Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 12/20/2015

Robert P. Jones, Basil Smikle, Jr., Daisy Hernandez, Brittney Cooper, Whitney Dow, Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Jeff Weaver; Joe Canason; Dorie Clark; Rachel Marcus; Daisy Hernandez; Carmen Chavez

Date: December 20, 2015
Guest: Robert P. Jones, Basil Smikle, Jr., Daisy Hernandez, Brittney
Cooper, Whitney Dow, Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Jeff Weaver; Joe Canason;
Dorie Clark; Rachel Marcus; Daisy Hernandez; Carmen Chavez

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question, is Martin Shkreli finally
getting acquainted with a little thing called karma?

Plus the race factor in 2016 politics, but not the one you expect.

And the sports person of the year.

But first, the Democrats throw down in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Good morning. I`m Joy Reid in Melissa.

Last night`s Democratic debate was one of the last opportunities of the
year for candidates to make their case for the nation on a nationally
televised stage. Now, it wasn`t exactly the biggest of stages given its
placement in the television graveyard of Saturday night programming, but it
was the last debate of the year. And there is only one more debate
remaining before primary elections kick off with the Iowa caucuses in
February. So the candidates needed to make it count, especially if you`re
Bernie Sanders.

Now, if you`re Bernie Sanders, those three hours of exposure on network
television were a chance to make up for the media`s collective “meh” when
it comes to covering your campaign. A recent analysis of election coverage
by the Tindall report which tracks network nicely news programs found that
Bernie Sanders received just ten minutes out of 857 minutes of campaign
coverage in 2015. Compare that to 234 minutes for Donald Trump, and 113
for Hillary Clinton.

Well, this week may have been a reminder to the Sanders campaign to be
careful what you wish for because those minutes of coverage increase
exponentially when the Sanders campaign became the center of a good old-
fashioned political controversy this week. His coverage went from no news
to bad news with the revelation that four Sanders staffers took advantage
of a software glitch to access confidential voter data belonging to the
Hillary Clinton campaign. What followed was a stand-off in which the
Democratic National Committee cut the campaign`s access to its own voter
data and the Sanders campaign responded by suing the DNC and accusing it of
putting a thumb on the scale in Clinton`s favor.

By Saturday morning the dust had settled, the DNC restored previously
blocked access to the voter file. The Sanders campaign agreed to cooperate
in an investigation of the data breach. And this morning “Politico”
reported that two more Sanders staffers had been suspended following the
campaign`s data director who was fired on Friday. And the Clinton campaign
was quote “pleased” with how it all turned out. Of course, beneath the
surface of all that making nice was heightened anticipation about whether
the debate would turn nasty because the data breach scandal was predictably
the first question out of the gate last night.


two months ago, we didn`t go running to the media and make a big deal about
it. And it bothers me very much that rather than working on this issue to
resolve it, it has become many press releases from the Clinton campaign

DAN MUIR, WORLD NEWS ANCHOR: So does Secretary Clinton deserve an apology

SANDERS: Yes. I apologize.

know, we have resolve your data, we have agreed on an independent inquiry,
we should move on because I don`t think the American people are all that
interested in this.


REID: Now, once that was out of the way, the debate was a chance for
senator Sanders to have a game-changing moment to recapture the news cycle
and build momentum going into 2016 and he took his best shot at having a


SANDERS: Excuse me. Do not tell me that I have not shown courage in
standing up to the gun people, in voting to ban assault weapons, voting for
instant background checks, voting to end the gun show loophole and now in a
position to create a consensus in America on gun safety.

MUIR: Would corporate America love a president Sanders?

SANDERS: No, I think they won`t. The CEO of large multi-nationals like
Hillary. They won`t going to like me and Wall Street is going to like me
even less.


REID: (INAUDIBLE). Senator Clinton, meanwhile, told the line between
brushing off attacks from her opponents and staying the course in her
position far ahead of the pack.


CLINTON: The American president has to both keep our families safe and
make the economy grow in a way that helps everyone, not just those at the
top. That`s the job. I have a strategy to combat and defeat ISIS without
getting us involved in another ground war. And I have plans to raise
incomes and deal with a lot of the problems that keep families up at night.

MUIR: Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?

CLINTON: Everybody should.


REID: Aggressive Martin O`Malley came out swinging!


economic issues around the kitchen table, and if people want a more high-
minded politics and want to move our country forward, go on to and help my campaign move our country moves.

ISIL videos, ISIL training videos are telling lone wolves the easiest way
to cut by a combat assault weapon in America is at a gun show, because of
the flip-flopping political approach of Washington that both of my two
colleagues on this stage have represented there for the last 40 years.


REID: Joining me now from Manchester is Democratic National Committee
chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Madam, chairwoman, thank you for joining us this morning.

Thanks, Joy. Great to be here.

REID: All right. Let`s get right to it. I think the Democrats had a
successful debate last night but it was on a Saturday night. It was one of
a very few debates. Only the third one so far. And there have been
suggestions from supporters of both Bernie Sanders` campaign and Martin
O`Malley`s campaign that that was designed to help Hillary Clinton. So
I`ll just ask you straight up, is the Democratic National Committee putting
its thumb on the scale in favor of Senator Clinton?

SCHULTZ: Joy, I mean let`s think about this. Does it make any sense at
all that the chair of a national party would want fewer voters to see our
candidates? I don`t control the schedule of the networks. We have three
of our debates that are on network television, and those are on Saturday
nights. We have three other debates that are during the week. And
unfortunately, broadcast network programming is less flexible than cable
network programming.

If you look at the Republican debates on broadcast networks, those are on
Saturday nights, too. It is unfortunate but I can assure you, I didn`t ask
for our debates to be on a Saturday night. We have a combination of
schedules between the candidates and the networks and our partners that
really result in the way our debate schedule falls out. And you know, this
one fell on a Saturday night. That`s all it is. Nothing sinister.

REID: Well, should there be more debates and will there be more debates
because there have been calls for that as well?

