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Caitlyn Jenner: "I'm In" for California Governor's Race; Polls on Policing in America; Some Conservative Float Racist "Replacement Theory"; Year of Protests, Pandemic to be Reflected at Oscars; SpaceX Sends Astronauts to International Space Station. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 23, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: CNN's Kyung Lah is following this story from L.A. So what is she saying about her motivation for getting into the race?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, remember, that trying to get into this recall, the threshold is quite low. So, we're going to have a lot of candidates if this recall does, indeed, qualify.

What Jenner is saying is that she's going to pitch herself as an outsider, a source involved in the Jenner campaign confirms to CNN's Gabby Orr that Jenner is going to frame herself as someone who is socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Aiming for those voters just left of center here in California.

Jenner in announcing her campaign said this, quote, I have been a compassionate disrupter throughout my life as Californians we face a now or never opportunity to fundamentally fix our state before it is too late.

Now, if the whole outsider/reality TV thing sounds a little familiar, sounds a little like Donald Trump. That's what the governor's campaign is hoping you will hear.

The governor's campaign released this statement saying, quote, we always knew the Republican recall would be a ludicrous circus full of Trump supporters, which only reinforces how much Californians appreciate Governor Newsom's competent compassionate, experienced leadership during an unprecedented series of crises.

The Newsom camp, Alisyn, has been framing this as a 2020 rematch of sorts led by Trump Republicans. And we should point out that this recall is on the cusp of qualifying, we believe as soon as the end of this week or next when it comes to verified signatures -- Alisyn.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So Kyung on the Trump variable, Caitlyn Jenner initially supported Trump in 2016. Then revoked that support in 2018 over the president's anti-LGBTQ policies. But she then recruited a few former Trump staffers. What's their role in her campaign?

LAH: Well Victor, if you look at the website for the new candidate Jenner, what you'll see is at the very bottom is that it's being powered by a digital platform that is owned by Brad Parscale, who is a former Trump campaign aide.

And we are also understanding that she's been in conversation with Trump aides and has also tapped into a few to help run her upstart campaign. So, certainly there is going to be at least that relationship there and expect the Democrats in this state to fully talk about that at every turn they get -- Victor, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kyung Lah for us there. Thanks so much.

Next, a new poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans believe something has to be done to transform American policing. We'll discuss whether Congress can get that done.

Plus, we dismantle the conservative narrative that white people should fear being replaced by immigrants. The math shows just the opposite.



CAMEROTA: On Capitol Hill, a sweeping bill to overhaul policing practices in this country is hitting a snag. Lawmakers are at odds over whether to make it easier to criminally prosecute police officers.

A new Washington Post/ABC news poll finds 6 in 10 Americans say the justice system should do more to hold police accountable for the mistreatment of black people. Joining us now, CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. So Ron, given that public opinion, why are so many lawmakers reluctant to lean into that?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, good to see you in the afternoon, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, there is a serious partisan divide here. And in fact, the denial of the existence of systemic racism in pretty much any segment of American society is now one of the defining beliefs of the Republican coalition.

We've seen over the last few years significant movement among the public overall in the share of people who say that police killings of unarmed black men are part of a pattern. That the number who say that has gone up significantly, but it hasn't really changed among Republicans. 80 percent of Republican voters say it's not part of a pattern. It's isolated incidents.

And it kind of goes along with the polling showing three-quarters of Republicans say that discrimination against whites is now as big a problem as discrimination against minorities. And within that point of view, within that coalition, I think Republican -- the number of Republican legislators are going to move toward a position of accountability that is acceptable to Democrats. It's going to be hard to get that number to ten.

BLACKWELL: Ron, let me ask you. You are there in California. Olympian, reality TV star, Caitlyn Jenner announced today that she will run against California Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election that very likely or could happen. Listen, Arnold Schwarzenegger did it 18 years ago beating Gray Davis. What do you think her chances are?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the predicate, Victor, is very different. Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to get elected governor because the recall itself succeeded and Gray Davis, the governor at the time was recalled and then on the ballot on the same day, Schwarzenegger won the contest over who should replace Gray Davis.

Today you would say the odds are pretty low of the recall succeeding in the first place. Yes, it's likely to get on the ballot, but in the polling that was done a few weeks ago, only 40 percent of Californians said they supported recalling Governor Newsom. That's roughly the same percentage of people who voted for the Republican in the election a couple years ago.


