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The Van Jones Show

Diversity in Election Season 2018; George Will Says Republicans Should Vote the Democrats in Order to Get the Country Back to Where it Belongs; Florida Voters in the Country's Biggest Swing State are Going to Choose their Next Governor; Paulette Jordan, Democratic Nominee for Governor of Idaho, can be the State's First Female Governor and the First Native American Governor in the History of America; Christine Hallquist, Democratic Nominee in Vermont, can be the First Transgender Governor in the History of the United States; Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Democratic Nominee in Texas, can be the First Latina and the First Openly Gay Governor of Texas. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 08, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:18] VAN JONES, HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Good evening everybody. I'm Van Jones. Welcome to The Van Jones Show. We've got another great show for you tonight.

First up, always funny, always outspoken, the beloved co-host of The View, Joy Behar, is in the building - she's in the building. Oh my God, can't wait to hear from her.

Also, it is now after Labor Day, so it's official. This is election season 2018 and the diversity is serious, folks. Who are running for office is both mind-boggling and is also historic. We got Muslims, transgender folks, Native Americans, a younger generation stepping up, a tidal wave of women who are running for office.

And so, from now until November, I want this show to be a place where you can come and hear some of these new voices of hope inspiring America. And tonight, we got three women, all of whom are running as a Democratic Party's nominee to become the Governor of their state.

So one is the Native American from Idaho, a transgender woman from Vermont, one is the Latina lesbian sheriff ready to be the Governor of Texas; each one, if she wins, can make history.

Tonight, you're going to hear from all three of these women. So I'm excited about that.


It's going to be a big deal. I love this show, I love this show. But first, let me talk to you. For all these positive voices that are beginning to rise up, the system itself is beginning to break down. I think America is now on a razors edge between renewal and collapse, between hope and fear.

This may have been the scariest week of the Trump presidency for me, because we got our first look at a new book by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward, and his Watergate reporting actually brought down Richard Nixon.

But this new book reads like a mash-up genre between slapstick comedy and a horror movie. He's portraying an erratic dangerously incompetent President, aides using every trick in the book trying to keep the Commander in Chief from maybe blowing up the world. And then The New York Times prints an anonymous letter from deep inside the administration saying exactly the same thing.

Now, the White House says it's all fiction. But if these reports are even partially true, we are in the middle of an unprecedented national emergency inside the Oval Office, and Congress should be holding oversight hearings right now, calling White House staffers to the Hill and asking them under oath if they are seeing anything that endangers the safety of the American people.

That would be a rational response. Instead, we got Rand Paul suggesting lie-detector tests for administration officials and Senate Republicans busy pushing through a Supreme Court nominee, who previously questioned whether a sitting US president could even be subpoenaed or indicted while in office, and his testimony this week didn't make things better for my point of view.

And so, now Trump, rather than being concerned or alarmed is actually trying to cash in on the crazy using the possibility of his own impeachment, just to rally up his own base.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the opposite party becomes President, they'll say we want to impeach him, and you'll impeach him. It's so ridiculous. But if it does happen, it's your fault because you didn't go out to vote.


JONES: So that's his response. Look, luckily, help is on the way. As I said, you got a lot of fresh faces out there shaking up the political establishment like Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts. She is proof that diversity and inclusion still have a place in our democracy; I love that.

I'm also personally happy to see my old boss Barack Obama, he's back in the game reminding us that, with progress always comes a backlash, but the backlash does not have to be permanent.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Each time we've gotten closer to those ideals, somebody somewhere is pushed back. The status quo pushes back. It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause.


JONES: Yes, I love hearing that voice, I love seeing that face. Hope and heartbreak are in a foot race right now in America. And with the elections right around the corner, everybody needs to lace up the tennis shoes, get involved, and help hope win.

Now, one person who never gives up hope and who never stops speaking her own mind is my first guest. Please welcome to The Van Jones Show, the one and only Joy Behar.

[19:05:18] (APPLAUSE)

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: Hi. Hi, how are you?

JONES: Hello.


JONES: Now, I got two kisses.

BEHAR: Hi ladies.


JONES: It's just an honor to have you on the show.

BEHAR: That's just (INAUDIBLE)

JONES: You are amazing. You are an icon. Look, I know The View's coming back on the air, it's the 22nd season. But you're missing somebody from the family, Meghan McCain, how is she doing.

BEHAR: I think she's OK. She was remarkable at the funeral.


BEHAR: Did you watch that?

JONES: Oh my God, it was an unbelievable speech.

