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tv   Democracy in Peril  CNN  January 24, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com reminder, don't miss "full circle." you can catch it streaming live 6:00 p.m. mondays, wendss, and fridays. watch it there and the cnn app any time on demand. the news continues with jim acosta and "democracy in peril." >> anderson, thank you. i'm jim acosta, and this is "democracy in peril" as we head into yet another election season. the stakes could not be higher. less than ten months away from the midterms. we all need to be paying attention to what's going on to disrupt our political system, like the changing of laws nationwide to restrict access to voting, or election rigging and
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trump candidates peddling the big lie. remember what trump tried to do to georgia's secretary of state who refused to overturn the will of the people. >> i just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. >> there's breaking news on that front today. the request by a georgia district attorney to seat a special grand jury to look into that infamous call and other potential election interference by trump has just been granted. the fulton county georgia d.a. will be allowed to seat a special grand jury this spring. and that is ominous news for the ex-president. this is a criminal investigation and some of the key evidence is on tape. much more on that in a moment. speaking of tape, team trump isn't trying to hide its attempts to overthrow president biden's victory. just confessed on live television a few days ago to taking part in a scheme to replace real electors from seven
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states with fraudulent ones. >> yes, i was part of the process to make sure there were alternate electors under the leadership of rudy giuliani. >> signed fake certificates were sent to the national archives declaring donald trump won states he lost. that was boris epshteyn, long time trump loyalist. i would bet the panel would like to hear a lot more about him, about that from him. what's also deeply concerning is this draft executive order the exit tee is looking into from december 2020 that indicates a proposed plan for trump to use the military to seize voting machines. >> we are concerned that our military was part of this big lie. >> and if that isn't enough, as the january 6th panel investigates the deadly attack on our capitol, a republican speaker of the house, former republican speaker of the house, is now floating the idea of jailing members for doing their constitutional duty.
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>> i think when you have a republican congress, this is all going to come crashing down. they're the ones who, in fact, i think face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they're breaking. >> committee vice chair liz cheney says that comment from gingrich is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels. i'll talk about this later tonight. it's what happens when democracy dies. first, i want to take all these threats and talk solutions with someone who played a key role in helping defend democracy from trump's coup attempt, filed an onslaught of baseless lawsuits to overturn the election. won 64 cases to date against the trump campaign and lost just one. he is now so feared by trump world that maga tv even suggested doing this. >> mark elias, why don't you guys put together a half billion dollars and go hire him and get
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him out of your -- get him out of your way? >> so, mark elias, would you have gone away for half a billion dollars? let's talk to mark about this, the founder of democracy docket joins me now. mark, you know, putting that to the side, that was just in jest, how likely is it in these upcoming midterms that we're going to see a scenario of multiple elections across the country becoming such a huge circus because of these bogus fraud claims? >> i think it's an inevitability. i think we are one, maybe two, elections cycles away from a real constitutional crisis because you now have one of the two major parties in this country that is no longer committed to free and fair elections, no longer committed to the peaceful transfer of power. and, you know, it's easy for people to dismiss this as the rantings of crazy people. but the fact is donald trump was the president of the united states when he was talking about calling up the military. these people who we now dismiss
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as, you know, as off their rocker were working for the president of the united states. and they're now working for republican candidates around the country. >> and what's the impact on our democracy? i mean, mark, do you have enough lawyers on your team to handle that kind of scenario? >> so, look, i had hoped congress was going to pass new legislation because it would be really what the backstop is. but, you know, i'm committed and my team is committed to litigating wherever as often as necessary to protect democracy. there is no higher calling as a lawyer or as a citizen. and that's what we're going to do. >> you know, let's get back to what's taking place in georgia, the big breaking news that we saw earlier today. the district attorney there in fulton county now has essentially the green light to get a grand jury investigation going. what do you think a criminal indictment of trump in georgia would mean for people who are, you know, thinking about trying to interfere with the next election?