And since that poll was taken, as you know, California has improved it's COVID position to the point where it has the second lowest positivity rate in the country.

So, before we get to the issue of whether any of these alternatives can get elected, I think the proponents of the recall have a real uphill climb to get a majority of the state to agree to recall the governor, particularly, since I think they will very effectively tie the whole idea to Trump supporters and, you know, Donald Trump is not exactly a popular figure in California.

CAMEROTA: And Ron, let's talk about your new piece about white replacement theory, I guess, just replacement theory, that you hear many right wingers beginning to talk about that. And the premise is that immigrants will replace white people and take their jobs. And so, you know, you can just tune into cable TV at night and hear people yammering about this. Here's some examples.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I know that the left, and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term replacement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For many Americans what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them as we're replacing national born American, native born Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to ask yourself why. Is it really, they want to remake the demographics of America to ensure that they stay in power forever? (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA (on camera): And so, Ron, I mean, you've crunched the numbers and you say that this is so easily debunked with math.

BROWNSTEIN: It's exactly backwards. I mean this is an idea that started in far right white supremacist organizations and in the Trump era is migrating toward the mainstream of the GOP. The idea that the elites want to replace native born Americans with immigrants. It has the equation exactly backwards.

Here's why. With or without immigration, America is going to grow more diverse -- the census shows. Because the structure of our youth population is increasingly kids of color.

And with or without immigration, America is also going to grow older. As the baby boomer retires and the number of seniors is expected to increase about 40 percent over the next 15 years. Again, with or without immigration.

But if you cut off immigration, what happens is even as we grow older, our workforce, our working age population stagnates or even shrinks. Which means that without immigration, if the replacement -- if the advocates of the replacement theory are successful in cutting off immigration, there will be many more seniors for each working-age adult.

And what does that mean? That means the older whites, who are the principal target for this argument from Tucker Carlson or Ron Johnson would face enormous pressure on the entitlements, Social Security and Medicare that they're relying on because there will be fewer working- age people there to pay the taxes that fund them.

One of the great ironies of 21st century America is that the older whites who are the most receptive to Trump-like arguments against immigration will be relying on an increasing nonwhite workforce to fund their retirement through the payroll taxes that secure Social Security and Medicare.

CAMEROTA: That is really is one of the great ironies. Thank you very much --


CAMEROTA: -- for articulating it to us. Ron, great to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, so for the first time, we are seeing all nine of the current Supreme Court justices photographed together. Their class picture. Just in the past hour, we got this video of the group photo of the Supreme Court. And you see Amy Coney Barrett there, the newest Justice. This has just been released to the public.

Barrett of course replaced the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in late October of 2020 following the passing of the long-time Justice who died in mid-September. Always interesting to see them together.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we don't often see them together. So this is what will -- this will be the file that we use for the next several years.

All right. Next, one of the suspects in the Capitol riots turned into police by a woman he tried to hook up with on a dating app.


BLACKWELL: Turns out he bragged to the wrong person.



CAMEROTA: Los Angeles will be the site of the 93rd Annual Academy Awards this weekend. Sunday's show will be scaled back because of the pandemic, and as CNN's Stephanie Elam reports, that's not all that's a sign of the times.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From struggle --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a revolutionary.

ELAM (voice over): To desperation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need work, I like work.

ELAM (voice over): The times are felt in this year's Oscar nominees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about an overreaction from the cops?

ELAM (voice over): But so is the silence. Including from viewers whose lack of interest made most award shows this year a bomb.

MATTHEW BELLONI, FORMER EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: If the ratings continue to decline, you're going to see some changes. I think some awards shows might go away.

ELAM (voice over): The Oscars want to reverse the trend. Gone is the internet remote access feel that hindered shows like the Golden Globes.

BELLONI: It ended up being like a bad version of an office meeting and the Oscars don't want that.

ELAM (voice over): Enter Steven Soderbergh and Stacy Sher, the team ironically behind the film "Contagion" the pandemic will be a big theme they say but Soderbergh wants a show unlike any others.

BELLONI: And he has said that he wants the Oscars to feel like a movie. There're going to have shots from behind shoulders of people, moving cameras. [15:50:00]

ELAM: To pull it off the show is moving to a smaller venue here to L.A.'s iconic Union Station, itself a star in Hollywood films like "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Dark Knight Rises."

