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  October 18, 2017

What Real Criminal Justice Reform Looks Like


TRNN's Jaisal Noor talks to Van Jones, Ben Jealous, and Eddie Conway about poverty, unemployment, violence, police accountability and the 2018 Maryland governor's race
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biography

Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor, and founder of the Love Army -- a values based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts. Jones has also founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice from The Dream Corps to The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Ben Jealous is a civil rights leader, community organizer, tech investor, and the former President & CEO of the NAACP who is running for governor of Maryland. He's spent his whole life building broad, diverse coalitions to make change and hold government accountable.


transcript

Jaisal Noor: Welcome to The Real News. I'm your host Jaisal Noor coming to you live from Baltimore. The Democrats' hold on state capitals is nearly at an all-time low. Nowhere is that more apparent in traditionally blue state Maryland, where Republican Larry Hogan won the Governor's race handily in 2014.

But in the era of Trump, it is states like Maryland where Democrats hope to regain some ground, which is why perhaps at least a dozen candidates have announced they're running.

One of the most intriguing hopefuls is Ben Jealous, who is the youngest ever president of the NAACP. He's a leading surrogate for Bernie Sanders's presidential run and serves on the board of Our Revolution, an offshoot of the Sanders's campaign. He's been outspoken on progressive issues like criminal justice reform.

Ben Jealous: We will come together with courage and ensure that all of our neighborhoods become safe again.

Female: Yes.

Ben Jealous: We will cut the murder rate, we will lock up the shooters, and we will restore trust by both better training officers, but yes, by also holding officers who kill unarmed civilians fully accountable.

Jaisal Noor: What does Ben Jealous's candidacy mean for Maryland and the broader fight for the soul of the Democratic Party? Well, joining me now is Ben Jealous, along with CNN political commentator, author of the new book, 'Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together,' Van Jones. We're also joined by former Black Panther and political prisoner, The Real News's very own Eddie Conway. Thank you all for being with us.

As a reminder for our audience, we are live, so please send us your questions. Ben, your mother faced jeers and harassment when she integrated Western High School in Baltimore in 1955.

Ben Jealous: Yeah.

Jaisal Noor: That school was originally located in West Baltimore, not far from where Freddie Gray was killed. I recently spoke to some of the students that attend that school.

Raise your hand if you know someone that has been badly hurt or killed in the last couple years because of violence in Baltimore. Almost everyone here.

Young Man 1: Man, for people getting hurt in the streets, it makes parents more scared and prepared for when their kid or anybody go out on the street to do anything, because they don't know what is going to happen. They don't know if their kid is going to be able to make it home safe.

Young Man 2: I kiss my mother and hug my mother every morning and tell her I love her because who's to say someone won't stop me in the middle of the street and just go ahead and end my life today. I really feel that I'm going to be killed walking down the streets.

Jaisal Noor: Ben, can you reflect on that? The voice of the young people that are most directly impacted by criminal justice issues, poverty, violence right here in Baltimore.

Ben Jealous: First of all, I can raise my hand. I've had two family members killed in Maryland in the last 10 years, two shot, one survived, one was killed. The reality is that we live in a high-crime neighborhood. Chances are you will have the most contentious relationship with the police because you're the most likely to be targeted for abusive policing, and yet need them to do their job well the most.

The school you're looking at, of course, is in the old building. It's the Renaissance Academy, because Mom desegregated Western High School for Girls, and those were all boys. Our young ladies are just as worried. It's probably most heartbreaking when you talk to the young people. I was at the McCulloh Homes housing projects where my mom spent the first seven, eight years of her life with my grandparents growing up. Talking to a seven-year-old boy, just as bright and promising as my mom would have been at that age, and I said to him "What you want the next governor to do?" and he said, "Fix the bus system." He said, "We used to take us two blocks and now we got to walk six blocks." One of the elders chimed in and said, "The only folks who have profited from that are the criminals that prey on us" and the boy piped up and he said, "I've seen too many dead men." Seven years old, just being able to utter that phrase.

We have to in our soul internalize that these are all our kids. We like to disown children in this country. We'll talk about those poor white kids or we'll talk about those black kids, we are all Americans. They are all our kids. The governor of our state has a special responsibility for public safety in Baltimore, because since the Civil War, BPD has been a state agency.

