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Danny Glover & Rep. Luis Gutiérrez on Sanders, Clinton and the Long Arc of U.S. Movements

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Broadcasting from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, we host a discussion about how Sanders backers can move forward together with supporters of Hillary Clinton to defeat Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. We are joined by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, who endorsed Hillary Clinton last year, and Danny Glover, an actor and activist who endorsed Bernie Sanders.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The Democracy Now! special for two weeks, expanded two hours every weekday from both conventions, “Breaking with Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency.” I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We’re broadcasting this week from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’re joined now by two guests. Luis Gutiérrez is a Democratic congressman from Illinois. He endorsed Hillary Clinton last year. Danny Glover is an actor and activist who has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

DANNY GLOVER: Thank you.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Thank you very much.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Luis, I’d like to start with you, if you could expound a little bit about what you think last night meant, especially after the official nomination of Hillary Clinton and President Clinton’s speech.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Well, Amy caught me at a very exciting moment. I was sitting with the Illinois delegation. And Vermont had passed on issuing their votes for the presidency, then they came back. And then I got to witness firsthand, looking up to the Vermont delegation, Bernie Sanders unify our party and close the nomination process, basically, by acclamation, say that Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party. And, you know, my daughter, Omaira—we’re like those mixed families of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It was good, you know, brought her to the convention. We came as a family, and we’re going to leave as a family. We want to work to make sure that immigrants can come out of the shadows. And if there’s anything that we’ve demonstrated strength on and unity, is around that issue. Fifteen dollars an hour, it’s an important—it’s in the platform, something we’re going to work for.

I mean, as you look at yesterday, for my daughter, I think of my mom, Juan, and I think of sterilization and Puerto Rican women. And that was it, right? Either you had a lot of children, or you never had control over your bodies, whether it was sterilization. We’re going to protect Planned Parenthood, and we’re going to protect a woman’s right to choose. And I saw a women break the glass ceiling yesterday. So, for my mom and for my daughters, for my sister, for all the little girls and all the grown women, it was really an exciting night yesterday to see us break that glass ceiling. And now we have much work to do in order to continue to unify our party.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Danny, you campaigned for Bernie Sanders. Your feelings in terms of his decision that he thought that the most important thing was to defeat Donald Trump in November?

DANNY GLOVER: Well, I think one of the things, we all felt the most important thing to do was to defeat the Republican nominee, whoever he was. It just so happens to be we have our worst nightmare in Donald Trump.

But I’m thinking about what brought many people, young people, others who may have been disenchanted with the political system and the electoral process, back to this moment where we’re at now. And that’s the fact that we had the possibility of igniting a movement and being part of a movement, which is much larger than an election. Now, I know that’s a lot of the rhetoric that’s been said by Sanders’ camp and everything else, and there are so many things that the campaign touched on, and certainly issues around Palestinian rights, issues around poor people. You know, as I walked around this city and watched all the homeless men and women, families, people out on the street, maybe they should have been in that moment yesterday. Maybe they should have been there, as their physical presence was a testimony to the work that we need to do. We have to continue to remind ourselves that it’s a movement that we’re building. It’s not simply to vote for this particular first woman as the president of the United States. But I think that’s the most thing—the most important thing for us to come out of this with, and hopefully we do come out of this with. that.

I sat there in that hall when Bernie laid the news on everybody, gave everybody his “come to Jesus” moment: “We’ve got to go with Hillary.” And I watched those young people. And a number of us stood by—myself, Susan Sarandon and others—consoling those young people, who had come out for the first time, who had now expressed their willingness to be participants in the rescue of this country and humanity. And here they were right now feeling lost and everything else, and we had to tell them that we—this is about this movement that we’re building, that you’re a part of. We’ve been around here for many, many years and many movements, but it’s critical that you stay engaged, it’s critical that you question, it’s critical that you fight back, and to talk about the real issues.

You know, one of the issues that we’ve tried to get Bernie Sanders to talk about so much is the issue of race. You cannot talk about this country without talking about slavery and race, and everything as to what it’s meant to capitalism. You know? And there’s been so much work written about this and everything. And once we began to insert that—and certainly Black Lives Matter, other groups, the Color of Change, all those that talked about the race in connection to capitalism. And we cannot—we cannot lose sight of that. That has to be at the forefront. Not only that, but women and immigrants have to be at the forefront of this.

AMY GOODMAN: And don’t you feel, or do you feel, Hillary Clinton can do that?

DANNY GLOVER: I don’t know. I’m going to be honest with you. You know, I sat up here, and I don’t know. I don’t know, if we push her to the wall—can we push her to the wall? You know, does she—does she and herself, can we push her enough? I know what her past has been. You know, it’s easy to talk about our children and not talk about, you know, Libyan children or Afghani children or Syrian children or all that. It’s easy to talk about our children in some sort of rhetorical way, in some sort of way, but not to talk about—talk about our children in relationship to all children, you know, and everybody in the world itself, and making the world itself a place that’s sustainable for all of us. Or the—we did so many things—the climate.


AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Gutiérrez?

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I think that we’re missing a very clear point there. That is that now we have a Democratic platform, a Democratic platform which are our guiding principles. And almost everything you’ve spoken about is now in that Democratic platform. We sat down with the Bernie Sanders folks at the drafting committee, and we argued, and we pushed back and forth. Bernie Sanders says—and it is recognized almost universally—this is the most progressive Democratic platform ever written.

DANNY GLOVER: I’m not arguing about that.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Enshrined—no, but I—because I didn’t—

DANNY GLOVER: No, I don’t think that we are missing the point, that we know what a platform is. Come on.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Because I didn’t—but, Danny, Danny, I listened—

DANNY GLOVER: I mean, we—look here—

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Danny, I listened—

DANNY GLOVER: Look here, sir.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Danny, I listened to you patiently, without interrupting you.


REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: And I would just like—

DANNY GLOVER: OK, then, go ahead.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: —an opportunity, just so that we could have a space here where you and I could talk about this, as we move forward. Look, in the Democratic platform, we’re clear about $15 an hour. In the Democratic platform, we finally said death penalty should be abolished in the United States.

DANNY GLOVER: In the federal level. In the federal level.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I understand, but that’s what we can do.

DANNY GLOVER: OK, go ahead. OK.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: That’s what the platform is. It’s about the federal platform. But we did put that in the platform. That’s a reversal of policy that we’ve had before. Look, Danny, I’ve worked—finally—do you know how hard it is to work with Democrats to get them to be pro-immigrant? Juan knows. Amy knows. I’ve been taken away from the White House on numerous occasions, arrested, because of the deportations under the Barack Obama administration. Now we have enshrined in that platform that says that even when a refugee from Central America comes forward, Democrats say they should have a lawyer, not just—not just the drug traffickers, the murderers and the rapists and those involved in human trafficking. When they get before the court, they’re guaranteed a lawyer, but their victims aren’t guaranteed a lawyer. It is now enshrined in that platform. There are many things that you and I, together, have really spent our life trying to improve in America.

And I just want to end with this comment. I’ve always known black lives matter. I’ve always known that. I would not be a member of Congress if black blood had not been spilled in the '60s to give me the civil rights and the voting rights that have allowed me to grab that microphone and to be a member of Congress. We can come together—immigrants—man, my daughters, they have so many more rights today, and I want to make sure they keep their dirty, filthy hands off of Planned Parenthood and that we don't have somebody on the Supreme Court that’s going to turn the clock around. I remember 1986, I voted for the gay rights ordinance. It couldn’t pass the city council, a gay rights ordinance. All it said was, “Oh, you can’t discriminate against gay people.” Now we have marriage equality spoken about from the Congress of the United states.

So, I’m thankful to Bernie Sanders. And I was really—I was really—there was so much joy in my heart when I watched him, because I know how difficult it must have been for him to go yesterday and to say we close the nomination and to endorse Hillary Clinton. But that’s leadership, and that’s healing, because Donald Trump is a monster who says he’s going to round up 11 million undocumented workers in this country, deport them, and then build a wall so they can never come back. That’s something that we need to respond to.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: If I can—if I can, I’d like to make a—

DANNY GLOVER: Listen, I don’t think we have a point that we’re arguing.


DANNY GLOVER: There’s no point of argument about this. We’ve all been in with struggles throughout our lives, and all been part of movements throughout our lives. You know? And so, my point is that. I’m just saying, as Dr. King said, where do we go from here? Community or chaos? And I’m certainly moving toward community. But he understood clearly that the axis that we had to deal was with racism, we had to deal with militarism, and we had to deal with materialism. That’s clear.

I live in a city that I was born, I love, I’m born and raised there. I walked out of my house, and I see homeless people in San Francisco. I walk out of my house, and the working-class people who lived on my block when I bought my house over 40 years ago don’t live there anymore, because they’ve been moved out of the city and pushed aside. I’ve watched people who are part of the informal economy, because they can’t be a part of the formal economy because jobs have left here. Now, you can’t reverse what has been done in terms of trade agreements and such else. But there’s some way in which governance has to play a role in affecting—really affecting people’s lives. We talk about the middle class. We walk about the working class. We don’t talk about those people who are unemployed. We don’t talk about about those people who have left the system. We don’t talk about those people who go to [inaudible]. I’ve been to solitary, I’ve been to Tracy, I’ve been to Quentin, I’ve been to city jails, everywhere and throughout my life, to talk to people and say that maybe—and maybe this is the moment. But I know that at the same time, that we’ve got to fight.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: We’ve got—we’ve got to fight.

DANNY GLOVER: And simply the election of a woman—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: If I can interrupt you both for a second—

DANNY GLOVER: —the election of a president, of a woman president—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’ve got a few minutes.