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>> so, i don't doubt that where donald trump and his closest and craziest supporters, it won't mean that much. i mean, it will mean, for him because he'll be indicted and presumably go to trial. and we'll see what happens. but it will serve as a stern and important warning to other politicians and to other election officials that you cannot subvert and undermine american elections without consequences. so, it is vitally important that there are consequences for what donald trump did in the days leading up to january 6th, on january 6th, and the days following. >> yeah, i talked to a trump adviser earlier this evening who said that this is very bad for him. there's no question about it. and mark, what does it say, you know, that states like arizona seem to be taking a second swing at this, third swing, fourth swing? they're not stopping -- >> no. >> -- even when they're proven to be wrong. >> that's right.
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look, you would have thought a number of these states after the big lie was shown to be just that, a lie, would have given up. you would have thought that states that had engaged in these bogus audits, after those didn't pan out, would have given up. but what we've actually seen, if you think about it, is the big lie has grown. and the commitment of the republican party to the big lie has grown. you know, there are seven members of the house conference today who have an f rating with the nra. none of them voted for any of the voting rights bills, not one. in state after state legislature, we are seeing republicans figure out new ways to disenfranchise voters. and why are they doing this? they're doing this, a, because they think it will help them win election, but, b, because they are trying to show fealty to a failed one-term president who cannot get over the fact that he lost the election fair and square. >> you know, mark, that is the thing that concerns me the most,
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is that they seem to have cracked the code. and i'm wondering how concerned you are about this when you have a situation where the last time around there were secretaries of state like brad rafrens burger who stood in the way. there were election officials in michigan who wouldn't go along with what the trump team wanted to do. it didn't work in pennsylvania. you know, it went to the courts and he was slapped down, and so on. but they have -- they have broken this code in a way that sort of outlines a blueprint for what they could do next time around and the time after that and the time after that. how do you stop that from continuing to happen? >> so, that's the problem, which is that they continue to attack democracy. they continue to move along the perimeter looking for the weak points in the fence. and we have to be right every time. we have to prevent subversion of elections every time. and that's a hard and tall
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order, which is the reason why programs like this are so important. it is such a wonderful public service that you and cnn are doing because democracy is in peril right now. and it's important that everybody understands that what we might look back at and think, oh, january 6th was a one-time event, oh donald trump and the crazy lawsuits with kraken and powell and giuliani, that was all just nonsense. they're planning again. they're planning for 2022, and they're planning for 2024. >> and, you know, you mentioned the voting rights legislation that was defeated last week. and now there is talk of reforming the electoral count act. does that go far enough, in your view? >> it doesn't. >> if not, why not? >> yeah, i've been an outspoken critic of the idea that somehow we pass reforms to the electoral count act and we are already better off. the electoral count act will
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deal with the problems that we see with senators and members of congress objecting on the floor of the house and the senate. but reforming the electoral count act alone won't do anything to prevent county election officials from putting their thumb on the scale or secretaries of state putting their arms on the scale. and really where we have to worry about election subversion is in those state offices, whether it's the presipgts or county offices or secretaries of states offices. and the electoral count act reform doesn't address that. >> so, what is the final answer do you think? i mean, what is the solution here? that's one of the things we want to get into this week, not just paint a gloomy picture, but offer solutions. >> yeah, so, look. i'm an optimist about this because i think that if everyone stands up in their town square -- you know, you have a great town square. you're broadcasting to millions and millions of people. but everyone who's watching this has a town square. it may be their friends. it may be their family.
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it may be their social media. and if all of us stand up and say, it is not okay to subvert democracy, it is not acceptable to deny people the right to vote. and if we all do that and we are all willing to shine a light on this, then i think we're going to be able to fight it back. but if we just go on with our lives and act like democracy is not at stake, it's not in peril, that's where the other side will win. >> no question about it. this is no time for whis lg past the graveyard. mark elias, thanks for all the work you do. we appreciate it. >> thank you. and voters are supposed to choose their politicians, not tho choose who votes in what districts has long been a part of american politics, but it is dividing us even more now. an upclose look with dana bash, who travelled to texas to investigate. that's next. so i only pay for what i need.