We need a governor who in their bones feels the urgency to increase public safety and understands the complexity that we're going to have to do this first by reestablishing trust because trust is the currency in which law enforcement can do their jobs, and there's a big deficit and we've got to deal with it seriously. We at the same time also have to embrace what works outside of the police. Our Safe Streets program needs to be massively expanded.

Jaisal Noor: It's only got a budget of $1.5 million. In the neighborhoods it's used, it's reduced crime by … reduced shootings by something between like 40% and 80% …

Ben Jealous: Exactly right. That's exactly right.

Jaisal Noor: That's a huge success.

Ben Jealous: The governor just invested in expanding it everywhere but Baltimore, all right. Think about that for a second, just the kind of loathing of our city that that represents. Then we also have to frankly recruit and train officers differently. We use personality tests right now, but we don't use them to weed out the officers who are most likely to kill somebody, yet we know what personality types those are to kind of weed them out.

Ultimately then you've got to actually deal with the fact that we have to enlarge like the Homicide Unit, the Crime Victims Lab, the Special Victims Unit because the best thing we can do to stop the next shooting is to expand Safe Streets. The best thing an officer can do is to get the guy who killed somebody today off the street. The second, third, fourth killing is always easier, and so that's the sort of common-sense approach.

Let's double down on what works. Let's focus on building trust first. Let's focus on investing in non-officers who actually are more effective at stopping the next shooting, but yes let's also invest in the aspects of the department that actually really make us safer. Getting away from the failed 'broken windows' and getting back to the sort of old style, let's focus on the most serious crimes first.

Jaisal Noor: We know Jeff Sessions. He dropped the federal investigations into the six officers that killed Freddie Gray.

Ben Jealous: Yes.

Jaisal Noor: The DOJ did release a report, a scathing indictment of the Baltimore Police Department. It said it basically treated black people as second-class citizens. Now longtime advocates in Baltimore that are working to reform the police, they say, like as you mentioned, the police is largely controlled by the state. They're state law. Maryland has the strongest Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights in the country, right here in Maryland.

Ben Jealous: Right.

Jaisal Noor: That's a big reason why people feel like those officers got off. They have special protections that you and me wouldn't get if we're charged with a crime. Would you support reform of that Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights?

Ben Jealous: Absolutely, and I have. I actually wrote a report called 'Towards Trust,' in consultation with more than a dozen local advocacy groups right after the uprisings, and that was central to it. Here's a funny thing. I think we need a lot of officers to support us in it, too. When you ask them what they're most concerned about, they say, "Look, the best of us keep leaving to the county because we're underpaid in the city." You say, "Well, what about this? It used to be a 10-day period in which if you were charged with a crime as an officer, you couldn't be interrogated. Now it's been cut to five." They said, "Honestly, it's not really a big deal to us. If you're a criminal, you should be treated like a criminal, whoever you are."

So, we need to stop assuming that we know what folks are not talking to or listening to think, and really get everybody around the table that it's going to take. Because the reality is that we're going to need the entire community' we're going to need pastors; we're going to need frankly folks who have been getting affiliated and really understand what's happening in the streets; we're going to need folks in Safe Streets who may have been gang affiliated. We're also going to need officers. We're going to need teachers. We get everybody around the table, business leaders and say "All right, what's the outcome that we want? How do we get there?" I think we'll find sometimes we'll be surprised.

Van and I've done this on criminal justice reform issues like the death penalty and mass incarceration for a quarter century, and what we know is that what our grandmas taught us that when you assume you make a [pause] out of you and out of me, really is true.

Jaisal Noor: I want to bring Van and Eddie into this conversation. Baltimore and the state of Maryland have very strong police unions and they oppose--on every step of the way--reform, changing any of their rights. What do we do to get them on board and to support reform efforts?

Van Jones: Well, everything comes down at the end of the day to leadership. As Ben is pointing out, you have a generation of people in Baltimore, young people, who are being crushed between unlawful street violence on the one hand and then some unlawful police violence on the other hand. They're stuck in the middle. The only way you can resolve that is with leadership is willing to look at both problems squarely in the eye.

I think I was the first person to endorse Ben because I endorsed Ben before he endorsed himself. I have seen this guy do miracles and wonders bringing people together, people that would never come together, whether you're talking about criminal justice or the death penalty or LGBT stuff or anything else. My big heartache and heartbreak is how much common ground there actually is when you get people talking and how little we actually do about it.