SCHULTZ: There will be six debates and we have had a number of candidate
forums. And there will be more going forward. But you know, again, I have
said this many times, I`ll say it again, we need a wide variety of ways for
voters to get a good look at our candidates. You know, we have the 100th
anniversary this year. We are having the 100th anniversary of this year of
the first in the nation primary in New Hampshire. And these voters take
their responsibility very seriously. They like to kick the tires. They
get the most up close and personal look in the entire arc of the campaign
at the candidates. And debates are time consuming. They take a candidate
off the trail for preparation and, you know, their whole team gets fully
engaged. So we think that a six-debate schedule, particularly with three
candidates in our race, is about the right number to make sure that we –
our candidates can do the wide variety of activities necessary to make sure
voters can get a good look at them.

REID: Now, of course, the first question out of the gate as expected was
about the data breach and as the recent scandal over Sanders` campaign
staffers accessing information from the Clinton campaign. The Sanders
campaign has accused you, has accused the DNC, of bias in favor of Hillary
Clinton. And I ask the question of one of the vice chairs, R.T. Rybak,
yesterday of whether, in his view, you personally favor Hillary Clinton
over the other candidates. I want to play you what he said.


REID: Do you feel that the chair favors the Hillary Clinton campaign?

chair`s job is to be fair and I think the job of all of the vice chairs is
to make sure that happens. And we have really robust conversations about
what balance is, and it`s not easy.


RYBAK: There is no doubt about it. But I need people to know that there
is a group of people who are part of the leadership of the DNC, and I will
make damn sure as a vice chair, and so will others, that we do everything
humanly possible to have a level playing field.


REID: Now, Madam Chair, that didn`t sound 100 percent like R.T. Rybak, the
vice chair, was saying that he thinks you are impartial. Are you impartial
as to who the next Democratic nominee will be?

SCHULTZ: Of course I am, Joy. I`m 100 percent impartial. I`m – my
responsibility is to manage this primary nominating contest neutrally and
fairly. I man, let`s think about this. I am a member of Congress. And I
do have a choice as to whether or not to continue as DNC chair and be
neutral and do everything I can and put in the kind of time and hours and
days on the road that I do to make sure that we can elect Democrats up and
down the ballot and elect a Democrat as president. Or I could not be chair
and go work for the candidate of my choice. I`m choosing to remain as
chair so that I can fight like hell to make sure that the jokers on the
other side of the aisle aren`t able to get hold of the White House. That`s
because I care deeply about this party and our agenda and making sure that
we can continue to build on President Obama`s legacy. So any suggestion
that I am doing anything other than manage this primary impartially and
neutrally is ludicrous.

REID: And let just ask you because there has been a fair amount of
criticism of the DNC for letting this squabble between Sanders and Clinton
campaigns spill out into the open. As we both know, campaigns and
primaries can get ugly. There are always messy squabbles. This is the
first time, you know, that we have seen it born out in the public in this
way and the DNC getting involved in that. There is a fair amount of
criticism of that. How do you respond to the notion the DNC should have
kept this in the family and not have it become a public scandal?

SCHULTZ: Well, we tried to keep it in the family. It was not us that blew
this open into the press. You know, what we were doing was trying to
simply get the information we need once we learned from our vendor after
the software glitch occurred that there had been a breach by the Sanders
campaign staff, which I was glad to see senator Sanders acknowledge that
was wrong and apologize for. But his staff was simply nonresponsive for at
least a day. So much so that I actually am the one that had to call Bernie
Sanders and inform him of the breach. He didn`t know about it at all. So
I called him.

But we didn`t go to the press over this. We simply tried to get the
answers to the questions that we had so that we could maintain the – or
restore the integrity of our voter file. And when it wasn`t forthcoming,
the only tool that we had available to us to make sure that his campaign,
if they had access to Hillary Clinton`s proprietary information, was to
suspend their access until they answered our questions. Once they answered
our questions, once they agreed to cooperate fully with an independent
audit we were able to get it back.

REID: All right. Well, thank you very much for your time, DNC chair and
congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Thank you from Manchester.

SCHULTZ: Thanks, Joy.

REID: All right. Now, I want to turn to my panel here in New York, Basil
Smikle, Jr., who is the executive director of the New York state Democratic
Party. Dorie Clark, former spokesperson for Howard Dean and the author of
“Stand Out, how to find your breakthrough idea and build the following
around it. Joe Conason, editor in-chief of the “National Memo.”

All right. Let`s talk a little bit about this Democratic scandal. And I
do want to start with you, Joe. It is unusual to see such an inter-messy
fight. We know that these happen between campaigns spill out into the open
this way. Is that the fault of the Democratic National Committee?

JOE CONASON, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, NATIONAL MEMO: I can`t really tell if it`s
their fault or not. You know, at some point people start issuing press
releases. They start responding. They feel they have to, you know, get
their response in the press, you know, because something else has come out.

But you know, Joy, had this been revealed some other way, had it leaked out
instead of having the campaigns and the DNC discuss it openly, we would now
be talking about how they tried to cover it up, right? I mean, that is the
obsession with these process issues always cuts in two ways. Either they
are talking too much and they have screwed up, or they are covering up.
And I think it worked out fine because the two grown-ups, senator Sanders
and secretary Clinton, decided to put this to rest last night and that
there`s been more than enough discussion of this.

And you know, I mean, it was almost – I tweeted last night, Hillary, I`ve
heard enough about your damn data breach. I mean, you know, they were
done. And she reciprocated what Sanders had done on the emails. So, at
least there are two people who get where this campaign should be going, how
it should unfold and focus on issues that they disagree on in some ways.
But that they think are worth discussing.

REID: And I mean, Dorie, as our resident brand expert at the table, you
know, up to now we have really been mostly talking about the Republican
brand and their brand problems. But for Democrats, I think the enduring
kind of sort of messaging that at least I`m hearing and maybe, you know,
I`m the only one, is that Sanders campaign supporters feel that he is an
outsider to the party, he`s not a Democrat, that he was unfairly treated,
and the chair, you know, whether they admit it or not, they are on Hillary
Clinton`s side. Does that present a problem for Democrats as they try to
unify the party going into a general election?

