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Biden Vows to Lead America Out of 'Season of Darkness'; 19 States Report COVID-19 Outbreaks at Colleges. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired August 21, 2020 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go. We know it is your favorite time of the evening, because look who's on your screen. It's Don Lemon and Christopher Cuomo. Welcome to our special coverage of the final night of the DNC. Joe Biden's, really, his biggest night of his half- century-long political career. Decades after his first attempt at the presidency, he came ready, Chris.

[00:01:24]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He absolutely did. And this is a very stark contrast, a stark choice for Americans. It is a tale of two visions of what this country is about.

One is about anger, anger at change, a desire to bring us back to some place when the carnage will end. That's Trump's image of this country. Joe Biden gave you something very different tonight. He said, and I quote, "I will draw on the best of us, not the worst of us. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. And united, we will overcome this season of darkness. A very different vision of what this country could be about, certainly nothing like American carnage, Don.

LEMON: Yes. You know, my favorite thing that he said is what I've been trying to tell. I have someone in my life who is just, you know, everything this current president says he believes, even when I present him with the facts.

But what I said, I said -- I've been saying to him, what this current president has forgotten is that he is the president for all Americans, even Americans who don't support him or didn't vote for him.

And what Joe Biden promised tonight -- This is my favorite thing -- is that I'm going to be the president even for the people who didn't vote for me. That's an important part of the job.

As you know from your dad and from your brother, you have to be bigger than the office. Right? It's not about personal, about you personally. It's about the people you're supposed to serve. Am I wrong?

CUOMO: Absolutely. The office has to be bigger than you. That was the hope with Trump. That once he got in, he'd understand that the "we" has to supersede the "me." I just don't see the evidence that that has happened. Now, that is OK. He could still win again, because people may say, I

like what he is about. But, you know, I think that it is beyond question that what we need right now, no matter left, right, the only reasonable outcome is to pick the man who is best suited to lead us out of this pandemic.

LEMON: You've got it.

CUOMO: Did Joe Biden make the strongest case possible tonight that he is the one to do so? It was a long speech. We're going to give you lots of different pieces of it. Here's a big one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The president keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him. No miracle is coming.

And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan. Well, I do. If I'm your president, on day one, we'll implement the national strategy I've been laying out since March. We'll develop and deploy rapid tests with results available immediately. We'll have a national mandate to wear a mask, not as a burden, but as a patriotic duty to protect one another. In short, we'll do what we should have done from the very beginning.

Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to the nation. He's failed to protect us. He's failed to protect America. And my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Hope over fear. Fact over fiction. Truth over lies. He says that a lot in his speeches, and I think that it rings true for the American people. I think the American people are tired of it, as you said. Some may still like what this president has to say, even in the middle of a pandemic that he's handled horribly.

[00:05:06]

But you cannot say that the current president is a truth teller. You cannot say that he traffics in fiction and lies and racism and all kinds of bigoted tropes. You cannot say that, because he does it every single day, and he was doing it today.

He also brought up Charlottesville. But go on. What did you want to say? Sorry about that.

CUOMO: I'm listening to you, brother. Go on.

LEMON: Yes. No, but I mean, he talked about. He brought up the reason -- he and his wife talked about why he got into this race. He said, you know, I'm not so sure I want to do it. I'm not so sure I want to do it.

Then lo and behold, Chris, they're sitting around, and they're watching the television, like all of us, and they are stunned by what they see and hear. We were all stunned by the neo-Nazis, blood and soil, Jews will not replace us, marching openly, nothing over their faces, no masks. This is pre-COVID. I mean, a mask to cover. No hoods, right? Tiki torches, khakis, and buttoned-down shirts.

And they said they're watching television, and they see the president of the United States say there are very fine people on both sides. Here's the former vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: A week ago yesterday was the third anniversary of the events in Charlottesville. Remember the violent clash that ensued between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. Do you remember what the president said when asked? He said there were, quote, "very fine people on both sides."

That was a wake-up call for us as a country, and for me, a call to action. At that moment, I knew I'd have to run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's a wake-up call, especially for me and I know for you, I'm sure.

CUOMO: Well, look, people try to defend the president out of it, but you know who never does? The president himself. You know, you'd think, as people who have to worry about what they say on a regular basis, what do we each do when someone takes us the wrong way with what we said? We jump at every opportunity to correct it. Hold on, I didn't mean that. Let me tell you what I meant, because this matters. This president has never done it in any convincing way.

What does that tell you? If it was so wrong -- Oh, he didn't mean it. He didn't say both sides. He didn't -- Why doesn't he say that? Why doesn't he make that case?

