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Sanders' biggest challenge: voter turnout

Sanders' biggest challenge: voter turnout

02/10/16 09:47PM

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, talks with Rachel Maddow about how well Bernie Sanders has been able to establish a political operation in South Carolina, and the demographics Sanders will have to reach. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 2.10.16

02/10/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* More on this in the morning: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will end his presidential bid on Wednesday after a disappointing sixth place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary, NBC News confirms."
* It's impossible to overstate how much is on the line: "The Supreme Court's surprise decision Tuesday to halt President Obama's climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats said."
* Afghanistan: "The United States Army will deploy hundreds of soldiers to the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where government forces have been pushed to the brink by Taliban militants, a military spokesman said Tuesday."
* The "determined to strike" framing sure does ring a bell, doesn't it? "Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year, senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday, telling lawmakers that a small group of violent extremists will attempt to overcome the logistical challenges of mounting such an attack."
* Ferguson, Mo.: "Faced with one of the most monumental decisions in its city's history, the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree with the federal government. The move is not sitting well with some of the embattled city's residents – or the Department of Justice."
* CDC: "If you want to know how quickly the Zika virus will spread, just look at what happened in Puerto Rico with a related virus, chikungunya, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday."
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina fields questions from the press following the “happy hour” debate hosted by Fox News at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

Carly Fiorina exits stage right

02/10/16 04:01PM

Last night, following another failed primary race, Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina told supporters, "We are going to keep going." Evidently, that wasn't quite true.
Carly Fiorina dropped out of the presidential contest on Wednesday, after scoring just 4 percent of votes in New Hampshire's Republican primary.
"While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them," the former Hewlett-Packard executive said in a statement.
Fiorina's full statement is available on her Facebook page. The California Republican ended her candidacy after finishing in seventh place in New Hampshire, picking up about 4% of the vote, which followed a seventh-place finish in Iowa, where she received less than 2% of the vote.
For Fiorina, who was seeking the presidency despite never having served in elected office, this was her second attempt in politics, following a failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2010, when she lost by double digits to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
The former tech executive's departure from the race is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall trajectory of the nominating fight, but let's not forget there was a point not too long ago in which Fiorina looked like she'd be a real contender.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on stage before the start of the Democratic presidential debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., Feb. 4, 2016. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Voter turnout challenges Sanders' recipe for success

02/10/16 12:53PM

It's not exactly a secret that Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign faces skeptics when it comes to "electability." With so much on the line in 2016, including the prospect of a radicalized Republican Party controlling the White House and Congress, plenty of Democratic voters, even some who may like Sanders and his message, are reluctant to nominate a candidate who's likely to fail in a general election.
And on the surface, those concerns are hard to dismiss out of hand. Sanders is, after all, a self-described socialist senator running in an era in which most Americans say they wouldn't support a socialist candidate. He's 74 years old -- two years older than Bob Dole was in 1996. Sanders has no experience confronting the ferocity of the Republican Attack Machine.
When GOP officials, leaders, and candidates take steps to help the Sanders campaign, it's pretty obvious why.
But Sanders and his supporters have a counter-argument at the ready. Below these surface-level details, the argument goes, Sanders' bold and unapologetic message will resonate in ways the political mainstream doesn't yet understand. Marginalized Americans who often feel alienated from the process -- and who routinely stay home on Election Day -- can and will rally to support Sanders and propel him to the White House.
The old political-science models, Team Sanders argues, are of limited use. Indeed, they're stale and out of date, failing to reflect the kind of massive progressive turnout that Bernie Sanders -- and only Bernie Sanders -- can create.
This isn't the entirety of Sanders' pitch, but it's a key pillar: the Vermont senator will boost turnout, which will propel him and Democratic candidates up and down the ballot to victory.
There is, however, some fresh evidence that challenges the thesis.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 2.10.16

02/10/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* There hasn't been any major shake-up on Hillary Clinton's staff, but she is adding Jen O'Malley Dillon, the former deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, to the Clinton team.
* As attention now shifts to South Carolina, which hosts its Democratic primary in about two weeks, Clinton unveiled a new ad yesterday called "Broken," which focuses on systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
* Chip Englander, who ran Rand Paul's failed presidential campaign, has decided to join Marco Rubio's operation.
* It seems hard to believe, but Rep. Todd Young, the leading Republican candidate in Indiana's U.S. Senate race, "may not have submitted enough valid petition signatures to qualify" for the ballot. The Indiana Democratic Party is moving forward with a challenge to Young's eligibility.
* MSNBC reported yesterday that Bernie Sanders, throughout his Senate career, "has been a regular presence at luxurious Democratic fundraising retreats, according to more than a half-dozen lobbyists, donors and former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee staff members with whom he attended the events." It follows a similar report about Sanders attending a 2007 fundraiser on Martha's Vineyard, which included wealthy lobbyist donors.
* The field of Republican Senate candidates in Florida will apparently grow to five, with homebuilder Carlos Beruff poised to throw his hat in the ring.
In a Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House, in Augusta, Maine, where he apologized for his remark about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating "young white" girls. (Photo by Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

For Maine's LePage, race isn't 'irrelevant' after all

02/10/16 11:20AM

About a month ago, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) was asked at a town-hall meeting about drug abuse in the state. The Republican governor focused on heroin, which he said was reaching Maine from out-of-state drug dealers.
"These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty ... these types of guys ... they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home," LePage said. "Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road."
That, of course, sounded pretty racist, but the governor's spokesperson said in a statement to reporters, "The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant."
In fact, LePage soon after added at a press conference, "I never said anything about white or black traffickers.... What are they, black? I don't know. I just read the names."
As it turns out, that wasn't exactly an accurate reflection of the governor's thoughts on the matter. The Portland Press Herald reported yesterday on LePage elaborating on the subject.
Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday that "I had to go screaming at the top of my lungs about black dealers" and make other "outrageous comments" to force the Legislature to take the state's drug crisis seriously.
LePage's "black dealers" comment contradicts his earlier assertions that the media and his political opponents -- not he -- inserted race into the drug debate by misinterpreting his statement that out-of-state dealers often "impregnate a young white girl" in Maine.
It would appear the "race is irrelevant" talking point is no longer valid.


About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.



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