tv Deadline White House MSNBC November 2, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
most-watched race of the cycle. that neck and neck fight for governor between terry mcauliffe and republican/culture warrior, glenn youngkin. we're one hour away from the first exit polls being released. it will be our first glimpse as to where the race might be leaning after weeks of statistical ties in the polls. "new york times" breaks down the candidates closing arguments this way. the themes of the contest with mr. mcauliffe trying to tie mr. youngkin to former president trump and mr. youngkin focusing on how racial inequality is taught in schools among other cultural issues only amplified the election as a potential bellwether. youngkin walking a sort of trump tightrope. he clung during the primary to donald trump's election disinformation in a clear bid to the maga base, but then backed
away a bit after winning the nomination. now the teaching of critical race theory -- we'll stop for a fact check, critical race theory is not part of the virginia teaching spectrum, but teaching racial inequality in the classroom has been seized upon donald trump's base as well as growing swaths on the right and has been central to youngkin's central argument even as he worked to keep donald trump himself at an arm's length. the times says he accepted mr. trump's support and obtained from criticizing him, but mr. youngkin never invokes his name. axios calls it the new gop brand, trump light. republicans with spring states set to dictate senate control in 2022 are scrambling to strike a balance when full trump is too hot but never trump is too cold.
with today's race as the first real test as the new gop model for electioneering in the post-trump era. a warning from terry mcauliffe. >> donald trump wants to win here tomorrow night so he can next day announce for president of the united states of america. we're going to put an end to donald trump's future plans right here in virginia. i have beaten twice in virginia, tomorrow we go 3-0. >> and that is where we start today. the former senator, claire mccaskill is here. also joining us, david plouffe, and former lieutenant governor of maryland, michael steele joins us. michael steele launched an exploatory committee running
for governor of maryland. we start with chris jansen. what are you seeing and what are you hearing? >> i covered a lot of off-season races, i don't remember intensity like we're seeing on the ground in virginia today. months ago nobody would have thought this race would be down to a dead heat, but it turned out to be not just intense, but incredibly expensive. most expensive governor's race. more and more ads. having said that, the math definitely favors terry mcauliffe, right? take where i am in loudoun county, we call it the ep p i epicenter of the epicenter of the suburban vote. ralph northam won by almost 20 points here. one of the things that they're looking at closely is can the terry mcauliffe campaign match or come close to some of those numbers from 2017? so the math is there. this is a county, for example,
that has doubled in population over the last 20 years. a lot of it swinging blue. having said that, if you look at the momentum, glenn youngkin, for example, i went to two of his events yesterday. one at an airport, a couple hundred people in the middle of the day on a monday. the enthusiasm there was high. last night at the fairgrounds here in loudoun county, a democratic county, he brought out 1,000 people who were traipsing across fields to get to where his event was being held. they're buying t-shirts, buying hats. incredible consistency to what they're talking about. they find his message on education to be something that resonates with them as one republican said to me, there's been a lot of frustration at the parent level and he has really tapped into that. i did, though, just get off the phone with a senior member of the terry mcauliffe campaign. they say they like the turnout numbers they're seeing, particularly in some areas
around richmond. they like what they're seeing in loudoun county. i've talked also to loudoun county officials, they say it has not been 2017 levels yet. here's one of the things that is really critical here to talk about. we've never seen an election quite like this. post-pandemic, early voting, we've never seen in a more normal election, and the guy here told me who is running this precinct said a lot of folks are still working from home. will we get the after-work rush? will we get the after-dinner rush? we don't know. a lot of things are still up in the air. being in touch with both campaigns, they're cautiously optimistic, but i would put the emphases on the caution. >> explain why youngkin is in this part of the state with his closing message? explain what loudoun county is as a national -- it's not really
about education, it's race in the classroom. >> he's talking about critical race theory. he mentioned it last night. he said the first thing i'll do when i get elected is ban critical race theory. critical race theory is not even taught in virginia schools. he talked about the chaos in schools. this is one of the generally regarded best school systems in the country. loudoun county has an excellent reputation for itis tapping int this is 17, 18 months for a lot of parents who have been frustrated by what they've seen out of washington. they have not been able to send their kids to school. they've been in school, out of school, there's been confusion about it. there's still some push back about vaccines, no vaccines for their kids. so he said we have given them an outlet for that frustration. the campaign has given them a place to put that frustration. and if you look at that, you
look at where the republicans are heading into 2022, the question is how close can you walk that line? walk that line of frustration. he's done it by saying thank you, donald trump, for your endorsement, but last night donald trump held a tele event for the second time. glenn youngkin didn't participate in it. it's also going to be looked at closely to see is this sort of a blueprint for how we run in 2022, the results tonight will tell republican candidates a lot. >> thank you for your real sense of all the nuances there in virginia and nationally. great to talk to you. we'll be talking to you all night. we'll be here all night. i'm sure we'll see you many times. thank you. let me just bring you all in on this. i'll start with you, michael steele. this is like seinfeld, it's a campaign about nothing. critical race theory is not taught. what is this a campaign about? >> it's a campaign about that.
it's about -- >> about nothing. >> right. how i can get you to emote about something your child has no clue about what it is. i guarantee you 90% of parents have no idea what it is. yet they've been told this is something that they should be afraid of because unfortunately for terry mcauliffe, he stepped into it by saying parents have no voice in this space. they have no interest or should have any interest in what goes on in the classroom. we all know that's patently not true. parents do have a concern and interest in this space. so to say that without clarification as to what he meant allowing youngkin to then frame the narrative around that issue, this -- in this campaign it has done to mcauliffe what defund the police did to democrats in 2020. >> yes. yes. yes. i want to bring you in. i remember, claire mccaskill
when joe biden as a candidate went to the microphones and said i'm not for defunding the police. he made sure that didn't stick to him. was mcauliffe agile and deft -- again, republican disinformation is never the democratic side's fault but it is the landscape on which republican campaigns are waged right now. that is the sad reality. i wonder if the fact that voter after voter at youngkin rallies says i'm here because of his stance on critical race theory. it's like me banning the ghosts from the set. there aren't any ghosts, i can ban them. he's for banning something that is not taught in the classroom and it's bringing him 1,000 people to loudoun county a day before election day. did the other side push back against the lie and the attack effectively enough? >> well, i think what is really going on here is no matter whether it was critical race theory or another cultural issue, the republicans are only campaigning on cultural issues
now. >> right. >> and this is all about that. this is all -- we all know -- i think what terry mcauliffe meant is that school boards decide policy in the schools and the school boards are elected by parents, and certainly parents are going to be engaged and involved we hope in their child's education, but it would be chaos if every child's parent was deciding curriculum. that wouldn't work. here's the thing. what will happen today is going to turn on one thing and that is the big "t," turnout. here's the two strategies of the two campaigns. the republican candidate is doing anger, grievance, you should be in charge. these people, these nameless elitists are telling your students and your kids things they shouldn't. on the other hand, mcauliffe is running on fear. fear of what? donald trump. and the most fascinating thing about this race is that trump has not reacted to being pushed away. other republicans will think
they can get away with this. i'm shocked that donald trump is letting a republican candidate say you're toxic, stay away from me. that's what this guy got away with. he told trump you're toxic, stay away, and by in large he did. >> david, i wonder if you can weigh in on the contours of these two campaigns closing messages and then the broader dynamic that we're inching at but not really getting to, that it's really close in virginia. >> historically, as you know, going back decades, you know, in the year after a presidential election, we have governors races in virginia, new jersey and historically they tend to vary quite a bit from the results a year before. we can overreact to these results tonight. and whether terry mcauliffe wins by a point or two or glenn youngkin wins by a point or two, it matters to the state of virginia who the governor is, but that's erosion for the democrats. so the democrats, no matter what
happens tonight in terms of the "w" or the "l," you have to think about what happened to those voters? diagnose what happened and the trickier thing is to figure out what to do about it. a year is a long time in politics. in this election, i think youngkin tried to drive wedges on education, but he's blanketed the states with ads which also said i will historically boost spending on education. i'll raise teacher pay. yeah, he's done the critical race theory and trying to divide the state with culture politics but also trying to be a different kind of republican. this election takes place with insanely high gas prices because of the delta variant, people are still stuck having to deal with covid. the economy is growing, but not as quickly as people would like. it's not the greatest environment for terry mcauliffe running in virginia. to me, youngkin has gotten away with, you know, the wink and the