I think a very interesting dynamic in this election that was brought forth in full flavor tonight by Joe Biden is going to be this. You and I both understand why people resonated with the message of Trump during the last campaign. They are right to be frustrated, disaffected, to feel forgotten. That this is a system about class more than it is about treating everybody equally. I get their frustration, and I get why they're very reluctant to say Trump was the wrong choice, because that means they were wrong to feel that way, and they weren't wrong to feel that way.

LEMON: Cognitive dissonance, though.

CUOMO: But here's the thing. People are slow to say they made a bad choice ever, let alone when they didn't make a choice that was based on bad emotions. They are right to feel the way they feel, but now there is a new aggrieved class, and many of them are the same people who went for Trump.

This pandemic has created millions and millions of victims. Two out of three of us now know somebody who's been diagnosed with this virus. They are sick. They are scared. And they feel forgotten, on purpose, by this president.

And Joe Biden did something very interesting tonight that this president can't do. This isn't a criticism. It's a fact. Joe Biden has suffered pain that no one should have to suffer.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Things that make parents wake up in the middle of the night, things that make married people never want to go to bed. He has lived through them. And he uses his pain as a conveyor to those who are feeling pain. It is a very powerful tool, because when you feel lost and forgotten, the idea of a man or woman saying to you, I feel your pain. Remember when Clinton said that? And people believed it, and he connected and it was powerful. Listen to Biden tonight on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: On this summer night, let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most. I have some idea how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep black hole that opens up in the middle of your chest, and you feel like you're being sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.

But I've learned two things. First, your loved one may have left this earth, but they'll never leave your heart. They'll always be with you. You'll always hear them. And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[00:10:06]

CUOMO: I'm telling you, there is a growing number of people in this country who are scared and desperate, because their livelihoods are gone, and now because their livelihoods are gone, and now they're worried about their lives, period. That the kids are going to get sick. That their loved ones are going to get sick. The elderly are going to get sick. They're not going to be able to work for him.

People need help. This president is ignoring it. Can Joe Biden convince those people that he will be there for them, not just with his heart, but with his hands and with his head? That would be the trick for him in this election.

LEMON: It shouldn't be hard when you have more than 174,000 deaths, 5.5 million cases of coronavirus. You said that people are afraid that their kids are going to get it, or their family. Many of them have.

CUOMO: I know.

LEMON: And many of them have died.

CUOMO: I know. LEMON: Two things that I want to say to you. You were talking about

people who feel that they were unheard. Yes, people have a right to feel any way they want to feel.

But we must remember that sometimes -- not sometimes, but when the playing field is being leveled, it can feel like you're being unheard if you are used to being the preeminent voice. If you're used to having your way. It can feel like you're -- like you're being discriminated against, like people aren't hearing you.

But many times, it is just room being made for other people, which is what the American dream is about. Now, the empathy part of that, I agree with you 500 percent on the empathy part, as you know.

You remember when your dad died. And I -- I kept trying to get in touch with you. And I'm like, I know he's busy. Finally, on a -- I think it was a Sunday night or something. I was in the kitchen, and I was like, there he is, and you called and we talked about it. Empathy. I could only imagine how you felt in your heart.

You remember when my sister died. I came into work and got a phone call from my other sister, and my mom. And I was just -- I couldn't -- I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. And without the love of my friends and my coworkers, I don't think I could have gotten through that. I've lost my sister. I've lost my stepdad. I lost my real dad, and I lost my grandmother in a span of not too many years for some of it.

And that -- When that happens to you, it changes you. Most people. You know how to feel sorry for people. You know how to empathize with people. You know not to be a jerk to people. You know that people go through things, and you cut them slack.

Joe Biden shows that. Imagine losing your wife and your child. And then you find the second love of your life, as he said. And she comes in, makes your family whole, and then you lose your son on top of that. Again. And you wonder, my goodness, why is this happening to me?

This current president has never -- I have never seen an empathetic moment conveyed by this president, ever. It's always about him. It's never about someone else and how he's feeling about someone. Everything relates back to -- to him.

Now, you may call that a character flaw, but better minds than I have a different understanding and definition of what that is. It's certainly not empathetic, and I will let the professionals deal with that.

But that was something that was certainly -- not having empathy wasn't on display tonight. Empathy, love, compassion on display tonight, whether you vote for Joe Biden or not. You certainly cannot say that his family, the videos of his family speaking for him, his children, his grandchildren, and oh, boy, Brayden Harrington, 13-year-old, stutterer. I was crying like a baby.

CUOMO: Do we have him?

LEMON: I don't know if we have -- Do we have a soundbite of him? We do.