You can get people in a room to actually agree, but it takes leadership to then get them to stand up and take common action. That's why I don't endorse a lot of people. I try to keep it neutral. I didn't even endorse anybody in the presidential, but I'm for Ben Jealous because I know what he can do.

Jaisal Noor: Eddie, we know that one of the big pushes in the community right now is community control, civilian-led policing instead of it being something that's more akin to a military occupation. That's what a lot of people feel like. What are your thoughts on what Ben and Van talked about?

Eddie Conway: Well, two things: One, obviously, we need to have some enforcement power in terms of citizen review boards. They need to be able to say that there was a crime here. Instead of giving somebody paid vacation time, they need to suspend them until such time it's adjudicated. That's one thing.

The other thing is that all of this stuff is not going to go away until we deal with the elephant in the room. The elephant in the room from my opinion is no jobs among young people in poor, impoverished communities. Until you … and I would ask Ben, of course, and I like your … I've been reading your stuff. I like your stuff, but I would ask the national service thing is a great platform, but it needs to be applied in the state.

There needs to be that money that's being spent to tear down houses and leave empty lots across the city and those 20,000 vacant houses, need to be spent in training young people how to do that.

Ben Jealous: [inaudible 00:11:40] employ them to do that.

Jaisal Noor: Yeah, employ them to do it, train them to do it, or give them the opportunity to use that money rather than that money going to contractors out in the county and in other places, but yet all the city end up with is vacant lots all over the place, green space, and no more jobs. The whole thing of the illegal economy is the results of not having money and needing to feed your children, needing to do stuff. That's got to be the bottom line in dealing with this.

Ben Jealous: No, that's exactly right. That's why I'm a fan of what is called project labor agreements, where you can actually do micro zip code targeting. We think of a zip code as five digits, but actually it can go out to nine. When you get to that ninth digit, you can be talking about specific building.

With micro zip code targeting and the project labor agreement, you can say when you hire folks, it's not just folks from the city. It's folks from Sandtown, all right. It's important when we look at new industries, you look at the medical cannabis industry. Obvious complaint is that there's not one person of color. I mean Black, Asian, Latino, Native American …

Jaisal Noor: It's got no license in the entire state of Maryland.

Ben Jealous: Yes, yes, exactly. The next issue right below that is are we employing people from the neighborhoods that have staffed the cannabis trade historically because …

Jaisal Noor: That are locked up because of it, disproportionately.

Ben Jealous: That's exactly right. When we talk about building the economy, look, I'm not running as any other type of Democrat, than well the type of folks that inspired me to be a Democrat: JFK, FDR, RFK, Martin Luther King, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Mikulski.

What and what made all of them similar was they were on fire about advancing civil rights and ending poverty and advancing opportunity for everybody, which means we have to, on the one hand, be totally focused on building a robust economy that's capable of lifting thousands of families out of jobs, something we have not done enough of in the city for a very long time.

Van Jones: Out of poverty.

Ben Jealous: Yeah, we also have to recognize our obligation to make sure that we're getting few … that every year there's fewer and fewer people, probably not more and more. It's a funny thing right, when you talk about raising the minimum wage, which we need to do statewide to $15 per hour, it's not just going to benefit individual families. It'll benefit entire communities.

In 1970, we had 39 high-poverty neighborhoods in Baltimore. In 2010, we have 55, and part of that is that you delinked the minimum wage for inflation in the late 1960s, and it's had a massive effect.

Jaisal Noor: I want to ask you a question about the minimum wage in a second because we covered that fight here. That was vetoed by the Mayor of Baltimore this year, but first, you mentioned …

Ben Jealous: She smartly said it needed to be statewide.

Jaisal Noor: Okay.

Ben Jealous: I'm going to hold her to helping me do it statewide.

Jaisal Noor: First, you mentioned FDR, and what's been done in Baltimore for decades is this promise of public-private partnerships and give corporations tax breaks, billions of dollars in tax breaks, and those jobs never come to West Baltimore. They never have come to East Baltimore. Would you support something like an FDR-style jobs program putting people directly to hiring people, putting them to work, rebuilding these neighborhoods?

Ben Jealous: Yes, I mean I'm all for figuring out how we do that. I believe like with FDR, it's got to be federal-state partnership. I helped launch one of the first National Youth Service programs back in in 1994 when the AmeriCorps program was started. That was really the dream. What we ended up with was a perpetual pilot project where literally we had a higher turndown rate than Harvard University.