nod to the base, they're okay with him. and he's also to mainstream voters, which is why he was in loudoun last night. he thinks he can get those margins down. if he can do that, he has a good chance to win. i think there's a lot going into this race. for me in terms of next year, which i know is quickly where the discussion will go, you're going to see erosion. so democrats have to be real about that. some of that is unique to virginia, unique to new jersey, but you still had erosion. where did that happen with the eelectorate? i'm optimistic because the pandemic may be endemic. the economy could be rolling. democrats maybe could get something done in washington and the republicans will be stuck just trying to campaign on culture wars and kissing donald trump's behind, which i don't think is a great strategy in an election. i think the democrats can get on a stronger footing but they're
heading into this election with serious headwinds. you have to be realistic that if mcauliffe wins tonight by a point or two that everything is okay. it's not. the democrats lost house seats in 2020 winning virginia by ten points. to hold on to the house, you probably have to have a political environment next year where you're at least winning by ten points in states like virginia if not more. >> you know what's amazing to me, michael steele, is the difference between the republican base and the democratic base. youngkin is running on two lines. he's both for and against donald trump. he was -- he repeated the election fraud claims in the primary, contributed to his ability to run. he's now faux distancing himself from donald trump. trump did an event for him yesterday. the second lie is the one we've been talking about, on day one,
he's going to ban critical race theory from virginia public schools and we think he may win. the democrats are -- listen, politics are what they are. your relationship with your voters are what they are. it's amazing how low the bar is for a republican and you hear all sorts of things contributing to democratic questions and concerns about turnout. the stalled agenda in washington. the debate between progressives and joe manchin. the lack of attention and focus on voting rights. the lack of attention on police reform. the lack of attention on the insurrection, the inability for merrick garland -- there's so many more things democrats have to do to be successful than republicans. >> it's because of the nature of their base and how their base engages politically, which has always been a challenge for the established order of leadership to try to actually conduct politics. to do what you need to do to
win. the reality is the republican base at the end of the day is, you know, they have a few things they're going to check off as a leader for them, whether it's an issue like abortion or crt, social issues. democrats have many more that they feign and fawn over and lose sight of the political strategy of actually getting across the finish line. >> yes. >> and so you have this nature of politics being played out where one team is actually playing the game and the other team is more cerebral about it and gets upset when somebody tries to change the rule on that part of the field or does not acknowledge the rules on this part of the field. instead of finding a counter strategy, in this case, having just taken the 19 damn senators who voted for joe biden's infrastructure bill to build roads and bridges, pass that sucker over the summer and you
have a completely different fall campaign right now. terry mcauliffe is up by ten points in places like loudoun county and the northern virginia area. and it's a very different narrative for terry -- for glenn youngkin to run his campaign because then he's running against a much stronger headwind. basically the democrats folded their sails on something that was given to them by republicans, and they have coasted into an election where now, guess what, republicans have moved the damn port. so you don't have a port to pull into. >> yeah. claire, jump in. is this unfair? tell me what the private conversations are among democrats about the environment in which mcauliffe and murphy are running tonight? >> i'm not sure that getting the infrastructure bill passed this summer would have made a major, major difference in this campaign. it would have been too early for people -- >> terry mcauliffe thought so.
>> i think he was anxious to have something that he could talk about. but, i mean, the people weren't going to feel it by now. youngkin would still be, you know -- i loved david plouffe's line, kissing donald trump's ample behind but in secret and trying to keep it quiet that he was kissing his ample behind. he would still be doing that and doing critical race theory and talking about how parents are being disrespected. so i'm not sure -- in all the other architectural problems that were talked about would still be here. keep in mind that history also tells us that the governor who runs in the opposite party of the sitting president after a president is elected in virginia has a hard time. so i -- i agree with everything that david plouffe said, that we need to learn from this election and the other thing that we have
to point out here, this is a state that expanded access to the polls. they have 45 days of early voting in virginia. they never had that before. so this is an example -- you talk about voting access, this is an example of a state where democrats can't whine that somehow they have been denied their ability to vote by draconian voter suppression laws that were passed because they did just the opposite in virginia. so we'll see what the turnout ends up being. i predict it will be much better than it was in 2017. >> david, do you think there was any consideration to running a different kind of campaign? i hear what claire is saying about history. i worked in the bush white house has defied that lousy misterm history because it made the 2002 midterms about security, about homeland security after the deadly attacks of september 11th. was there an opportunity? might democrats look back and say we should have made this about homeland security after the last republican standard
bearer called domestic terrorism of the same foul stench the same as those who attacked us on september 11th? might we have put ourselves in a different position about one party being better than another party on protecting the home homeland if we focussed on those issues? >> i think if virginia -- you know, there's been local issues there. again, i think it's been a tough environment for democrats to run in. an environment that i expect to improve. but, yeah, you have to remember -- terry mcauliffe has tried to make this as much a choice as anything between him and youngkin, governor newsom did that during the recall, the national coverage has been democrats in washington, democrats on democrats, and republicans are sort of hiding. if the democrats want to have a successful election next year, you're right, you need to basically stick a shiv in the republicans for what they did on the pandemic. they extended the pandemic. they're embracing domestic
terrorism. they haven't done anything on the economy. they clearly are sending signals that no matter who wins or loses elections, they want to steal power. and hold on to it. so you have to put these people on the griddle. i expect that environment to improve. 12 months from now, maybe the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. the economy should be chugging. the democrats have accomplishments they can story tell on. claire's good friend josh hawley said yesterday one of the most remarkable things i heard in a long time, white men essentially, men are not working, they're spending a lot of time watching porn and video games because their masculinity has been threatened. i'm tired of the weakness. >> bless his little heart, right? i want to send him -- >> nicole, can i just say one thing real quick? a great deal of respect to my
two friends on this panel. your democratic base has told you for the last six months what they want. and so to claire's point about you're not sure if this infrastructure bill would have made a difference, the chairman in me said it would have made a hell of a difference. i would have something on the ground that i could beat over the head of every republican running for office, going to the polls, independent voters. joe biden has lost independent voters. that means terry mcauliffe has lost independent voters in virginia. why? because they very much like the democratic base were looking for something. that is the narrative of this race. what have you done for me today? because of what i did for you a year ago when i elected you? if you cannot go into an election claiming something, anything, it dispirits the base and gives your opponent a window that they otherwise wouldn't
have. that's my biggest point right now when i look at this and analyze it. we are where we are with the democrats because they let down their sails, drifted into a port that had been moved further downstream by the republicans. >> i will put that analysis to our conversation. jamie harrison will join the conversation. still ahead, i'll be joined -- i will join rachel madow and joy reid in the next hour. the first exit polling will be out. steve kornacki will be here. he will be here all night long. next, for us, are virginia democrats showing up? and talking about those closing messages, we'll look at the final ads on the air in virginia over the final days. each candidate sending a warning what a win for the other guy
would mean. all those stories and more on this special election day episode of "deadline: white house." ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need to unveil them to the world. ♪ to unveil them to the world. ♪ ♪ ♪ hey google. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪♪ there's still about one and a half hours left before polls close in virginia. exit polling data drops at the top of the hour. so stay tuned for that. we'll also be tracking turnout in the hours to come. so important for democrats and for terry mcauliffe. let's bring into our coverage, jamie harrison, chair of the democratic national committee. how are you feeling? what are you hearing?
