.
But when we come back, we are going to have more from Summer, Sara and Elizabeth when we get back.
[19:53:43] JONES: Welcome back to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
I'm back with three rising stars in Democratic party. They are Democratic socialist women but they are running to be State Reps in Pennsylvania.
Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato and Elizabeth Fielder, welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
JONES: Look, I'm curious. You guys are millennials. You are young. You are female. You are new generation. Do you think the Democratic Party needs new leadership that top? Do you think about a Nancy Pelosi - I know want a state office. But do you think that it's time for people like yourself to replace the Nancy Pelosis of the world? Are you happy with the leadership?
LEE: I personally think that, I mean, throughout the party we need more representative party. We need of more representative Congress. So leadership should also reflect that. I mean, for me personally, I'm the first black woman to come out of western Pennsylvania.
LEE: I mean we exist. We should be represented and wherever we go. So I feel like we need younger, we need more color.
JONES: Are guys is running for office because Trump is President?
LEE: I'm not.
JONES: Why not?
LEE: My community has the same issues whether it was Trump or Barack Obama, whether it was FDR or Reagan. I mean, these issues are timeless. They resonate for us. It doesn't matter who is at the top. We are worried about who is at the bottom.
JONES: What about you? It was Trump a emphatist (ph)?
FIEDLER: An emphatist (ph), yes. I was shocked when Pennsylvania flipped to Trump but I had been excited about what was happening for a long time, right. And I just thought if I'm going to sit here and stay in my job where I'm relatively comfortable, things like that, who am I counting on to create the kind of world that I want my children to grow up in, right? Who is this other person who is going to ride in and like run for office and push these kinds of policies that I want to see.
[19:55:19] JONES: I did a little research on you guys. And you guys are weird in that you are running for office. Most who are running for office, they have their own career. They all think they are going to be President. But you guys are actually helping each other. You are sharing resources. You have a group chat.
What have you learned -- this is a very millennial, very possibly female, very new way of doing things. What have you learned from each other by sharing and helping each other?
INNAMORATO: We learned that the narrative of scarcity is -- if we are willing to share that we can actually move in an agenda and we can actually bring more people to the table. Because if it's just one race, then it's not as exciting. But it's two, if it is three, it is a whole movement, then people start to believe that another world is possible.
JONES: That's good.
JONES: (INAUDIBLE). I appreciate your being here.
Summer, Sara, Elizabeth, thank you for being here. Good luck to you guys. I'm going to be watching your races.
I'm Van Jones. This is THE VAN JONES SHOW. Peace and love for one another. See you next time.