Axios (2018) s04e07 Episode Script

Season 4, Episode 7

Louisville, KY Get ready for Bernie Sanders.
On the road again / with Senator Bernie Sanders Axios headquarters ARLINGTON, VA So why is Bernie Sanders going to Louisville, Kentucky? Kentucky is one of the most impoverished states in the country, and also one of the most Republican reddest states in the country.
And he's been on this mission for a long time to figure out a way to peel these voters away from the Republican Party.
How much clout does Bernie Sanders have in the Joe Biden Democratic Party? Huge.
Him and Joe Biden are much closer than people realize.
And that first COVID package that just passed, $1.
9 trillion, Bernie's fingerprints are all over it.
This is his moment.
The power that Democrats have right now is so tenuous and such a small window.
They're all operating on this very urgent timeline, and Bernie's kind of at the tip of that.
Louisville, KY Let us go forward and build the progressive movement and create a government that works for all, not just powerful special interests.
Thank you.
- It was a fantastic rally.
- Thank you.
Well, it's the first rally like this that we've done in a very long time.
- So a little bit out of practice.
- Do you mind if I take this off? - Are you vaccinated? - I'm vaccinated, yeah.
I wanted to start with your speech and the premise of being here in Kentucky.
There's terrible poverty in this state, and they vote overwhelmingly for people like Mitch McConnell, Republicans over Democrats.
So what's going on? Well, what's going on is two things.
Number one, the Republicans have been enormously successful in dividing people up, in playing to people's resentments.
And, second of all, the Democrats over the years have become more and more of a corporate party and turned their backs on the working class of this country.
One thing that I genuinely struggle with is take Barack Obama.
One of the first things he does is major difficult overhaul of the health care system.
And, you know, the Affordable Care Act, a lot of Kentuckians got insurance for the first time ever, hundreds of thousands of them.
And not only did he not get rewarded for that; he did worse in Kentucky in '12 versus '08.
You're right.
The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of millions of Americans, including many people here in Kentucky.
But it is a complicated proposal.
You're at this income level, you pay that.
You're on Medicaid, you do this.
Enormously complicated.
So what we have got to do is create a straightforward - and I tried to touch on it today - simple agenda.
What is our agenda? Are you already seeing that difference between President Biden and President Obama in terms of simplicity? Yeah, I think so.
I think what President Biden is doing in a very effective way is to reach out to working class people to start producing tangible benefits.
"I hate Democrats.
They're terrible.
They're awful.
Oh yeah, I just got $5,600 for husband and wife and two kids.
" "Oh, I hate those Democrats.
Oh, by the way, they extended my unemployment to September with a $300 supplement.
Oh, by the way, make it easier for me to raise my kids.
And now, my kids are gonna be able to go to good free summer programs and after-school programs.
" So when you do those things that are real and tangible and as simple and straightforward as they can be, people understand it.
And that's why not only is the American Rescue Plan very, very popular, among working class Republicans.
So you wanna win those people over, do something that they understand.
Don't bullshit 'em.
Give 'em something that's real and tangible.
I wonder what you think about this trend - it's not just in America; it's actually in other Western countries where center-left and left parties it's the education divide.
They're becoming more reliant on college-educated voters and they're losing non-college educated voters.
- And it's urban and rural as well.
- Urban/rural as well, for sure.
Why do you think that's happening? Well, I think if I am a working class person in this country, I've seen my job to go China.
I'm working for $9 an hour and I used to make $20 an hour.
I don't have health care, can't afford it, I can't afford prescription drugs.
You're resentful.
Are we talking to those people? I think we're beginning to see that in the last few months under Biden.
But Democrats traditionally have been very tepid, very fearful about going big.
And I will say I think there's a glossiness to it as well, San Francisco, New York gloss.
- Glossiness to the party.
- Yep.
"I'm so smart.
" "I am really smart.
And, you know, we go to $100 dinners.
And who really cares about those working class people?" I think it is fair to say as a result of heavy duty corporate campaign contributions Democratic Party has drifted away from being the party of FDR and even Harry Truman and being understood and perceived correctly as the working class party.
If that can't be changed, that trend of Democratic Party becomes the party of the college educated, Republicans become the party of the not Do you think that's sustainable for a progressive party? No, I don't.