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and tonight a closer look at a battle that could shift the balance of power in this country for the next decade. i'm talking about redistricting and the often legal rigging that occurs when partisans in state houses intentionally distort maps to keep themselves in power, a practice known as gerrymandering. dana bash takes us to texas, one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the nation. >> reporter: we're in downtown austin. >> yes. >> this is an area that right now is represented by a republican. it's going to change with the new lines. >> it is. it is. >> reporter: austin, the capital of texas, is a pretty liberal town. it's a key reason republicans drew new congressional maps that took city blocks like this and progressives who live here out of their gop districts. >> here in austin, what the republicans did was pack as many democrats into as few districts as possible. the republican districts are not only just going to be republican, they're going to be
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very republican. and the democratic districts are going to be very democratic. >> reporter: will hurd is a moderate texas republican who left congress last year frustrated about the lack of bipartisanship. he says new gerrymandered maps will make partisanship even worse. >> you have the house that is extreme in one direction or another. that means people are no longer forced to work together. >> reporter: more on that in a bit. the constitution says every ten years after the census, state political maps are redrawn based on population changes. in recent decades, state legislatures in both parties have taken to gerrymandering congressional districts. >> redistricting is simply the process of redrawing the lines. gerrymandering is redrawing the lines with the intent to benefit a particular party or group or
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individual. >> reporter: look at the map that texas republican legislature passed after the 2020 census. even the untrained political eye can see how jumbled and jagged the new house districts will be. >> when you look at the new texas map after redistricting, what does it look like to you? >> well, to me, the new map is -- it's incumbent protection. the red seats got redder and blue seats got bluer. >> reporter: professor david lublin. >> it feels more and more like the representatives are choosing their constituents rather than vice versa. >> i here that said often but at the end of the day, the voting still occurs by the population that goes and votes. >> but if you decide that the population that's going to vote for you are like-minded people -- >> they're communities of interest. >> communities of interest isn't just code for keeping republicans with republicans and democrats with democrats?
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>> i don't believe so, no. >> he served on the texas house redistricting committee. his own district is becoming more republican. >> when the districts are drawn so that republicans are in safe republican seats, democrats are in safe democrat seats -- >> sure. >> -- isn't that by definition incumbent protection. >> not necessarily. even if it's a republican district, they still have to have a republican primary. the incumbent isn't necessarily safe. >> reporter: true incumbents aren't necessarily safe, but the threat to them in politically gerrymandered districts full of voters from their own party comes from within, not across the aisle, pulling lawmakers even more to the extreme. texas state representative, chris turner, a democrat. >> there is no scenario in which a republican could win my house district. >> that could pull you left if you did have a primary opponent. >> sure. there's no question. >> reporter: there are different kind of gerrymandering, packing,
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putting like minded people together, or cracking, separating them to dilute their influence. this time, they packed. republican congressman pete sessions' district will be even more red. >> we've by and large entered a period of time where republicans want to be represented by republicans and democrats want to be represented by democrats. >> the fact that there are so many more safe seats, republican and democrat in congress, does that make things more partisan here? >> it makes things to where the person that represents those districts more hardened in their belief. >> reporter: texas democrat sheila jackson lee says when she first came to congress three decades ago, the first legislation she worked on was bipartisan. >> she didn't know any better. we thought we had to work together. and even though there might have been one or two who would make
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those speeches oryone would look up, the majority felt that our work was to work together. i think we have an obligation that we should not let redistricting change america. >> has it? >> i think it has. how long can people enjoy having difficulty in getting good work done? >> reporter: since the 2010 census, texas has gained nearly 4 million new people and will get two new congressional seats. a big democratic criticism of the new texas gop-drawn map is that 95% of the new population is minority, and the two new seats were drawn for republicans. >> growth in this country, and especially in this area, is not anglo. it is a mixture of minorities. and that should be reflected in the representation. and it is not.