BEHAR: I loved it; I was there.


BEHAR: And it was remarkable events all around. I mean when she said, we don't have to make America great again, America has always been great, the whole audience broke into spontaneous applause, which you never - you never see that.

JONES: You never see that and usually there's not an applause at a funeral, but I think that what she did was really, really extraordinary. It was interesting to me that you had George W Bush and the Obamas and everybody together. It felt like the passing of an era in a way.

BEHAR: The one thing about that event that was clear was that you watched Obama and you watched W when you watch Clinton there and all the speakers and all the people that were there, and you said, "Hey these were patriotic Americans, no matter. I'm singing God Bless America with these people who believed in the country."

And I think that we've lost that with Donald Trump. He believes only in himself, God bless Donald Trump is where he's at.


BEHAR: And he's - we've lost that whole feeling of you know the great country because of him and I resent it.

JONES: Well, let me ask a question though. Ten years ago, you were mad at Dubya and maybe--

BEHAR: Yes, I'm still mad at him.


JONES: So, maybe in ten years, you'll like Trump a little bit better.

BEHAR: No, no, no, no, no.

JONES: No, no chance?



BEHAR: Well, I used to know him before - I knew him before he was Donald Trump - President Donald Trump.

JONES: Right.

BEHAR: And I just thought he was kind of a New York character, who ripped off people in his businesses, which everybody in New York seems to know that.

JONES: Right.

BEHAR: And I had - I used to work here. I was on HLN, I had a show here. On that show, Melania came on to hawker her jewelry.


BEHAR: Yes, I mean I - and that was the show that famously - the famous show really, because that was the only place that she really showed her true colors, because she believed in birtherism just like her husband.

She said that they don't have the right birth certificate in Hawaii, which meant to Bette Midler is not an American either, according to that, because she was born in Hawaii. And what about Dan Ho.


JONES: Do you feel that she's kind of trapped in this marriage or do you feel like she's like actually along for the ride?

BEHAR: Yes, well, she is now enjoying the fruits of the American country. Her parents are now in the chain, what they call that chain migration? JONES: Yes, chain migration.

BEHAR: They're enjoying chain migration, which a lot of people in this country unfortunately are not enjoying, because her husband wants to stop it. Why shouldn't she go along with it?

She was in Slovenia doing that thing. I don't know what she was doing there. What was she doing there?

JONES: I think she was working as a model.

BEHAR: OK, she was a model. Now, she's the first lady. I mean, come on, as my mother would say, who's better than her.


JONES: Let's go to somebody I think you like a little bit better. You see Barack Obama--

BEHAR: I love Barack Obama.

JONES: You love Barack Obama? That's good.


JONES: He's back on the trail, but he's not as tough on Trump as you were. He just said it's really - Trump's just a symptom. In other words, when Trump went low, Obama went high, isn't that something you like?

BEHAR: Yes, that's what Michelle says.


BEHAR: When they go low, we go high. I say when they go low, we should go lower.


And by that I don't mean become like a real - a rat scurrying around. I'm talking about - Donald Trump speaks to people directly. He says exactly what's on his mind, he doesn't take prisoners, and the Democrats they tend to be politically correct.

I think that you also of them have to be - you're very nice about it all, and I don't - I'm not, I'm not.


And so, I don't think that everybody has to go high high like that, no. Come down to where - to my level, come to my level.

JONES: And we've had this debate before. My concern is, I just don't think I can out-hate the haters.

BEHAR: Right. JONES: I just don't know how to out-divide the dividers. I thought - when I try to play that game, I'm playing a losing game. Have you just given up on trying to persuade the Republicans - I mean is their view, if somebody voted for Donald Trump are--

BEHAR: That's fine. I don't have any problem with that. Let them do what they are - laissez-faire to me.


BEHAR: But it's really the Republican leadership in the Congress that really ticks me off--

JONES: Right.

BEHAR: --McConnell and Paul Ryan and all the rest of them. The only ones in the Congress who are speaking out against the absolute heinous behavior in the White House, the lying, the continuous lying, the policies that really hurt non-white people, et cetera, are the people who are quitting, who are not running again, like Corker and Flake, people like that.

[19:10:18] The rest of them are running scared about their jobs and they find themselves in a difficult position I guess because they can't get past the base. And I say if you are, again, a patriotic American, you will go past the base and you will tell the truth about this man in the White House, who is to me destroying the country.

I know I have strong opinion about this and a lot of people do. And why don't they speak up because they're cowards. They're cowards and/or they're small-minded and they only care about their little position and the power that they want to hang on to.