CUOMO: Let's listen to him. Let's listen.

LEMON: Can we hear it? Yes.

CUOMO: Now, just for a little -- One step backwards for people to understand, what is this kid doing there? Biden had a stutter his entire life.

LEMON: Right. Still does. But he's recovering --

CUOMO: Interestingly, and this kind of pissed me off. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't believe in making fun of people's challenges.

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: You can make fun of me when I screw something up, because that's something I shouldn't have done. Joe Biden has a stutter. That's different than needing some doctor to give you a mental acuity test. And, you know, so making fun of that to me is dirty pool. Biden deals with it his own way. I'm not here to defend him.

But he reaches out to people with stutters all the time to let them know because, you know, that is a very unusual malady. They can correct it now in a lot of instances. I actually covered that, and I've watched people's lives change with a repeater device in their own ear.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: But Joe says, you know, listen, let me reach out to you, and this kid was one of them. Now, listen to this kid and his experience as a stutterer and his connection to Joe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAYDEN HARRINGTON, 13 YEARS OLD: And without Joe Biden, I wouldn't be talking to you today. About a few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire. He told me that we were members of the same club. We stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: I love it. One thing, just so you understand this clinically. People grew up in my generation, our generation, making fun of people who would stutter, because you thought they were slow. A stutterer's mind is moving faster than ours.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Their processing speed --

LEMON: That's why they can't get it out and they're --

CUOMO: -- is better. And they're literally thinking faster than they can speak.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: So if anything, it's a sign of more horsepower, not less.

But here's the point. It doesn't matter to me what happens in an election, as long as it's fair. I know you and I disagree with that, and I'm OK with it. But here's what does matter to me. We have to be better to one another than the way we're being right now.

LEMON: Amen.

CUOMO: We are killing ourselves. We are creating differences that only exist on paper. Not in anybody's heart, not for real, not in the majority. And it needs to stop.

And Joe Biden putting that on display, it doesn't matter to me if it makes you feel that he is the right person to lead our government. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. But if nothing else, we have to start seeing people who are held out as examples of those who are loved into a better place. Instead of those who are brought on the TV to look at us and all say, you're right to be angry about what we're angry about.

Agents of animus are killing us. This place is way too fragile for what we've been doing to it for the last four years.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: We're only held together by common concerns. Again, Don and I are living proof of this. It took us a long time to figure out why you guys care so much that we're friends. You know, it just -- it never made sense to us.

LEMON: It's so weird. People are like, you guys are really friends? Yes. Or why you talk -- this is how we talk. This is what real friends do.

But here's the thing that I cannot, even from a real friend. If I had a real friend, if I had a real friend who was involved in a cult, which I feel it is cultish behavior, I must try to help them. And you can only go so far until you say, until you reach bottom, I cannot deal with it. It's like an addiction. Until you reach bottom, and you want help, I can't deal with it.

Here's where -- here's how I feel about this. I don't care about whether you're right or left. I've been right. I was a young Republican. And left. I'm an independent now. And I'm an independent thinker. And I believe in reality. I believe in facts. I believe one plus one equals two.

And so when I'm talking to people who, not are smart, but who think they are smart. There's a difference between being smart and thinking you're smart. Then I have to -- I've got to let you go. That's like a person who is a unknowledgeable about what a rich person is thinks that Donald Trump is a definition of what a rich person is. It is not. Most wealthy people I know are the most generous people you ever want

to meet. The smartest people you ever want to meet. Most. There are -- there are outliers. But most of them are. And most of them realize that they got where they are because the grace of God go I. Because they had an opportunity, and they took advantage of it. And some of it was luck.

But I cannot deal with people who think that Donald Trump is the definition of what a rich person looks like, who's not even as wealthy as he says. Who's not a good businessman. Who lies to them all the time. Who gets them to vote against their own interests. Who -- People who believe the lies coming out of this president's mouth, and then they repeat them back as talking points. I can't deal with that.

This is not about ideology. This is about truth.

So what we need to deal with in this country now, we need to -- in order for us to come together ad be able to really talk and stop castigating each other, and stop saying, I'm not going to do it -- we all need to have an idea, and a common perception of what reality is and what facts are. And we don't have that now.

Because the current person who's in office attacks institutions, attacks reality, attacks truth, attacks facts because they don't line up with him. He has now -- he has no truth. He started off by saying -- you know, he got his political career by saying the first black president wasn't born in this country. That was a lie. It wasn't a fact. The fact is, he was born in this country.

