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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 9, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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tweets @lawrence. "the rachel maddow show" is up next. >> good evening, lawrence, thank you, and thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour. it's now nine seconds to 9:00 p.m. on the east coast, which means the polls are officially closing in the great state of wisconsin in three, two, one, they are closed. today voters in six districts across wisconsin took to the polls to decide whether or not they want to recall six republican state senators, six senators who helped pass that state's very unpopular, very devicive union stripping bill. so far in terms of instant results, we've got precisely nothing because the polls just closed a second ago, but we'll bring you the results as we get them over the course of the hour. back in 2006 you will recall george w. bush was president, dick cheney was vice president, senate majority leader, bill
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fritz, republicans had a virtual lock on all of washington heading into election night 2006. they controlled every single lever of power they could control in d.c. by the end of election night 2006, that was no longer the case. >> by midnight in washington, it was a new day for the democrats, a national wave swept republicans from power in the house for the first time since the republican revolution in 1994. but the democratic wave didn't end there. well after midnight, the senate began to fall as democrats turned red states blue. >> 2006 was a clean sweep for democrats. they won a total of 30 seats to take control of the house. they won six seats in the senate and governorships across the country. it was a democratic route, bit of a landslide. it was a shock to republicans across the country.
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a night like that is euphoric, but people know that a night like that is sort of bittersweet because yeah, you just won a whole bunch of seats, but you won a whole bunch of seats there's no way you can possibly hold for the long-term. democrats in office holding seats that will be very difficult to defend in future elections, so a night like november 2006 election night was great for democrats, but also they knew it couldn't last, sort of setting yourself up to lose in the next election, but what happens in that next election after that one in 2008 is that democrats did not lose. democrats actually picked up more territory. democrats won another 21 seats in the house in '08 and maintained grip on the governors seats across the country they controlled. if you imagine a grandfather clock with a pendulum swinging from side to side, in 2006 the
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pendulum swung all the way over to the democratic side, but then in 2008, someone broke off the side of the clock so you could swing the pendulum further. 51 seats in the house and 14 seats in the senate. that was in '06 and '08, which meant in 2010, that pendulum was way out there, poised to swing back hard against the democrats, and boy did it. during the 2010 elections, republicans won back control of the house, they picked up 63 seats in the house, that means they picked up more than the democrats had put together in those last two democratic elections, republicans in 2010 picked up six seats in the senate. the story was even more dramatic at the state level, republicans won 680 seats across the country last november. that's more than at any time since 1928. they also took control of six governorships. the pendulum did swing back and it swung back hard in the republican party's direction in
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the last election. this is sort of the way that modern american politics works. when you elect a whole lot of people in one party, the next election you're likely to pick up a lot in the other party, but how fast does that pendulum swing? after 2006, it took four years until things swung back in the republican direction and has now only been eight months since republicans took control of the house and all these state legislatures, eight months seem quick, but there are, now, very specific, very empirical signs of deep voter dissatisfaction with how republicans are governing in the places where they are in control thanks to that great election they had last november. you may have seen the "new york times poll" last week that say 82% of americans disapproves of
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congress. everybody hates congress, it's always bad, but 82% is the worst it has ever been, ever. and within that 82%, it's republicans in particular who bare the brunt of that disapproval. today cnn released a poll and the percentage of people who say they have an unfavorable view of the republican party is at 59%. that 59% for context is the worst that either party has ever polled at ever in the two decades that cnn has been asking that question. cnn's been polling on the favorability on the tea party since january of last year, the number is now just 31%. that's the lowest their favorability rating has been in the entire time that cnn has been polling on the tea party. so yes, people are angry at washington right now, people are angry, i think, at politics in general, but there is unprecedented fury being
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directed at washington republicans and washington conservative republicans in particular. part of this is the product of the debt ceiling fight which made everybody hate washington, right? but people who made distinctions of who they hated the most made clear distinctions. people disapproved of president obama's handling by 48%. 48% disapproved of how president obama was handling that. people disapproved of congressional democrats by 58%, but congressional republicans, people disapproved of them by 71%. 71% disapproved with how congressional republicans were handling the debt ceiling crisis. people don't seem to like how the republicans are behaving. the pendulum will swing back against the republicans from their big win in 2010. a win that big in 2010 is