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>> reporter: texas democrat eddie bernice johnson is retiring after 30 years in the house and says, though gerrymandering is hardly new, it's becoming more extreme. >> when these lines start being drawn with the help of computers where they can be so exact that they can break up a bedroom if they wanted to, it is hurting our nation. >> reporter: kimble brace has one of those computer programs. >> this is showing you concentration of where the trump vote was being cast. >> reporter: he's hired by states across the country to draw their maps and showed us just how advanced the technology is now. >> by the time you get down to the census block level, you can end up getting exact populations for any given piece of geography. >> reporter: to be sure gerrymandering is happening in state houses all across the country, including those with democrats in charge. maryland republican delegate is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against
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democrats gerrymandering congressional districts in their favor. >> this makes no sense. look at this district. it wraps around there. >> she's avedvocating a non-partisan approach. >> a fifth grader can look at these two maps next to each other and see what looks fair and what looks like it was created with partisan purposes. this is our historic house chamber. >> reporter: cnn reached out to maryland state democrats in leadership and on the redistricting committee. none of them agreed to an interview. >> when you let politicians draw their own maps, be they republican or democrat, they're going to hold onto their power, creating partisan representation isn't good for citizens. you know, most people are not on the far left or the far right. you know, most people reside somewhere in the middle on most
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issues. >> reporter: in his upcoming book "american reboot" will hurd writes about the importance of appealing to those in the middle, not on the edges. >> my title is representative. i represent all people, people that voted for me, people that didn't vote for me, and people that didn't vote at all. >> reporter: congressional crossover districts where voters choose a member from different parties are virtually disappearing. in 1996 there were 108. in 2016, down to 35. and today there are only 16. >> the number of competitive districts here in texas, you were in one of them, has gone from 12 to 1. what does that mean for the way things work in congress or don't? >> well, you see more dysfunction because people aren't going to work together. and let me give you -- >> how is it possible there will be more dysfunction. >> look, because you can have even less people working
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together. >> reporter: thanks to politicians in both parties across the country drawing their own districts to stay in power. >> dana, that is very good reporting. just incredible stuff. and very worrisome. some states are now trying to make redistricting less partisan. how are they doing that? >> trying. that's right. 18 states, jim, have tried the commission route. and what that means is taking the drawing of districts out of the hands of the legislators, those people who are the direct beneficiaries of the lines that they are drawing, as we just explained, and putting it into the hands of an independent commission. there have been mixed results among these commissions. one of the most -- one of the states that sort of good government watchers have been looking at the most is michigan. michigan just -- at the end of 2021 -- completed its commission work. it was two republicans, two
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democrats, four unaffiliated members. and at the end, what they did was they increased the number of competitive districts in michigan from three to five. so, it looks like that is a state that could be a model. now, there are complaints that we're hearing from republicans and democrats about the way that it went. and there are probably some kinks to work out. but it is one idea, one option that a lot of people are looking for. the key here is take -- again, take the power out of the hands of the people who are trying to retain that power. there are other ideas, but that's -- at least this point, jim, the most front and center. >> yeah, trying to get the politicians to think about the country's best interest instead of their own. it would be a nice start. dana bash, thank you very much for that report. we appreciate it. all right. and when "democracy in peril" continues, we're going to war game a scenario that thankfully
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did not become reality but it's frightening nonetheless because it could have. what if donald trump had gotten away with his attempted coup? what would this country look like today. hold on for that next. ♪ get a head start in investing with the new schwab starter kit™. new investors can open an account and get $50 to split across the top five stocks in the s&p 500®. you can also unlock short videos, step-by-step guides, and other easy-to-use tools designed for people just getting started. plus, investment professionals are on standby 24/7
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welcome back. what would have happened if trump had gotten away with his attempted coup on january 6th? what if he had pulled it off? just yesterday the former speaker of the house newt gingrich said the dictator part out loud when he fantasized about the jailing of committee members simply for getting to the bottom of trump's insurrection. >> i think when you have a republican congress this is all going to come crashing down, and the wolves are going to find out they're now sheep. and they're the ones i think are going to face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they're breaking. >> jailing political opponents.