DORIE CLARK, AUTHOR, STAND OUT: In the long term I don`t think that it
does. I mean, ultimately, where are Sanders supporters going to go? If
you have a nominee like a Donald Trump or Ben Carson or someone like that
they are going to be so motivated by keeping that person out of the White
House. You are, of course, going to migrate to Clinton`s campaign. So I
don`t think ultimately that`s going to be an issue.

REID: Yes. Especially since the two hugged it out and they keep on
hugging out. Let me get to the side of the table and come back.

But up next, Senator Bernie Sanders` campaign manager will join us to give
us his take.


REID: Joining me now from Manchester, New Hampshire is senator Sanders`
campaign manager, Jeff Weaver.

Jeff, you made some pretty tough accusations about the Democratic National
Committee and what you perceive as bias. I don`t know if you were able to
hear my interview with DNC chairwoman Wasserman-Schultz. She says she`s
scrupulously neutral in this race. Do you buy it?

morning, Joy.

Listen, when this event erupted this week we worked very, very hard to try
to get to the bottom of it. As you know, last night senator Sanders and
secretary Clinton I think both addressed this issue and clearly want to put
this sort of acrimony behind them in terms of the campaigns.

But look, what the DNC did is they issued a death sentence on the Sanders
campaign. And we had to go to federal court to get back day that that we
owned with be that was paid for by the two million individual contributions
we have received in this campaign, that was acquired by volunteers and
staff of our campaign. That data belonged to the political revolution that
Bernie is leading. Not to the DNC and not to Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

REID: And yet, Jeff, we awoke this morning to the news that two more
staffers for the Sanders campaign have been suspended. You suspended or
fired your data director. The senator took responsibility, apologized last

Is that enough? I mean are there going to be more revelations? Are there
more employees of the Sanders campaign who improperly accessed files and
data belonging to the Clinton campaign?

WEAVER: Well, look. That`s what we`re investigating right now. And if we
find that people did, they will be disciplined. But look, let me tell you
this. You know, two months ago in October, we discovered a significant
data hole in the DNC`s security wall. We alerted the DNC. We didn`t run
to the media. It was all resolved in house. Everybody`s data was at that
time perceived to be protected, although, you know, we have strong
suspicion that maybe some of our data was compromised.

This is what we need in this case, to put an end to any questions. We need
and independent audit, not just of this event but of the DNC`s handling of
data security from day one of this campaign to the present. That`s what we
need. That`s what we`re calling for. That`s what senator Sanders called
for last night on stage. It sounded like Secretary Clinton agreed. And on
Monday I`m going to call my counterpart, Roby Mook (ph), a fellow
Vermonter, and we are going to work this out. We are going to call the
O`Malley people. We are going to bring the campaigns together with the DNC
and jointly agree on an independent outside firm to look at this and it is
going to be – we`re going to look at data security at the DNC from day one
to the present.

Candidates have the right to know how secure their data has been. And I
think we really, in this case, need to restore confidence of candidates in
this case and in future races that their data is going to be secure if it
is at the DNC. So that`s what we need going forward.

REID: And Jeff, it sounds like you`re not ending the war with the DNC but
very quickly, the Clinton campaign criticize your campaign –

WEAVER: No, no, joy. It`s not a war with the DNC. What this is, this is
for the good of the party. This is not about – we got to put the good of
the party above personal agendas, right. We need to find out the truth.
Transparency and sunlight are always the best remedy, right? And it
sounded like secretary Clinton agreed with senator Sanders` suggestion last
night that we do that. I think that`s very positive. We are going to call
the O`Malley people as well. We are going to get them on board. We are
going to get to the bottom of this. People need to know what happened.

REID: All right. Well, we are going leave it there. Jeff Weaver, thank
you very much from Manchester, New Hampshire. Appreciate it.

WEAVER: Thank you.

All right. Our panel will help us make sense of all of this right after
this message.



SANDERS: I think we bring together that broad coalition including Russia
to help us destroy ISIS and work on a timetable to get rid of Assad,
hopefully through Democratic elections. First priority, destroy ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Sanders, thank you.

O`MALLEY: May I offer a different generation`s perspective on this?


O`MALLEY: During the cold war –


REID: So there was former Maryland governor Martin O`Malley trying to have
a moment at last night`s debate. And not-so-subtle one, Basil. Is this
any way for Martin O`Malley to get back in? I mean, it was a very unsubtle
generational slam at the other candidates.

has to do anything that he can to gain some traction here. When I first
saw him speak at the DNC conference in Minneapolis in the late summer,
there are a lot of people that sat next to me particularly from Maryland
and saw him very fiery, very passionate and said that they want to see that
of him all along. And I think now that he is where he is at in the polls,
you are going to see more of that.

REID: At three percent.

SMIKLE: Something like that. You are going to see him come out more in
this way, try to make sort of this generational appeal. You know, I don`t
know how impactful that will be but this is what he has to do to gain this

REID: And isn`t that part of the problem that, you know, Martin O`Malley
isn`t under serious consideration to be the vice presidential candidate.
You have got to think the Democrats are thinking this he need some ethnic
contrast between the VP and the presidential nominee. Isn`t that part of
the issue? He has nowhere to go from here, right.

SMIKLE: Yes. And you know, what`s interesting in this election I think
both for Democrats and certainly Republicans, is that governors who
typically do command the stage aren`t commanding the stage in this election
cycle, and especially with things that have happened in Baltimore recently.

You know, he is being - he is in a very, very tough spot that, you know, he
is trying to work his way out of but in relation as you talked about
earlier in terms of how much time that Hillary`s gotten and Bernie has
gotten, he`s got to find that niche and it`s become difficult.

