tv Matter of Fact With Fernando Espuelas Me-TV January 17, 2016 12:00pm-12:30pm CST
>> americans do not want politics as usual. >> how to win the african-american vote. fernando: welcome to "matter of fact." i'm fernando espuelas. president obama: that's the america i know fernando: president obama laid out a big vision for america in his state of the union address, but it will be up to minority leader nancy pelosi to steer his priorities through a divided congress. i asked leader pelosi about her strategy for success as congress begins a new era under speaker paul ryan. what do you think will be your relationship with speaker ryan this year? leader pelosi: i think we'll have a good relationship. we just came through the omnibus and we were able to work through, find some areas of agreement, some areas of disagreement and then move on from there. i think it's really important what his relationship will be with president obama. when i was speaker and president bush was president, we had a
we had -- i didn't support the war in iraq or privatizing social security, but we found many other areas to work with. so despite differences that he may have with the president, or with the congressional democrats, i hope we can find common ground. i'm confident that we can. fernando: do you think some of the rhetoric coming from, say, a candidate like donald trump, which is very divisive in many different ways women, gays, muslims, hispanics -- there's a long list of people. do you think that's contributing to a degradation of the debate here in congress? leader pelosi: yes, i do. but i think it's been pretty bad on the issue of immigration, which is sort of the life blood of america. we are a nation of immigrants. the constant reinvigoration of america by newcomers coming to our country, bringing their hopes, their aspirations, their dreams, their courage, their determination to make the future better for their families is what america is all about. it's called the american dream.
our shores, whether they are coming from syria or whether they're coming from central america. we welcome them in keeping with our laws, not because they're americans, but because we're americans, and to be american is to understand how important immigration is to our country. fernando: and i know you've been critical of the president's, i'm not sure if it's a policy, or new enforcement action where families have been rounded up and deported. i understand they fit within a certain model of enforcement of immigration law, but it seems very harsh and quite confusing for many people in the immigration community. leader pelosi: it does, and i think that what the administration is saying, we're going to obey the law, which we want them to do, but the law has some discretion as to who is be -- whom we round up, and, of
have broken law, they should be sent back. people who are seeking refugees, who are seeking freedom from persecution or death in their countries, they have to prove that, but in order to prove that, they have to have language, legal and other assistance to do it. fernado: due process, right? leader pelosi: well, it's due process but really to enforce the law is to enforce the spirit of the law as well the letter of the law, and i think that whatever the intention wise of the administration and i support , their initiative to enforce the law, the fact is, the message that went out was a harsher one than it was intended and we're hoping to pull that back. fernando: let me ask you about the congressional elections that are coming up. i asked a question on facebook this morning, saying i was going to be speaking with you and probably the number one question
plan to win back a majority? leader pelosi: well, our plan to win back the majority is to make the connection. we have initiatives that sprang from the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act, which was last year, that said we have to do more to have outrage and -- outreach and engagement with voters. but we take some responsibility for not making the connection clearer. that's what we'll do now. but also just to prioritize the issues that relate to immigration, for example, relate to economy, relate to the environment in which people live, whether it's their physical environment, their educational environmental, their economic environment. and it's pretty exciting. now i have no question in my mind that we will have democratic majority in three years. the question is will we have it , in one year? and that just really depends, is related to what happens at the presidential election as well. fernando: and when you think
that we facing as a country and certainly there are no easy answers, because we are a big country with international responsibilities. what's the one issue that keeps you up at night, that you wish you could be empress for a day or be able to really fix? leader pelosi: well, the issue that keeps me up every night is the one in five children in america that lives in poverty. that's my motivation for being in politics in the first place. i'm a mother of five, grandmother of nine. i want every child in america to have all the opportunities that my grandchildren and children have. but specifically, a discrete issue that relates to our children and the safety of the american people is gun safety. we are talking about sensible background checks. we're not talking about the full array that i'd like to see, but nonetheless an initiative that would reduce gun violence in our country. that is the unfinished business. in many of the other areas we have made strides, but on guns we haven't.