I mean I see people like Lindsey Graham going back and forth on this, because he wants to keep his job. Well, maybe he shouldn't keep his job.

JONES: Well do you think the country will be better off if Lindsey Graham lost his job?

BEHAR: If Lindsey Graham lost his job, a tea party guy would come in probably, right?


BEHAR: And then the Democrat would win, good.


JONES: You are like a chess player.


JONES: Let me ask--

BEHAR: Even George Will, the most staunchest Republican conservative person who ever lived in this country says that people - Republicans should vote the Democrats in order to get the country back to where it belongs, and then we'll have a two-party system again.

Right now, the dereliction of duty out of the Republican Party is outrageous. They have dropped checks and balances, they have dropped balance of power--

JONES: Isn't it easy for you as a liberal and Democrat to say that other party sucks and they need to do something? What about Democrats, what's wrong with Democratic Party that were losing to people who you think are losers and bozos and liars, what could Democrats be doing differently?


BEHAR: Like I said, they need to go a little lower.


JONES: Do you think we have to be like nastier and meaner?

BEHAR: Well, they need to go out there and say, "Listen America, you are going to lose your health care. America, you're going to lose your - you're not making any more money. The economy great, but Mr. Rich Guy who lives over here by the way where we are right now, those apartments are going for $20 million, $30 million, $40 million, $100 million, those are the ones that who are getting the tax breaks, not you."


BEHAR: So, that's what they need to be telling people.

JONES: So, you sound like a Bernie Sanders Democrat.

BEHAR: I don't know. I'm not so much about Bernie so much anymore, because I really am - hey listen, things have to be done in the right - with perspective. You can't just throw money out the window. You can't do that, you can't do that.

JONES: But you must have liked Bernie a little bit.

BEHAR: I did.

JONES: Didn't you name a dog after Bernie Sanders?

BEHAR: I did.


BEHAR: I named him Bernie Sanders. I always say this because my dog Bernie is very much a pro - single-payer veterinary care.


JONES: So, then, why are you not on the Bernie thing now? In other words--

BEHAR: Well, I just think that some of the things that he might be proposing will cost too much money and it will never pass. I'm also a very pragmatic person, I want things to work.


BEHAR: I want someone who's going to win.

JONES: That's good. Well, we are going to come back and we are going to talk about a lot more stuff.

When we get back, I've got my own hot topics I want to raise with you. Now, we got to go to the break and I got a lot of questions this week. One of them, is the author of that bombshell New York Times op-ed a hero for raising the alarm or a coward for not coming forward publicly?

I want to hear what you have to say. Now take a look it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It won't be heroic unless you come forward and say who you are and say what you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the op-ed writer is telling the truth, they are patriot or upholding their oath to office and protecting us from an irrational President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are apparently unelected officials who are essentially dictating or steering policy.



JONES: Welcome back The Van Jones Show. I'm here with comedian and the co-host of The View, Joy Behar. She's also the author of a book, The Great Gasbag: An A-to-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World.

So, I guess we know where you are coming from.

BEHAR: Yes, I don't make any bombs (ph) about it.

JONES: Yes, I--

BEHAR: Yes. People hate me or they love me. I can live with it.

JONES: I only know people love you. (INAUDIBLE).


Let me ask you a couple of questions here. You started out not as a famous star.

BEHAR: No. JONES: You started off as school teacher.

BEHAR: I did.

JONES: So, tell me about that Joy Behar. Why did you--

BEHAR: The school teacher?

JONES: Why did you become a school teacher?

BEHAR: Well I was always looking for a bigger room.


When I was a kid, I used to perform for the family all the time and tell them what I thought. And no one ever told me to shut up, which might have been a mistake. And then I kind of liked being a teacher. I taught high school dropouts in the Lower East Side and those were adults sometimes.

I've taught English as a second language, I taught high school English in a regular high school. So, I like teaching, but it really was not enough for me. I had more to say I thought and I wanted a bigger audience.

JONES: And you got one of the biggest in the United States, it's crazy.


JONES: Could the Joy Behar that was teaching kids in the urban school system ever imagined the life you have right now?



I always knew that I had something that I could offer.


BEHAR: I was very funny as a young kid all the time and I used to make people laugh all over the place in the school, in the teachers' room and every job I had. So, I said maybe I can translate this to showbiz and then I did. It took me - I was 39 when I started.

JONES: Think about that, 39 years old.