REID: You know, it is interesting. And Joe, you said something in the
break that I want to sort of share with our viewers. Because I think that
one of the favorite beltway narratives is this idea that at the end of the
day if there`s a divisive primary, how will you bring these two sides
together? That was the narrative in 2008. It turned out they came
together fine.

Is there a realistic chance that Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders
supporters would abandon the ticket if and when Hillary Clinton is the

CONASON: The contrast, Joy, between the two parties is now so strong that
I think senator Sanders has summed it up himself several times. He has
said on her worst day, whatever that means, Hillary Clinton is infinitely
better than any Republican. And you will see, I believe, when this is
over, if she is the nominee, he will be her most powerful and strongest
supporter. No question. And he is going to take credit for positions that
she`s taken and she`ll have to live with that. But that`s also OK. He
will be there for her and I assume most of his supporters will, too.

REID: Yes. And Dorie, but at the same time, in the interest of the
Democratic Party, to have a fight or at least have the theatrics of a fight
because they have to also worry about their voters being enthusiastic
enough and being ready to get out there and line up at the polls.

CLARK: I think theatrics is really the operative word, Joy. Because from
the minute that Hillary Clinton entered the race she has been, without
question, not only the front-runner, she is going to be the nominee. There
has never been a serious question about that. But we are we are a country
that does not appreciate coronations. And so, if the public believes it`s
been hers all along, then they`re going to react unfavorably to that. They
are going to say we are not just going to give it to her. We need to make
her work for it.

And so I think that is really what is happening. He and Bernie Sanders
(INAUDIBLE), but ultimately it is going to be hers. It has been hers all
the time and people will be brought together.

REID: Yes. And to that point, I mean, the contrast with Republicans,
almost no matter which Republican is nominated. Right? Because they are
taking such similar positions. Has Hillary Clinton`s positioning to the
left, to Joe`s point, that she`s being moved to the left on domestic
issues, does that complicate in any way a potential fight with Republicans?

SMIKLE: No. If you look at the fact that Trump was the only thing that
was discussed did shall.

REID: I think about eight times.

SMIKLE: Exactly. I mean, in raising the Specter of a Donald Trump, no
matter where Hillary Clinton is on the Democratic side, the Specter of a
Donald Trump nominee is what is going to drive, and in part, what`s going
to drive people to the polls. But I do think that the combinations of
policies, whether mass incarceration, whether talking about black lives
matter –

REID: Which barely came up last night.

SMIKLE: It barely came up last night but I know the candidates have been
talking about it on the trail. Even and talking to the left, I do think
there is enough room particularly on conversations around foreign policy
where Hillary seems very conversant on those issues that there is enough
room for moderates and Republicans in the general election.

REID: And Joe, on the national security question, I think last night
showed that Hillary Clinton will be fine on that issue.

CONASON: The irony is that what was supposed to be a great vulnerability
of hers, which the Iraq war vote which she has acknowledged was a terrible
mistake, has lent an aura of strength in a funny way. I mean, it was a
mistake but on the other hand, she is now seen as hawkish enough to lead
the nation. And if you look at polls, she is considered the toughest in a
field of men. That`s no small victory for her going towards a general

REID: Yes. Martin O`Malley may be louder, but she is definitely
(INAUDIBLE) on the stage last night.

All right. Well, thank you very much to Dorie Clark, and Joe Canason.
Basil will be sticking around and he will be back for out next hour.

And up next, the pharmaceutical executive loathed around the world and the
part of the story you haven`t heard. Details coming up.


REID: Google the phrase “the most hated man in America.” And this guy is
one of the first people to pop up. Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro, a 32-
year-old drug company entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager who has a
lot of money and loves to talk about how he spends it. Like the $2 million
he dropped to purchase the only copy of the woo tang clan`s “once upon a
time” in Shaolin, only to tell Bloomberg business week that he had no
immediate plans to actually listen to it. And he recently told hip-hop DX
that he is working on paying another $2 billion to bail out a Brooklyn
rapper Bobby (INAUDIBLE) out of jail.

But this week, Shkreli had to shift his focus from (INAUDIBLE) legal
troubles to his own because Thursday he was arrested by the FBI. The
charges – two counts of securities fraud, two counts of conspiracy to
commit securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy to commit wire
fraud, seven counts.

What Federal officials summed up was quote “a securities fraud trifecta of
lies, deceit and greed.” The charges are linked to a biotech firm he
founded in 2011. As reported by Bloomberg, prosecutors are accusing him of
running a ponzi-like scheme saying he illegally took stock from that firm
and used it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings.

The same day Shkreli posted $5 million bond and was released. And by
Friday he was resigned as Turing pharmaceutical`s CEO. Now, we reached to
his company but got no response. Shkreli himself took to twitter on
Saturday to address the charges. Tweeting quote “I`m confident I will
prevail. The allegations against me are baseless and without merit,”

For the past three days many in America have been treating his arrest like
an early Christmas present. But here`s the thing. Martin Shkreli`s viral
infamy, his status as the so-called most hated man in America is unrelated
to these charges.

The real reason his name is synonymous with greed these days, the reason he
incites vitriol across the (INAUDIBLE) and beyond is because earlier this
year his company jacked up the price of a lifesaving antiviral drug used to
treat AIDS patients from about $13 to $750.

But there`s another drug pricing controversy you probably haven`t heard of.
Shkreli is the CEO of another company, Kalo Bios. Earlier this month the
company announced plans to submit a treatment for a parasitic ailment known
as Chagas disease for FDA approval next year. Chagas is the third most
common parasite disease in the world affects mainly Latin Americans.
Untreated it can cause fatal heart problems. Right now doctors say in –
doctors in the U.S. can obtain the decades-old treatment for free through
the CDC, but that may soon change.

In public filings, Shkreli`s company wrote that it expects to price
(INAUDIBLE) drug similarly to anti-viral for Hepatitis C which can cost
$60,000 to $100,000 for a single course of treatment.