the nra may hold the congress hostage, but it's not going to hold the country hostage to their agenda. so that's something that we have to talk to the american people about. we just want a vote in the congress. we just want a vote. i think we win if we have that vote. fernando: leader pelosi told me she doesn't believe the president took enough credit for his achievements prior to the date speech. -- in the big speech. it's now up to voters to determine whether or not they agree. >> coming up, angry voters. >> i'm angry about people not being civil to each other >> what has donald trump tapped into? and -- >> homeless people don't need keys very much, there's not too much you've go to unlock. >> is the v.a. really making a difference for veterans? plus -- >> i would love to hear some
>> there are two democratic visions for regulating wall street. one says it's okay to take millions from big banks and then tell them what to do. my plan -- break up the big banks, close the tax loopholes,
and make them pay their fair share. then we can expand health care to all, and provide universal college education. will they like me? no. will they begin to play by the rules if i'm president? you better believe it.
has baffled washington pundits and party insiders. but regardless of what happens with his candidacy, the trump phenomenon has exposed a truth about the mood of voters. they're angry. resident scholar norm ornstein at the non-partisan american enterprise institute believes that anger is especially deep among republicans. norm: trump has channeled into something that is a much broader phenomenon. some of it has historical roots. it is an anger at the establishment, a belief among many republicans that their own leaders have sat back passively while barack obama has run roughshod over them, while at the same time, a passive and weak barack obama has been fleeced repeatedly, around the world by putin and punched by isis. so a strong person who is going to fight back against that is
and at the same time, trumpism is also a reaction against the changes going on in the society. changes that affect the social fabric, and for working class, non college-educated whites, the idea that we're moving towards a majority-minority country. one where their primacy is in question, one also where they have not prospered in economic terms over the last decade makes a yearning for a strong man that much greater. donald trump is channeling it, but it can go well beyond a trump and of course the fact that 60% to 70% of republican support has consistently over 6-8 months gone to outsiders is part of that phenomenon. fernando: as you look at it from a bigger stand point beyond donald trump, is this a lasting movement perhaps? is the republican party sliding
quote unquote? norm: yes, i think what keeps me awake at night as much as anything, we've had this partisan tribalism. it's not just polarization, it's tribalism. tribalism is where you are not simply an adversary, you're the enemy. now, if you layer onto that the other reality, the republican party is becoming a white party, more of a white party and -- and everything going on in this presidential campaign drives non-whites further away. and the democratic party is becoming predominantly a party of minorities. you're layering race onto partisan tribalism. that's a very dangerous phenomenon, and donald trump, of course, is throwing a lot of gasoline on that simmering fire fernando: on a realistic basis, maybe this goes beyond realism, we're a very big country. we cannot have the same government structure we had in the 18th century. we have an empire. we have to govern.
have never been in government? norm: we can't. and i think trump does have the self-confidence that he exudes. i run things, i know how to do it. i can make those decisions. he has zero understanding of how you operate, not in a business where you make the decisions, but in a government where the federal government has a limited role. the president has an even more limited role. and most members of congress are going to have completely different interests and forces moving them than a president does. so it's not going to work. it's going to be, i think a catastrophe if he moved into government. although, interestingly, if you talk to establishment republican figures, increasingly i think they are more concerned about ted cruz winning, someone who's been in government, but whose ideology is strong enough that
structures that we have. where trump they think at least might be a little bit more pragmatic -- he's a deal maker. but we're not talking about any enthusiasm in the establishment for either of, what is now, the top two alternatives, the most likely to win a nomination. fernando: but from the outside, and maybe i'm totally wrong, it seems the establishment has no power. they can't stop these candidates. they haven't been able to put forth an alternative. how do you see this playing out? is there a split coming in the party? what's the outcome? norm: well, of course, this is a self-inflicted wound, in significant part by an , establishment that tried to cultivate the tea party movement, incite it to anger, and got them to turn out in massive numbers in 2010 and 2014 -- well, then we can co-opt them. well, it's the establishment that's been rendered weak and been co-opted here, and they really don't know what to do.