And I don't think it's sustainable for American democracy.
So you know, we want a party that welcomes all people in.
Biden didn't put it in his plan, but Schumer and Pelosi want it and a few others want it, is restoring the state and local tax deduction, the SALT, which is a tax break for rich people in blue states.
- You don't support that.
- No.
What do you think if Democrats bring that back? It sends a terrible, terrible message.
So ultimately, what you have got to do and it's and fairness to Schumer and Pelosi, it is hard when you have tiny margins.
But you have gotta make it clear which side you are on, and you can't be on the side of the wealthy and the powerful if you're gonna really fight for working families.
I want to ask you about a really difficult subject.
Police killings of unarmed Black people.
We're obviously in Louisville, which is the city in which police raided the apartment of Breonna Taylor, shot her dead.
You're obviously extremely pro-union, and you've been a huge advocate of collective bargaining.
But the police unions have been a huge barrier to reform.
I am very strongly pro-worker, very strongly pro-union.
So when police or anybody else are fighting for decent wages and working conditions, I'm there.
But what some of the police unions have done is taken it beyond that.
And what they have done is try through a variety of legal means of saying, "Hey, if a police officer does something illegal or worse," kills somebody, "we're gonna protect that person.
" That's a different story than supporting people who are fighting for decent wages and benefits.
There are some who believe that there should be a different set of collective bargaining rights for police unions than there are for other public sector unions so that they should be restricted to just being able to bargain for, say, wages and hours but not the other stuff.
Do you support that? When it comes to issues of justice, making sure that a police officer does not act illegally and kill people and commit murder, that's another story and has to be dealt with in a different way, not through a union contract.
Would you support legislation that would curtail that? Yes.
I want to ask you about what's going on right now on Capitol Hill.
The president has laid out what he wants to do next in terms of it's very broad from infrastructure to broadband to helping out universal pre-K.
And I just want to read you a quote that I read.
So this is the president's senior advisor, Steve Ricchetti, to the Washington Post.
He said, quote, "We have a little more time for the consideration of this and the percolation of these proposals to have broader consultation and dialogue.
"There's more receptivity on the Republican side to having that dialogue, and they also see the potential to reach some common ground here.
" Some of your colleagues in the Senate are looking at breaking up this bill into chunks and trying to get Republicans on board.
- What's your general view of this? - In general, I don't agree with that.
Look, the bottom line is the American people want results.
So the real issue is: Are Republicans serious about doing anything significant in addressing the enormous crises facing this country? If a Republican is serious about addressing crises, bring 'em in.
If they got a better way to do it, we should listen carefully.
But there is a lesson to be learned.
During the Obama years, they talked, and talked, and negotiated.
They never came aboard.
I think Biden has learned that lesson.
So how long is too long? The Senate is a very slow-moving process.
I would begin, you know, starting this work immediately.
If Republicans want to come on board seriously, great.
If not, we're gonna do it alone.
In a 50/50 Senate, any senator can stop a nomination or hold up legislation or whatever.
There are some issues.
And I listened to you talk about say, the crowd was on their feet when you were like, canceling student debt, legalizing marijuana.
Biden has resisted on those two issues.
Is there a point at which you use your leverage? Well the answer is, yes, you can do that.
But more importantly, you know, it is Congress that writes the laws, not the president of the United States.
No, no, no.
But what I mean is he could cancel student debt - executive action.
And he could deschedule marijuana, as you know, through executive action.
My job is to push the progressive agenda as hard as I can, all right? And other people have different points of view.
So if the suggestion is I will torpedo and vote against legislation that will improve life for tens and tens of millions of people 'cause I don't get everything I want, I'm not gonna do that.
We gotta work together.
I'm not getting everything I want.
Biden's not gonna get everything he wants.
Take an issue like student debt, which is so important to so many people.
You could make life more difficult or him than you are, like Tammy Duckworth did the other day when she said, "You know what? I'm not voting for any of your nominees.
" Well, the difficulty is you know, I could do that.
- And so could 49 other members.
- Right.
And then you have chaos.
You gotta yell, and scream, and fight for what you want within closed doors, behind closed doors, and then come out as a united front.