Joining me now, Daisy Hernandez, assistant professor at Miami University
and she has been researching and writing about Chagas disease for more than
a year. And Keri Geiger, reporter at Bloomberg who has reported on the
Martin Shkreli case.

Thank you both for being here.

And I want to start with you, Daisy, because people who haven`t heard of
Chagas disease probably need to get just a bit of an explainer on why this
is, you know, such a crisis to have the price of the treatment for it go up
so sharply and you have a personal connection to it and can explain.

Chagas disease in Latin America is considered to be a silent killer. And
part of the reason for that is because you might not have any symptoms for
10, 20 or even 30 years. And then in one in three people it leads to heart
failure, terrible heart failure. There are eight million people that have
the disease, mostly in Latin America. But of course, immigrants here in
the United States, 300,000 of them. One of those was my auntie actually
who passed away from this disease. There was a lot of silence in our
family around it because it is considered a disease of poverty. And so it
has that kind of social stigma that comes even with migration.

REID: And Keri, I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that a
course of drugs that for all of this time that has been able to be accessed
by the CDC for free can suddenly be in a sense almost privatized by this
company. And profitize (ph) for Martin Shkreli.

KERI GEIGER, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: So Martin Shkreli`s kind of catapult in
the American public. As you said earlier, really is about these drug
pricing strategies which a small group of companies. It is a niche
business strategy. And it very much echoes kind of a hedge fund like
capitalistic approach to pharmaceutical pricing. Obviously, it doesn`t go
down very well with public health officials, with the public, because any
time you are laying out a business strategy that of course is going to, and
Shkreli himself has said this many times, create shareholder value, return
on equity and it is going to make a lot of money, it doesn`t settle well if
it reduces access to life saving drugs. And that`s really why this whole
thing blew up.

I mean, the fact that he got arrested is pretty phenomenal for basically
ripping off investors, you know, allegedly, of course, with a series of
hedge funds that he did before. So he has got a pattern of behavior, if
you kind of lay out what`s in the indictment, of being a little bit
duplicitous on how he is doing his business deals.

Now, what he`s doing, it`s really important to know with this
pharmaceutical approach, both the Turing pharmaceutical and Kalo Bio is
legal. There is nothing illegal about this. It just doesn`t sit well with
a lot of people, and particularly in the health care industry. I think
they are looking at ways that say if this should or shouldn`t be brought
under more regulatory scrutiny.

REID: Absolutely. And I think that really is the point here. Because,
you know, whether or not, you know, people think that Martin Shkreli is the
worst person in the world, the reality is that he is the symptom or a
larger problem in an industry. There was an interesting piece in the
“Atlantic” that made the point that he just may be a symptom of this larger
problem and a broken health care system which is largely because the cost
of medications is just so incredibly high. Are we focusing so much on this
one person rather than looking at the larger system?

HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. And I think he is symbolic of a much larger
problem. Patients and doctors who have been working on Chagas disease have
been so excited that the FDA might approve this drug. Never in their
wildest dreams that did they think it would then be priced out of reach for
them. You already have patients that are in low-wage income jobs. I mean,
they are just struggling with so many structural issues, to then have this
drug priced out of reach is just –

REID: Is this the only drug –

HERNANDEZ: This is the preferred treatment, yes. There is another drug
but this one is considered to be more effective. And the pediatric dose of
it is actually not considered to be an essential medicine by the world
health organization.

REID: And Keri, it is interesting that, you know, this is not as you said,
what Martin Shkreli will end up if he does wind up going to prison. It
won`t be because of this. So I think that`s I think what shocks a lot of
people, that this is perfectly legal.

GEIGER: It is perfectly legal. And it is also a little different from the
broader kind of large discussions that we have over the drug pricing
industry. Of course with the Hepatitis C drugs that came up, a lot of that
is, of course, the business strategy behind that is of course recouping R&D
costs which can be in the billions.

But what I think angers people specifically about this strategy is that it
will – it`s an old drug that there is no R&D cost to recoup. So the
excessive profits, as a lot of people see this as, particularly for the
(INAUDIBLE) which went from $13.50 to $750 a pill, that definitely I think
falls into the category of excessive. And I think it that is profit, for
profit say.

Right. I mean, of course, companies need to make money so they can develop
more drugs. There is obviously this really difficult balancing act that
drug companies have for this.

REID: But not for this drug because this drug was actually already
developed. We are running out of time. I have to go to break. But stay
with me, I want to bring in a medical voice on this issue as soon as we
come back.


REID: Earlier this month, Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro, announced plans
to submit a treatment for Chagas disease for FDA approval. Chagas is a
potentially deadly parasitic disease that affects mainly Latino immigrants
and Latin Americans.

The CDC reports that 300,000 people with Chagas live in the U.S. And that
eight million people infected with the Chagas disease live in Mexico,
Central America and South America. And right now treatment is free through
the CDC, or runs up to $100 in Latin America for one course of treatment.
Martin Shkreli`s company could increase that price to $100,000 per

And joining our panel now from D.C., Dr. Rachel Marcus, cardiologist and
medical director of the Latin American society of Chagas.

So Doctor Marcus, first of all, Daisy explained a bit about what Chagas
diseases. But could you give us just a very brief layman`s understanding
of what the disease is?

SOCIETY OF CHAGAS: Sure. Chagas disease is the long-term consequences of
a parasitic infection of the heart. It was traditionally thought of as
being a disease of rural poverty in central and South America. The
parasite causes an acute infection generally in a child. And then for
anywhere between 15 and 30 years, patients will live with the parasite in
them and then suffer long-term damage to the heart and to the esophagus and
the gastrointestinal system.

REID: And how is the medical community responding to the idea that the one
treatment, the main treatment for it, could increase so exponentially in

MARCUS: Well, you`ve asked a great question. One of the problems in the
United States dealing with Chagas disease is that the medical community
really doesn`t appreciate that it`s here. Those of us in the community of
people who are treating Chagas disease actively are shocked and really
horrified because most of the patients that we see have no financial
resources whatsoever and generally are uninsured. So it would essentially
probably put to a halt our ability to treat this illness.

