Please welcome Joy Reid.
(cheering and applause)
-Welcome back to the show.-Thank you.
-Wonderful time to have you.-Thank you.
There is so much going on.
-There is news.-So much.
-All the news.-All the news.
-The best news.-Mm-hmm.
Let's jump straight into it.
Hurricane Harvey, the presidenthas been going around--
I don't know if you've heard,he said,
this is the biggest disaster--some are saying,
the greatest, the biggestdisaster of all time.
I struggle with Donald Trump.
Do you think he's proudof having it be, like,
the biggest disaster-- I-Igenuinely don't know with him.
-I don't know if he's braggingabout the scale of it. -Yeah.
I don't knowif this is something--
What do you make of how hespeaks about the hurricane?
No. The way he speaksabout everything.
I mean, he-he sees everything
-in terms of ratings andcrowd size, right? -Right.
So for him, you know,
the accomplishmenthe sees in Harvey
is that it's the biggestduring the era of Donald Trump.
-Right. -And so there'ssomething really disturbing
just about the waythat he talks about it.
He said somethingto the effect of,
"You know,Harvey's a really nice name,
but, you know, the storm,not nice. Not nice."
Yeah, no kidding.It's a hurricane.
You know? I don't thinkthat he understands
the human scale of misery.
I don't thinkthat he can connect
with the sort of compassionthat you normally have
when you see a disasterlike this.
It's interesting when youbring it up as ratings,
because he also came outand said--
when they asked him aboutthe Arpaio pardon--
he came out and said,"Oh, I released it on Friday,
because it looked like it wasgonna be a good ratings day."
And the idea is that, you know,people were speculating
that maybe they tried to burythe idea of doing something
this controversialduring the hurricane.
But he said, "No, no, no, no.It's the opposite.
"I knew that the hurricanewould bring great ratings,
so I did it then, so that morepeople would see me do it."
I mean, I think thatif you look at Donald Trump,
what he's always donehis entire adult life,
is kind of do a show.
And he always wants to havea bigger and better show.
And even being president
is just a show in whichhe times the ratings,
and he looks to see, you know,how is it rating?
-How many people are watchingDonald Trump? -Right.
If you're watching the show,then, uh, as a political analyst
who has been steeped in thisfor a very long time,
where do you see the show going?
How do you see the show ending?
Uh, is it realistic to thinkabout impeachen... impeachment?
Is it realistic to thinkthat Donald Trump
will somehow relinquishhis power at some point?
You know, I-I... When peo... AndI get asked this all the time:
"When are they going to impeachhim?" And I keep telling them,
"As long as there areRepublicans in control
"of the Houseof Representatives--
"particularly in the Senate--
-they're not going toimpeach Donald Trump." -Right.
And so people should stopwaiting for this congress
to suddenly wake up and decideDonald Trump is terrible.
This is the same guythat he's been
since he was running forpresident. They know who he is.
They're notgoing to impeach him.
-Do you-do you really think thatthey know who he is? -Yeah.
I mean, the... Becausethey say, like, you know,
like with the Charlottesvillething, they come out
-and they-theystrongly oppose it. -Yeah.
You know, when Donald Trumptweets something,
-they strongly oppose that.-Yeah.
Do you not thinkthat maybe they're just
being incrementally surprised?
They're surprised in stages.No, I think that the Republicans
have made a very crasscalculation that they'll accept
anything Donald Trump doesin exchange for the things
they want. And as longas he's there to turn around
and explain to his basethe tax cuts for millionaires
that they want, for billionairesthat they want, um,
the things that they wantfor themselves.
As long as he's willingto translate that
into Trumpfan-ese,they don't care what he does.
Let-Let's pivot and talk aboutthe Democrats, then.
Because, uh, you would think,in any other time,
in any other place,going up against Donald Trump
-would mean you are a shoo-in,right? -Yeah.
You're gonna win this thing,you're gonna take it all.