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inherently unsustainable. they are occupying political territory they cannot hold in the long run, it goes back and forth. when you have a big win there's a correction in the political system. when's that correction going to happen? when will the pendulum swing back against republicans against this giant election they had in 2010? will it take four years? the way it did for the democrats after 2006? will it take two years in time for president obama to earn a second term in the 2012 elections or will the pendulum swinging back against the republicans start to happen even sooner than that? what's going to happen tonight, say, in wisconsin? scott walker in wisconsin is one of the republican governors that was elected in the big republican 2010 election, that big election about he's one of the people elected in that election about whom voters seem to be having some degree of buyer's remorse. this has been happening all over the country, republican
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governors are looking at their approval ratings dropping like a rock month after month, but more than any other unpopular newbie governor, it was scott walker who made a blunt attack on union rights. he had not campaigned on attacking union rights, but he went after wisconsin union rights with both barrels. he provoked a real political constituency in wisconsin. the labor movement and people who believe in labor rights, but he also made a political enemy out of anybody who, you know, ever had a teacher who they liked or who knows and loves the snow plow driver, anybody else who has that kind of job who scott walker was going after. the recall elections in wisconsin today are nationally important, i think, for three reasons. first, wisconsin is part of this country and what happens in wisconsin is important because it is part of america, that's perhaps most important, but second, what is happening in
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wisconsin is only happening because of the democratic base, not the republican base that gets covered nine ways to sunday by the beltway, but the democratic base. oh, yes, there is one. the democratic base is the reason these recall elections are happening at all, a reminder both to the beltway press and beltway democrats that the democratic party does have a base and it isn't just a liability, it can be a tremendous asset if they could pay some freaking attention to them every once in awhile. but the third reason i think these recall elections today in wisconsin, where polls have just closed, the third reason these have national implications is because the pendulum that swung for four years, '06 elections through the '08 elections and swung back in 2010, that pendulum swing determines whether or not barack obama gets a second term, determines washington, makeup of supreme court, determines everything else about politics and the
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united states. tonight's results will be among the first clear empirical signs of whether the pendulum is still swinging that same republican direction as last november or it is turning around and coming back. joining us once again is wisconsin state senator, jon erpenbach, one of the senators that left the state earlier this year. senator erpenbach, i see you are among friends tonight. how is the mood there in madison? >> it's good, rachel. i'd like to introduce you to madison, wisconsin. madison, wisconsin, rachel maddow. [ cheers and applause ] >> that is very, very, very impressive. >> they love ya.
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>> i guess i'm moving. >> yeah, you should move to madison. you'd love it here. >> i have a feeling that might be a good idea. senator, what do you think is going to happen today? we heard confidence from the democratic party the last couple of weeks, but in recent days we've heard a lot of caution these races are likely due to be close, if not in some cases impossible for democrats to get some pick ups. >> right, i do think we'll do very well tonight, three or four seats is possible, but we're in uncharted territory if you look at any election cycle and that usually means a lot of trouble for incumbents and undecides usually break 2-1 for the normal challenger. what we're dealing with, we've never been in this territory before so we don't know what to expect. i know we had thousands of people throughout wisconsin knocking on doors, hopefully that will pay off. >> i wonder if some of the
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outcome of this process, political bottom line is what we're seeing behind you, the mobilization itself, regardless of what happens tonight in these individual recall races and we are still awaiting the first results. has the democratic party been fundamentally changed in wisconsin just by this process, just by seeing people so excited and aggravated and angry and motivated by state politics? >> yeah. no, it's a really good point to bring up, i've been over the state four or five times helping candidates running against republican senators and so many people have said the same thing, never been involved before in an election in my life, voted once or twice but never really been involved, now they are involved and have been involved since february. they spread out throughout the state of wisconsin, i jokingly say this, but it's true, even gym teachers are involved in the campaigns. gym teachers involved in sports and whatever, they are massively involved, so people from all
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walks of life are coming out and working hard for the democrats in wisconsin. >> senator, how important do you think your stance on this was, your meeting the democrats in the state legislature, obviously people made at what the republicans did and how they did it, but how do you think it was to take the hard line and fled the state and worked so hard? was that a motivating factor to this big upsearch in surgery and mobilization we saw in the state? >> first reason we did it was to give people in wisconsin time to see what the governor was proposing and i thought we'd be gone for, believe it or not, half a day but it turned out to be two weeks. more and more people showed up in madison and green bay and lacrosse, so what we saw, people sending us e-mails, people ending us letters to our office admiring what we were doing, but more importantly we were admiring what was going on in