>> i'm cautiously optimistic. listen, we had really good turnout so far. but, you know, polls are still open. so if you're in virginia, if you're in new jersey, go and vote. we need you to go and vote. democracy is on the line. and we need that support for terry mcauliffe and the democrats running up and down the ballot. >> are you surprised that republicans took this real distortion of what critical race theory is, a theory taught in law schools, not in public elementary schools and turned it into such a thing for their voters? >> no, i'm not surprised at all, nicole. listen, i'm a black guy who grew up in south carolina. >> fair. >> you know? we know dog whistles when we hear them. but the sad part is you have some press following up with some of these same issues. i had an earlier interview
today, and the person interviewing me said that, yeah, critical race theory, and it's taught in public schools in virginia. i'm like which ones? this is a theory in law school. this is a dog whistle to divide people. and so let's call it what it is. it is about racial divisions, racial hatred, racial animosity. that's what they want to focus on. what terry wants to focus on is all the people in the commonwealth of virginia, how he can continue making their lives better. that's what all democrats want right now. it's sad to see where the republican party is going. they have become a party of fascism and fear. and those are the two things that really motivate them right now. that's sad. >> let me bring in our conversation three people who know more about politics and running for office than i do. michael steele, claire mccaskill and david plouffe. michael steele, go ahead.
>> chairman, how are you doing? >> i'm good. >> big night tonight. i'm flashing back to 2009. i'm looking at new jersey, i'm looking at virginia and i'm trying to figure out what the strategy coming out of this cycle in 2009 would -- how it sets me up for 2010. how do you look at this cycle regardless of the outcome, win or lose, because you have to work through both in your head, right? >> yep. >> if we win i do "a," if we lose, i do "b." how do you assess your strategy going into 2022 because as the national chairman, you're going to have a lot of campaigns under your foot to kind of push and shove and move in a certain direction with messaging, with support, get out the vote efforts, how are you seeing that strategy in light of the fact that republicans clearly think that they have the democrats number on the social issues and
so forth? >> mr. chairman, your remarks earlier were spot on. i want the message for democrats going into 2022 is democrats deliver. we deliver on health care, education, housing, on all of these issues that are important to the american people. and so in order to do that, we have to get these bills passed. we have to get them done. i don't want to go into 2022 still worried about infrastructure and the build back better plan. we need that done now. that's going to be one of the focuses of getting that through so that we can talk about all of the great things that we delivered. the second thing is the investment in the base of the democratic party and we're going to be rolling out a number of things over the course of the next few days and weeks to talk about how we're engaging communities of color, in particular earlier and more often and in a more substantive manner. those folks need to understand that we see them, we hear them, we value them. so they need to see it not only in our policy but in the politics and the operation of the party.
so that's really going to be the focus. the last thing i would have to say is democrats have to get comfortable with pulling the gloves off and taking it to the republican party. i know we like to be the dignified party here and go high as the first lady once said, but sometimes you have to go low, too. we can't be afraid of taking it back to the republican party and calling their statements what they are -- lies. >> jaime, i pointed out earlier that virginia expanded access to the polls by expanding the time period for early voting. i have heard a lot of folks chatter on a lot of the insiders that the ground game that was put together around early voting was unprecedented in virginia. talk about that as we try to juxtaposition what you can do on the ground between now and next november versus all of these
voter suppression laws that we're also fighting at the same time. >> thank you, senator. the one thing a lot of people don't know, at the end of the day, the dnc will probably have put$6 million in the coordinated campaign in virginia to fuel that ground operation for the coordinated campaign to make sure they could do the things that are necessary, to get that early vote to the polls. this is a first year really that virginia had this type of early vote and a souls to the polls operation. we were happy to partner with terry mcauliffe to make sure that happened. when we win tonight, it's probably going to be a lot because of the operation that we had there to get early votes done. that's what the american people want. they want the freedom and flexibility to go out and exercise their right. whenever they want to, instead of just on election day itself. but that's a really, really important part of the operation and we see republicans when they're doing these voter suppression laws, trying to
curtail early vote because they understand that many times folks like to have that freedom to go and vote early. >> i heard you say democrats need to take the gloves off. when and where is that going to happen? we see republicans do more with a lie than democrats do with the facts, public approval, 60% of americans think voting should be easier in america and with control of the house, the senate and the white house. part of the exasperation is the democrats have the moral high ground, the facts on their side and they control the levers of power. >> i think partly, in the dna of democrats we believe in government. we believe in good government, good policy in order to help the american people. we believe that's what people sent us to washington, d.c. or state houses to do, not to play
politics, not to do the other things. but we can't forget that we are in a political situation. there's a push and pull that comes along with that as well. you have to be willing to throw the elbows as well and be frank and honest and calling the republicans out for the lies that they have. we know that this is a party, the republican party is a party of fascism. we've seen them turn their backs on america with just the january 6th events alone. i'm ashamed of some of these members of congress that used to have so much confidence in and even though i disagreed with them on policy, i thought at the end of the day they would stand up for america. to see them with the yellow streaks down their back to nod at is shameful. what we'll do at the dnc, what you'll see with a lot of democrats, we'll start calling it out and calling it out with some heat. putting a little hot sauce on it
as we do it in south carolina. you know, democracy is on the line. we have to be serious about this. i want my boys to be able to live in a better world than my grandparents lived in. if we continue to go down this path and not call the republicans out for the lies and the attempts to overthrow our democracy, then i can't be assured of that. so we have to do all that we can to make sure we fight back. again, democracy is on the line. >> heat is always welcomed here. any time you want to do that, you have an invitation. thank you for spending some time with us. much more to come. we'll look at some of the closing messages and the races besides virginia that we'll be watching and covering for you tonight and news expected this evening from the cdc. they're expected to finally give that final okay, the final hurdle for pfizer's covid vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 to start turning into shots in the arms of kids. it could happen as early as
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side. republican glenn youngkin's our moment ad focused on his movement against government control and law enforcement, education and the economy. >> for too long we've been told by the same career politicians that more government control is the answer. but this election is not about them. it's about us. it's about law enforcement that needs our support to keep virginians safe. parents who want a better education for their kids. >> democrat terry mcauliffe and his bipartisan ideas ad warns that a youngkin win would be a setback while touting his own record as former government. >> we moved virginia forward. today there are those who want to take us back. they're looking to cut money from public education and eliminate a woman's right to choose. we cannot let that happen. >> joining our conversation is basel schmichael.
i can't imagine there's a candidate running pro law enforcement while having an insurrection flag. >> i don't know. i was listening to jaime earlier in your conversation, he's right. he's from south carolina, i'm from the bronx. i want a candidate or candidates in a party that's going to fight for me, that's going to fight back and punch back and punch back hard. the fact that we're -- that the republicans are so close in these races is really scary. you talked about it in your tease, in the lead up to this segment. we're talking about -- why are we having conversations about critical race theory? why are we engaging in these types of dialogue because the republicans know something that democrats know but don't really take advantage of, the political brain is an emotional brain. when you attach -- all they're
doing is attaching their story into the larger narrative that republicans are promoting across the country, whether it's vaccine mandates, education in schools and as youngkin talked about the other day, the banning of certain books. we're talking about that in 2021. so it's discouraging. it's awful. it's disheartening. and the democrats need to develop a stronger spine. if we don't now, we're going to spend a generation trying to get it back. >> yeah. i would -- i guess the former operative in me always reveals herself. it's fixable. democrats have the facts on their side. democrats have the public opinion on their side. whether it's voting rights. whether it's big pieces of the biden agenda. the president took office, there were no vaccines in any drugstores. they're now everywhere.
