tv Washington Journal Katrina vanden Heuvel Discusses Progressive Priorities CSPAN January 25, 2017 2:34pm-2:54pm EST
>> again, president trump expected here at the department of homeland security to talk about the mexico border wall and immigration. we'll have live coverage here on c-span when it starts. while we wait, the discussion from this morning's "washington journal" on progressive response to the trump administration. guest: there's no question that it's a tough time. honesty is important. we don't have much honesty in our politics right now. but i do think we saw in the campaign, first of all, the
nation endorsed bernie sanders. we then endorsed hillary clinton in the general election. but bernie sanders revealed a country that has a hunger for what i would call progressive majority positions on a range of issues, expanding social security, education, medicare for all. and the democratic platform which emerged from the campaign was one of the most progressive platforms in contemporary modern history. hillary clinton won the popular vote by close to three million votes, and i think we have a largely progressive center-left country, which for a variety of reasons, we can talk about or not talk about has been -- hasn't been realized. and i think it's going to take a lot of work, a lot of structural work, a lot of ideas work, work as a nation, which i added the nation at 151 years old, the oldest weekly in
american history, is dedicated to. and i think we're in a place, maybe one calls it the wilderness, but it's a time for rethinking, rebuilding, organizing, and people are committed. and i think you saw in the women's march this past saturday the largest political march in u.s. history. people may call me on that, but i think if you pull together all the numbers, it is that. and if that protest, those people marching, if that can be channeled into organizing and rebuilding, i think we are in a better place, and we do need to move from protest to politics. and i say politics, whether it's activism, movement building. i was encouraged the day after the women's march that a thousand women were being trained and recruited to run for office around this country, whether it's school boards,
municipal boards, city councils. i think that wakening up of millions of people, especially young people, is perhaps a silver lining, if there is one n. this trump -- trump era. host: donald trump and his message has been described as populist. what do you think the difference is between being a populist and a progressive? guest: i did cnn this past sunday, and that was a focus of conversation. so you know, the term populism has a long history in our country. there was a populist at the end of the 19th century. progressive, rooted in community. there's george wallace. there's a right-wing populism to put it crudely, and there is a progressive, left democratic populism. a see donald trump as repository of reactionary populism.
bernie sanders is a progressive populist who is not -- he is about inclusiveness i's about taking on big corporations on behalf of the underdogs, whether they're in the blue states or the red states or the purple states. i think there is a progressive populism. they're seeing an ascendance of populism, obviously with donald trump but around the world and in europe elections loom large in france, the netherlands and even in germany. so i think how do we rebuild it? i write a weekly column for "the washington post."com. and i wrote a column on the eve of the election, a progressive's response to trumpism. and i do think that progressives have to respond to he anger of working people brown, white, all people, working people, against an establishment which has not listened to working people for
some close to 40 years. we've seen an epic fail of the elites in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. and without speaking to what a more progressive trade agenda is, without speaking to what the nature of work will be, the dignity of work, without speaking to patriotism and nationalism, which should not be ceded to a right-wing, these are issues that we must grapple with. and that is the work of progressives in addition to much else in this next period, but there is -- bernie sanders, if the senate had gone democratic, which was one of the heartbreaking that didn't go, heartbreaking moments of that election night, we would have had a progressive populist caucus. elizabeth warren, jeff brown, others, who i think could have rebuilt the idea of populism as a progressive, galvanizing democratic force in american politics. and they will. but the obstacles are much larger.
host: if you want to join the conversation, the phone lines re open. as callers are calling in, what would be your advice for progressives in looking to rebuild and resist in the trump era? guest: so i wrote a column about sort of a blueprint. i mean, i say with humility, you know, we don't have -- there's no silver bullet. there's no single answer. i think we need a diversity of tactics and ideas. but i do think that the states and cities and communities will be a place, not only of resistance and opposition, but of moving legislation, of moving humane reforms that improve the condition of people's lives. always for me the bottom line what matters in politics, improving people's lives. so you see cities, states as bulwarks against a trump
administration's rollback of civilizing reforms of our time, whether it's on imgation, health care, climate. you see it already in new york city. mayor deblass yo laying out new york city as a sanctuary city. the attorney has laid out how cities can resist. jerry brown's state of the state yesterday was a defiant response to donald trump's, i would argue, cool agenda on health, immigration. so i think that becomes important. and it's also important to draw a national lesson from what happens on the ground, not just among elected, but on the -- in the streets. and connecting that movement energy to the inside energy, i think you want to build a pipeline of people who will run for office at the local level and the state level. the attorney general has a good line, when they go low, we go
local. is the case under president obama we have seen a terrible hemorrhaging of democratic progressive power at the city and state levels. i think 69 of 99 state legislatures are now controlled by republicans. you do have in 2018, i think, some 36 governor seats open. the fight for 2018 is important because it leads up to 2020 and redistricting. we need to focus hard on rebuilding in that area and finding again a pipeline of young, not so young, progressives, candidates, especially people of color, women. i think the democratic national committee fight, which is underway, is important. all of them and the nation will endorse keith ellison, the congressman from minnesota, who has been committed to the understanding that grass roots organizing, mobilizing people,
fundraising is critical to revitalizing the democratic party. but every one of those people running for d.n.c. chair still remembered what howard dean, former d.n.c. chair reminded us. we need to compete in 50 states. we can't give up on parts of this country. we have to fight where we can. so i think cities, states going local, driving what happens in those communities with a national message, connecting the energy to those in washington, but let's be honest, we're not going to see a lot of action inside d.c. we will around this country. and i think that's going to be very positive. host: let's get to the phones. mike in woodstock, virginia. a democrat, mike. caller: good morning. again, thank you for taking my call and thank you for c-span. i agree with the guest's comment here about state and local. let's face it, mr. trump won the election on the electoral