BEHAR: Yes, there's always hope. I was working as a receptionist at Good Morning America. I was one of the most hostile receptionists they've ever had.


And that didn't last, they fired me.


And then, I said OK now I'm going to try it and I got started doing standup comedy.

JONES: Do you miss it?

BEHAR: No, I don't do standup much anymore. I have The View, it's like enough. The View with Donald Trump in the White House is exhausting.

JONES: We had Leslie Jones here and she's super funny.

BEHAR: Yes, she's great.

JONES: And she's - she said she doesn't like to do stand-up anymore because everybody's so sensitive.

BEHAR: Yes, that's another thing. They tape you, they tweet you, they yell at you, no.

JONES: Let me ask you this, is it the case now that there's - from a liberal point of view - too much political correctness, too much intolerance, you can't even stand up and tell a joke?


JONES: Steve Bannon got disinvited from The New Yorker because the liberals got upset. Are we now becoming what we're fighting, are we becoming intolerant?

BEHAR: Yes, I don't think that was a right move. I would have put him on.


BEHAR: We've had everybody on the show. Kellyanne, that Lewandowski person.

JONES: OK, Corey Lewandowski.

BEHAR: Whatshisname, we've had. Of course, Sarah Huckabee was on.

JONES: Sure.

BEHAR: We've had everybody who disagrees with us on and I like that.

[19:20:18] JONES: I think it's important and I do feel there's this thing, it's like if we don't agree with you, we don't want you to even have any sort of opportunity even to be debated. He was going to be debated on The New Yorker stage. I think that kind of stuff is wrong.

BEHAR: The First Amendment, honey, that's my religion.

JONES: So, what is your advice to liberals? And obviously we don't want to bow down to bigotry and we don't want to bow down to people who are hateful. At the same time--

BEHAR: Let them talk. I always say let people hang themselves. If you're afraid that Bannon is going to be over the top, let him hang himself. People can understand what's going on, they see it. People are not stupid.

JONES: Speaking of people not being stupid, apparently there's some pretty smart people inside the Trump administration trying to do the right thing.

BEHAR: Oh yes, this guy.

JONES: One of them wrote this op-ed.


JONES: What's your view about that op-ed, is that treason, is that smart, is it dumb, should they--

BEHAR: It's not treason, it doesn't have anything to do with treason. People are complaining that this person did not come out and do it and say his name.

JONES: Right.

BEHAR: Well, Trump obstructs justice in person all over the place. We see it, he lies, he does everything out front. If this guy had come out like that, no one would pay any attention to him. It's like, oh OK, this feckless Congress - the Republican Congress leaders--

JONES: Right.

BEHAR: They will do nothing. But this way, everybody is, who is it, what is it, this palace intrigue going on, it's scaring Trump, he's gone berserk. He cannot take it that somebody's out to get him in the White House.

So it's sort of accelerating the anxiety. And besides, the Woodward book and now Omarosa by the way is coming on The View on Monday. Hello! She's bringing the tape. Listen to this fans, the girl has a tape with multiple voices on it and she's bringing it to our show on Monday. You have to watch.

JONES: You've had so many hosts. You got Abby Huntsman coming on, excited about that.

BEHAR: Yes, she's been here all week.

JONES: Going to have two kind of heavyweights - young heavyweights on the conservative side.

BEHAR: Oh yes.

JONES: Does that scare you, are you scared?

BEHAR: No, I love it. I'm very friendly with Meghan. Meghan and I go out to drink, although she can drink me under the table. (LAUGHTER)

Oh my God, I have a half a glass of wine, I'm asleep. This one has like the margarita - she can knock it down.

JONES: Both McCains, they got little genes for that, though.

BEHAR: Yes, and this Abby is a little more lady-like.

JONES: You look back over the ones you've had, you have had dozens, who are your top three, four or five people--

BEHAR: That I love?

JONES: --that you just love; looking back, you just love?

BEHAR: Meredith Vieira, number one.

JONES: Sure.

BEHAR: My girls, now leave those out, all right.

JONES: Yes, now that - the present company excluded (ph).

BEHAR: Whoopi and I are pals.

JONES: Oh Whoopi Goldberg - exactly.

BEHAR: Star Jones and I used to have - we used to argue--

JONES: A lot.

BEHAR: --but now we're pals also.

JONES: Sounds good.

BEHAR: Who else is there? Rosie was you know Hurricane Rosie.


JONES: Everytime and still.