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wisconsin when we were gone, thousands of people showing up. again, they could left that energy and said it's over. they didn't. they've been working on the recall campaigns ever since, so that's what is probably the coolest thing about all this stuff in the end is the fact people are engaged and staying engaged, in the process. >> democratic state senator jon erpenbach from wisconsin, please tell madison el low for me, sir, and good luck. >> rachel maddow says hello, everybody. see ya, rachel. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. this is self-esteem boost day at "the rachel maddow show." now joining us, eugene robinson. gene, madison says hi. >> i say hi to madison. been there, it's a wonderful place, and it was awhile ago,
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there was no "the rachel maddow show" show then, but i'm sure they love you. >> i've been spending more time in washington than i usually do, mostly by accident, but i've been talking to national democrats who have been bringing up madison to me. seem i've been having conversations is washington watching what's going on in madison? it feels washington is, beltway democrats are paying attention to what's happening, is that your sense? >> certainly the democratic base part of washington, labor organizers, people who are deeply involved in democratic politics are definitely paying attention to madison, because as you said, it does give us a sense of where the pendulum is and it also, i think, if the recall efforts are successful, will -- it will convince us that this was a serious overreach by governor walker. >> is this more of -- as you say, is this more of a statement about republican politics than
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it is about democratic politics? that's what i was getting to with senator erpenbach, how important it is to the huge uprising in wisconsin that the democrats in the legislature took a strong stance. >> that was very important because you see the result, democrats had something to cheer, something to be angry about, something to cheer about, and they had something to do. i remember during the, you know, when the democratic senators were on the lam, and everybody talked about, you know, the recall elections that could be organized and, you know, only senators have been in office for a year and it sounded kind of complicated, and it sounded somewhat far fetch because recalls usually don't work, it sounded like a goldberg plan, look where we are tonight, they did it. they actually got it together and did it, and we'll see the results, but i think that organizational process was very important for the democratic party, not only in wisconsin,
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but potentially nationwide. >> and potentially nationwide what would that look like if the democratic water nationwide, in the beltway, in the white house, decided they wanted to give the democratic base something to cheer for, what would they pick, what would they do? >> good question, and what would they be able to get? the white house and congress and the leadership in washington, which frankly has not done a whole lot of base tending recently, what could we get them to buy and would it -- we missed public option for health care, we missed a lot of potential things along the way, i'm not sure what it is. >> but the wisconsin democrats didn't win. the wisconsin democrats took this stand, fought tooth and nail, literally went down screaming. we have footage of the screaming of them trying to stop the sort of dead at night, ad hoc committee, and suing them, recall efforts, they are
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throwing everything they got and have not won at all. the fact they have not won has not dampened the enthusiasm. the fight itself is what people are cheering for. >> in a sense what they can give democrats nationwide, potentially, is an example, and democrats in washington they can give an example that you can -- you can insist -- and republicans insist very well. as you pointed out, democrats can insist too and say no, we're not going there, and if you try to take us there, we're going to fight you and we're not going to -- we're not just going to say oh, gee, they are so obstinate, we're going to give in, we're going to fight you. even if you lose the first time, you might win the next time. >> msnbc political analyst, "the washington post" columnist. appreciate it. it is recall election night
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in america. am i right that we have a couple of numbers from the poll closings? can we have what numbers that we have? in the second district, the democrat who is challenging republican senator robert cowles, cowles leading 94%. 1% in, don't extrapolate. this is one of the races that democrats feel they are least likely to get out of the six republicans facing challengers, cowles is the most likely to hold on to his seat. partial results from one other race from the 14th district in wisconsin, republican incumbent is luther olsen, the democrat challenger is fred clark, 1% reporting, democrat at 56, republican at 44%. luther olsen race thought to be a better shot for the democrats than the previous race we
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showed, but it's early yet. polls are closed in wisconsin, we'll keep you posted throughout the hour and the evening. being recall night in america, recall election night in america is weird enough thing, it's never recall election night in america. that never really happens. over the past century there have been 20 state legislative recall elections in total in the entire country over a century. tonight there are six. that means there's no precedent. that means nobody really knows how things are going to turn out tonight. anonymous zillions from the right, incumbents, unions getting out the vote, who knows, so many moving parts, it's fascinating. it's going to be a great night. we're trying to figure it out race-by-race. in one place. ♪ the front-row tickets you never bought. the lucrative investment you never made. the exotic vacation you never took.