REID: And then, so to my understanding is that the FDA did add Chagas
disease to a special program for neglected diseases. Would that
theoretically incentivize other companies to come in and maybe produce
other treatments that could compete with this one?

MARCUS: We are certainly hoping that that will happen. Unfortunately,
thus far the drugs that are in the pipeline that have been tested have not
found to be as effective. Right now it is the mainstay of therapy for
people with Chagas disease.

REID: And Keri, I want to bring the panel back in because that is really
the point, right? That this is not a sense of innovation and competition
increasing prices because some other company is coming in and competing
with Martin Shkreli. This is literally a monopoly. I think actually,
Daisy, you made the point that this is a monopoly.

GEIGER: Yes, absolutely. Because it is a neglected disease, he would
probably have a monopoly of at least five years, maybe even longer. So you
could have another company as is happening with the AIDS drug come in and
say, hey, we are going to do it for a lot less so he would just have
monopoly on this price.

REID: And Keri, while this is not a part of what Martin Shkreli`s being
indicted for, there is sort of the overall picture of somebody who`s
milking profits really off of patients who are poor in order to finance
what at least what appears to be a lot of debt being built up in other

GEIGER: That`s definitely what happened with his previous drug which is
just to make clear is not under investigation at this time. It is just
Shkreli himself for his actions at that company. But yes, I mean, that`s
really where you get the controversy in this, is where is it fair to kind
of draw the line on profits versus offering the drug at a low cost to
people that need it.

Now his company Turing has said it will offer the drug to people who can`t
afford it if they need it. So they have been pretty transparent about
that. But it is just this whole process and this whole strategy of this,
as I said earlier, this niche group of pharmaceutical players that really
has people kind of scratching their heads on what to do next.

REID: Indeed. And Dr. Marcus, I will give you the last word on this.
Because if this treatment becomes so expensive that impoverished patients
can`t get it, what is the alternative?

MARCUS: Well, as Daisy mentioned, there is a second-line medication called
(INAUDIBLE). Unfortunately, you have to take it for longer and the risk of
serious side effects is much higher. So it is really not a very palatable

REID: All right. We thank you very much for bringing us this information,
Dr. Rachel Marcus in Washington, D.C. And here in New York, thank you to
Keri Geiger. And Daisy will be back in our next hour.

And coming up, the new surge of children crossing the border. Is this the
beginning of a new migrant crisis? That`s next.


REID: As the refugee crisis unfolds across Europe, another is looming in
our backyard. The number of children crossing the southwest border
unaccompanied has quietly surged more than a year after President Obama
referred to the problem as a quote “urgent humanitarian situation.”

According to U.S. customs and border protection, more than 10,000
unaccompanied minors crossed the southwest border in October and November.
That`s a 106 percent increase over the same period last year.

The children, some as young as five years old, are fleeing their home
countries in Central America, countries like Honduras, El Salvador and
Guatemala where spiraling drug and gang violence have worsened. Their
journeys to the U.S. can be dangerous and harrowing as they face the risk
of rape, extortion, robbery, assault and even death.

The number of family units crossing the border has increased as well. More
than 12,000 families have crossed into the U.S., nearly triple the number
of arrivals during the same time last year.

And joining me from San Diego is Carmen Chavez, attorney and executive
director of Casa Cornelia law center, a legal organization that provides
representation to some of the unaccompanied minors and families who have
crossed the border.

And thank you so much for being here, Carmen. So what your clients saying
about the conditions they face and the reasons for this journey?

hear from the children that we are interviewing here in the San Diego-
Mexican border, as you stated, they are from Central America, the northern
triangle area of Central America, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. And
what we are hearing are gang violence, extreme gang violence without an
opportunity to get protection from the government or from the police.
Additionally, murder rates are extremely high. And so, there is the
children are especially susceptible to forcibly being recruited into these
gangs. Additionally, young girls are being raped and used as victims of

And you know, I can tell you the story of Tadessa, a young 15-year-old girl
who was attending school and caught the attention of one of the gang
leaders who went to the school, took her off premises, no one was able to
do anything or protect her. She was forcibly taken to another place, raped
and kept there for days. And then returned and the process repeated again.
Eventually she was able to escape and she escaped with a younger sister to
the United States. And that`s one of our clients.

I could tell you another story of Antonio, a 14-year-old boy who the gangs
were trying to forcibly recruit him into gang life. He refused. He was
stabbed. Now earlier in the year his cousin had been stabbed and now he
was able to flee and he took the long journey from his home country through
Mexico to the border. And as you stated, it is an extremely dangerous road
for them to travel. And it is a long trek and they face so much more
violence on the road.

REID: And Carmen, these stories are so harrowing, but one of the pieces of
these stories that`s missing is talk of these children`s parents. Why is
it that they wind up, as you said, fleeing and escaping alone?

CHAVEZ: Right. Well, for many, they – there is an extreme fear. Some of
them might have one or two parents here in the United States. Others, it
is an opportunity to send their children to safety and they`re not able to
accompany them. I did personally have a case such as that where the mother
said you need to leave, if you don`t leave you`re going to be killed and I
don`t want to see you dead. I can`t go with you, for whatever reason.
Maybe because there`s other family members there or there`s other children.
And in this case, that youngster was 16 years old and she did put him on a
bus to try to find safety.

You know, lot of people say, what kind of mother leaves these children –
allows their child to travel and to take this dangerous, dangerous trek?
Well, the choices are very slim to none. It`s either the child stays and
potentially is killed, oftentimes in her presence, or there`s an
opportunity to find a safe haven and so these are the children that we`re
seeing in our practice and the children that we`re interviewing.

REID: And very quickly, Carmen, when they come to you, what is happening
to the kids on this side of the border? Where are they being housed?