what is it in the psychology of a democrat -- i was a republican staffer. you go to a republican candidate for anything, you say say this, they say why, you say it will help you win. you go to a democrat and they say it will be easier for you to win if you say this. they say, no, we'll do these eight things first. what is that psychological piece about? >> we've spent a lot of time as democrats cultivating a base of support that is about, you know -- it's about facts. it's about intellectualism. it's about doing the right thing, however the right thing is defined. it does at times lack emotion. i say this all the time. presidential campaigns and to a lesser extent statewide campaigns are about creating a social and political movement. they're not just about fact and figures and declarative
statements. they're about creating movements around candidacy. that's one thing we tend to -- we don't do that well, which is -- we saw that in obama. there's no question about that. we've seen it as well with hillary clinton. if we don't talk about our campaigns as movements, they don't generate that kind of energy that we see sometimes -- oftentimes on the republican side. we did cultivate a base of support that is supposed to be the more studied of the electorate. that's also come back to haunt us. any time we break away from that, any time we do show a little more passion, sometimes we get reprimanded for it. and then don't follow up on it. i don't think that's the way to go. we have to find ways to push forward and talk to our base differently than we have in the past. >> i want to ask you what that looks like in the context of what you're saying about a movement. you have a movement sort of
handed to you. the democratic party can be the only party in the united states of america that is democratic. the republicans are now, in terms of their numbers, the largest anti-democratic movement i believe the world over. they are for destroying faith in our elections. they were against a peaceful transfer of power. they're against the rule of law. they will not enforce a subpoena from their own branch of government. there's a movement, a passion, a sort of hamilton style musical served up to the democrats. is that -- is that a possible sort of movement that gets at the gut of the democratic base voter? >> it is. you know, there's another thing that we can do. take their arguments away from them. i'll give you an example. we have a mayoral race in new york city, eric adams, the democrat running is likely to win this race. now, we had an uptick in crime. and, you know, while we were talking a lot about getting new
york city back, we very -- we moved the narrative of the race quickly to crime, criminal justice and quality of life. you know what? he's a former police officer, he ran with that. it's interesting that there is -- that he did the same thing that david dinkins did when he was mayor 30 years ago. that you have an african-american mayor, a democrat talking about law enforcement and quality of life. there are ways that we can do that as democrats and take that argument away from a republican and also be loyal to our base. and maybe we just have not had enough candidates that can do that. if we are to move forward, we have to be able to not lose arguments that we can win because we have the talent to do it. we have the pipeline to do it. we just have to be -- we just have to be more forthright about it and not cede ground. that's one way to turn the conversation around so we look
like -- so we don't give anybody the victory. we don't snatch your feet out of the jaws of victory, if you will. >> yeah. on the other side, you often don't feel that you have the facts on your side. you make the most of it. there's something in the audacity of a republican campaign that -- you know, it shouldn't be. it shouldn't be. thank you very much for your ongoing participation in the education of nicolle wallace and the psychology of democrats. thank you very much. it's not just virginia, there's a mayor's race in new york, a governor's race in new jersey, too. governor phil murphy who brought in president biden and former barack obama in the final days is hoping to be the first democrat re-elected in that state in four decades. we'll preview that race coming up.
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of life saving aspirin... to help prevent another heart attack or stroke. heart protection with your stomach in mind. try new liquid-filled vazalore. aspirin made amazing! discover card i just got my cashback match is this for real? yup! we match all the cash back new card members earn at the end of their first year automatically woo! i got my mo-ney! it's hard to contain yourself isn't it? uh- huh! well let it go! woooo! get a dollar for dollar match at the end of your first year. only from discover. we're also watching the election in new jersey and the race for governor there. incumbent democrat phil murphy and republican challenger jack ciattarelli making their case to voters in those -- in the last few hours. >> we cannot go backward. i'm running against an extreme candidate who would undo all of what i just said and take us back to the bad old days. >> i know people like to compare
the ideology of republicans throughout the country. i'm only worried about one thing, fixing new skrursy. >> i have a name you can call me, governor elect. >> we'll see about that. a recent poll from monmouth university has phil murphy up 11 points. our panel is still here. david plouffe, new jersey does feel important. we look at the races that are close, and they shouldn't be, but murphy's actually ahead, farther than history might dictate he should be, too. >> yeah, biden won it by 16, so just like in virginia, you want to look at the margin and see what differed between '21 and '20, and some will be new jersey, murphy is running as an incumbent running for re-election in a tough environment. so you're going to take a haircut off biden numbers because of that. you learn a lot. you need to look at both of these races, again, whether you win them, lose them, what the margin is and try to learn what that means for 2022.
new jersey's changed a lot. i ran a senate race there back in the '90s and it was considered a swing state. now it's the biggest, densest blue state, and so if murphy were to win north of ten, you know, that's a little bit less than maybe the 16 biden had, i would be less concerned about it. but if it's eight, six, something like that, you're probably talking about similar erosion to which you saw in virginia. again, there's got to be deep data dives by democratic data analysts and political operatives and candidates to understand what happened there. but listen, nicolle, you were asking about psychology and, you know, i do think, listen, republicans, and i think this has always been a little bit the case, but more so now, what has changed is they will say anything. it doesn't have to be true. i also think historically, they're not burdened by i actually can't get that done. democrats i do think take the governing and legislative part more seriously. i think republicans do have an advantage there.
but i think what has not happened, and i think both mcauliffe and murphy have tried to brand their opponents, but the national environment i think has largely let the republicans off the hook. we have to put them on trial next year and say do you really want these people in charge? given that they're embracing white supremacy, they're excusing an insurrection. they clearly would be okay with overthrowing our democracy. they have extended the pandemic. they haven't done anything on the economy, haven't done anything on health care. and they're afraid of everybody that doesn't agree with exactly what they think about. i do think the message has to become more edgy. i think it can, because i think democrats will have more to run on. say we got these things done. the pandemic is behind us, we put roads and bridges in your districts and in your states. we have elder care and child care and universal pre-k, and we made the wealthy pay for that, and republicans are the last people you would want there, but it's got to be a tough message. >> edgy. we'll keep coming back to that as the night goes on.
