September 3, 2018

I loved AM Joy this past Sunday. Okay, I love it every weekend, but especially yesterday, because it tore apart three myths that drive me absolutely bananas. One myth is that the Democrats are in disarray, or even more overdramatic is the notion that there is a CIVIL WAR in the Democratic Party. Complete with Ken Burns sepia tones and fade-ins, and Ashokan Farewell playing sadly in the background.

REID: You know, Bill, that is kind of the interesting thing, right? Progressive ideas are always portrayed as so (unintelligible), but for a lot of voters they're sort of tired of sort of the -- is it that voters are sort of tired of what the Democratic party has been presenting, which is, "Here's a safe candidate who's nonthreatening," rather than Gillum, who's like, "No, these are my ideas."

PRESS: Absolutely. Every time I see this narrative of the civil war in the democratic party it drives me bonkers. If there's any civil war it's in the Republican party. We saw that in full display at the National Cathedral yesterday. I think this woman is on to something. Look at Andrew Gillum, look at Stacy Abrams in Georgia, Beto O'Rourke in Texas, look at Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in Queens, look at Ben Jealous in Maryland, something is going on. It's not -- Eric is absolutely right. This is no longer Hillary versus Bernie thing. At the DNC meeting last week, almost all the Hillary people and almost all the Bernie people voted together to get rid of the super delegates. The party has a resurgence and life today, particularly on the left, that I think is very, very striking. I think what's behind this socialist pejorative they try to nail an attack on anybody who has Bernie Sanders' endorsement is, that the Republicans are running scared and see something is happening and the American people, this is a message by the way that Bernie Sanders had in 2016. I support him in the primary for that and look how well he did. People were fed up with the Democratic party as usual. You couldn't tell the difference in too many cases between the Republican and Democratic party. Now that's changing, changing fast and it's big and I think it looks very positive for this November.

The Dems are just fine, thank you very much. The next myth the media loves to latch onto is that if Bernie Sanders endorses someone, they are automatically a "Bernie Sanders candidate." All else falls away, the Bernie narrative takes over, and the media eats it up and spits it out in all its forms because it helps drive myth #1 that the Dems are in disarray. In the process, it ends up erasing the hard work of the ACTUAL Democrats who are likely working their asses off to help the candidate succeed. Lawrence O'Donnell called out the media early on this regarding Andrew Gillum, and on her show, Joy Reid shouted him out and expanded on his point beautifully.

REID: I want to give a shout out to Lawrence O'Donnell who was on the right track and sort of saw the Andrew Gillum thing for what it was. He said, "Note to media - please stop treating Andrew Gillum like he's a Bernie Sanders clone just because Senator Sanders endorsed him, while you ignore the fact that Mayor Gillum was a Hillary Clinton delegate who was on her list of possible VP candidates." He was actually considered -- he's the mayor of the capital city of Florida considered as one of her potential vice presidential candidates. You know, Jonathan, you and I talked about this before. One of the things that has been true for probably 20, 30 years is that after 1972 when -- after the McGovern candidacy, a narrative if progressivism is rising it's a threat to the Democratic Party. And that the only way Democrats can win is the way Bill Clinton did, by essentially becoming more centrist, more like Republicans, and if they aren't doing that they're losing. The Nation came out with a headline that is interesting to me because of that. "Andrew Gillum's Win is Great News for all the Democrats Despite What the Media May Tell You." I mean, what? I mean it is interesting to me that you have to sort of convince people that no, it's a good thing that this progressive black guy is the nominee.

CAPEHART: Right. No. I mean it's lazy. I'm so glad Joan Walsh wrote the column before I had a chance to write mine because she gave me an anchor to hang my argument on. I want to jump off from the woman from the clip that you showed, and she explaining why she voted for Gillum, and it gets to Joan's column. When I interviewed Andrew Gillum back in June for my podcast for the Washington Post, I asked him, "Well, what makes you think you're going to win in Florida to become the governor?" And he talked about how he is going to get those forgotten voters, the forgotten people of the Democratic party who have long stopped voting to vote for him. And he said, "My opinion as to why we've been losing in Florida, Democrats, is that we keep running these races as if we are running Republican-lite. What Republican voters have shown us is that when they have the choice between the real thing and the fake one they go with the real one every time. And then our voters - the very ones we need in order to win - we are not providing them the stimulation or motivation to come out and vote for us because they're not sure that we're for them." That, to me, crystalizes the power of Andrew Gillum's candidacy, and the power of his message and why so many people are open to hearing him and who actually went out and voted for him.