BEHAR: Yes, she's a pal and she's one of the reasons - she's out there. Look, remember when she had that big fight with Trump on the viewership, flipped her hair over and she went after the fact that he didn't have any money? That really ticked him off.

JONES: Yes, it still, to this day.


BEHAR: And he went back at her so viciously that, if anybody wants to know the real Donald, watch that - those years, that year. He was so evil and mean, attacking her physically, about her body, about her looks, evil, nasty.

JONES: Well, I think a lot of things got kind of cheat up (ph)--


JONES --in the years ahead of Donald Trump. You were very, very clear from the beginning of his run. We came down the escalator, you were clear as a bell, you stay clear as a bell.

BEHAR: I have.

JONES: I am so, so glad you have--


BEHAR: Congratulations on this lovely show you have.

JONES: Oh thank you so much. I'm begging you to come on, so glad to have you here. You can catch Joy weekdays on ABC.

Coming up, I go back in my van, this time I'm headed to Orlando, Florida.

BEHAR: Van in the van.

JONES: Exactly, Van in the van. I'm talking to voters about a very contentious Governor's race down there, the ongoing debate about gun control and the massively - in the wake of these mass shootings.

One of my passengers is an actual survivor of the horrific shooting at the Pulse nightclub. You definitely want to hear what he has to say. I'm going to take you there when we get back.



JONES: Florida, Florida, Florida, voters in the country's biggest swing state are going to choose their next Governor. They got pick between two candidates who are literally on the opposite end of the political spectrum.

On the Left, you got a Bernie Sanders backed progressive named Andrew Gillum, and he pulled off his upset primary victory. He's trying to become Florida's first African-American Governor.

He's running against a Far-Right Republican named Ron DeSantis who is more Trump than Trump. Now, this is already nuts. But you got all kind of wildcards. One of them is that thousands of Puerto Ricans have been displaced by Hurricane Maria. They're now living in Florida, U.S. citizens eligible to vote.

Some people are wondering, if Trump's bungling of Maria recovery could wind up hurting Republicans at the ballot box. I want to find out how all these issues are playing together and playing out on the ground, so I got back in my van - yes, Van in the van, and I headed to Orlando, Florida. Take a look.


JONES: All right, getting hot in Florida, and not just by the weather.


Hey, welcome aboard man.


JONES: Welcome, welcome.



JONES: Glad to see you getting on the left side of the car.




JONES: The Governor's race has just become a global phenomenon. Who's going to win?

GIBSON: We've been hearing about a blue wave and everything. But as far as the primaries went, Republican voters turned out 100,000 plus more than the Democratic voters.

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: Non-Democrats, yes.

GIBSON: And I also think a big thing is that a lot of Republicans I think can unite under DeSantis. Whereas on the Democratic side, you saw a really narrow margin of victory between candidates that were very different.

And so I think they're going to have a challenge in uniting their voters under someone more progressive.

[19:30:18] NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: It seems like there's no more room to be like at the center anymore, so you got Ron DeSantis who is like way out there to the Right. I mean, not even 24 hours after the primaries, he was already making comments that were taken as racial remarks.


RON DESANTIS, REPUBLICAN FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.


JONES: What would that mean to you? NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: I think he is someone with a lot of political experience and he knows exactly what he was saying. So, to choose the word monkey it up, referring to a black candidate, I don't think it was by mistake.

GIBSON: My heart hurts for that and so for these people that take it in a bad way, because from knowing DeSantis and knowing the person he is when it comes to policy and everything, I know he would never want to discriminate against people in any sort of way.

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: What about his comments toward Cortez?


DESANTIS: You look at this girl, Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is--

I don't care whether she's Puerto Rican, whether she's Anglo-Saxon, I don't care whether she's an Eskimo.


JONES: The age of Trump though, I mean isn't it kind of like just all bets are off? You like Donald Trump and Donald Trump says offensive stuff all the time. I mean it's almost his trademark. I mean, how do you make sense of that?

GIBSON: Words are very important obviously. But at the end of the day, I'm going to vote for someone who shares my viewpoints when it comes to policy, because that's essentially their job in the first place.

I've also seen a different side of the President, the administration, the times I've had to deal with them, and I see a caring loving family man and I know that's what the media doesn't portray sometimes.

VELAZQUEZ: I agree I think that - with Sarah, I think that policy is really what's important, that's what really changes our country, that's what creates a better economy, that's what creates better laws that affect our everyday lives.

But you just hate hearing the rhetoric. The rhetoric has gotten out of control.