He started off by saying he's a great businessman. The fact is, he's not. He has been in -- he's had to file for bankruptcy more than, what, a half -- about a half dozen times or so. And if he had just saved, according to the experts, the money that he inherited from his father, he'd have more wealth than he has now.

[00:20:07]

So he lies to people, and they believe it. And so what is that? Cultish behavior. And I think a lot of people need to be deprogrammed right now before they cast their next ballots.

CUOMO: It's hard to agree on solutions when you can't agree on the facts that create the basis of a problem.

The trick for Joe Biden, or anybody opposing this president now is a very difficult one, inasmuch as it's not as easy as to just say, Hey, you tired of this? You tired of this guy? Because the easy answer is, yes. I think many people, including supporters of the president, would say yes. I'm kind of tired of this tweeting thing. I'm tired of the back and forth. I'm tired of having to defend things that I don't want to.

But can you make them believe that something is better? That something is possible? That there is reason to believe that government can do more and better? Because cynicism is at an all-time high.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And that's a trick. Trump doesn't have to make that case. Biden does.

LEMON: What do you have to lose? A whole lot. We've seen what we've had to lose. Think about it. All they have to do is make the case, really, if Democrats want to win, what do you have to lose? And show people what you've already lost, and what more, and how much more can you stand to lose?

We're living now. I mean, 2020 has been a you know what on wheels. And so --

CUOMO: Hey, look, Trump was right. He was four years early on it, but his phrase should be, "Make America great again." Because it's been completely torn asunder since he came into office.

We're in the middle of a pandemic. We have people protesting, and opportunistically riding in the streets over a problem that he won't admit. Pushed into more foment by a pandemic that he said is going to disappear. An economy that has been wrecked, except for the very wealthy, who play in a stock market --

LEMON: I was just going to say that.

CUOMO: -- that he now covets, that he used to dismiss as a gambling -- as a gambling play. So you're right. We do need a return to greatness. Because everything that he said he'd make better is much worse than when he got involved.

LEMON: We need to return to reality. We need -- what's his name? Rod Serling? Who does his -- at the "Twilight Zone"?

CUOMO: "The Twilight Zone."

LEMON: Yes, we need -- one way we're going to wake up and go, Phew, we're out on the other side.

CUOMO: I'll tell you what. Let's leave it for the next block, because we -- they're telling me that we've got to take a break.

LEMON: I don't hear them. They're not telling me. I'm just talking until they wrap me. Oh, there you go.

CUOMO: There is is. So we'll take a break. But you know what? Seamus Heaney in my life became a big deal, because he translated "Beowulf," maybe the most famous and longest poem of all time.

However, he has a great piece called "The Cure of Troy." And it is a very common poem that you'll remember. Biden used a key part of it tonight. And it really is a promise for this country, not to this country, because he can't make this promise, but we can to one another.

We'll play it next. We're going to take a break right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:26:43]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: The Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote, "History says don't hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme." This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme. With passion and purpose. Let us begin. You and I, together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Those are powerful words. And it is a powerful promise. But it's a difficult sell in our current political climate, for people to hope, for people to believe that there is a reason to believe in something better.

Let's talk about Biden's delivery tonight, the setup of this ticket, and the prospect of meeting that purpose. Nina Turner, Terry McAuliffe, Karen Finney, great panel. Thankful to have each and every one of you with me.

Nina Turner, those are big words. Joe knows them well. He's used them in the past. You can tell it in how he recited it. He often uses the verse that follows after it, which is a call to action for people. He used the part he wanted to use tonight.

How difficult do you think the task is of convincing people who have good reason to feel disaffected, that government can do more than they probably believe it has ever done before?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Very hard, Chris. Because heretofore, the government has failed for the last 40 years. I mean, all you have to do is talk to the poor, the working poor, and the barely middle class in this country. And we know this.

And what President Trump has done has exacerbated that -- those challenges. You know, we have 90 million people in this country right now who are under-insured, or uninsured. We've got 12 billionaires right now, Chris, and I was listening to you and Don -- 12 -- we have 12 billionaires who control a trillion dollars. You know, we are entering, as Secretary Robert Reich talked about, the second Gilded Age.

So when you combine all of that, it is very hard to get people to believe that government can or that government will. Because we have the capacity to change and to help people through their struggle, beyond COVID, because their challenges were there before COVID. The COVID just exposed the fistatures [SIC].

The question becomes, Do we have the will to do it? We being those who we elect to -- to help solve those conundrums? And whether or not people will believe that enough to beat -- to come out to the polls and vote. CUOMO: So from the senator to the governor, Terry McAuliffe. So people

say, you know, Yes, I like Joe. You don't have to sell me on it. I get it. And it sucks what he went through in his life. It's amazing that he kept enduring such kind of personal pain that the rest of us can't really imagine.