And yet it feels likethe Democrats themselves
are experiencing rifts,
-they're experiencinga lack of focus. -Yeah.
It doesn't seem likethere is a concrete message
that-that's gonnamove them forward.
Well, this is the Democrats.I mean, this is kind of
who they are.They're very disorganized.
The Democrats are not...they're not good
at the sort of go for thejugular, hard-nosed politics
-they used to be...-Right.
...uh, back whenthe Democrats were more,
sort of, an ethnic party. Theywere kind of an ethnic white,
ethnic black,ethnic party, generally.
Now they're a partythat's looking for consensus.
And they look for it,you know, so desperately
that they never reallycome up with a coherent frame
-for themselves. That's...-What do-what do you mean
-when you say that?-Because Democrats,
although they... theyunderstand, I think, deep down,
that they're the partyof black and brown people,
-of-of gay people, of-ofmarginalized people... -Right.
...they stilllong to be the party
of the sort ofPabst Blue Ribbon voter,
the kind of Coors Lightdrinking voter.
-The Coors-drinking voter.-Could-could they... could they
not be both, though?Why-why could they not be both?
Because those votersare Republicans.
-They just are. -Do you-do you think definitively,
-across the board?-Yeah.
I think that that votehas migrated from being
a Democratic Party voteto a Republican Party vote,
-and it has donefor the last 40 years. -Right.
Re... Democratsjust can't accept it.
So they don't understandthat the voters they long
to have back,those voters who...
the sort of Archie Bunker voterthat was a Democrat
-in the '70sis now a Republican. -Uh-huh.
And so they can long for themall they want.
They're not gonna convince themby saying, "We'll give you
-free college." That'snot why they're voting. -Right.
They're voting... And the wayI kind of put it is this way,
people say, "Well,why do people vote against
their economic interests?Why don't they vote values?"
Democrats vote againsttheir economic interests.
If you live in New York and youmake, you know, New York salary,
you're voting againstyour economic interests
whenever you vote for Democrats.They raise your taxes.
You vote your values.So why do you think
that people on the other sidedon't do the same?
They're not voting economics.
They're votingbecause the-the Republican Party
represents their values. Theydon't care about the economics.
So Democrats keep tryingto use economic lures
to pull them back in, but that'snot why they're voting that way.
It's interestingthat you-you put it that way,
because then I, uh...I guess my mind takes me down
a very negative path, which isthen there is no end to this.
It just becomes a partythat is separated
by the color of somebody's skinor, you know,
the-the factthat they're not mainstream.
They're conservative or they'renow a fringe progressive person
in some way, shape, or form.
Does that mean that's the endfor American politics?
What, then, tips an election?
I think what tips the electionis which party goes out
and finds more people like them.I mean, you know,
this country'salways been very tribal.
Um, the tribes havesort of shifted back and forth
between the parties,but we're still basically
-the same tribal countrywe've always been. -Right.
Republicans are very goodat going out and finding
all the Republicans, everyavailable potential Republican,
and getting them to vote.Democrats leave a lot of people
by the waysidewho should be voting with them,
who agree with them, who believein what they believe in,
but they don't go get them,because they're so busy longing
for the peoplein the other party.
So I think Democrats have gotto... they've got to do
a couple of thingsthat aren't that complicated
but they don't make you a lotof money if you're a consultant.
You got to register voters.There are lots and lots
of Democrats out therein the nonvoting category
who agree with Democrats.We have to register them.
It's, like,a non-sexy political job.
-that doesn't get youa consulting fee. -Right.
So instead of buy...spending money on ads,
they need to do that. The secondthing is they need to explain
in, like, two sentenceswhat a Democrat is,
why would people want to bea Democrat,
and not make it so complicated."A Better Deal."
It's so vague. What does thatmean? A better deal than what?
Than the deal.
Donald Trumpisn't offering a deal.
-Donald Trumpis offering a TV show. -Right.