michael steele, we lose you, but thank you for so much for being part of our coverage. it's wonderful to see you, my friend. up next for us, steve kornacki joins us on what to watch as the first exit polling starts rolling out right here. our special election coverage continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. ♪ ♪ ♪
on virginia's race for governor. polls there close in two hours, and right now, we're getting in the first exit polls a glimpse into this race that has both sides will concede, massive national implications. our friend steve kornacki will join us at the big board to break down the numbers in just a short minute. right now, here's what we know about the race. the battle between democrat terry mcauliffe and republican glenn youngkin has become a barometer for how each party will fare going forward and how to run in a post-2020, post-trump election where trump isn't actually on the ballot but his influence still looms large. nbc reports this, quote, a win tuesday by youngkin or anyone else on the gop ticket or even a close loss could reset the electoral calculus, if democrats are struggling here, what does that mean for other southern states like georgia or north carolina where the party has made gains by copying the virginia playbook, and democrats hope to defend or pick up senate seats in 2022. democrats have framed this as a
fight against trumpism, with mcauliffe painting youngkin as a trump acolyte. meanwhile, youngkin has walked a fine line, trying to appeal to trump and his base without hardily or publicly for we're being honest, embracing him. that has resulted in the republican candidate seizing on the national conversation over race and what is being taught in schools. making it the central focus of his campaign and say he will ban something that isn't happening, the teaching of critical race theory, from being taught in virginia schools. again, not taught in virginia schools. it's quite a promise to make. all that being not even based in reality. this race has already, though, seen early record voting. at least 1.1 million voters, a fifth of the electorate, submitted early ballots. final poll averages show the race in a dead heat, with youngkin ahead, but within the margin of error. notable as president biden won virginia a year ago by ten points. tonight, there are a few other key races that we're going to
keep an eye on with you. new jersey will decide if its democratic governor gets a second term, and cities including atlanta, new york, seattle, minneapolis, and boston will choose their next mayors. we'll be covering all of it for you throughout our special coverage tonight. in the next hour, right before virginia's polls close, we'll be joined by rachel maddow and joy reid, our first taste of results in virginia's race for governor is where we start this hour, and for that, we go to our good friend steve kornacki live at the big board. you might be the only sort of reassuring thing about this night. tell us what you're seeing, what you can tell us? >> as you just mentioned, the polls close in virginia in about two hours. we'll start to get results. i do believe, by the way, when those polls close at 7:00, we're getting some indications we could get a lot of returns very quickly. this could start to fill in pretty fast. now, less than two hours from now, but at 5:00, we did also just get our first look at the exit polls. we always caution you, we'll get
more data as the night goes on. this is sort of an early glimpse. take these with a gigantic grain of salt. it's kind of our initial look at the electorate taking shape both today at the polls and through the early voting and mail voting. we're actually trying to turn around the graphics on this, but i can tell you i think some interesting headline numbers, i'll write them out so you can see them, two key questions. a lot of the race had to do with first the national backdrop. joe biden's presidency, we have talked about there's this history in virginia gubernatorial elections where, remember, they always come the year after a presidential election, and almost always in modern times, the president has been a drag on his party in the virginia governor's race. the president's party has lost all but one modern virginia governors election. the first question is, what is joe biden's approval rating with the electorate today? the first look at this exit poll today gives biden a 43% approval rating, with the virginia
electorate. 43% approve. 56% disapprove. that's our first look at the exit poll numbers. there is going to be more data that comes in so we'll see if that's adjusted at all. but 43/56. looks very similar to that nbc poll we had nationally the other day of biden's approval rating. that's one, i think, headline from this exit poll right now. the other, though, is what has terry mcauliffe, the democrat's, strategy been to try to overcome potentially the baggage here from joe biden, if he has a negative approval rating. terry mcauliffe has been trying to link his republican opponent glenn youngkin to donald trump. trump, who lost virginia by ten points last year, trump who -- youngkin, i should say, has tried to in this general election publicly try to keep his distance from him. hot is the electorate's opinion of donald trump coming into tonight. it's a favorable/unfavorable number. the favorable number for trump with this electorate is 41%.
the unfavorable number is 58%. so the youngkin folks are hoping to benefit from this and the mcauliffe folks are hoping to benefit from that. again, the favorite -- the approval, the favorable. other numbers, hopefully we can share them with you from the first look at the exit poll. >> steve, anything you're going to be looking for in this first round that you get around the issue set that for youngkin and a lot of the crowds and our correspondents, heidi przybyla and chris jansing have reporting youngkin's crowds are out there. they're not positive always of what critical race theory means but they're out there because of his promise to ban it. are you seeing anything or looking in the next couple hours at the issue set? >> we're going to look here in the exit poll, and i'm actually just trying to see if we can get a headline on the result here. we're have some snazzy graphics for you with this in a minute. here we go, which of these five issues do you think is the most important issue facing virginia?
again, i apologize. i'm going to write these out for you, but number one, it's the economy. okay, in this exit poll, the economy is clocking in at 33%. number two, this is the one that speaks to what you were just asking about, education comes in at 24%. number three is taxes, that comes in at 16%. and the number four issue in this poll is the coronavirus, covid coming in at 13%. right now, we want to see this is the issue that the youngkin campaign believes is going to allow them to win back voters that the republican party lost, especially up here, northern virginia, right outside washington, d.c., it's been a blood bath there for republicans. in the last 20 years, but especially since donald trump emerged back in 2016. also, the suburbs around richmond as well, republicans lost a ton of ground when donald trump emerged six years ago in the suburbs of virginia.
they lost a ton of ground in the suburbs nationally. this is the issue that the youngkin campaign believes will allow them to win back a critical number of those voters. so that's one thing we want to see. the exit poll finding on this, and then there's the question when the votes start coming in, are we seeing a shift there in the suburbs? i'm looking, nicolle, i can tell you as well, this is what i wanted to see, and here it is. on thissish aof education, 24%, a quarter in this poll says education is their top issue. how are they breaking, according to the exit poll? they're breaking for youngkin by 18 points. >> wow. wow. steve kornacki, i know that you keep saying graphics are coming. i hope they never come. i love your writing on the board. it's a benefit for us. we'll let you dive into those, but we're in the same studio, so just wave when you have something else. we're going to head to virginia beach, where as i already mentioned, heidi przybyla is talking to voters there. what are you hearing?
>> yeah, nicolle. the question tonight after talking to voters for a couple days here really comes down to two fundamental questions. number one, how many republicans are going to be coming home, particularly those suburban women who were turned off by donald trump, and secondly, how many fatigued democrats are going to stay home? we have seen that early voting record hit this earlier today, and that obviously redowns to the benefit usually of democrats, but mcauliffe is facing significant headwinds. i talked to a democratic canvasser for mcauliffe and she was concerned about the demographics, particularly younger african-americans. that's why you saw the mcauliffe campaign bring in representative clyburn, to try to fire up the last-minute turnout machine, and republicans frankly are very motivated on this issue of education. you asked me the other day to see if there was evidence of critical race theory being
taught, and we have talked to so many republican voter whose have cited this as their issue but they haven't cited evidence. i trust it's happening on faith, and lastly, nicolle, the issue of terry mcauliffe having made this statement which was taken out of context about parents not being involved, that parents should be involved in the education of their children, when in fact the statement had to do with him saying that parents shouldn't be allowed to march into schools and decide which books are banned or taken out. >> this is sort of politics 101, but what is the analysis from local politicians and reporters about who the weather behind you helps or hurts? >> the weather behind me? i mean, we have seen a brisk turnout here. >> they're coming out. there's no one behind you now. >> i didn't have time to set it up so i'm using my little
umbrella, but so despite the rain, we're seeing a pretty brisk turnout, and it only recently kicked up. so i would say that that's not really going to have any impact, i wouldn't think, because all day long starting at 6:00 in the morning, there were lines here. we know that a lot of republicans as well urge their voters to vote early. so we can't, unlike 2020, say these are probably mostly republican voters. we don't know that. we have seen a lot of them accept the democratic sample ballot, for instance. >> heidi przybyla live in virginia beach where it is now running. thank you for your coverage. we're back with former senator claire mccaskill, and david plouffe, former obama campaign manager, joining the conversation, julian castro, a former 2020 democratic presidential candidate. all three are msnbc political analysts. i believe you're all signed up for the entire evening. mr. secretary, your thoughts about what you heard from steve kornacki. >> what we see out there is that
there's no question that glenn youngkin has put forward what i think is going to be a blueprint for republicans across the country going into the 2022 midterms. picking and choosing his issues. using these racial and other cultural wedge issues, basically engaging in racial priming to amp up his base, staying away from trump. he handled that very, very well. treated trump as toxic, didn't have him come in to virginia. and at the same time, doing what he could to fire up his base. on the flip side of that, look, there's nobody who knows virginia politics better than terry mcauliffe. what we see in this election is a different landscape today in terms of the ability of virginians to vote. for instance, the virginia legislature made it such that instead of just seven days of early voting, that folks had four and they had to have an excuse.