CHAVEZ: Sure. Sure. So once they come to the border, between the U.S.
and Mexico, and a large number of them are going through the Texas border.
And so the Texas border and the California border and the Arizona border.
They are detain by authorities. Many turn themselves in to authorities.
Others are apprehended. They are placed in temporary shelters and when
they are placed in a temporary shelters that`s where we come in and provide
the legal representation. In a very real sense we are the legal first
responders for these children.

REID: Yes. Carmen Chavez, just harrowing story. Thank you so much for
bringing those stories to our attention. Thank you very much. We
appreciate it.

CHAVEZ: Thank you.

REID: All right. And coming up, how race factors into the race for 2016
and why Serena Williams is the best sports person of the year. Period.

More Nerdland at the top of the hour.


REID: Welcome back. I`m Joy Reid in for Melissa Harris-Perry. We are
just six weeks away from the first votes being cast in the 2016
presidential race at the Iowa caucuses. And Donald Trump continues to lead
polling among likely Republican caucus goers in the Hawkeye State but just
by a hair. Trump is polling at 28 percent in Iowa, according to the most
recent Quinnipiac poll with Senator Ted Cruz hot on his heels at 27
percent, and Senator Marco Rubio a distant third.

Trump`s popularity and his longevity in this race has stumped political
insiders and purveyors of conventional wisdom. Why has this person with no
political experience, who has long been a symbol of wealth and excess, who
says outlandish and often outright racially insensitive stuff, why does he
still lead the republican primary field after months and months and months?
To find out, the Public Religion Research Institute, recently dug through
data from its annual American Value Survey, they found that Trump`s
supporters differ from the general Republican electorate in a number of
important ways. Trump supporters are not surprisingly, more anti-

A whopping 80 percent of them say, immigrants are a burden on America
taking jobs and housing and health care away from native-born Americans
compared that with just 56 percent of Republicans who support other
candidates. Trump supporters are also more likely to believe in a kind of
reverse racism. Seventy four percent of Trump`s supporters think
discrimination against white-Americans has become just as big a problem as
discrimination against minorities, compared to 57 percent of other
Republicans. And 42 percent of Trump supporters say white men face a lot
of discrimination today, while only 30 percent of non-Trump Republicans say
the same. And this may have something to do with who Trump fans are.

A majority of Trump supporters are both white and working class. But those
white working class votes make up only a third of those supporting other
Republican candidates. These disaffected white Republicans who form
Trump`s base may be an overall minority of American voters but they are
emerging as powerful constituency in the Republican primaries. It is a
constituency that other Republican candidates are eager to win over should
the Donald`s campaign falter. Notice that his opponents are careful not to
go after the front-runner with too much gusto, lest they alienate his

As BuzzFeed Adam Serwer noted to last week`s debate, only Jeb Bush trailing
badly in the polls would attack Trump directly for his statement that
America should ban Muslims from entering the country, a proposal a widely
panned as racist. Or consider that after “The New York Times” reported
that Senator Ted Cruz had been privately questioning Trump`s judgment, Cruz
was quick to tweet – Trump is terrific. #Dealwithit. Hmm. But is Trump
who Cruz finds terrific or is it his supporters?

And joining me now is Basil Smikle, Jr., executive director of the New York
State Democratic Party. Daisy Hernandez, assistant professor of English at
Miami University. Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of Africana Studies
at Rutgers University. And Whitney Dow, producer of the Whiteness Project
which explores how white people view their own racial identity. And live
from Washington, D.C., Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research
Institute which conducted the American values survey that I just mentioned.
And Roby, I want to start with you. And thanks for being here. Good to
see you again.


REID: So, Robert, you`ve really dug into some of this data that talks
about white working class angst. Tease it out for us a little bit. Where
is this anxiety among white working class voters coming from?

JONES: Well, you know, it`s coming from a variety of places. And I think
that`s really important. On the one hand it is absolutely economic. And
what we see is that, you know, if we look back over the last few decades
we`ve seen a real decline in jobs, the kind of jobs you can get without a
college degree. We`ve also seen a real decline in wages in terms of real
dollars over that period. But there`s also a kind of cultural component
that has both a kind of racial, ethnic and a religious aspect to it. And
so, one`s insight into this is, if you look at the changing demographics in
the country, particularly if you look at seniors, two-thirds of seniors
identify as both white and Christian.

But if you look at Americans under the age of 30, that number drops to 30
percent. So, only 30 percent of Americans under the age of 30 identify as
white and Christian. So, when white working class voters I think
particularly baby boomers and older white working class voters kind of look
at the country, what they I think are reacting to and they are seeing what
Trump is tapping into I believe is this sense that a kind of cultural world
and economic world to sustain them, you know, for the better part of, you
know, the 20th Century is in many ways slipping away.

REID: And Roby, let me go just through a couple of the data points from
the survey that you guys did at the American Values Survey.


REID: And this is an interesting convertive (ph). So, you found that
White Americans believe that the American way of life has gotten worse
since the 1950s by a large margin, while African-Americans and Latinos by a
large margin say the opposite. Meanwhile, you also found that white
Americans are more likely to say that the cultural influence of white men
is declining. And the really interesting thing is when you do the Venn
diagram, the overlap between that, that nearly six in 10, 58 percent of
Americans who believe that the American culture has changed for the worst
since the 1950s also agree that white men are losing influence. So, talk
just a little bit about that.

JONES: Yes. Another number that will go right along with that, is about
the same number, about 60 percent of Americans, white working class
Americans also say that America`s best days are behind us. So, there is a
real sense of pessimism, anxiety, I think disillusionment among this group.
And, you know, what we`ve seen I think with the decline of kind of the
Christian right that played, that kind of organizing principle in pretty –
in GOP politics and even the decline to some extent of the Tea Party brand,
what we`re seeing is Donald Trump stepping in as really catalyst to animate
really the most disaffected portion of white working class voters. One
caveat and one just to make sure I get in here, is that Donald Trump`s
favorability among white working class voters as a whole is only about 40
percent. And that`s about the number that he gets among white working
class Republican voters as well. But having said that, he is absolutely
animating the most disaffected group of this kind of – this important
group in the American public.