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the interview tonight is barbara ehrenreich, plus the latest from the london riots and the wisconsin elections, that's all coming up. thank you for calling esurance.
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polls closed at 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight in the wisconsin state senate recall elections that have achieved some national prominence because of the subject matter, frankly, recall elections against republican state senators who supported the union-stripping agenda of governor scott walker. we've started to get in numbers, can we put up our latest? 1% in, first results from the 2nd district? wisconsin, robert cowles against nancy nusbaum, cowles leading
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96%. in the 8th district? wiz, alberta darling leading sandy pasch 62% to 38%, 1% of precincts reporting there. in the 14th district, the republican income bent is luther olsen, olsen behind clark, the democratic challenger leading the republican incumbent 52% to 48%. again, 1% and 2% in in these races. do not extrapolate, but this is what we got. in the 10th district, republican incumbent sheila harsdorf, shelly moore. we don't have results to report there, but we'll keep you posted. generally the way these things happen is you get 1% and 2%, and
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they start coming in in larger increments, but we'll be watching over the course of the night. in 2008, the presidential election in wisconsin was not at all close. president obama beat john mccain by 13 points. that was a bigger margin than obama got in nevada, minnesota, new hampshire, almost the margin by which he won the great state of new jersey. even though wisconsin looks a little purple, frankly in 2008, wisconsin was deep blue. it was a blow out in the '08 presidential race in wisconsin of the still though on that night in that same election in which barack obama made john mccain irrelevant, on that same night, these six republican state senators also won their races, republicans. it's because they represent republican districts, at least five of the six do. state senate races, of course, are local races and even when a
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whole state leans blue, specific parts might still lean red. these six republican senators who all won on the same night barack obama won by 16 points, these senators are facing recall elections in wisconsin today and that's why this is going to be a tough fight for democrats. that's why democrats say for all their enthusiasm, excitement, anger at republicans in wisconsin right now, it's going to be really hard to pick off these republican state senators. crunching the numbers on each district yesterday and concluding "democrats are running uphill in five of the six elections, trying to capture districts more republican than the state as a whole in their partisan makeup. in order to overcome that disadvantage democrats will have to win the turnout battle, carry independents, or both." polls in the recall elections closed at the top of the hour, we'll keep you reprized as we get in more results, but at this
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point while we are still waiting for further information on these results -- can i have a teleprompter, i'm sorry, i can't make the whole script up by myself -- i should let you know that ed schultz will be broadcasting live from madison at the top of the hour. until we get more results in, anybody who tells you how the results are going to turn out frankly is lying or spinning you, which is usually the same thing. there's no predictive model for saying what's going to happen in an election like this. elections don't usually happen in august for one, but beyond that, this is the biggest mass recall in american history. as far as the historians have been able to figure out, there's been 20 recall elections in the entire country in the past century. tonight there are six in the state of wisconsin alone. add to that the chaos tactics at least one side has pursued here. the reason the recalls are
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happening is republicans ran candidates they admitted were fake democrats, they admitted they were impersonating democrats to be confusing to force democrats go through a primary election. the agency that oversees elections in wisconsin says they've seen weird deceitful voter repression like fliers telling people how to obtain absentee ballots, also says it got complaints about robo calls with incorrect dates and incorrect information, pretty obviously designed to suppress the vote. republicans in the state legislature passed new rules to make it harder to vote in wisconsin. the new rules are not technically in effect for the recalls, but people will be asked about the rules in a way that will be confusing for them to go out to vote. combine all the confusion and chaos tactics with the totally