now they had 45 days with no excuse early voting. early reports, as i think steve suggested, may show there was greater turnout today in some of those northern virginia areas that are important to a democratic win. so i wouldn't be surprised if things don't quite shape up the way the polls have suggested. if some of what we're seeing this early is accurate. >> say more. you're more optimistic that the cautious optimism expressed by the democratic chairman or less? >> right now, from what i'm seeing, i'm a little more optimistic, but we don't have visibility into these numbers. and it could be that we see low propensity republican voters turn out in greater numbers, the way we saw in south texas, for instance, and surprised a lot of people in the november 2020 election. that could be going on. i'm just saying that from what we see right now, the very early reports in terms of the economy
being at the top of people's list, in terms of northern virginia coming out on election day and surpassing the 2017 numbers, that gives me some optimism for democrats. >> claire mccaskill, do you share that optimism when you see those top four issues, the economy the top issue. i think in excess of 30%. the next one, education. covid came in fourth. when you see that issue set, what do you think? >> it honestly concerns me. >> yeah. >> that those were the top issues. because i don't think -- i think the economy is such a mixed bag right now for most people living in a normal space. not inside, you know, the halls of congress trying to figure out when this legislation is going to finally get across the finish line. you know, i think another thing we haven't talked about here is the dynamic between these two candidates. there is a really valuable thing in politics today, which is a
new thing. and that is the most important thing you have to be is somebody who has never run before. anybody who has been around, quote/unquote, anyone who can be seen as more of a politician, you saw it in the republican candidate's closing ad. he's trying to lump terry mcauliffe, because terry mcauliffe has been around, into part of the problem. the status quo. meanwhile, you have got this businessman, now he's very wealthy and who knows whether he has any idea about how to run a government. but this outsider thing has become really powerful. i mean, i can speak from personal experience. someone who can couch themselves as an outsider versus someone who has toiled in the halls of government trying to do good things for years, now they are yesterday's news and frankly independent voters and those voters that decide at the last
minute, they like fresh faces. they like new faces they have never seen before. >> all right, so cautious optimism to let's be blunt, some angst and concern. i'm going to go to steve kornacki who is sort of pressing the bat signal. what do you got? >> we're working our way through this exit poll. again, 5:00, we get our first look. we're now about an hour and 45 until we get the real numbers from voters. again. giving you a sense of what voters are telling us in the exit poll is on their mind, we showed you biden's approval rating, 43%. trump's favorable rating in virginia, 41%. how about the candidates themselves. the opinion, favorable or unfavorable of both candidates? glenn youngkin, the republican in the exit poll, clocks in with a 53% favorable, 44% unfavorable rating. now, contrast that with terry mcauliffe, and you have actually got the opposite there, mcauliffe with a 44% favorable in this exit poll, and a 53%
unfavorable. i think one thing that's notable, remember, terry mcauliffe did get elected governor before. he's a former governor, back in 2013, one of the things that hade the race so close in 2013. mcauliffe did win, but very narrowly. he had a high unfavorable rating back then as well. you are seeing a contrast on the favorable/unfavorable youngkin versus mcauliffe. also, let me see if i can call this one up. we also asked this question, diving a little deeper into, we said education, 24% of voters saying education is their top issue. we asked the question this way, how much say should parents have in school curriculum. these are the answers that came back. 53%, a majority, saying a lot. 31% saying some. 10%, not much. 3%, not at all. again, this is 24%, basically one out of four voters saying it was education that came in as their top issue, nicolle.
>> if 1 in 4 voters said it was their top issue, and 53% said parents should be totally involved, which is the essence of the youngkin message, what is your early sense of what kind of night this is going to be? >> the early sense is let's see when the votes start coming in. i think the big question, let me see if i can call tup, let's take a look here. this will be the youngkin msnbc alf map. let's roll the clock back to 2020. democrats won the state by ten points last year. the strategy republicans have with the education issue, it's about the suburbs. let's zoom in on one of those suburbs. louden county at the epicenter of a lot of these education battles. glenn youngkin closed his campaign last night with a parents matter, that's what they called it, rally in louden county. here's what he's trying to pull off. biden won this county by 25 points last year over donald trump. just a massive, massive landslide. here's what louden county looked like, let's go back to 2012.
2012 is the last time we had a presidential election that did not feature donald trump. this is the pre-trump republican party in louden county. mitt romney, less than five points. he finished less than five points behind barack obama in this county. along comes donald trump, and all of a sudden republicans are losing this county by 25 points. so we see the exit poll here. it's hinting that, hey, it's possible youngkin made some inroads here on education. if he did, though, what we want to see is louden county is one of the places you're going to see it. is he eroding the biden over trump 25-point margin? i think everyone agrees it's going to come down from 25. the question is how much he was able to erode it? is it still in the mid-teens. the high teens for terry mcauliffe. that wouldn't be enough for glenn youngkin. is he knocks it down to ten points, 12 points, now he's getting it into range. is he getting it to single digits? that would be incredible news for the youngkin campaign.
when we talk about this issue of education, it was aimed at places like louden county. its are going to be fairfax next door, down in the richmond area, chesterfield county, a lot of suburban areas, some of the swing areas, too, virginia beach we'll talk a lot about. let's see, ground that was surrendered by donald trump, by the republican party under donald trump, this is how youngkin thinks he can win it back tonight. let's see, the exit poll gives us one read out, the real vote is how much is he actually winning back? >> david plouffe, you want to give us a margin in louden that makes you break glass. >> anything less than 20. that would be my sense. and listen, i would say on the education number, you know, if youngkin was winning voters who said education was the top priority by 30 or 40 points, which might be realistic, but he's only winning by 18 based on the exits so that's interesting, so i think the biden/trump
fave/unfave is interesting. trump at 41% fave. biden is at 43%. so which of mcauliffe and youngkin can outperform the standard bearer? based on the fave/unfave numbers, you think maybe it would be youngkin, but as steve pointed out, mcauliffe won his first governor's race with fave/unfave numbers that were not high at all. that doesn't always translate into vote. >> steve kornacki, claire mccaskill, david plouffe, julian castro are all staying with us. when we come back, there is breaking news in the fight against covid, and a major step that will bring vaccines to the arms of children under 12. plus much, much more from steve kornacki at the big board and the exit polling from the virginia governor's race. also, our special coverage continues after a short break. don't go anywhere today.
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breaking news. parents across this country have been anxiously waiting for some 20 months now, a panel of advisers for the cdc voting unanimously 14-0 to recommend pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to kids age 5 to 11. that's more than 28 million children across the united states who are now eligible. we're expecting the official sign-off from the cdc director, rochelle walensky in a couple hours, which means coronavirus shots could be in kids' arms as soon as tomorrow. let's bring in someone i have talked to about this on and off television for the better part of two years, dr. michael anderson, a critical care physician and senior adviser at the children's national hospital
in washington. last time you were here, we talked about what pediatric units full of kids with covid looked like, and it guts me. kids were never totally immune. they were at much lower risk, thank god, but now there's real protection for them. talk about this moment. >> yeah, it's a really hopeful moment. it is really literally a step closer to our kids being safer, and you and i have talked about this a lot. i had the honor of watching most of the fda committee meeting and the large portion of the cdc meeting. i was really impressed with the thoroughness of how effective is this vaccine? how safe is this vaccine? how many kids have been affected by this disease? and as you and i have talked about on numerous occasions, kids are not immune. and during this hearing, one of the pediatricians pointed out 94 children have died in this country between the ages of 5 and 11. and she pointed out, i don't want to hear about a 95th.
i don't want to hear about a 96th. so the fact this safe and effective approved vaccine, as you point out, could be in kids' arms by tomorrow, is a great step forward. >> let's leave politics utof it. tell me the conversation with just a -- not a vaccine hesitant, but a vaccine anxious mom in a pediatrician's office. how does the conversation go? >> it's a really important discussion. i was also honored the american academy of pediatrics along with our colleagues in family medicine, the nurse practitioners were all part of this meeting that just wrapped up. they pointed out, this is about a relationship. it's about a relationship between the pediatrician, the family medicine doc, the nurse practitioner and that family to talk about the risks and benefits to educate families, maybe against some of the misinformation, oh, i heard kids are immune, and you know, is this too early to be giving a vaccine? once again, i want to point out one of the post important parts of this step forward is the
risks versus the benefits. and the benefits of this vaccine far outweigh any risks because we have had 94 children die. one third of kids who were admitted with covid in this country have no previous illness. they're healthy kids being admitted, and if we're going to get back to normalcy in the school, where we don't have the have all these closings and back and forth, we have to get our kids immunized. i think that is the really most important relationship is between that primary care physician and that family to talk about this important vaccine. >> tell me about the vaccine itself. it is a much smaller dose than the adult dose, but it's still a two-dose regimen? >> yeah, ten micrograms as opposed to 30 micrograms. when pfizer submitted their data, they did three really important things. they found the right dose. they really looked at safety because we have to make sure this is a safe vaccine. and of course, they looked at efficacy. how much of an immune response
do kids get from the vaccine, and are they protected? the answer was ten micrograms is safe. it's two doses, three weeks apart. it appears to be incredibly safe. and it's incredibly effective. actually as effective as the 30 mics in kids over the age of 12. a lot of data sort of packed in this important study. >> i think as a universal experience, parents were more anxious about their kids and the unknown, what could the long-term effects be, what could the effects of being in school, too. it's been such an anxious experience for parents, so a huge deal. dr. anderson, exactly the person we wanted to talk to. thank you for making the time to talk to us. >> when we come back, while voters are going to the polls, democrats on capitol hill not ready to pass president joe biden's bold domestic agenda. one of the leadest house progressives will join our coverage after a quick break.