But, you know, he's been there the whole time, for the same period that Senator Turner says government has sucked. What do I want him in there for? Don't I need somebody new? That's why I went for Trump in the first place. At least he's from the outside. Hates the same things I do. Joe has been a part of them.

[00:30:04]

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, they've seen Donald Trump in office for now three and a half years, Chris. You know, he ran as a reality star. People were excited, something new.

Now they've had a reality star for three and a half years. It's run our economy absolutely into the ditch; 100,000 --- 170,000 Americans are now dead. Five million people have contracted COVID. So they are looking for the government to step up.

Under President Obama and Vice President Biden, they dealt with a horrible economy before. And they're running against someone who has no moral core in Donald Trump. You talked about Charlottesville earlier. You know, I was the governor of Charlottesville. I talked to Donald Trump that day. This was not like he just came out and said it. I had a conversation with him at noon that day. I said, "Mr. President, you have to come out and condemn this hatred."

He told me he would that day, Chris. And I waited four hours. What happened? White House got him, said, No, no, no. No. You will not mention the word "neo-Nazi." You will not mention the word "white supremacist." And he came out and said there were good people on both sides. So that's Trump.

You have Joe Biden tonight, going to the American public saying, I'm going to protect you. I'll work with you. Health care, get the economy back, foreign policy, protect our troops.

People are looking for hope. They're looking to be unified. They're looking to be healed. It was such a stark contrast. The compassion, the empathy of Joe Biden versus what you have with Donald Trump.

So you know, I'm optimistic. And the one thing to remember, since 2016, since Trump got elected, turnout in our states has been up dramatically, in '17, '18, '19, '20. People woke up after 2016 and said, Holy cow, what happened? Well, 92 million people didn't vote in 2016. Many of them have come out since then.

So I'm going to a place where Joe Biden spoke to people tonight, gave them a reason to vote for him, gave them a reason to fight over the next 75 days to turn this country around.

CUOMO: Karen, you and I talked a lot in the last cycle, where I would say to you, and not easy questions but that was the position you were in. Did you guys love Clinton? Because you know, you guys have got to love your people, man. And I feel like, yes, I'm for Hillary, but. I'm for Hillary, but.

What are you hearing now about Biden? Is he a "but," as well?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think people are excited to have this race and have this conversation and get ready -- and we're ready to go. Put it that way.

And I just have to tell you. I noticed something, a slight difference in what I think Biden was trying to accomplish tonight. And this is part of why I think people are rallying around him.

His point is, You can trust me. You look at all the promises that Donald Trump has made, you look around and you see -- you were having this conversation about government. There is a collapse of confidence. We are out here on our own.

I mean, I remember your brother, the governor of New York, watching those press conferences, thinking, Thank God there is some -- one capable person trying to pull this thing together.

And I think part of what we saw with Joe Biden, and I think part of -- you know, some people are very excited. Some people are just happy to have somebody, a grown-up in the room who potentially knows how to get -- basically knows how to get us back on track, how to stop this nonsense, how to get us on a better platform as we're dealing with COVID, restore relationships around the world, and then look to our future.

And his whole -- you know, talking about darkness and light, I mean, starting with Ella Baker. Come on. For me as a black woman, I was like, Are you kidding me with this, right? But I mean, it was beautiful.

But also, I mean, I think we have to -- you know, that's about hope. That's about our future. That's about can we -- And you know, it's like we've kind of been afraid to hope, right, because it's -- as you've talked about, it's been -- it's so painful. It's so hard. And it's been made harder in COVID.

And so I think people are enthusiastic. I think we've seen the enthusiasm, you know, deepen since Kamala Harris was added to the ticket. But I also think, you know, people now, the goal of a convention is to say, All right, guys. We've got to get out there and do this thing and win this thing. And I think he absolutely accomplished that with the base of the Democratic Party.

CUOMO: McAuliffe didn't leave. We just lost -- This happens all the time. We lost his signal. It's fine.

FINNEY: Yes.

CUOMO: Last word to you, Nina. You guys learned the lesson? Did we learn -- good, you're there. Senator, do you think the parties learned the lesson that, if you guys don't come out, full flavor, you're going to lose again?

TURNER: Not necessarily, but there's still time to learn that lesson. This is turnout. It always is about turnout. People have to be motivated, and how you motivate them is having a vision to change their material conditions.

So certainly, the material conditions of people in this country must change, and they must change quickly. People are literally dying, no doubt. And this was happening pre-COVID, Chris. And I keep emphasizing this, because it is not going to be enough just to return us to normal. One person's normal is somebody else's I'm living in hell right now. Poor people in this country, that has been their reality for a very long time.