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historically unprecedented nature of the election, weird timing, lack of polling, all the cross winds of politics and everything else that affects a typical election and what you end up with is, frankly, does anybody know what is going to happen tonight? can anybody predict what is going to happen tonight? no. nobody can. joining us now to try to get closer to understanding this is charles benson, just outside milwaukee tonight, right now he's at the headquarters of republican state senator roberta darling, charles, good to see you, thank you for joining us. >> good to see you, i can make a prediction, but i don't think i'll be right. >> i feel the same way. what's the news like at darling headquarters and what are you hearing in terms of expectations? >> she's a 20-year veteran, but i talked to one republican here who says she's on pins and
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needles. you're right, no road map for this, no one knows what to expect in an august election. voters are more interested in the brewers and packers and another super bowl. this is not another issue voters are confronted with in august, but in all the money spent in this election, voters are engaged and aware there is a recall election today. they are estimating more than $30 million were spent on these recall elections, some go as high as $40 million. so if you're watching any tv, you know there's an election today. >> in terms of the enthusiasm and the turnout issue, of course, which is going to be key in any offseason election, we've covered a lot and seen a lot of evidence of how excited the democratic base is, how excited the base of voters is who are angry at republicans, including roberta darling and governor walker in terms of tactics and policy position here, what are you seeing in terms of the
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republican base and energy there, are they excited about the elections as well? >> well, that part of the base has been hard to read, because they've been called sort of the silent majority, they are going to be interesting to see what they say here tonight. are they going to say we've been listening, we've been watching, we've got your back, governor, or is this going to be a case where they are going to hear from those upset with what the governor has done and not happy with the direction the state is going right now, and will that voice be heard tonight? i can tell you in roberta darling's district, there are democratic pockets, there are republican pockets, it mostly leans republican, i can tell you there are presidential-like turnouts in some of these districts, what does that mean? which side got their voters to turn out? it's very clear those people who lived in this district did get out to vote. >> charles benson of wtmj tv in
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milwaukee, wisconsin, at roberta darling's headquarters, thank you very much for your report, i really appreciate it. >> you're welcome. while we watch returns in recall elections about the middle class in wisconsin, we, of course, are very excited for our guest on the interview tonight, barbara ehrenreich, one of the great american writers and journalists about making it in the middle class in this country. stay tuned for that, plus live election results as they come in tonight. introducing the schwab mobile app. it's schwab at your fingertips wherever, whenever you want. one log in lets you monitor all of your balances and transfer between accounts, so your money can move as fast as you do. check out your portfolio, track the market with live updates. and execute trades anywhere and anytime the inspiration hits you. even deposit checks right from your phone. just take a picture, hit deposit and you're done. open an account today and put schwab mobile to work for you.
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polls closed at 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight in the wisconsin state senate recall elections, being watched as a potential national bell weather. we've got very preliminary results in so far, but here's what we got. wisconsin state senate district 2, republican incumbent, robert kohls, his challenger, nancy nusbaum. this is considered to be the safest republican seat of them all. in district 8, the republican incumbent is roberta darling, democratic challenger is sandy pasch. right now, polls closed at 9:00 p.m. eastern. nothing but 2% in, roberta darling at 62% of her vote, her democratic challenger, sandy pasch at 28% of the vote. sheila harsdorf, sheila moore.
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harsdorf ahead. in district 14, luther olsen, his democratic challenger is fred clark, right now with 17% of the vote in, the republican incumbent, luther olsen leading 59% to 41%. in district 18, the republican incumbent is senator randy hopper, democratic challenger is jess king of oshkosh, wisconsin, hopper leading 54% to 46%. finally, in district 32, what democrats hope to be their best chance of a pick-up tonight with just 7% of precincts reporting, republican incumbent senator trails his democratic challenger, jennifer shilling 52% to 48%. we'll keep an eye on the results as they come in to us. [ male announcer ] looking for a complete picture of your money?