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that is one thing that happens when democracy dies. why stop at congress, newt? what's next? judges? yes, when a would be dictator seizes power, anything goes at that point. there goes the january 6th investigation. like the republican party is going to stop him. certainly not the 147 republicans in the house and senate who voted to over turn the election results even after the attack on the capitol. those lawmakers could have turned to the trump team plan for bogus alternate electors, which sounds like another scheme, dubbed the green bay sweep. >> the plan was simply this. we had over 100 congressmen and senators on capitol hill ready to implement the sweep. the sweep was simply that. we were going to challenge the results of the election in six battleground states. >> fortunately the green bay sweep was about as successful as
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aaron rogers and the packers. and there was the draft order to have the military seize voting machines, like one would do in a coup. >> we have information that between the department of justice a plan was put forth to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize the department of defense assets to make that happen. >> next, i suppose the dictator would just send out his minions to claim he won fair and square, sort of like how his ally sidney powell was lying about things just after the election. >> president trump won by not just hundreds of thousands of votes but by millions of votes that were shifted by this software that was designed expressly for that purpose. >> what about all that violence on january 6? seems plausible and even more
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trumpy justice department would not be pursuing charges. true, some people would see their reality with their own eyes, just how bad it was. but trump would have a propaganda outfit to let the american people know it wasn't that awful. now, who would that be? >> oh, it was an insurrection? so, how many of the participants in that insurrection have been charged with insurrecting, with sedition, with treason? zero. no one has been charged with sedition or insurrection. most of it hit with charges like parading. parading. who knew that was a crime? by the way, it should be. i hate parades. >> what would the world be like if trump had pulled it off in the weeks that followed? the dictator would have continued to hold his rallies. january 6th gaslighting would become reality and reality would become gaslighting.
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>> believe me, there was a lot of love and a lot of friendship and people that love our country. these are great people. >> but there would be other news outlets where you could find the truth, right? well, now they don't do the free press in autocracies. ask trump's friends in saudi arabia or russia. but there still would be state television. you would just have to watch segments on how canning just isn't as sexy as it used to be. >> every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgenous, until the moment you wouldn't want to have a drink with any of one of them. that's the goal. >> that's about as creepy and dystopian as it would get. i suppose the dictator you would occasionally sit down for an interview to take questions about what happened on january 6th. he would have to turn to sean hannity. yeah, sean would still be around, the same sean hannity who according to the january 6th committee texted the white house
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press secretary after the election to say, no more stolen election talk, impeachment, 25th amendment are real. >> i believe it was the biggest crowd i've ever spoken to. it was massive. i'm not talking about the people that walked down to the capitol. i'm talking about the people that we were watching -- >> at the rally. >> that was going to happen. at the rally. there was a lot of love there. >> a lot of love. thanks, sean. but fortunately, it did not happen. mike pence did not go along with it. trump failed. the mousse leeny of mar-a-lago can seize another bread stick from the buffet at his club, but he can't seize our elections, at least not yet. folks know each week i've talked about the threat posed to our democracy in a segment i call "hold on." in the beginning it was an homage to old school reporters who would say to the line politician, hold on, just give us the truth. but it's come to mean something more than that for me. now it's about holding on to
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this incredible democracy that we've been taking for granted, free elections, free press, freedom to tune out the lies. our democracy may be in peril, but it's not finished. yes, we need to defend this democracy. it's only as strong as those who are willing to protect it. but if you ask me, i think it's time to go on offense. and going on offense includes combatting one of the greatest enemies to democracy, misinformation, something our next guest closely monitors and has a lot of solutions to offer. we'll talk about that next. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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my next guest monitors right wing messaging conspiracies and disinformation. you may remember this viral tweet, where he flags trump still pushing the big lie.