[00:35:12]

CUOMO: Who's dying the most? Who's getting sick the most? Who's forced --

TURNER: Right.

CUOMO: -- to be in the essential working positions the most?

TURNER: That's right.

CUOMO: Who checks the most predisposition boxes that makes the sickness worse?

TURNER: That's right.

CUOMO: It's the same problem with class and color we had going into it.

TURNER: That's the thing.

CUOMO: The question is, is this the ticket to fix it? That's the case to make. Nina Turner; Terry McAuliffe, wherever you are; Karen Finney, thanks to each and all. God bless.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You know, the coronavirus, big theme tonight at the Democratic National Convention, even as new coronavirus cases are on the decline in most states. Health experts are warning all that could change, especially -- all that could change, especially with infections rising in schools.

As of tonight, at least 19 states are reported [SIC] cases at colleges and universities. North Carolina State is among the latest to go virtual after several COVID clusters were found there. That discovery has forced 500 students into quarantine. Thousands more across this country have also been told to do the same.

[00:40:20] So let's discuss now with Dr. Erin Bromage, professor of Biology and Immunology at U. Mass, Dartmouth.

Doctor, good to see you, thank you so much.

DR. ERIN BROMAGE, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, DARTMOUTH: Good to see you, too.

LEMON: A lot more schools in the coming days are going to reopen in person. For colleges, these outbreaks are being traced to off-campus gatherings and Greek life.

This is just the latest example of a gathering. This is at Penn State. It was last night. And if we -- so look at this. If this is a reality, Doctor, what hope is there that colleges can ensure that these gatherings won't turn into super-spreader events? Or maybe they can't ensure that, because this is just the nature of being a college student.

BROMAGE: Yes. I mean, it was a little bit of magical thinking to think that we could bring in students from around the country from different hotspots or cold spots around the country into one area in a setting where people congregate by design, and think that we weren't going to see these type of things.

Now, some colleges have done it right. They've brought people in. They've quarantined them for 14 days. They've restricted their movements. They've tested them into the program. And then you know you can actually more safely gather.

But the schools that just opened up that were large; brought people into Greek houses, brought people into dormitories, and there was -- the mixing that was allowed, it was just -- it was going to happen. Everyone said this was going to happen.

LEMON: Yes, listen, I mean, we -- we were both that age at one time. It's hard to remember sometimes. But you think that -- you think you're invincible then. You know, you don't really think about mortality at that point.

I mean, look at this. This is the University of North Georgia. You see all these kids here.

Doctor, you specialize in immunology, and I just want you to listen to what Dr. Redfield said today about why the northeast may be doing so well. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: But there is a reasonable speculation that the reason the northeast is doing so well right now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, right.

REDFIELD: -- is not 100 percent because they're more adherent to the mitigation steps. There may be, in fact, an impact of immunity that, combined with mitigation, that gets to a threshold that keeps this virus, so --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So this whole thing about herd immunity. There's so much misinformation going around. But before we get to that, he also said that 60 million Americans may have had this virus. That's far more than what's been confirmed. Should this give us hope that the possibility of herd immunity is closer than we think, or is that a pipe dream?

BROMAGE: Well, it's not a pipe dream. I mean, the -- the range he gave was between 30 and 60 million. So it's quite a range, based on, you know, serological blood testing studies to see antibodies in people.

There are certain pockets of the country -- New York, some places in Boston -- where the infection really ripped through those communities, and it did get to 20, 30, 40 percent. So they are definitely closer than most other areas.

But when you look throughout most of New England, very few people outside of the really dense urban areas have been exposed. So it's unlikely that we're closer to herd immunity, like the 60 percent. We're nowhere near that at the moment. We'd have to go through another April outbreak again --

LEMON: Yes.

BROMAGE: -- to get even halfway to where we need to be.

LEMON: Yes, OK. I'm glad you -- Those are the facts. Thank you, Doctor. It's good to see you. Be safe. Thanks so much.

BROMAGE: You're welcome. Have a good evening.

LEMON: You, too.

So Joe Biden is not Donald Trump, obviously. Is that enough to win votes, though? Did his pitch tonight move the needle? Harry Enten, the wizard of odds -- that's what Chris calls him. He tells us what we need to watch to tell if Biden gained ground from the convention. You don't want to miss that. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:48:15]

CUOMO: The DNC is done. By the way, I'm off tomorrow, because these hours wipe me out. But here is the question, exiting this moment, for all of us.