DANNY GLOVER: —is not the end of the story.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’ve got a few minutes, and I just want to—Danny, you say a lot of us have been around now for years and dealing with the struggles, and a lot of the young people don’t understand the historical legacy upon which they stand right now—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —when Jesse Jackson ran—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —when McCarthy ran—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —when all these other folks sought to get the Democratic Party moving in a more progressive and radical direction.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But I’m also reminded that in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson, who was a conservative, who was a centrist in the Democratic Party, won the election against Barry Goldwater and won the House and the Senate, for a few years, we had the most progressive legislation in American history—Medicare, Medicaid, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Voting Rights Act—because there was a movement that was pushing a centrist president who ended up with the most liberal domestic policy, obviously, since FDR.

DANNY GLOVER: Because the people were moving him. At the same time—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: People were moving him, right, exactly.

DANNY GLOVER: —he went to war in Vietnam, expanded the war in Vietnam.


DANNY GLOVER: So what did we give up in that process?


DANNY GLOVER: In fact, it was the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party in 1964—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: ’64, right.

DANNY GLOVER: —who tried to unseat the Democratic Party in Mississippi, who came out on that platform against the war in Vietnam, 1964.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Right, right.

DANNY GLOVER: So, all of that, look, we know that. At the same time, we, in some sense, were seduced to say, in the program, yes, civil rights, but what about the other issues? What about the issues externally in this country?


DANNY GLOVER: Which has been, we saw—we talk about—and this is part of it. We were the only person—country to lose a war that provides the narrative for the war.


DANNY GLOVER: That’s right. We’re the only country. You know, we lost 3—between 2 and 3 million Vietnamese, which we never hear about.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I think if we think of this nomination and this election as the end, then Danny is absolutely right.

DANNY GLOVER: Yeah. I mean—

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Danny, we’re going to continue to fight tomorrow.


REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I mean, I got to Congress in 1993, and I said no to the North American Free Trade Agreement.


REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: And my congressional district was majority Mexican, and they really thought it was a good idea. Today we all know, because of our experience, it was a wise vote to vote against the North—

DANNY GLOVER: Yeah, yeah.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I haven’t voted for a free trade agreement since I’ve been in Congress for 24 years. And there are Democrats that are going to stand up for working men and women. I’ve marched. I’ve picketed. I’ve gone to jail. So have you. Together, we need to take on this threat of Donald Trump. And Donald Trump is a threat to the Latino community, to the black community, to the gay community, to women and their rights. He is a monster that we need to defeat next November. And, you’re right, we haven’t resolved all of the problems. We haven’t all come together and really focused laser on every issue that may be important to us all. But I think there is this huge area in which your work and the work of progressives can come together. And we need to come together in November, because if we don’t, I mean, I’m really scared of what the future—

DANNY GLOVER: This is a unity moment right here.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Thank you. Thank you, Danny.

DANNY GLOVER: Thank you, brother. I love you.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: I respect you so much.

DANNY GLOVER: Thank you, brother.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Gutiérrez, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, very close to the Clintons, just said to Politico that—what did he say?—he believes Hillary Clinton would support the Trans-Pacific Partnership if she’s elected president. He said, “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.” But she would support it. Here, you have hundreds of signs all over the Democratic convention floor, people holding up the “Ban TPP” sign.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And don’t forget that in 2008 both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said they were going to oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. But then, once they got into office, they backed it, both of them.

REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: Can I just say—let’s be real about this. When Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States, he brought us NAFTA. Right? A Democratic president. Where did they get most of the votes for the North American Free Trade Agreement? Certainly not from Democrats.


REP. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: They got it from Republicans. Barack Obama has TPP. Where is he getting most of the votes? From Republicans. They oppose—if we were all dying of thirst and Barack Obama could make it rain and bring us water, they’d rather die of thirst. But they sure do support his free trade agreement. That’s what Republicans will do. So, look, do we have internal issues in our own party that we need to deal and grapple with? Absolutely. That’s why I like to see independent Democrats in our party make sure that we challenge our own. I’m going to vote against the TPP. I know the vast majority of Democrats are going to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us. I know you have to go give a talk.


AMY GOODMAN: There’s a lot of stuff happening at this convention.


AMY GOODMAN: But, Danny Glover, I hope you’re going to be staying with us in our second hour. Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, actor Danny Glover.

That does it for our show. I’ll be doing two speeches this weekend: Friday night, July 29th, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Town Hall, and Saturday, July 30th, at Martha’s Vineyard at the Old Whaling Church. Check our website at democracynow.org.

Special thanks to the crew here at PhillyCAM—Laura Deutch, Gretjen Clausing and Ryan Saunders; the whole crew—Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke and Nermeen Shaikh and Carla Wills and Laura Gottesdiener, Deena Guzder, Sam Alcoff, Robby Karran, Hany Massoud, Denis Moynihan.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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