You had millions of young people who wanted to do National Youth Service, and as a country we have to move to actually have an compulsory National Youth Service. Every American should have a right-of-passage where for two years you're working on behalf of your country. It's imperative that we do that so that, for instance, we can create a culture of work amongst folks whose families have been locked out of that economy and help their young people get into the economy.

The best job training program we have for better and worse is the U.S. Military, and the reality is that young people should be able to say, "I want to serve my country but have other options than going into the military," right? I want to serve it in the National Health Service. I want to serve it building trails in the park. Right? If we were doing that, we would be a stronger nation.

Jaisal Noor: Another question community advocates had is how are you going to pay for this, how are you going to fund it, how are you going to make commitments to fund Safe Streets, to give more civilian control over the police department. Talk about that please.

Ben Jealous: One of the things that makes me different is I'm not running as a career politician. I'm running as somebody who's been a CEO in a non-profit or the partner in a business since they were 26 years old. I've been trained to be a CEO the old-fashioned way. Part of that is that if you don't have a … when you're CEO of a nonprofit or for-profit or partner in a business and you do not have a conversation about the budget, a hard conversation about priorities, and Van as a serial founder gets this, you could lose everything.

Van Jones: Yes.

Ben Jealous: Not just your job, the organization, everything. When you're trained to be an executive in politics as some of my opponents have been, all your incentives are misaligned. If you do have a tough conversation about the budget, you might lose your job and to kick the can down the road. One of my convictions is just based on my experience of almost two decades of leading different organizations is that you can always optimize a budget by 5%. Right now to fully fund our schools in Maryland, it could cost $2 billion from the state, budget's over $40 billion. We're talking about 5%.

The first thing that we will do is we will have a participatory budgeting process where we actually make sure that we understand the priorities of folks in the state. I guarantee you education will be number one. Then we'll align our budget to pursue those priorities. For the first time, we will fully fund our schools. We can do that just by optimizing our budget.

Jaisal Noor: Van, I wanted to bring you in this conversation. It costs way more to lock someone up for a year than to put him in school or give him a job. How do we change this conversation and actually have policies that help people and not lock them up and incarcerate them?

Van Jones: Well, in my book, which is called 'Beyond The Messy Truth,' the subtitle is "How We Came Apart and How We Come Together." Reality is some of the stuff that Ben is talking about are common ground issues where we can come together. For instance, we have been working with our campaign. I work at a place called the Dream Corps. We have a campaign called Cut 50. I talk about it in the book, where we're actually bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get some of this stuff done, and it's actually pretty remarkable that from a conservative point of view, they say now the prison system is a big unaccountable government bureaucracy wasting money, giving us bad outcomes. They say that their libertarians don't want the government gobbling up more rights and liberties of people. They say that their conservative Christian members are concerned about the lack of redemption, the lack of second chances.

There's a common-sense conservative opportunity and, of course, progressives have been talking about this for a very long time. What's missing is the leadership to bring people together and get it done. We can talk about it. We can agree at a conference. We can agree on a TV set, but to make something happen takes real leadership. I am excited. Again, my book has … a third of the book is just common-sense ideas, stuff we could do, quit crying, quit being freaked out by every tweet from Trump. Let's get back on the road to making a real difference, and it lines up I think a lot with some of the stuff that Ben is talking about.

Jaisal Noor: I know you have to go in just a minute, Ben, but everything you talked about today, there's going to be moneyed interests that are going to be opposed to you.

Ben Jealous: Right. I mean the bail bonds men I'm pretty sure are organized.

Jaisal Noor: Yeah, the prison industry and police unions, corporations are not going to be happy with what you're saying today. Talk about how you're going to fund this campaign and who you hope supports you.

Ben Jealous: First of all, I think there will be many folks in the business community who understand that … because the business community fundamentally likes to preserve the status quo. They do pretty well in it, but the uprisings in Baltimore reminded all of us that sometimes the status quo is the enemy of the status quo. That we got to give a little in order to keep getting. I've met with plenty of business leaders.

What I do every day is invest in small businesses, I'm a social impact investor, who said "Yeah, we need to increase the minimum wage because our economy's been contracting at its base for 40 years and 70% of our GDP comes from consumer spending. Yeah, I'm right with you because my businesses will do better if folks are making more."