What will it take for Biden to win? Now, the answer is going to be in the numbers. And for that, we turn to the wizard of odds, Harry Enten.

Good to see you, young brother. First metric I want you to unpack for us. The percentage among those

who approve of Trump, versus the number or percentage among those who disapprove of Trump. If you like Trump, you're up 86 points over Biden, percentage points. If you disapprove, 80. Now, that's interesting. What does that number mean?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND ANALYST: Yes, it's very interesting to me. So essentially, the argument from people like myself, right, has been this is a referendum on the incumbent. So if you dislike the president, therefore, you're going to vote for Biden, which is largely true.

But notice that the president is getting a larger share, is winning by a larger margin, among those who approve of him, then Biden is getting among the group that disapproves of him.

So one of the things I'm really looking for out of this convention is whether Biden can help coalesce those voters who dislike the president of the United States. Because remember, last time around, voters didn't like Trump either, but he still was able to win, because Clinton could not coalesce those voters who just disliked Trump. So for Biden out of this convention, the big question is can he coalesce those voters who dislike the president of the United States?

CUOMO: And you see, it's not a no-brainer. It's not going to be that easy. That takes us, as a segue, to the idea of popularity. All right?

Now, it's easy to say, Joe Biden is a likable guy. Doesn't mean he's politically popular. Now, where does he rank in terms of people who have won for president in terms of popularity, and cross-index that with where Clinton was four years ago, and cross-index that with where Trump was four years ago versus now.

[00:50:11]

ENTEN: Right. So I mean, look, Joe Biden is much better liked than Hillary Clinton was four years ago. But I don't think that's necessarily the bar he wants to reach. He wants to reach the bar where he's actually well-liked. And at this point, his net favorability, his favorable minus his unfavorable, leaves him at minus one percentage point, which actually means more people dislike him, barely, than like him. And that leaves him well behind the average winning candidate since 1980. Right?

So he doesn't just want to be sort of the default option for those who dislike Trump. He wants to ensure voters like him, as well. And if he's able to do that, then, I think his place is much more secure.

So coming out of the convention, I'm not just looking at the horse race numbers. I'm also looking whether or not Biden has become more likable in the minds of voters.

CUOMO: All right. So we'll see. But we already have that answer with Trump. Where is he in terms of popularity, you know, election over election? ENTEN: Yes, right. I mean, he's better liked than he was four years

ago. His net favorability was in the minus 20, minus 30s. And now it's at minus 15 percentage points, as you see.

But he's still very much unliked. The only way Trump can really win this election, in my mind, is whether or not he's able to bring Biden into the gutter with him. And that's why it's so important for Biden to become better liked coming out of Delaware or this convention.

CUOMO: I think that's going to be the secret sauce for Harris. Harris is going to have to be throwing haymakers at Trump on a regular basis, try to draw his fire, which thus far, even though people don't vote for V.P.'s, you can get the vote of Trump's animus pretty easily. We'll see if he takes that bait. Because I know she's going to lay it out there for him if she's smart.

All right. So the idea of where Joe Biden has to get this net increase in popularity, slash approval, which group?

ENTEN: Yes, it's 18- to 29-year-olds. It's younger voters. Look, they're --

CUOMO: Do they even vote?

ENTEN: They do. I mean, they don't vote in as large percentage of, say, older voters.

CUOMO: Come on. When was the last time they voted over 30 percent in a national election?

ENTEN: I mean, look, they're never be more than 10 or 15 at most 20 percent of the electorate.

CUOMO: Are you hearing that at home? You people? There are a lot of young people who watch this show, especially as we get later at night. Bless you for doing it. We need you, we appreciate you.

But literally. All the talk, all the social media, everything coming out of the shooting in Parkland. You know, you had a little moment of dazzle in 2018. You are not expected to vote over 30 percent of your population in this election. It's time for you guys to step up and represent, man. The future is supposed to be yours. This is embarrassing if, in this election, you're not a 30 percent.

But what does history tell us again?

ENTEN: I mean, no. I think the key thing here right now is that Biden is getting the votes of those under the age of 30, but they don't like him, necessarily. His net favorability with them is minus 4 percentage points. This is a huge gap.

Biden right now is just the default option, because he's not Donald Trump. I think the real question coming out of this convention is will younger voters not just say that they prefer Biden to Trump, but they actually like Biden? And the reason why that's so important, tying that into your point,

Chris, is because we're looking at registered voters. We're not looking at likely voters. Just because they like Biden over Trump doesn't necessarily mean they're going to turn out for Biden.

And the way he can ensure that those younger voters do, in fact, turn out for him is if they actually like him, where they feel like they're not just casting a negative vote, but one in which they feel like they're casting a positive vote for a candidate they actually like.