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for many, seroquel xr, when added to an antidepressant, was proven more effective than an antidepressant alone at helping people feel less depressed. call your doctor if you have unusual changes in mood, behavior, or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. elderly dementia patients taking seroquel xr have an increased risk of death. call your doctor if you have fever, stiff muscles, and confusion, as these may be signs of a life-threatening reaction or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements, as these could become permanent. high blood sugar has been reported with seroquel xr and medicines like it and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death. your doctor should check for cataracts. other risks include increased cholesterol and weight gain as well as seizures, dizziness on standing, drowsiness, impaired judgment, trouble swallowing, and decreases in white blood cells, which can be fatal. use caution before driving or operating machinery. isn't it time to put more distance
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between you and your depression? talk to your doctor about seroquel xr. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. sflmptle right now as we speak, 45,000 people, unlike in wisconsin where governor scott walker's stripping of union
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rights led to recall elections, these workers are not protesting a tax on their right to be in a union, they are on strike because verizon wants to roll back employee's benefits, health care and pensions, those are benefits the unions fought for and won over the last couple of decades, verizon union workers have the benefits because that's what unions do, they make employers compensate their employees on a whole better than they would an an individual employee-by-employee basis. that's the point of unions. in this country, unions equal a middle class. see the two lines sloping downward almost like synchronized swimmers there, one represents the unions in america, the other is middle class share of national income. can't tell which line is which? don't worry about it, they are basically identical. not just people in unions who benefit from unions, it's the
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entire group of the middle class, which is why unions are not the hated empire the conservative movement wants them to be. in wisconsin this spring against governor walker's union-stripping venture, 77% of americans sided with the right to organize. 39% of people overall had an unfavorable view of unions of the don't tell the beltway press and conservative movements, but americans actually like unions, and the democratic base is entwined with them, 2/3 of democrats are really cheerleaders for unions, they really, really like them, and that makes sense if this, frankly, has sunk in, if it has sunk in the fate of the middle class and fate of unions are inextricable, makes since the base of the democratic party would be pro-union if the point of the democratic party would be to stick up for the middle class.
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but it also makes sense that democrats really like unions because union and the policy goals for the democratic party have bumped into each other more than once in the last century. for almost all democratic party accomplishments, all the things democrats now brag about, unions have been crucial, if not essential if there's a difference between those two things. president obama acknowledged as much at a labor day picnic almost two years ago. >> much of what we take for granted, 40-hour work week, minimum wage, health insurance, paid leave, pensions, social security, medicare, they all bear the union label, it was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. even if you are not a union member, every american owes something to america's labor movement. few have fought longer and harder than you, our brothers and sisters of organized labor. in good economic times and in
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bad, labor's not the problem, labor's part of the solution. labor part of the solution, that's what the president's point was there. organized labor, also good for democrats, capital "d" democrats, even in recent years, the democrat's party have owed so much to union voters and union get out the vote efforts and organizing strengths, not to mention union money, when president obama was running for president and the three presidential elections before that, more voted for the democrat in the race. just being in a union in 2008 made you significantly more likely to vote for barack obama than all of those other factors. look at the money part of it. in the most recent election, these were the top donors, outside groups that spent the most money on the 2010 midterm
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elections, all corporations all giving to the republican side of the race, all but three of them, the only three that gave more money to the democratic side than to the republican side were the three unions. they were the only competition to all the top donations to the republican side. corporations, big business, they know they have a home in the republican party, people who work for a living, the whole dream of the american middle class is supposed to have a home in democratic politics. union rights and union strength are intertwined with democratic politics, unions do not succeed without strong democrats and democrats do not succeed without strong unions. with the middle class reeling as a result, the recall elections in wisconsin today are frankly about whether or not democrats can hit back when union rights are attacked. whether or not the democratic party knows there's an economic point to its existence. joining us tonight for the interview is a author and
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journalist that has done more than anyone else in the country to force the issue of americans not making it, the disappearance of the american middle class into the national debate, barbara ehrenreich, her landmark book, "nickel and dimed" has been reissued for a tenth anniversary, which makes me feel old. barbara ehrenreich, thank you very much for being here tonight, appreciate your being here. >> it's a treat. >> i don't want you to play pundit about this wisconsin election night, but do you think we're having a national fight, national debate at least about working for a living, about jobs, about class? >> i don't know how much it's being framed by that by the candidates themselves, but it's something we've got to have, i mean the -- you've been saying middle class, i think we can also use words like "working class," and it's been going downhill for a couple of decades, stagnating wages,