- How much of that have you been doing? - Pardon me? How much of the yelling and screaming have you been doing? I do enough.
I do enough.
Ron Klain / White House Chief of Staff Ron, thank you for coming off campus.
- Shall we do the ceremonial? - Yes, why not? So this is your first in-person sit-down.
We appreciate it.
It is.
So 15 weeks in, all the big things have gone better than you could have expected.
And then today, the jobs bomb.
The jobs report, many fewer jobs created than were expected.
Ron, what's the surprise factor that's holding back the recovery? Well, I didn't think the recovery is being held back, Mike.
These monthly reports vary up and down.
We beat expectations last month, a bit under expectations this month.
But overall, look at the picture.
Joe Biden's been president for a little over a hundred days.
We've been averaging 500,000 new jobs a month.
That's more than any new president in American history.
So there's a debate about whether there was a design flaw in the COVID stimulus.
Some people who are trying to hire tell us that the checks make it harder for them to get workers.
Why are they wrong? Well, I'm sure there are some anecdotes like that out there.
But I will tell you the fastest-growing category of jobs this month was actually jobs in the hospitality industry.
The fastest growth in people coming back to work are in restaurants, and bars, and bakeries, and all those kinds of places.
There are a lot of people in this country that are hurting.
And giving people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, who lost their jobs 'cause their government bungled the response to a pandemic, giving them a little extra help seems like the only humane thing to do.
Vaccine diplomacy.
You've said that by July 4th 10% of the vaccines that are being made for domestic use will be sent to other countries, sent abroad.
But why sit on the rest? So polling shows that almost everybody who wants the vaccine is getting it or will soon.
There's no way that by July 4th we're gonna need 90% of our supply.
Why not send more of that out? No, it's 10% of our total supply over the course of the pandemic.
So we won't be sitting on 90%.
We're gonna use our vaccine supply.
Every week we get I understand.
But we're gonna have lots by then.
We don't know that.
We've ordered it.
Hopefully it continues to come.
We have a lot of vaccinating left to do, Mike.
How worried are you about that 30%, the people who still are not in the end gonna get vaccinated? Well, look.
We're gonna keep on trying and trying and trying.
The president set the goal of 70% by July 4th.
That doesn't mean we're stopping on July 5th.
One thing we're really focused on right now is making it even easier and more convenient for people to get vaccinated.
We've put the vaccine into more pharmacies.
We know we're behind in rural America.
So, we're bringing the vaccine closer and closer to people, making it easier and easier.
You can go to Vaccines.
gov, put in your zip code, find a place near you to get a vaccine.
You can text your zip code to 438829 and get a text back with places you can get vaccinated.
You've proposed a lot of taxes on the richest Americans.
And you've said you're open to the idea of making the capital gains tax increase retroactive back to January 1st of this year.
Is that also true with the corporate tax increase? I'm not gonna talk about the effective dates of any of our tax provisions.
We're gonna let Congress work that through.
The important thing that I'll say about our provisions is that they affect a small handful of Americans and a lot of big companies that haven't paid their fair share to date.
If this is about fair share, as you say, why not insist on having it be retroactive? Well, again, I'm not focused on the effective dates of our tax provisions.
We're focused on trying to get this plan through the Congress.
Details will get worked out as we work through the legislative process.
You've said that you want to dialogue and percolate with Republicans.
Sen Senator Bernie Sanders talked to us, and he has a different view.
He says if Republicans want to be for your next big plans, your infrastructure plans, they should be for it.
If not, Democrats should move ahead.
What do you do about that view? Well, I have a great deal of respect for Senator Sanders.
President Biden said he wants to try to find common ground with Republicans on these economic measures that have been bipartisan in the past.
I think that's the thing, Mike, we need to focus on.
Building bridges, building roads, connecting people with broadband building electric charging stations for the roads of the future, all these things shouldn't divide our two political parties.
But isn't the rub that you're trying to go big on both big government and bipartisanship? Those are contradictory.
I don't think it's big government to fix the ten bridges in this country that are most economically significant and are in serious But you know the parts of the package Republicans are talking about.
I'll let them speak for themselves.
What I'm telling you is what we're doing is common sense reform.
Most of these Republicans have stood in front of a Rotary Club or a Kiwanis Club and given a speech about how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure.