JONES: The Puerto Rican population has really grown a ton in Florida because of the hurricane and everything else has been going. How does that play? I mean are Puerto Ricans going to register in big numbers and vote?

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: There's a - well before the hurricane, we were already coming over here because of the fiscal crisis. But after Maria, like the numbers, yes you really chose the state of emergency data of people who were coming over here--

JONES: After the hurricane.

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: --after the hurricane. But there's a big machinery going after those votes. One of the deepest conversations I've ever had with my grandfather was about voting and the right to vote.

And he was a Korean War veteran, and so I take it as a sense of pride to vote, right. So, yes, I think that Puerto Ricans should vote. Do I think that that's going to have a big impact in the vote right now? I don't know.

JONES: How did you feel about the way that President Trump handled Hurricane Maria?

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: We could go to the visuals of him throwing paper towel to people, which are nothing short of offensive. What are people going to do with paper towel? They lost their roofs, they lost their houses, they need FEMA to work like it worked with other natural disasters.

JONES: It seems like the first obligation of government is to take care of the health and safety of citizens. Why didn't President Trump just scramble the military over there and help everybody?

GIBSON: I do wish that there was more effort I think from our government shown over there, but at the same time, we can't rely on the people on our government to solve our problems. And while they have a role in solving those for us, I also think a lot can be done when we come together as people.

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: These are American citizens, and if we are all going to be about America first, then these are our citizens.

VELAZQUEZ: There was a lot of assistance that did go to Puerto Rico. What ended up happening and slowing down the process was a failure of government on two ends, both federal government and local government.

JONES: The Pulse shooting, 47 people died there. At Parkland, 17 people died. Just had people killed at a video game conference. Which way does that cut for you? I mean you got all these shootings and you got the young people from Parkland marching.


JONES: It seems like - does that cut against Republicans?

GIBSON: I think for everyone on TV that they show marching, there's also another student that stands up there that's against gun control. We've seen cases about parents, students that were there and they're not involved in the protest and the marches and they're meeting with the President, and they're showing their support against that gun control.

And I think it comes down to deterrence and this is like Parkland, where the government failed to set multiple levels. We left them in charge of our security and multiple levels of government and law enforcement they failed us there. And so that kind of falls back into my role of seeing the government smaller and power more in the hands of the people.

JONES: What's the solution? Here we are, there it is. Wow, how does it - how does the memorial

strike you, Ricardo?

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: Well, it's personal because I was here that night. So any and all opinions of me and gun - I mean gun control might be somewhat biased.

[19:35:18] JONES: How did you survive, how'd you get out?

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: Other side of the building.

But I was here when the shooting started.

JONES: How does it feel to be back here?

NEGRON-ALMODOVAR: I've been coming here for a while and then this year after Parkland, some movement was made towards some type of response to mass shootings. There's either side of the debate that you're in, and there's still a lot of things to do to meet in the middle.

GIBSON: We have different ways of getting means (ph) of safety. I don't think anyone would argue that they don't want our communities to be safer and our loved ones to be protective. Love is not a partisan issue.

VELAZQUEZ: I think that issues like this always bring us closer to some sort of conversation which is good. I think that for a long time not having those conversations is what really affects us.

JONES: I see this sign over here that says Orlando Strong. For all the tragedy and heartbreak, what happened here did bring Florida and the whole world together for a while.



JONES: I really loved hearing from those folks. Unfortunately, in Florida, there is one group of US citizens who are simply not allowed to vote. People who've ever been convicted of any felony at any time, even people who committed crimes 50 years ago and did their time, still cannot vote in Florida.

Fortunately, in November, people in Florida have a chance to change that with something called Amendment 4. It would automatically restore voting rights for people once they finish their sentences. That's a very important ballot measure I hope everybody pays attention to.

Up next, we have three women, a Native American, a transgender woman, a Latino lesbian, all three have a shot at becoming Governor. Something beautiful is happening in America. You're going to meet all three when we get back.


[19:40:18] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) JONES: We have a record number of women and people of color who are

running for office this year and it's just awesome. And at the state level, you got people like Ben Jealous, Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, so many other fresh faces that are running for Governor.

We got some here with us. Joining us now, three women who are trying to make history this fall. Please welcome to The Van Jones Show, Paulette Jordan the Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho. She'd be the state's first female Governor and the first Native American Governor in the history of America. So glad to have you here.


We also have Christine Hallquist for the Democratic nominee in Vermont. She'd be the first transgender governor in the history of the United States. Glad to have you here.


Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Democratic nominee in Texas. She'd be the first Latina and the first openly gay Governor of Texas. Glad to have you here and welcome.



JONES: I'm excited as I could be about you running. But I'm going to tell you right now, we got people at home going, "Hey no way y'all are going to win. It's just not going to happen."

Tell us why you have a shot at victory - an historic victory in this race?

LUPE VALDEZ, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Well, I came from the poorest ZIP code in San Antonio and I had quality public education, and it opened the door for me, it gave me opportunities that I would have never otherwise had.

This is what we want to do for the rest of Texas. Public education, health care, things that are important across party lines trafficking (ph).

JONES: That's all connected and resonates. What about you, why do you have a shot?

CHRISTINE HALLQUIST, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: Well I have a shot because I have a plan to grow rural Vermont. Two thirds of Vermonters live in rural Vermont and we will grow the Vermont rural economy by getting them connected to the Internet at the same speed as New York and Tokyo and building business plans around that.

JONES: What about you, you're out there bringing cowboys and Indians together. I've never seen anything like it. Why do you think you have a shot to win and (INAUDIBLE)? PAULETTE JORDAN, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF IDAHO: Van, I was raised by Idaho, so people understand my heritage and my legacy of leadership. They want something new that's fresh, progressive, and bold.

My progressive ideas, matched with my conservative architectural framework, really attracts people on both sides of the aisle. So they're seeing a kind of leadership that no one's ever seen or heard of, and we're bringing all parties together.

JONES: But by definition, especially you two, Texas and Idaho, you got to get people who voted for you, who by definition also just voted for Donald Trump. Why should a Donald Trump voter vote for you?

VALDEZ: Well first of all, I think there's a wrong impression of Texas. Texas is not a red state; it's a non-voting state. We're 49th on the percentage of states voting. So the main problem in Texas is that they're not coming out to vote. Our job is to get them out to vote and we went.

JONES: So why - I mean listen, you have a big mountain to climb though in order to get people out to vote. Some of those nonvoters are Latino and Latina. As law enforcement, some people feel like maybe you were too tough on the immigrant population, that kind of thing.

How do you respond to that, how do you inspire people at the same time you got to enforce all the immigration laws?

VALDEZ: It's an uphill battle.


VALDEZ: There's no question about it. But it's also an uphill battle for the woman who has to work two jobs to make ends meet. It's an uphill battle for the rural areas that don't have good public education or good health care.

So, people are excited to vote for someone that looks and has been through the same issues. I know what it is to have two jobs to make ends meet, I know what it is to not have health care, and I definitely know what it is to try and decide when you're sick if you go see the doctor or you pay the rent.

These are the things that identify with cross party lines. And on the Latino thing, Latinos appreciate sheriffs, they appreciate my military background, my law and order background, they appreciate all these things that--

JONES: You can put together a very unusual coalition.

[19:45:18] Now, Christine, you said transitioning and being a transgender person right now may be harder than any other time. Talk about that, and why are you willing to face these death threats and all this stuff that's coming down on you to run for public office in this climate? HALLQUIST: Well we have a despot for a leader in Washington, and that despot - I'm just going to lay it on all the administration in Washington. When I define a despot, we're talking about focusing on fear and division and dividing people and pitting people against each other.

And of course what does a despot do, they target the most marginalized population first, which is why of course the administration has come against transgender folks in the military. But I will tell you, I think this is a strategy that started way back with Richard Nixon.

And I'm confused, I'm kind of new to politics, I don't understand these labels, and labels have always been used to divide people, from my perspective.

When we talk about a living wage, Medicare for all, and ending homelessness, that's not a political issue. That's called being a civilized society.

JONES: Beautiful.

What about you? I mean you definitely have Trump voters. They've been voting Republican in a long time. Why should they do something different now?

JORDAN: I would like to say that people are ready for true compassion and governance again. People want to believe and have faith in their government. But yet they don't have that integrity in the opposing party.

And I think that's really what I'm here for, honestly. I was raised by elders, a body of people who were very poor and yet love their country, love their lands, love all humanity, and yet they don't see that reflected in governance and they haven't seen that reflected in Idaho for the last three decades.

So people are ready to see, not only significant difference, but real radical empathetic change.

JONES: Well, why do you think we're seeing all these new voices and all these new people coming up now? I mean even in 2008, people were shocked that you had like a black guy running and now we got all kind of people running. Why do you think it's happening now and why do you personally want to take this up?

You are a mom, have young kids. I mean, what's calling you personally to do this?