REID: I want to read a little more from Joan's column, "when most observers didn't think he had a chance. BlackPAC and Color of Change went all-in last Spring; the Sanders endorsement came in August. Gillum also got help from Tom Steyer's group Next Generation America, focused on the youth vote, and Moms Demand Action, the gun safety group, both of which backed Clinton." So, guns was a huge part, make no mistake, of the reason Andrew Gillum was popular. That was a huge issue for him in Florida.

Thank you, Jonathan Capehart, for calling it what it was: LAZY. And thank you also for talking about Gillum focusing on the forgotten Democrats. How many think pieces and "human interest" stories have we seen in the news about people who voted for the white supremacist in the Oval Office feeling abandoned and forgotten? (I'm looking at you, Gray Lady.) How many times do I have to see previews for liberal media outlets holding town halls in Trump country exploring how the citizens who voted for the orange shitstain are coping with his policies? (I'm looking at you, MSNBC.) When are media going to wonder, care about, pay attention to how Hillary Clinton voters have been coping with these last two years? So I appreciate Capehart's focus on this aspect of Gillum's appeal. Gillum is after the forgotten DEMOCRAT. And he is unembarrassed and unashamed about it. We MATTER. And the fact that Gillum is bringing together all these factions, including Bernie and Hillary supporters is part of what makes his talent so impressive. Focus on THAT.

As her into to destroying the third myth, Reid played part of CNN's Dana Bash interview where she told Andrew Gillum that he ran pretty far to the left, and he's going to need to win the voters in the middle, asking him how he's going to do that. He pushed back and said none of the issues he supports are disqualifying or out of the mainstream.

REID: Bill Press, I feel like that narrative pre-supposes a that things like a decent minimum wage, I mean Florida is a low-tax, lower-wage state. The idea of health care, where people freaking out because they didn't realize their health care was Obamacare and that it's being taken away from them. But that these issues are being framed as too far to the left to win in a general election. Is that a mistake on the part of sort of the media narrative?

PRESS: No. I love Dana, too, but that's ridiculous. She's not the only one. This is a meme that's been taken up by the media, and it's nuts. I looked at Andrew Gillum's agenda. What was his agenda? Medicare for all. It's been around for, what, 60, 70 years? It's hardly a radical socialist idea. $15 minimum wage. Really? That's a socialist idea? They put this label on him as if to demean him and say he's to the left that he can't win. I dare say I think medicare for all is a winning issue, especially in Florida. And I think Jonathan or Eric earlier said, or maybe you said, Joy, that if you look at Andrew Gillum he's got a pragmatic kind of politics that I think is very appealing, he's got all that energy, he's a fresh face. And I think that -- I think you can see again, when Ron DeSantiss has to resort to a racist slur on the first day and Donald Trump has to put the socialist label on him they see this guy as a real threat.
REID: I think we have to sort of rewriting what it is that's mainstream, because I think everybody wants to have health care. I think that's become pretty clear when people rose up at the even thought of having Obamacare repealed, people don't want to NOT have health care. It's interesting.

MYTH DESTROYED. There is NOTHING radical about the policies on which Gillum ran. Federal minimum wage in this country is still $7.25 per hour, and has not been raised since 2009. That's almost ten years, friends. Is anyone's cost of living the same as it was ten years ago? Is raising it to $15 an hour truly that radical? Of course not. Medicare for all? People love Medicare. You know these hypocrites saying it's socialism cannot wait to get their Medicare.

Watch the video if you are in the mood to feel great about the direction of the Democratic Party. Because it's really not nearly as gloomy as so much media makes it out to be. I promise. You'll be fist-pumping your way through the whole thing.

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