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listen. >> it would be a lot sharper the next time when it comes to counting the vote. there's a famous statement, sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate. and we can't let that ever, ever happen again. they have to get tougher and smarter. >> he says for everything he's posted and brought to the attention of the public, he's seen 99 things worse. criminal defense attorney and former state prosecutor ron phillip talks to me. i've always wanted to talk to you. it's great to see you. thanks for making time for us. we appreciate it. >> glad to do it. thank you for having me on. >> i want to get your reaction to the scenario i was just talking about in the previous segment about what would have happened if trump had gotten away with his attempted coup on january 6th. at the heart of it is the problem we have with extremism and disinformation. it's the jet fuel of trumpism. and it's something you try to highlight every day. >> yeah, i think yesterday the big vaccine rally in d.c. was,
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you know, a really perfect example of the problem that we face. there was a pretty significant turnout of people. they had doctors speak. it was just one lie after another. but i think that that rally also illustrated a really good way of combatting misinformation in the way that it was presented. >> and you do that how? i mean, take us behind the scenes. how do you and -- i guess you have a team. i mean, you monitor this stuff, you get it out there, and you find a way to make these tweets go viral to, i guess, you know, get as many people aware of this as possible. >> well, we watch all of these rallies and events from start to finish. and we're following people on the inside that are adherence to these movements, and we're following other people as well, just live feeds. so, for example, the event yesterday, what we're doing is
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we're trying to illustrate how extreme these people are. you know, robert f. kennedy jr. was the head liner for the rally yesterday. and he's supposed to be talking about the vaccine and how terrible it is. but he launched into a riff about equating anti-vaxers to jews fleeing the nazis. he's talking about satellites tracking the world's population using 5g technology. he's talking about global elites cutting off the food supply to the population. and what we do is we highlight that. we don't -- we don't run from it. the traditional way of dealing with this stuff has been to ignore it. don't give it oxygen. don't give it a platform. we take the opposite approach. we want the whole country to see how crazy these people really are. we're not highlighting their antivaccine message. we're highlighting all the other crazy stuff they're saying and doing to discredit them. >> it takes me back to the days
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when people would say, don't read the trump tweets. don't show the trump prose conferences. don't show the rallies. don't show how crazy it is what he's saying. if we stick our heads in the sand, that's not going to do anybody any good. one of the things you tweeted about in recent days was about newt gingrich, the former house speaker of the republican party, and his threatening jail time for members of congress investigating january 6th. i mean, trump never succeeded in jailing hillary clinton, and yet they still seem to be wanting to chant, lock her up. and now you have newt. you have newt saying, lock them up. why do you think these kinds of moments resonate so much with the public? >> well, you know, i pulled that clip from newt gingrich because i thought it was significant because i've been watching the members of the house freedom caucus ratcheting up their rhetoric against dr. fauci,
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against the january 6th commission members, talking about stripping them of their committee assignments, punishing them as members of congress using house rules. and that rhetoric has been slowly ratcheted up. but then newt took it to the next level. he was the first one who i heard say, these people need to be arrested and put in jail who are serving on the j6 committee. so, that clearly caught my attention. and then of course i wanted to watch the following day, which was today, to see who agreed with that. and matt gaetz of course chimed in that he agreed with what newt said. >> right. not surprising there. and this is an important point. i think we're talking about this at the beginning of the segment. what do you think makes some of the people on the extreme right so susceptible to these conspiracy theories, qanon, pizzagate, misinformation. i mean, you have people in maga world who still believe the big lie. and they seem to live in the same, you know, ecosystem,
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disinformation ecosystem, as the anti-vaxxers, people who go out and listen to rfk jr. spout all of this nonsense comparing vaccine mandates to the holocaust. >> yeah. i think at this point the political leaders have completely lost control of the asylum. the inmates are in charge. the influencers and the conspiracy theoryists have whipped up what is now the republican base with crt conspiracies, vaccine conspiracies, election fraud conspiracies, you name it, there's a whole bunch of them. and you see that the grass roots level of these people are driving the politicians, not the other way around. what really illustrated that was when donald trump in his rally in georgia and texas advocated for taking the vaccine, and he got huge backlash, not just from the crowd -- >> they booed him.