>> i they get it? fernando: it was just over a year ago when president obama vowed to end homelessness among our nation's veterans. >> homeless people don't need keys very much, there's not too much you've got to unlock. fernando: now some veterans, like wesley in des moines, iowa, have their own apartment and a steady job. working with the veterans affairs department, des moines is just one in a growing number of communities able to find answers from an agency that has tremendous problems. veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald insists the
and is making a difference. secretary mcdonald: there's good news in the sense that veteran homelessness is down 36% since 2010. but, having said that, we still have more work to do. but, one of things that's been important, is in this journey since 2010, was learning what works. certainly the president and the first lady's commitment to eliminate veteran homelessness has been important. another thing that's been important is this idea of housing first. getting a veteran into housing, eliminating that level of maslow's hierarchy of needs and then surrounding the veteran with care, which is what the v.a. does, surround them with care in order for them to get the treatment that they need, whether the homelessness was the result of drug addiction or some other mental health or some other issue. so we've learned a lot. we have a lot more to do, but we're excited that we're moving in the right direction. fernando: and, of course, because we've been at war for a very long time, many of our
coming back, have issues and have problems of different sorts. what's the challenge? is it a funding a challenge? is it a logistical challenge that you face? all of the above? secretary mcdonald: well, i think you're right, fernando. in many ways the challenge is all of the above. first of all, how do we get the veterans to identify themselves? and then how do we connect with them and get them into the right treatment faculty? -- facility? or how do we get them what they need? in many cases, the off ramp for homelessness is a job. how do we get them a job? so, one of the things we're trying to do is work with the department of defense and work further upstream. so in other words, talk to those 250,000 service members who will be leaving the service in the next year, talk to them before they leave the service, get them signed up for their veteran's benefits, talk them about jobs. we even have job fairs. with all kinds of employers there who would be hiring right on the spot, so that there'd be
the service to the time they begin employment in the private sector. fernando: there have been some issues in the past with delivering health care to veterans. looking forward, what do you think are going to be the main challenges, as it seems that we are still at war and, for the perceivable future will be , at war? secretary mcdonald: the biggest thing is understanding the crisis of 2014 at the v.a. was not a crisis of afghanistan and iraq. it was a crisis of the aging veteran population, so veterans my age. i'm 62 years old. what you're seeing with the veteran population as people age is that many of the conditions that they had when they were in service are going to become problematic, chronic, more acute. we've got to ready today for the veterans of afghanistan and iraq as they age. >> coming up next, the road to the white house runs through the south and one group can make or break a victory.
vote.fernando: african-americans are a critical voting bloc for presidential candidates. in 2012, 95% of african-american voters cast their ballot for president obama, helping to propel him to victory. now with the 2016 race underway, another large turnout from this group could be the difference between winning and losing for both parties in several states. so, how do you win the african-american vote? >> one of the big issues to me is race relations. fernando:'s texas native drew smith is an undecided voter. he's looking for a democratic or republican candidate who understands and proposes solutions for his key issue. drew: i would love to hear some of the republicans or other candidates speak about it because i don't feel like they've really covered it at all. fernando: his sentiment is shared by a many african-americans. after racial tensions erupted across the country last year.
americans viewed race relations as one of the nation's top priorities. that figure rose by 10% in the aftermath of protests organized by the black lives matter movement. independent political analyst michelle bernard says voters want to hear politicians say their lives matter too. michelle: the smartest politician listens and looks and does not lie about what the basic reality is about african-american life in the united states. if you will face it head on and don't give a political answer, just be truthful about it, i think that is the way that you enamore citizens to want to vote for you. fernando: african-americans also want to hear specifics about jobs, the economy, and their general dissatisfaction with government as a whole. michelle: of course we know that all lives matter -- what the african-american community is looking for is people who will say that your lives matter, too, because right now it doesn't feel like that. it's like state sanctioned violence against african americans.
which african american voters could have a significant impact will be south carolina in february. but everyone has their eye on the very important milestone, super tuesday on march first, which could make or break several of the candidates, tweet me at @espuelasvox, and check in on facebook or connect with our new video site, matteroffact.tv where you can watch and share videos from all of our programs. >> next, is america headed in
fernando: recent polls report that 65% of americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction. but our economy, for example, is the most robust of any major country. we have almost full employment, a diminishing deficit and good prospects for further growth. so why the sour mood across america? economists tell us that income inequality has badly impacted people's lives, with stagnant salaries that punish the middle
and also, relentless pessimism generated by washington politics. in the deliberate shutdowns of our government, to the reckless chopping of the defense budget, and our roads in third world conditions, we see dysfunction and incompetence. yet, no pessimist ever founded a country, or sailed to new lands, invented a new technology or risked it all for a dream as american entrepreneurs do every day. the founders of this nation were optimists. they fought and won against the superpower of the day. they were optimistic about the future. we should be, too. and that's the bottom line. i'm fernando espuelas. have a great week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its