college, and i think that democrats and those who are interested in the people being successful versus others at other levels, for instance here in the commonwealth of virginia, we know that gerrymandering is, you know, is as old as politics in america. but unless the democrats focus, as the guest was just saying, on state legislatures in particular, where, for instance, here in the commonwealth, the latest redistricting, governor mccall live took to the courts was declared unconstitutional. there is the biggest place, i think -- i don't think we're going to be able to change the constitution on the electoral college. i'd like to see this. of again, the encouragement younger people -- i'm 62 years
old. but younger people to get involved in the program. and my last comment is labels, whether it be progressives, liberal, conservative, once again, aren't we all in this together? president lincoln wanted all people to be covered in health care. republican teddy roosevelt. democrat franklin roosevelt. even richard nixon. they all realized if we have a healthy population, then they're able to contribute to the work force. they're able to contribute to their communities. so again, state legislatures and focusing on those issues of both the electoral college and getting more people involved and not feeling like it doesn't make any difference --
host: thanks for the call. guest: i just want to say, our civil rights correspondent is someone your listeners may know, reverend william barber of north carolina who has led the moral mondays movement in that state. he likes to say when did workers' rights, voting rights, women's rights, health rights become left or right issue? there is a right and a wrong. and i agree about labels. i think sometimes they're useful in different ways, but i think we should be in this for a healthy, sustainable, fair, just america. and the nation was founded in july 1865 at the end of that bloody, brutal civil war, by abolitionists committed to ending slavery, for an equal, just, and fair america. i think there is something call the national popular vote, i ask your listeners to check it
out. i would not mean amending the constitution. it's a compact that could lead to the abolition of the electoral college, which was founded really to reduce participation to keep voices out. there was a connection to, obviously, our race, structural racist history. i think our political system in many ways is a mess. and it saddens me. so when donald trump the other day talks about, you know, he didn't win the popular vote ecause of, as he calls it, voting illegally, what a decent president should be doing is trying to restore the integrity of our voting system. this was the first election in which i believe 15 states had new voting restrictions to suppress the vote, not to enhance the vote, not to enhance participation. at the end of the day, i think a small democrat deep in democracy in this country should not be about left and right, but ask yourself why is
it that republicans have committed themselves to voter suppression as a political agenda? because that will reduce, not enhance. there are certain states around this country which are doing a great job. i think of oregon, which our extraordinary voting rights correspondent covered the nation a few months ago, which is working overtime to increase participation. that's what -- we want more people participating. and more people, there's a saying organized people versus organized money. we want more people, not more money in our political system. so let's get to that work and not accusing this and that and tampering with our voting system. host: we showed our viewers these tweets earlier from president trump tweeting out this morning that i'll be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states. those were illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead. he said in his tweets this morning, we will strengthen up our voting procedures.
we're talking -- go ahead. guest: one thing i felt, you know, this is day five, i think, of the trump administration? i had to tweet the other day, let's all take a deep breath. we're going need strength. it's good for the brains and the soul. we're going to need strength. but that said, the hyper coverage of donald trump's tweets. we can't ignore them. what we need to do is make sure that he -- he loves to win the morning, define the news coverage of the day. we need to do the reporting that needs to be done, not just follow his tweets and make that what cable news drives through the day. let him do the investigation. it is the case, i believe his campaign manager is filing in states like michigan, noted from the trump campaign that there was no tampering and there was no problem with the vote. that was certified at the time. i don't know, this is a long
time republican obsession. and now a trumpian obsession, the suppression of voting rights. i don't want to spend the rest of the 45 minutes ticking off how many qualified lawyers and groups have explained that voter fraud is essentially sort of a fantasy going on. and again i come back, let him restore our voting integrity. let the attorney general and the justice department move forward on that. i don't see it in the cards. i think it's going to take independent action and the work of groups who have labored hard in this field for many years. st: karla is waiting, in florida, a republican. caller: how are you? host: go ahead. caller: yes, i would just like to make a statement that yes, i did vote for donald trump. but i prayed long and hard on that decision, too. and what i see in our country
that i'm really worried about, i am a disabled widow. my husband died four years ago. and i do depend on my social security. but i tried to go back to work two years ago, and my body wouldn't let me. so i'm kind of concerned about, you know, the entitlements and stuff. i understand the budget. believe me, i live on a budget. but also, too, what i'm worried about our country is that i see the fight between the democrats and the republicans and the independents and the progressives and all these labels that everybody puts on all of us. but aren't we americans first? and before that, aren't we all god's children? doesn't god love all of us? i mean, can't we find some way in our -- the people that's running our country, can't they quit arguing like children and try -- guest: could i say, first of all, i feel for your condition. i think that what i said
earlier is how i feel about politics. the bottom line is does it improve people's lives? you're facing a very difficult situation. i agree with you that the bickering often seems petty in contrast to the great needs of this country. but it's not about republican and democratic. i mean, i wish that c-span had a channel called transpartisan. i often -- i don't agree on every issue democrats lay out or every issue progressives lay out. there are differences. but i take your situation as i ard it, ma'am, to expand social security can be done and would be of great value to you. i do think it's on the trump agenda to -- it will be interesting to see because trump during the campaign said he didn't want to cut social security or medicare. those in congress like paul ryan have had their eyes on the prize, which is either
privatizing, bloc granting or cutting those earned benefits. they're not entitledments. they're earned benefits. of working people like you. so look at the issues. don't look at the labels. but if you look at the issues, i would submit to you that those who have put out the plan to expand social security are more in your corner and fighting for you. host: charlie is waiting in pennsylvania. [applause] res. trump: thank you. thank you.