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>> -- but the next day. yeah. notice his third rally in arizona last week, he never mentioned the vaccine. that shows you the base is controlling him now, not the other way around. >> and they're controlling the party, and they're putting this democracy on a collision course with god knows what. i mean, that is what we're talking about night after night after night on this program. ron phillip, you've been isolating these snippets and getting them out to the public. thanks very much for what you do. we appreciate it. thanks for coming on tonight. >> thul very much, jim. >> good to see you, ron. so, with all of this misinformation and polarization, can a house this divided stand? a reality check with john avlon ahead on lessons from abroad that could help us bring things together again. looking forward to that, john. that's why td ameritrade designed a first-of-its-kind, personalized education center. oh. their award-winning content is tailored to fit your investing goals and interests. and it learns with you, so as you become smarter, so do its recommendations. so it's like my streaming service. well except now you're binge learning. see how you can become a smarter investor
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let's talk about solutions. what can we do to depolarize? can we unite a divided america? john avlon has some thoughts on that tonight in his reality check. >> as you know there have been boat loads of books and studies warning about the dangers to our democracy. all that is starting to sink in obviously culminating with january 6 and trump's attempt to overturn the election. a new npr poll shows 64% of americans think our democracy is in danger. in the search for solutions one recent study jumped out at me. it's by the folks at the carnegie endowment for international peace particularly jennifer mccoy and ben press on what they call pernicious polarization and how it has affected other democracies around the world. they define it as basically when someone's partisan identity starts affecting their social identity which is certainly something we're seeing here in the united states. they looked at 52 countries around the world since 1950
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where polarization has impacted democracy negatively, has degraded democracy. here's what they found. half the countries, only half the countries managed to pull out of that death spiral. the united states is far and away the most developed, long standing democracy out of any in this group. but some lessons from that group are absolutely worth looking to and particularly point to election reforms that emphasized increased choice and representation as a way of depolarizing the debates. this may get wonky so buckle up. it's important stuff. one of them is rank choice voting something we are seeing in new york city, maine, alaska, increasing in states in the united states. other ideas like multi member districts and proportional representation haven't been done in the united states for decades but they once were put in place in certain states and cities. the study suggests it may be time to look at the local election reforms again as a way of depolarizing. another study jumped out by
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rachel kleinfelt one of the best scholars of the defense of democracy area. this also looked at lessons from foreign lands where democracy had been degraded. she was in particular looking at the institutions, jim, that could restore faith in democracy after it had been degraded by out of control executives. she found it wasn't political parties, it wasn't politicians who were able to heal the nation. it was institutional accountability from an independent judiciary nonpartisan prosecutors, journalists who bring accountability through transparency and sun light being the best disinfectant. and voters. that is all what leads to a stronger civil society and the muscle we need to build to defend our democracy and restore it strength. that has worked in the past in other countries. there are no perfect parallels to the united states. we are almost a 250-year-old democracy. we shouldn't be in this situation. but we can look overseas where democracy has been degraded and take some lessons. that is a step toward some
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solutions according to these two studies. >> we have to pull together and do this, john, before it's too late. thanks so much. you've given us a lot to think about. we really appreciate it. >> thanks. >> we'll be right back. orrr... you could cancel the meeting and share updates in slack instead. it's where your whole team is in one place so everyone can stay up to date. slack. where the future works.
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that is it for us tonight. join us tomorrow as we look at america's growing distrust in civic institutions and how it puts democracy in peril. don lemon tonight starts right now. >> as someone, good evening by the way, as someone who witnessed the unraveling of our democracy, had a front row seat, you, is it better, worse, can we turn this around in your estimation? you were the white house correspondent for the entire trump reign. >> yeah. i have the marks on my back to prove it, don. you know, i think we are in worse shape than we were t

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