Right? So they don't havea better deal than that TV show.
-There... Is there a better TVshow than Donald Trump? No. -No.
-No. -So you-you can't do betterthan that, right?
So they need to dothose two things.
And then, the third thing is,I think,
they need to stop being fearfulof being bold.
I think Democratshave this fear
that if they ever becomereally definitive and bold,
-it'll scare the peoplethey want away. -Right.
They need to just take some firmstands, be who they are,
explain who they are, and then,register a lot of voters.
That's how you win.
Let's me ask you.
What if someone proposedthe opposite approach?
What if somebody said,"Okay, we acknowledge
"that America is fundamentallya white country,
"and so, what we're goingto do instead is try
"and coalesce as many votersas possible
and then enact the policiesthat will affect everybody"?
You know, as manyAfrican-Americans say
in this country, they say,when, uh...
when a white person sneezes,a black person gets pneumonia.
-Right. -And so,if you enact those policies,
and if you help people, thenit's going to help everybody.
Could that not be a strategy?
Or do you thinkthat's not sustainable,
depending on who is in poweron either side?
It depends on who says it.
I mean, that was sort of
Bill Clinton's kind of strategy,right?
Back in the '90s, the idea was,
we'll do this sort ofrising tide.
We'll kind of bringall the races together.
But listen, on the race issue,here's the problem.
For black peoplein this country,
what black people generally wantis a reckoning.
-They want to acknowledge thepast and reckon with it. -Right.
But in general,Americans don't want to do that.
This isn't a countrythat wants to do that.
The country wants a pass.
And so, when Barack Obamagives a speech,
and he says,"I love my racist grandma,"
-he's healing the country.-Right.
When he gets up and he says,
"Please don't shootblack people,"
-he's dividing the country.-Right.
And so, you havea fundamental split
in what people are willingto tolerate
in the racial discussion.
So, I don't seehow you bridge that.
You know, Joe Biden gave...did a really, uh,
-great piece in The Atlantic... -Yes.
...where, I think,because Joe Biden is,
quite frankly, white, right,
-and because he's of a certaingeneration... -Uh-huh.
...he can say someof the same things
Barack Obama did about race,
but it doesn't come acrossas accusatory when he says it.
-Right. -So there's certainthings he can do and say
that I think it's importantfor him to do and say.
But that isn't...
In the immediate future,
when people are looking at, whatdo we do about Donald Trump,
that isn't the conversationthat wins you, um, people over
to get Donald Trumpout of office, right?
Democrats actually have to do...
If you want Donald Trump curbed,
you're goingto need a different Congress.
-This Congress isn't goingto impeach him. -Mm-hmm.
They're not goingto rein him in.
They're not going to do anythingabout Donald Trump.
And people need to accept thatand change the Congress.
Let me, uh...
Let me ask you thisbefore you go.
Donald Trump is currentlytraveling as president,
consoling the victimsof Hurricane Harvey.
Could this not be...
Could this not be the moment
-where he pivotsto presidential... -(laughter)
-...and unifies the nation...-Yeah.
...during its time of crisis?
-You guys are all assholes.-(laughter)
Every single one of you.
This is a valid question.
Only ifhe goes into Trump Tower,
-locks himself in...-(laughter)
...sends out a different personthat isn't Donald Trump--
maybe whose name is"Donald Trump,"
but who is a completelydifferent person,
and then maybethat person can pivot
and become the presidentwe need.
Donald Trump is 71.
Do you know any 71-year-olds?I do.
They are what they are.
-They're not going to change!-Right.
-He is this guy.-(cheers and applause)
And he isn't goingto become presidential.
He's just...he's Donald Trump!
-So what I heard was "Maybe."-(laughter)
"Maybe," and that's allI needed to hear.
Thank you so muchfor being on the show.
Maybe it can happen.
AM Joy airs weekends on MSNBCfrom 10:00 a.m. to noon.
Joy Reid, everybody!