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it may be fair, more likely it's a little unfair, but at this point, it is impossible to ignore at least the perception that washington's failure to pass promised meaningful transformative legislation these past few weeks has reflected poorly on all elected democrats, at least in the minds of virginia voters. again, fair or not, it's clear
and our colleague conversations with some voters in virginia that it is at least a factor in the race for governor. from "the washington post," quote, the potential passage of massive infrastructure and economic measures in the coming days, including programs like universal pre-k, could help democrats regain their footing, but for some voters here who have watched the governor's race play out amid intraparty divisions in washington, the feeling that democrats are defined by deadlock has set in. joining us now is congresswoman pramila jayapal of washington. senior whip of the democratic caucus and chair of the congressional progressive caucus. how does that land with you? >> well, nicolle, great to see you. look, i think that negotiations are messy. this is a big package. and i think at the end of the day, when we deliver these real benefits to people, taking on climate change, universal pre-k, universal child care, housing, immigration, and health care, real change on prescription drug pricing, people will say, oh,
that's what you were negotiating on. that makes sense. now i have something that makes my life different. i understand it's frustrating in the moment, but i don't see that it is -- you know, i think the overall question of how when the house passes bills and sends them to the senate and they don't get done, things like voting rights, things like the george floyd justice in policing act, that's when you see people starting to get frustrated over time. and yet, we have delivered on the biggest rescue package that cut child poverty in half. there's plenty to run on that democrats have done, and we're about to deliver even more just momentarily this week. >> i see clearly that the facts and the transformational pieces of legislation, and you're right, one of the biggest ones already passled, the covid relief package, are on democrats' side. what i'm trying to understand is why democratic voters don't sort of score democratic candidates for work in progress, things
that are soon to be delivered, and hold republicans accountable for, i mean, youngkin is running on something that isn't happening, and he seems to being alarmingly well. >> yes, i think that is the really frustrating thing for us as well, that if you really look, and you know, i think we just need to do better at running on what we have already done. not talking about what we haven't done, but actually talking about what we have done, and that is both, of course, with individual candidates on their own records, but also in terms of what congress has delivered. shots in arms, money in people's pockets. hundreds of millions for small businesses through covid. these are all the things, cutting child poverty in half as i mentioned, these are the things we can run on that people have done. it's difficult timing just because of the negotiations. we had 96% of democrats onboard with the big transformational spending, build back better acts, and that was a couple months ago. it has taken only the last three
weeks where we have entered into real negotiations on it. it's just where the timing is right now, but i do think that the vast majority of people in virginia are not judging this based on whether or not we pass the bif, the infrastructure bill. this is a much bigger conversation about how do we get things done in congress with a senate that has a filibuster that gives the tyranny, you know, sort of allows for the tyranny of the minorities. we have to deal with that, but in the moment, we still believe people see what democrats are doing and see what's at stake in virginia in voting for somebody who is trying very hard to disassociate himself from trump, but is certainly very tied to those ideas and to that party. >> president joe biden has a 43% approval rating in virginia. do you think that democrats in congress deserve any of the blame for that? >> well, obviously, i'm in
congress so i don't think so. we passed a massive rescue package and we're on the brink of drafting probably the most transformational legislation we have seen with the smallest majorities. so i think as soon as we deliver this, people will forget this time. the virginia election just happens to fall right in the midst of all this. but actually, when you think about it, nicolle, i'm really proud of what the president has done. i'm proud of this transformative agenda, and i'm really proud of congress for working so hard to get this piece of legislation across the finish line. >> do you ever -- you know, in your non-message discipline moments, your non-all these programs mean real things to real people who are struggling at that brink of maybe desperation or poverty or despair, do you ever think that somebody would have been better than a process that dragged on this long or are the programs that important to people's lives that whatever the political fallout, sobeit? >> i don't think the -- i don't accept the premise that the
political fallout is because of this negotiation. >> you don't think president biden's 43% approval rating has anything to do with the pace of his agenda passing congress? >> the pace of the agenda, yes, but let's talk about voting rights. >> i talk about voting rights every day. your seriously don't think anything that is hurting president biden has to do with the pace of his agenda getting through congress? >> well, i do, but what is the reason for that? it's the filibuster. and it's the need to reform the filibuster. and obviously, we have a couple people that don't want to reform the filibuster. it's not about this particular negotiation. that's a distinction i'm trying to make, nicolle, is that i believe that for people who are suffering, and i get messages every single day from people who are like, thank you for fighting for me. i can't go back to work with a road or a bridge alone. don't leave me behind. i need to get child care for my kids. i need universal pre-k. i need to get health care. i need my prescription drug costs go down. this is what i'm hearing. and that's why i think it's been
so important that we fight for the entirety of the president's agenda. and i think that desperation that you're talking about is exactly what i'm seeing across the country. and it's exactly why we can't leave people behind. and we can't stop the work that we're doing to make sure that we quickly deliver this transformative change, and don't just settle for a package that has many good things in it, but let me tell you, nicolle, people are not going to feel a new road or a bridge in the same way they feel that i can have child care so i can actually use that road or bridge to get back to work, to get women back to work, to get families the security that they need. and that's what we're trying to deliver on right now. >> you have got me on the substance, congresswoman. my only question, i spent time in the last version of the republican party, and this version is much worse, and they don't need much to run with, but they seem to have exploited the -- let's call it meticulous, the most generous label, it may not even in your view deserve,
policy negotiations, and it's perceived by some voters as gridlock. is that something that's on your mind as this process grinds on? >> of course. but what's also on my mind is the people who don't see us fighting for them. and don't -- you know, and i don't understand this, nicolle, because i think there's an enormous difference between democrats and republicans so i don't understand why people don't turn their ire on the republican party as it is today. not the one that you have come from, but the one that is today. and see that this is the party of the big lie that still doesn't accept that joe biden is president. so that is frustrating to me. that's the frustration i feel. but on gridlock, i think that that's -- i do feel like that is a constructed thing by people in the beltway and by some in media who want to focus on negotiations that are on an enormous package that have actually only been going on for three and a half weeks. and to say that is gridlock, i
don't accept that piece of this. because what we're trying to do should be worth taking a little bit of time to get it across the finish line. >> i totally agree with you on the frame around this. just because democrats disagree on the policy details, they're the only people actually working on these problems. the other side is busy covering up for ininsurrectionist in chief. i feel like on election day, though, we have poopush some of these things through a political frame. if you're willing y would like to bring in some of our other friends. former obama white house press secretary and msnbc political analyst also with us, basil s. michael. and julian castro is still here. i would like to ask you, mr. secretary, to jump in if you have questions for the congresswoman. >> congresswoman, i mean, what is the prognosis at this point for these two pieces of legislation, which you have been very clear about, i know the progressive caucus is ready, willing, and able to go forward with, and i know it's kind of in the lap of senator manchin and