ELAM (voice over): And with vaccines out and fewer restrictions the biggest challenge may not be the pandemic but the movies themselves. Absent of any theatrical hits like year's past, this year the best films come mostly from streaming platforms.

BELLONI: It's very different than choosing to go to a movie theater, buy your popcorn, sit in the theater and watch a movie. People just become attached to those movies in a way that they don't when they are on streaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, call me Mank.

ELAM (voice over): "Mank" leads with ten nominations. But "Nomadland" is the front-runner for best picture.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR: Yes. I know what I'm doing.

ELAM (voice over): Chadwick Boseman is expected to win a posthumous award for best actor, but the biggest thing may just be on the Oscar themselves.

BELLONI: Will they be able to get that audience back, when there are movies in theatres or is this just accelerating a trend that already existed and those audience members are not coming back?

ELAM (voice over): In Hollywood, I'm Stephanie Elam.


BLACKWELL: Watched a lot of movies last year. Did not see enough of those though.

CAMEROTA: OK, well you have a few hours to get on that.


All right. So another arrest in the January 6th Capitol riot but listen to this one. The Justice Department has arrested and charged a man -- his name is Robert Chapman --because a match on a dating app tipped off authorities.

According to court documents, one week after the insurrection Chapman bragged about his trip to storm the Capitol to a potential match on Bumble -- not great potential there apparently. The other Bumble user took screen shots, turned them over to the FBI and replied to his message with, quote, we are not a match.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm looking for somebody who likes long walks, not an insurrection.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes, yes. You should probably put that on your profile next time.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's believable.

BLACKWELL: Yes, all right. So next SpaceX celebrating another successful launch to the International Space Station but the astronauts on board also just had a close call with some space debris.

CAMEROTA: But first, we want to honor this week's CNN Hero.

Actress Glenn Close has made it her mission to end the stigma and discrimination around mental illness ever since her sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She co-founded Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit that brings mental health awareness and support into schools and communities.


GLENN CLOSE, ACTRESS: I've always said that mental health is a family affair. When my sister Jess came to me and said I need help because I can't stop thinking of killing myself. It was like a bolt out of nowhere.

We have over the last ten years learned a tremendous amount about stigma, about how toxic it is. We have found that the best way to start ending stigma is to talk about it. Bring Change to Mind is a nonprofit organization that fights against the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

It's a chronic illness. It's not who you are. It's something because we have this amazing wondrous fragile brain. It's part of being a human being. Especially now because our collective mental health is under such stress.

It should be something that really connects us, this needs to take care of our brains. It makes us human.


BLACKWELL: To nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero go to



CAMEROTA: So this is National Infertility Awareness Week and it's an issue that hits close to home for me and millions of Americans and many in our own CNN family.

Check out the panel that a bunch of CNN anchors participated in. We opened up about our own infertility struggles and the emotional toll that it took.

According to the CDC, 1 in 8 U.S. couples suffers from infertility. If you're one of them know there is support out there. You could find out much more information by checking out our link on and you can also watch our panel discussion on my Instagram and Facebook pages. You can find me at Alisyn Camerota.

BLACKWELL: Right now, four astronauts from three countries are on their way to the International Space Station, but just in the past two hours the crew had a close call with some space debris. The astronauts were ordered to put on their suits, close their visors out of an abundance of caution.

CAMEROTA: NASA has given them the all-clear and the go-ahead to get some sleep.

They launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida early this morning aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for their six-month stay in space.

OK, speaking of launches. It's a good thing we're well-rested now, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We did it.

CAMEROTA: It's been quite a week.

BLACKWELL: One week in, social distance high five or fist bump or whatever we can from here.

CAMEROTA: We had a lot of news this week.

BLACKWELL: Breaking news every day. Is this what the afternoon is?

CAMEROTA: Apparently, it is.

BLACKWELL: All right. Well, let's get used to it. I've enjoyed this first week.

CAMEROTA: Me, too. Me, too. It's great to have you here, great you have to in New York.


CAMEROTA: It's been wonderful. So yes, let's do this again.

BLACKWELL: You know, let's start on Monday.

CAMEROTA: Let's do that.

BLACKWELL: All right.

CAMEROTA: All right, THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.