People stand up and give speeches all the time about how people should have affordable childcare.
It's basic, basic things that we're putting forward.
And, again, I think they should have bipartisan support.
We're about to get the hook here, so penultimate question.
Are you ready to run against Donald Trump again? I think the president has said he's likely to seek reelection, but he is going to deliver for the American people.
My experience, Mike, is that incumbent presidents are judged on their record.
President Trump had a bad record in 2020.
Joe Biden is hopefully assembling a powerful record to run on if he runs for reelection in 2024.
So it would actually be easier to run against him this time? I wouldn't want to estimate or underestimate Donald Trump as an opponent if he chooses to run.
You're a prolific tweeter.
Sometimes they're a little spicy.
Sometimes they make news.
How do you tweet that much and run the White House? Well, I don't think I tweet that much.
And I hope they're not that spicy.
- The point of my Twitter feed - No, we love the spicy ones.
I was on Twitter before I became White House chief of staff.
And so I just kept it up.
And I hope it sounds like me.
It is me.
- It's my voice.
Most of it is just - No ghost tweeters? There are no ghost tweeters.
For better or worse, that's me.
I hope it's a place where people can come and hear, in my voice the work we're doing.
I'm proud of that work and what I want people to know about that work.
Ron Klain, thanks for joining Axios on HBO.
Thanks for having me, Mike.
Shell shocked / how does an oil company go green? Shell, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, has vowed to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
The Hague, Netherlands Ben, thanks again for sitting down with us.
You are setting out some ambitious plans to change many things of a company that has dozens and dozens of operations around the world, one of the most important companies in the world.
So what is the future of Shell? I would say the future of Shell is bright for starters.
But it will be a different sort of company, of course, in 10, 20, 30 years' time than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago.
If you think of us as a company that just does oil and gas or hydrocarbons and just does it very well and that's about it, of course, you know, the prospect is shrinkage, yeah? But if you think of yourself as a solution provider for customers who need energy, then all of a sudden your prospect becomes transformation.
And that is what we are pursuing.
You have a lot of pressures from many areas, shareholders that want you to stay with profitable businesses and then the green investors or those who are activists who are really urging companies like yours to move somewhere else.
Everybody has something to say about something.
And you can have two stances.
You can just say, "That's okay.
Let everybody talk.
I'll do my own thing.
" Or you can turn it around and say, "Well, hold on.
We're not making much progress here as a society.
Maybe we should be helping to shape the debate a little bit more and try to get ahead of the curve.
" And that is what we are doing.
You could argue that we should have done that earlier but better late than never.
This trend that you're moving toward, won't it and could it not put Shell out of business? There are indeed people out there who believe the only way for us to be Paris compliant is to be out of business.
If people take issue with the fact that we supply the world with oil and gas, then I would say also reflect on the fact that you are the user of that oil and gas.
So rather than to say, "You solve my problem," why don't you help us with it and transition to a new form of energy that we then want to provide? How do you reduce demand when demand is out of your hands as a company? A lot of people think it's all about supply; it is not about demand.
And of course we all know that that's not how the world works.
If you want to get rid of hydrocarbons in the mix, you have to do something about the use of it, not the production of it.
So what we need to do next is take the carbon out of our products as much as we can.
So think of clean electricity, clean hydrogen, biofuels, et cetera.
But even then, we will still be selling carbon-based energy to a degree.
So we have to either capture it and sequester it, or we have to offset it.
And by 2050, none of our business operations should have carbon emissions associated with it.
Shell is among the companies that have been in some activists' minds one of the most hated companies in the world, least trusted.
So what should anybody take away from our conversation today to make them feel like they can trust that you will take the company in this direction that it needs to go into? I think what people need to take away ultimately is that we mean what we say and that we are actually making progress.
In the end, that will happen because they will see us do the right thing.
Well, it also takes time.
So people want to see the results right now.
I think that is one of the challenges.
Could we work with governments and say, "Listen, heavy duty trucking is best switched to hydrogen.
And if you do it in this way, that will allow us to build the hydrogen facilities for it"? Yes, that's exactly what we do.
But then don't expect that tomorrow we will stop selling diesel to trucks.
A competitor like BP has set out a specific target to cut that production rate by about 40% over 10 years.