That used to be how we thought in this country. I'm proud that whether it's somebody like Ben Cohen at Ben & Jerry's or it's friends here in town who are leading startups who hosted an event for me last night that we'll have many business leaders who understand that if all of us do better, all of us do better.

We're funding that campaign with, frankly, a lot of online support. Bernie Sanders went out to his list, huge response came back. Here in Maryland, house parties across the state, and also I'm proud to say friends in other parts of the country who understand that it's critical that we take back these governorships.

One day you wake up, as we all did, and you realize that they control 38 governorships, two things should strike you right away: One, if you remember your U.S. Constitution that's enough to rewrite it. We've got to start taking our governorships back; and secondly, change doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.

In other words, the reason that the Republicans are … and really the far-right wing Republicans are capable of running every branch of our federal government right now is because they first built a movement that's capable of running 38 states. We have to be focused on this, and I'm glad that we're getting a lot of support in the state but also friends in other parts of the country that call and say "How can I help?"

Jaisal Noor: Last question before you have to go, and we're going to continue with Eddie and Van. Larry Hogan, he canceled the Red Line, which would have connected impoverished parts of West Baltimore and East Baltimore, jobs, opportunity …

Ben Jealous: … opportunity and economic sense, yeah.

Jaisal Noor: Can you talk about if you would support restarting the Red Line?

Ben Jealous: Oh, of course. Look, Larry Hogan red-lined the Red Line and broke a bus system that wasn't fixed to start with. We need a 21st-century strategy for transportation in our city and in our state. When I'm governor, we'll do everything we possibly can to revive the Red Line. That may mean changing who's president.

I'm all for that, too. To fix our bus system and to modernize it. We need Bus Rapid Transit. We need buses that move like subways do, dedicated lanes, little computers that change the signal so they can keep going, and you load on a platform the same level, you pay in advance. We can build that faster than we can build the Red Line, and we can build it as we're fighting with the federal government to get the funds back.

We're going to make progress on transportation no matter what we do. Like I said, for me everything in Baltimore really started for our family at the McCulloh Homes housing projects. When I sit with little children who are being preyed upon because this Governor tripled the distance that they had to walk to the bus, I will act with the urgency that that type of situation requires.

Jaisal Noor: All right, Ben, thank you so much for joining us today, and we know you have to go, but we're going to keep this conversation going for a few minutes.

Ben Jealous: I mean you'll are in good hands. I know Eddie has a lot to say over there. Look, I just appreciate what you guys do. Thank you.

Jaisal Noor: Thank you so much. Eddie, let's return to you for a second. Talk a little bit about bringing people together, that's what we're talking about with Van. How are we going to make that happen in the state? It's extremely divided between the Red and the Blue, but also even within the Democratic Party here. There's certainly conservative aspects of it that want to keep mass incarceration going in the state.

Eddie Conway: Well, I don't and take my head off to you, but I don't know to what degree that we can have that criminal justice reform by bringing those elements together, because … and I go back to the end of slavery and the end of reconstruction and so on. What I see is that anytime a group of people are not given an economic boost, to people that's actually trying to make capital off of their labor, they marginalize them and they push them on side.

This whole prison industrial complex was really about making money. It was about employing people in the rural communities. It was upstate, outside of the urban centers, and it was about locking people up in the urban centers and incarcerating them in those rural areas where jobs were created as a result of the manufacturing jobs that went overseas and so on. All of this is an economic arrangement. Now this economic arrangement has overtaxed the revenue system, and so now people are pushing back, "Let's privatize, let's privatize."

This is conservatives as well as liberals and so on, and this pushback now is going to deincarcerate a lot of people but not employ them. We're going to still have that same violence and that same chaos in same communities, and until we make a decision collectively to start putting the wealth tax on people that's getting benefits at the top, so that we can have some employment and some social services down at the bottom, none of this stuff is going to change. The groups are just going to continue to be marginalized and exploited and then become obsolete until such time that there's another way of making money. I mean it's to me … I don't think that's a way out without getting money behind it.

Jaisal Noor: Your thoughts, Van.

Van Jones: Well, on that hopeful note I would just add is that there are so many opportunities to disrupt the status quo politically, even from a technology point of view. I don't think this is a left-wing period or a right-wing period. I think this is an unstable period. This is a volatile period. It's a turbulent period, and I think the people who get out there with big, positive, hopeful ideas will find constituencies. I think people who get out there with negative, divisive, demagogic ideas will also find constituencies because people are starting to look around "What am I supposed to do?"