JORDAN: It is the time we have to step up. Every day, we're being attacked in my public lands, my people and my community, poverty is on the rise more than ever, we are ranked 50th in the country on dang near every single status, from education to health care. So, it's just time.

JONES: Go ahead and tell me, what's going on in America? VALDEZ: I stole a phrase from a song. We are a gentle angry people. And Trump has given people permission to be cruel. We want to give people permission to have common sense, to have decency, and I think one of the reasons there's a lot of us stepping up is because we have a better brand.

JONES: Speaking of brands, you have a Democratic Party that is moving to the Left it seems. They're saying abolish ICE, they're saying universal health care for everybody, there's some of us saying hey listen we need massive gun control.

Does that help you or hurt you to have a Democratic Party moving this far to the Left when you're in a place like Texas or Idaho? How do you deal with this sort of contradiction of some stuff that inspires blue voters and really incites red voters and you got to get both? How do you think about that?

VALDEZ: I was a Sherriff for Dallas County for 13 years, and someone once said to me, if both sides aren't upset at you, there's something wrong. You have to do what is best for the whole. And if both - if some members of both sides are upset at you, you're doing the right thing. We have to come to the table.

JONES: Well, common sense. We got a lot more to discuss, when we come back, including an issue that motivates voters on both sides, the Second Amendment. How do you handle that as a Democrat in a pro-gun state? We're going to find out what the candidates have to say about that when we get back.



JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. I'm talking to three gubernatorial candidates who are trying to make history in November; Paulette Jordan of Idaho, Christine Hallquist of Vermont, and Lupe Valdez of Texas. Welcome back, so glad to have you guys here.

Listen, guns. You're in Texas, Vermont, Idaho, these are pro-gun states. How do the Democrats deal with the question of guns? You go first.

VALDEZ: I've been in law enforcement for over 40 years. A weapon was part of me just as my shoes were. But I believe in the Second Amendment, but I don't believe in stupidity. Anybody who cannot handle their disagreements through other than violence should never have a gun.

JONES: And that works in Texas. What about you, in Vermont?

HALLQUIST: The good news is our legislature had passed some gun safety legislation this year. And we've added some protocols to carry that out. But, a simple statement is, I support common sense gun laws. We want to protect the hunters and the sports. But at the same time, let's use some common sense.

JONES: And how about you?

JORDAN: Well you know me, from rural Idaho, so gun ownership is part of my culture. I was born and raised that way. Hunting and fishing is just our way of life. So running for Governor, people must know that not only am I a gun owner, but I'm supportive of the Second Amendment.

I am a CCW licensed, certified, trained.

And in fact, I even promote to gun ownership for women in the rural areas of Idaho to be certified and trained. They should be able to defend themselves.

JONES: So, I guess that sells pretty well in Idaho.


That's good. Well listen, you got great policies and you've got a real shot. But you also have a lot of character and a lot of integrity to be able to take on something so possible (ph). I got people who are watching this show right now, they might need some hope and inspiration.

What keeps you going, what gives you the ability to take on this, and what seems like to a lot of people an impossible challenge right now, what keeps you going?

VALDEZ: Everybody keeps telling me it's an uphill battle. But when you think about it, it's an uphill battle for all of our folks.

JONES: What keeps you going?

VALDEZ: The inner me.

JONES: Who is that?

VALDEZ: The peaceful inner me, the angry gentle person.

[19:55:18] JONES: What about you, how do you keep going?

HALLQUIST: I was facing my own death in 2014, I had cancer, and pretty much came to the conclusion that I was going to die. And I haven't yet transitioned for male to female. But facing that - my transition in 2015 was ever harder than facing my own death. But I faced it and I transitioned through, and I'm sitting here today and that's the miracle of being authentic.

And I will tell you, I know that miracle didn't just happen, it happened because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants who fought for what is right and what is just. But I'll simply say nothing is impossible when you're on the side of justice.

JONES: Beautiful. Paulette?

JORDAN: Well, I'm out on the trial multiple times a day, different spaces all throughout the state, it's a big state. I hear all kinds of stories from how people are one check away from bankruptcy, one week away from being homeless and out on the street.

And those are the kind of stories that can keep you driven. Ultimately, it's just this broad terms of responsibility, just keeps you going.

JONES: That is awesome, what you are doing. You are making so much space for so many more people to do some many more things that need to get done. I want to wish you all the best of luck in the upcoming races.

I'm Van Jones. This is The Van Jones Show. Thank you for watching. Peace and love for one another.