Other competitors are trying to also cut on the supply side.
Will you put out a similar target? No, we have said we will focus on the demand side, and then the supply side is a resultant of that.
When you look at the timeline for this plan, at what point do you think Shell will make more than 50% of its business from clean green energy? I think that will probably be somewhere the next decade.
- In the next decade? - Yeah.
I would imagine.
More than 50%? If we do not make that type of process by the middle of next decade, we have a problem not just as a company but as a society.
If demand goes away, will Shell still drill? Well, there will always be demand for oil and gas, Hope.
- Forever? - For a long time to come.
And that's okay.
We can get to 1.
5° on this world but still some oil and gas in the energy mix.
Let's talk about policy.
What is the smartest thing the U.
is doing on the energy front and the dumbest thing? What I really applaud is that the U.
is back in the frame of the Paris Agreement again.
So they are grappling with the problem.
What I also see is that the government is flirting with popular ideas that are clear, simple, and wrong, which is, "Let's ban the production of oil and gas in our country.
" Popular demand may well push you in the direction, but it is not smart policy.
And do you think that the newest measure, the plans Biden has put out, and the Paris, the more aggressive one of 1.
5°, do you think that's too ambitious? Do you think it's realistic? If you add up all the ambitions that we have at the moment, we don't quite get to where we need to be.
So absolutely we need more ambition.
But it's also absolutely insufficient.
We have a much more invasive and complex transition that we have to manage.
I think that is beginning to be realized.
I think is it too late and is it therefore not realistic? No, I wouldn't say so.
But it will require every ounce of coordination and collaboration that this world can muster at a level that we have never seen before.
GLAAD report card / social media & LGBTQ safety GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, set out to grade Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok on social media safety for LGBTQ people.
They determined all five would fail.
The online world has long been a haven for LGBTQ people.
It's the place where they once felt safe to explore their identity.
I'm gonna date myself a little here.
Twenty-five years ago, the web was still nascent and there were these internet news groups.
It was the first time I'd really heard the word "transgender," and suddenly there was this community.
Is that a bygone era? The online world has given our community so much.
There are so many kids who share their transition stories, or there are so many people who share their coming out stories.
However, the challenge right now is that the negative is outweighing the positive.
64% of LGBTQ people report being harassed online because of their identities.
So we knew that there was a safety problem for our community.
So you created a social media safety index.
And so the original intention was to give each of these - Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok - a grade and to say, "Here's how you're doing.
" That didn't happen.
Why? We did come out with grades initially internally.
And what we realized was it wasn't the right starting point.
The right starting point was to give them the information to act and give them a roadmap to be successful.
This is about less watchdogging, more partnering with these platforms to get it right.
What we ended up realizing was that if we started grading, they'd all fail quite frankly.
You found them all to be unsafe in different ways? They are categorically unsafe across the board, yes.
We're looking for real concrete changes in the next year and thereafter, and I think we live in this space, quite frankly, between government which is going to take a very long time to put in regulations and these social media companies, who have the roadmap but are not enacting it.
And in the middle of this is the LGBTQ community, who is being profited off of by hate speech and harassment.
We needed to step in quickly and make sure that our community is protected.
These aren't governments.
These are businesses.
Their goal is to make a profit.
What gives you confidence that you can change the policies or the way that they do business? If you know anything about the LGBTQ community, we will hold you accountable and we will put our money where our mouth is.
We will stop going to the advertisers who are supporting this content.
Realistically, if we were to sit down a year from now, what would they have to do to get an A? There's a long way to an A, but it's not impossible.
I'd like to see them use their basic tools to either put warning labels on content, serve up the truth and facts, slow down misinformation.
Not big asks.
There's an urgency 'cause every day we miss solving these problems we leave vulnerable communities very vulnerable.
The wealthiest 10% of the population own over 70% of the wealth, and the gap between the richest people and the poorer people are growing.
It's growing.
It's getting worse.
And what that means to me is that as I look at the social problems facing our society and I say, "Okay, how do we get the money to address those problems? From what part of society should we ask people to pay taxes to address the problems?" it seems clear to me that we've gotta ask those people who can best afford to pay to contribute to solving the problems rather than going to working people and poor people.

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