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inability to organize into unions, loss of rights in the workplace, you know, it's on every front, and when i say this, all right, somebody's going to say she's talking class war, it's true, but we didn't start this war. >> in terms of the way this translates into democratic politics, watching that tape we just played of president obama in 2009 giving that really strong pro-labor speech about the importance of unions to everything that has benefitted the working class and middle class over the past century, i found myself thinking i wonder if we will see that guy again on the campaign trail, i wonder if democrats are reconnecting to the need to talk about economics and economic populism as a way of connecting with people who generally elect them, do you know if that's possible? >> that clip of obama with his strong pro-union speech made me really nostalgic, we have not heard that man for a long, long time, and the unions, you know,
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as you mention, they have been putting their money -- member's dues money into supporting democratic candidates, but they have not been getting that support back. look, obama talked about raising the minimum wage more before he was elected, hasn't happened, no talk about that anymore, he talked about reforming labor laws, it would be possible for workers to exercise their right to bargain collectively, to organize, no, no support on that, and i -- i don't see that connection between the democratic party and the unions that you described as being entirely healthy anymore. the democratic party has to know that people, middle class people, working class people, are going to stand up and go their own way if they don't get something in return. >> barbara, you started working minimum wage and low-wage jobs in 1998 for "nickel and dimed,"
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economically things were good then compared to how they are now, how do you think it would be different now to pursue that same project? >> you know, it's -- i really sl talking about this subject ten years later. ten when "nickel and dimed" first came out, i thought things were changing in a positive way daw because there was a stggle for a living wage, to raise people's wages to an amount they could actually live on indoors. and that sort of petered out. it petered out with the recession. we're still talking about the same issues. only it's a lot worse now. the kind of low-wage jobs i worked on to do research for "nickel and dimed" are not so easy to walk into anymore. they're just not there. so people who once had two jobs to help support their family now have one or zero jobs. in the meantime, you know, we've really lost ground on the safety net. even though obama, i'll hand it
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to him, did something to extend unemployment benefits, you know, in '08 and '09. but you know, we are not seeing ground being gained. we're seeing people crowding into smaller and smaller dwellings because they can't afford to live on their own. we're seeing people forced to give up medical care because, you know, food costs and fuel costs are so high. i hate to say it, but there has been a real deterioration in the condition of so many people that you might call middle class. >> barbara ehrenreich, author of the landmark book "nickel and dimed:on not getting by in america," which has been reissued for its tenth anniversary with a new afterword. rereading the book in preparation for talking to you tonight, barbara, just reminded me not only what an important piece of journalism you did there but how much it changed my whole thinking about the country. thank you for what you've done and thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> ed schultz is in madison
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right now. in front of a big loud boisterous crowd. and he's going to have the very latest on the wisconsin recall elections. that's coming up right after the top of this show. and here we've actually got more from the rioting in great britain, including some incredible footage from new rioting spreading throughout britain today. that's just ahead, stay with us. and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
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there are more than 16,000 police officers on the streets of london tonight. that is more than six times as many police as normally are there. the riots in britain continued today for a fourth day. but the worst of the violence today was not actually in london. it has been hundreds of miles to the north instead. reports tonight of rioters fire-bombing a police station in nottingham and attacking police officers in liverpool. earlier today in the city of manchester several stores were set on fire. others were ransacked by rioters. police in riot gear were attacked by bricks and stones. in nearby salford police came under attack and parked cars were set on fire. in birmingham, which is
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britain's second largest city, young rioters attacked police and again looted stores. nearby in west brohmage rioters torched cars and shopkeepers closed shop early. at least 700 people across the country have been arrested in connection with the british riots so far. again, this is day four. after days of images like this there was some highly contrasting and more hopeful sights in the streets of london today. hundreds of people, look at this, taking to the streets armed only with brooms and dustpans, literally cleaning up their neighborhoods inch by inch.
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six republican state senators in wisconsin are facing recalls tonight. these are six republican state senators. five of their six districts lean quite republican. here are the results tonight.
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we're still getting partial results in from wisconsin in wisconsin state senate district 2 the republican incumbent is robert cowles, with 49% of the vote in he leaves his challenger 57 to 43. in wisconsin senate district 8 the incumbent republican senator is alberta darling. with 7% of the vote in she leads her democratic challenger sandy pasch 71% to 29%. again, just 7% in. in district 10 the republican incumbent is state senator sheila harsdorf. democratic challenger shelly moore. with 54% of precincts reporting the republican harsdorf leads her democratic challenger 58% to 42%. in district 14, a republican incumbent is state senator luther olsen. his democratic challenger is fred clark. right now with 51% of precincts -- sorry, excuse me, with 30% of precincts reporting the republican incumbent leads his democratic challenger 51% to 49%. in

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