CUOMO: So Harry, let's bring in Captain Handsome. Here he is. I hear him. There he is.

LEMON: Young people don't vote.

ENTEN: There he is.

LEMON: I was having this conversation tonight.

CUOMO: They don't.

LEMON: Someone said, This convention was not -- they're in their 20s. It was not made for us. We didn't -- I said --

CUOMO: That's because you don't vote.

LEMON: -- you guys don't vote.

CUOMO: Yes, because you don't vote.

LEMON: They never, ever vote.

CUOMO: Why would people cater to you if you never come out?

LEMON: And so why is that, Harry?

ENTEN: I mean --

LEMON: Why don't young people vote? And I disagree with you on one other thing, but I will talk about it.

ENTEN: Go -- Why don't you tell me what you disagree with me first?

LEMON: One question at a time, though. Why don't they vote? That's what I don't understand. I've voted ever since I could vote. In every single presidential election, I voted, from the time I was 18 on.

ENTEN: I mean, part of it is that you become tied to the community. Right? And that's something that occurs as you get older and older and older. You settle down, you have kids. You get a partner. And then voting becomes habitual.

And right now, younger voters are not in that place right now. So when they grow older, that's -- look, it's always the case that younger people don't vote. Then, all of a sudden, they start voting in much higher numbers as they get older. That's just always been the case. CUOMO: But you guys are supposed to be smarter and more activated. And

Parkland was supposed to be a watershed moment. And in 2018, you were one of the guys telling me that we saw them come out more than was expected.

ENTEN: I told you that? That's interesting. I'm not sure I did. But I will say --

CUOMO: I'll look it up.

LEMON: Hamana-hamana-hamana.

ENTEN: No, no, no, no, no. It's not hamana-hamana-hamana. He didn't have me on his program in 2018. Lemon had me on his program in 2018.

LEMON: Oh, snap.

ENTEN: So I don't know what I said in 2018.

CUOMO: OK.

ENTEN: But the general point being, was I was not surprised that younger voters didn't turn out. And that's part of the reason why Joe Biden won this primary. He was never liked by younger voters. He made the bet that he could win on the backs of older voters. They make up a much larger share of the electorate. And that's part of the reason why Trump, at all, is even competitive right now. Because if this were just an election about young people, Biden would be blowing him out.

LEMON: OK, we've got two -- we've got two seconds left.

CUOMO: What didn't you agree with?

LEMON: I didn't agree with -- that young -- that people don't vote for the vice president. This time, I think they will. I think people -- I think --

CUOMO: Historically they don't.

LEMON: Historically they don't. But I do think -- I know they will this time. Because I hear young people saying, You know, I wasn't listening to Kamala -- they call her Kamala -- I wasn't listening to her message back during the primaries, but now, I like what she's saying. What didn't she say that?

I said, She's always said that. There was just too many people on the stage. She got drowned out, and now you're listening to her.

But I think people do like her. And I think young people, or people in general, will vote for the vice president this time. I think this one's going to be different.

CUOMO: Highly speculative.

ENTEN: I think we have a bet going forward. We'll see. We'll look at the polls. We'll take a look at it after election day. Maybe we'll finally get together, if COVID may actually go away. Otherwise, we'll do it over Zoom, and we'll talk it out.

CUOMO: Yes, Zoom is good enough for you.

LEMON: Harry, you just said, I had you on the program before, in 2018, before this guy, right, who's --

CUOMO: I gave him a nickname! I made this guy!

LEMON: Well, anyways. I gave him a chance, though.

ENTEN: I named myself.

LEMON: I gave him a chance, instead of a nickname.

CUOMO: I gave him a signature line, shalom.

LEMON: No one has ever said, Shalom?

CUOMO: Never, I made it up.

LEMON: OK. I've got a few friends that are talking about that. But Harry --

ENTEN: You're both beautiful. We're all beautiful.

LEMON: Harry, we're going to figure that out. Because I think that -- I do think people will vote for the -- for the vice president this time.

CUOMO: You better hope so, if they want Biden to win.

LEMON: Well, I don't -- look, you vote for who you want to vote for. I'm just telling you what I think.

And Harry, you have to remember, I'm always right. I'm always right. Chris knows that.

ENTEN: Look --

CUOMO: Show us how right you are getting to break.

ENTEN: -- you're both always right, as far as I'm concerned, when you have me on your program. OK?

LEMON: You want me to show you how I get to break? Let me show you. You guys ready?

ENTEN: Do it.

LEMON: Are you ready Mr. Director? Here we go. [SNAPS]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END