I agree that the … what they call the … we used to call the prison industrial complex, now they call it mass incarceration, I call it the incarceration industry for the very point that you're raising that this is about … people still in their minds like to pretend it's a justice system, that's about laws and about rules and rule breaking. It really is an industry that's about money and profiteering off of people's pain. Our responsibility is to figure out "Okay, well, how do you disrupt that?"

I think you could replace an incarceration industry with a deincarceration industry, if you change some of the incentives. For instance, you mentioned early on, it costs about $120,000 per year, per kid to lock up a juvenile offender, or at least that's true in California, as much as it costs to send a kid to Yale. It costs twice as much to send a kid to jail as to Yale. Well, what if you gave that $120,000 to one of these grandmas or struggling parents on the front-end? If you had one kid in trouble and $120,000, you could counsel them, you take them to Europe. I mean what couldn't you do with one kid and $120,000.

The reason that the money never helps the kid is it's never intended to help the kid. It's intended to help the Prison Guards Union and the prison towns that used to be mill towns, but I'm optimistic because sometimes getting a little bit of progress, even if the motives are mixed, can then begin to create some momentum. What I think the worst thing we can do is to say, "Well, we can't get from here to a 100, so we won't go from here to 10." No. I'm willing to go from here to 10 and then see where we are at 10 if we can get to 11; if we get to 11, maybe we get to 21, and that is where I'm committed.

I just don't think that stupid can survive forever. I just don't think that evil can survive forever. We've got a stupid, evil system when it comes to criminal justice, and a stupid, evil system when it comes to a lot of other stuff. I just feel … I'm excited that so many people are now awake because what's going on with Trump. The book that I just published, 'Beyond the Messy Truth,' really is a guidebook to try and take advantage of some of the positive that's out there to get away from obsessing about the negative and try to get some momentum going toward real solutions.

Jaisal Noor: Final question; we know you have to run as well now, but the issue of big money in campaigns and funding political parties, do you think that is an issue that the Democrats and Republicans need to tackle? That was a main point of the Sanders campaign, and it was not met with kindness from the Democratic establishment, to say the least.

Van Jones: Look, you look at the two candidates who surprised everybody. You had Donald Trump, who frankly didn't spend a bunch of money. He was very, very smart at using the new media system, his reality television, antics, his social media platform. People didn't understand, when he was pulling those rallies together, if you get 20,000 people in an auditorium and have the standard number of them on social media, the standard number of tweet, the standard number doing Instagram and Facebook, you can hit 4 million people just off of that one rally.

Jaisal Noor: Not to mention all the free airtime he was getting from CNN … from all the other networks.

Van Jones: Yeah, CNN and other places. He went around, the kind of big money donors that Jeb Bush had locked up and was able to be successful and Bernie Sanders clearly went around the Democratic Party establishment donor base as well. The system is already starting to crack and crumble, but those two are exceptions to the general rule. The general rule is, whoever gets the money, wins.

I think we've got to do something about money and politics. We've got to do something about the gerrymandering that's going on. It's not just that 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Trump, but the electoral college [inaudible 00:31:23] like that, don't forget 1.6 million people, all total, voted more for Democrats than Republicans to go to Congress, but the gerrymandering nullified that.

You've got... basically, our opponents want big money in and little people out. That's their electoral strategy, big corporate money and Citizens United, little people out. We have to be the reverse. We want big money out, little people in, fight for voting rights, etc. That's got to be a part of it. The third leg of the stool that's keeping everything down, big-money, gerrymandering, and this toxic media culture where both sides wind up as getting more and more outrage at each other. I think that helps the Trumps. I think that helps the demagogues.

That's why even though there's some stuff we just have to keep fighting on, whether it's protecting Muslims, LGBTQ, immigrants, African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, etc., you can't only fight and still have a country. You got to find some areas of common ground to keep some level of social cohesion, so people like Donald Trump can't just keep dividing and dividing so that they can get their way.

Jaisal Noor: All right. Well, we want to thank you for joining us Van Jones, Eddie Conway, and thank you to our viewers for watching us online. Check out our website therealnews.com for all of our coverage. Thank you so much.



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