president biden to get it done, but what is the prognosis right now? >> it's so good. you know, we are so close. i had actually hoped we might be voting on these two bills today, but it's probably going to be a day or two more. we're going to get these two bills done this week, i'm really confident of that. we're down to the very last pieces, an issue i know, mr. secretary, you care deeply about, i care deeply about, on immigration. we're trying to get the final language for that agreed on. and we just got the language for the prescription drug pricing piece, which was not in there, and now it is. so at least there's some movement on prescription drug pricing that i think americans will really appreciate. and really, there's literally just one or two small things that have to be locked down, and then we're ready to vote both bills out. and hopefully that happens in the next two days. >> robert gibbs, i have a question for you. this dynamic that the congresswoman kn i are talked about, the reality of sort of passing and grinding down on
every important program in someone's life in this country is the difference between thriving and perhaps sort of falling off the brink versus the perception, unfair, i will land on the side of it being totally unfair, that democrats are struggling to get through the president's agenda. >> yeah, look, i think for this election, virginia, we're in a unique situation because the local newspaper for a lot of suburban and big counties in virginia is "the washington post." and they have seen a debate about a number, whether it's $3.5 or $1.75 or $1.9 or $2.5. i think there's a big job ahead of democrats once the bill gets passed and it's to do what the congresswoman is doing, talk about what's in this bill. people know the cost of this bill. they don't know what's in this bill yet. and the second thing i think we have to do, democrats have to do, is draw contrasts. then-vice president biden used to talk to then-president obama in the midst of trying to pass
health care and the recovery act. that he was being compared to the almighty. rather than being compared to the alternative. and it is time for joe biden to start comparing republicans and democrats as alternatives. i think that is what you're going to see as we pivot out of these off-year elections and into the midterm elections because quite frankly, we have to make this a choice. if it's a referendum, and the president is sitting at 43% or 45%, you don't have to be much of a political scientist to understand what's likely to happen in the midterm elections. but that's the job i think in front of us. >> congresswoman, the last word for you. the floor is yours. >> totally agree with that. that's why i never talk about the price tag of this bill. i don't know if you have noticed that. i have been on tv so much. i talk about what it means for a mom who has got three kids or two kids and is sitting at home because she's unable to get back to work and because she doesn't -- isn't able to go back
to work, her finances are strapped. what it would mean for her to only pay 7% of her income in child care costs or what it would mean for her to actually be able to afford the prescription drugs that her mom needs or what it would mean for her to actually be able to tell her kids that they're going to have a planet to live on because we're going to take on climate change. i think bob is absolutely right about that. we need to talk about it. we need to keep talking about it even once -- now, but also once we pass it. we need to go out and put -- remember those big signs they used to put up with the public works project? this was funded through your taxpayer dollars, government is doing this for you. we should have those signs everywhere, because people need to understand that government steps up as the great equalizer of opportunity in these incredible moments of need, and that's what we're going to do again here. >> congresswoman pramila jayapal, thank you for spending time with us.
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we're going back to steve kornacki. >> more interviews will come into this exit poll about an hour from now. this is just our initial look at the electorate in vvirginia. we talked about the issue of education, something glenn youngkin has been stressing. a couple other issues we asked voters about. we asked about the coronavirus, covid. which of these candidates would you trust to handle the coronavirus. mcauliffe, 43% saying they would only trust mcauliffe. 36% saying only youngkin. a small advantage here for mcauliffe on that question of the coronavirus. we also asked about the economy. and we show you on that one, here, it's almost the reverse of what you see on covid, 43% for youngkin on this one. although mcauliffe right behind him at 40%. so 43/40. youngkin's favor on the economy. 43/36, mcauliffe's favor on covid. we talked about education as
well earlier. again, sort of an initial look as we get close to an hour to go before the polls close. >> steve, you have taken us through the top issue, which is the economy, and the second highest issue, which is education. they both advantage youngkin. how close is your sense of where things are going to come in tonight when the vote starts coming in? >> i would caution against reading way too much into these because again, this is the economy clocking in as the most important issue. youngkin is slightly outpacing mcauliffe. as you can see again, 43/40. this is not like a monster margin on this for youngkin. again, i think we're seeing a very divided electorate here. it's pointing me, again, this sounds like a terrible thing to say but i just want to see the results at 7:00 because, again, we can talk in the exit polls and say hey, i think, but to me, the greatest utility for this exit poll, too, could
potentially come as a complement to the results that come in. because if we do start to see massive erosion for democrats in a louden county, in the suburbs of washington, d.c., in the suburbs of richmond, the exit poll can start to point us to an explanation. but using the exit poll as a compass to say, ah, this is what we're going to see when the map starts lighting up, i have been led round with that before. if i sound hesitant, i'm seeing a very divided electorate, i'm seeing hot we have been seeing in the polls. >> all right, it's good. the hesitation, the caution is good. it's going to be a long night. i want to bring in robert gibbs, basil smikle, and julian castro. i'll start with you, basil. i'm so stephanie ruhle here when it comes to analying the economy, but i believe the stock market is at record highs. i believe that some of the benefits of the first transformational piece of legislation that president biden
ushered through congress without all that much fanfare has been felt. checks in the bank account, shots in the arms. i believe most epidemiologists feel like we're sort of in our final wave of covid. i don't know many republicans who think trump would have gotten us there in any other way than sort of mass herd immunity. what is in your view behind the issue indicators, and i take steve kornacki's warning they're not predictive of the vote. >> you know, in some odd way, this is, to me, retrenching or retooling of the conversations around states' rights and individual rights. and because when we look at something like education as an issue, and the conversations around critical race theory, that's not really about critical race theory. it's really about, you know, is the state going to tell me my neighborhood, my parents, my community what i should be teaching my kids? you see an extension of that with respect to mask mandates
and vaccine mandates. this new york metropolitan area shares tv coverage with big chunks of new jersey's population. so they're seeing what we see here, that you have police officers and firefighters who are protesting taking the vaccines, and are actually calling in sick, who have similar issues with unions in police and fire unions in new jersey. so all of this, all of this fear, if you will, around vaccine mandates, mask mandates, is being shared across borders. it is going into the suburbs. it is being transmitted into our suburban communities, and all of this says to me is that this larger umbrella narrative about individual rights, states' rights, which is something that goes back to richard nixon in terms of sort of modern
political history, you know, is rearing its head again. and it's having an impact on these elections. >> mr. secretary, the last word. >> terry mcauliffe did everything he could to try to nationalize this race, and glenn youngkin has tried to localize it and focus on those issues like education and taxes and so forth. and look, it seems like at least in making this race close, that has been a successful blueprint right now in virginia. as you point out, when you take a step back, think about it, where we are in the economy today versus november of 2020, the coronavirus today versus november of 2020, and so that's part of what is making this close. you have these dynamics that are pulling against each other. so i share, i think like everybody does, steve' sentiment of let's see these numbers. i think we'll see a roller coaster tonight. >> we'll be on the roller coaster together all night long. robert, basil, secretary castro, thank you for spending so much time with us over the last two hours. we'll be back after a quick
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as things get exciting, here's the plan. i will join my friends and colleagues rachel maddow and joy reid, and of course, steve kornacki just before that 7:00 p.m. eastern time poll closing in virginia. we will begin to get our first results, the vote count steve keeps talking about, of the noeth. until then, stay put because "the beat" starts right now. >> we have been watching and we will be watching you. thank you so much. >> thank you, my friend. >> absolutely. this is "the beat." i'm ari melber. you can hear the music. it is election night. steve kornacki is at the big board right now, as mentioned, tracking all of the results as we get them. exit polls and all of the voting. there are races in over 30 states tonight. there's battling for local office, special election, da, mayor, and a race for governor in two states. new jersey where polls close