ALI VELSHI (HOST): Joining us now is Erin Reed, a journalist who tracks LGBTQ+ legislation in the United States. Erin, good to have you here, thank you for being with us. Tell me about this. What did you see on Tuesday, when you saw some of the successes motivated — not all the same as what Jane Cramer was doing — but by citizens who said, I think I have had enough with this nonsense?
ERIN REED (JOURNALIST): Yeah, Tuesday was such a fascinating example of the importance of local politics. And we've seen in the last three years the targeting of LGBTQ people, queer people, trans people, not only in schools but in workplaces and everyday life. And 2023 this election just now, on Tuesday was the biggest field test of that. It was going to be the test as to whether or not this issue would be a political winner for the Republican Party.
And we saw not just in Bucks County — where, obviously, big things happened in central Bucks County — but in Loudoun County and Central York School District, in Linn-Mar School District in Iowa. It happened in school board races across the United States. It didn't only even happen in school boards. It also happened in other races. We saw even in Governor Beshear's election they spent $2 million in advertisements targeting LGBTQ people in schools, trans people, queer people, and so it was a fascinating event that happened on Tuesday.
VELSHI: What I am fascinated by is who's telling conservatives that this is a good idea? Because it consistently ranks as nonexistent to most American voters. This is not a thing to most people. There are real things in society that they need to deal with, and this fear of what is happening to your kids, and people turning your kids gay and trans is not really a thing to most people, it doesn't rank, and it's actually doing the opposite. It appears to be motivating people who otherwise wouldn't vote in some of the races to actually come out and vote and organize.
REED: Absolutely, I can't remember the last time that there was such energy among progressive voters in local races. This is something that I think people have struggled to get progressive voters out to the polls for. But you're right, we have seen certain strategists on the right, we've seen various social media influencers claim that this was going to be the issue of our time, the big issue. In fact, right now, in national legislation, we see in the budget fight, which you were just talking about, there are fourteen provisions in these bills, where they target trans people in schools or trans people's medical care, where they defund children's hospitals. This is a major issue right now and now we'll see if they take lessons from what happened on Tuesday into 2024.
VELSHI: I guess the danger is, most voters are not concerned with these things, but the fact that they are happening means that most voters do have to become concerned with the legislation and do have to act on it.
REED: Absolutely. Because at the end of the day, whether you're concerned about it or not, if they shut down the government, then that has an impact on us all. And likewise, in your local school districts, if they spend the majority of their time focused on a trans person, one single trans student using the bathroom, rather than improving curriculum or improving teacher retention, you start to see these local school districts suffer. And I think that what we saw in this last election was the reaction against that. The fact that voters by and large saw the intense focus on often only one or two trans kids in the school and and said that that isn't what we want to be spending our time on.