REID: I want to bring in the panel in. And come to you on this Whitney,
because you`ve been seeing this in real time. When you are out talking
with voters, what are you hearing from this most disaffected group of white
working class Americans?

recognizing that there is a huge shift in their world. And I think, what`s
also interesting about it, is that in reality if you look at objectively at
the numbers, you know, let`s be honest. Like the influence and the huge,
huge proportion of resources that the White male Americans especially still
have in this country, it is really not declining significantly. We have
better health, we make more money, we have better education, all this. But
it is changing. It is changing. And one of the things when I see this,
you know, anecdotally or I see how people respond to this, I see why it is
such a big part of the political discussion now is I`m one of those people
who still believes that the Barack Obama administration really affects how
people see the world.

Because it is a very different representation of what America looks like.
And for me someone who`s a liberal white male who`s worked on social
justice issues for a long time, still when I see a Barack Obama on TV, I
don`t really think about him racially. What I see the White House
Christmas card and I see that black American family in the White House? It
still catches me off-guard that there is a black first family.

REID: Yes.

DOW: And I think that that in all the things, that that really, really,
really affects how people see the government, why it is such an issue in
the Republican race.

REID: And Brittney, that is the fact, right? That you do have this sort
of new look of America. And not just Barack Obama and his family but the
coalition that elected them. That`s still resonant I think for a lot of
white voters, is it not?

So, there is this real deep psychology that`s rooted in white dominance.
Right? There is a sense that seeing white people in leadership,
particularly white men, gives a feeling of safety to the white working
class. That`s historically been true. There`s a great book by David
Roediger called “The Wages of Whiteness” where he talks about how by this
ideology was created in the 1850s to keep the white working class from
allying within enslaved black people even though their working conditions
were incredibly similar. So, one of the things we have happening is that
we see the white working class actually voting with the party that does not
have their economic interest at heart and historically whenever we see
that, it tends to be because the ideology of racial dominance feels like a
safer bet than allying with a party around issues of class.

REID: And Robert, I want to come back to Robert. I`ll come back to you on
that. Because there is a very strong tendency of white working class
voters even if they are at the lowest end of the economic scale, to still
vote with the party that doesn`t tend to favor assistance to those of a
lower economic scale. Did you find anything in the data to explain why
that is?

JONES: You know, well, a couple of things is going on here. I mean, the
biggest thing to say I think in terms of understanding the white working
class and it not being a monolith, I mean, is about a third of Americans.
And what we see is that there are strong regional differences that are
really playing a role here. They play a role both in politics and in terms
of support of kind of economic issues versus cultural issues. And one
interesting thing to note is that if you look back across the last 50 years
of elections, it really is white working class voters in the south that
have been disaffected from the Democratic Party and have left the
Democratic Party by about 20 percentage points here.

And it is really been largely over racial politics, post-civil rights
disaffection of the Democratic Party and movement toward the Republican
Party. If you look at white working class voters in the rest of the
country, actually democratic share of the vote has actually been quite
stable. So, what we`re seeing here is not sort of across the board things
happening with the white working class but really a kind of regional
disaffection that kind of plays out in these kind of cultural issues where
you have a more culturally conservative segment of that party, that group
in the south.

REID: Right. Well, thank you very much for giving us a lot of that data
support. I really appreciate it. Robert Jones in Washington, D.C. Thank

JONES: Thank you.

REID: All right. And stay right there. Because up next, the voices in
the crowd. A closer look at what`s happening inside some of those huge
Donald Trump rallies.


REID: This Monday at a rally for Donald Trump in Las Vegas, several
protesters disrupted the candidate`s speech yelling out “Black Lives
Matter,” or messages in favor of gun control. As security was removing one
of the protesters, a young black man, people in the crowd could be heard
screaming at him.



Well, that last bit was, of course, a salute used by the Nazis in World War
II era Germany. Now, I`m not saying that a majority or even many of
Trump`s supporters act this way. And there is no reason to think that
Donald Trump himself knew exactly what was happening at the time. But this
is the latest in a series of altercations between protesters and rally
attendees that have sometimes turned physical. It speaks to the anger
that`s felt by some of Trump`s most vocal supporters and the sometimes
alarming way they express it. In fact, just two days after the Vegas
incident, at a campaign rally in Mesa, Arizona, a “Washington Post”
reporter witnessed one Trump supporters punch a protester in the side. In
another, taunt to Latinos in the parking lot calling them “tacos” and
telling them to, quote, “Go back to Mexico.”

So, Daisy, I want to come to you on this. Because I feel like there is a
substantial way that the anxiety of some of these voters who are – white
voters. We don`t know for sure they`re working class but they fit into
this white working class know you – are really focusing that anger, not on
the African-Americans so much but on Latinos.

think the support that he has with these voters really underscores that we
failed at immigration reform. Because succeeding at immigration reform
would require us to help these white working class families realized how
much they actually have in common with the immigrant families that are
arriving and we failed at that and this is what you get now.

REID: But Daisy, instead, you`re not even just failed at it, but the sort
of uber Latino savior for the Republican Party, Marco Rubio, who`s supposed
to go to Washington and get immigration reform done was forced to back off
of it. And now he and Ted Cruz are competing to see who could be – run
from it the fastest. How would you be able to do immigration reform if the
base of the party is so fundamentally opposed to it?

HERNANDEZ: I think you`re going to have to find a lot of courage –

REID: Yes.

HERNANDEZ: And you`re going to go against the mold. And Rubio did do
that, right? And he`s not going to be able to walk away from that because
he actually took action. Cruz has a little bit more room in there, right?
He can sort of play the rhetoric and get around it. But Rubio is in a sort
of a tough spot for that.

REID: And Basil, you know, this was this whole Republican report that they
did after the 2012 election was they said, one of the things they needed to
do was to get right with the Latino community so they could do better than
the 27 percent that Romney did. But is that feasible in a party that`s so
fundamentally – all the statistics show it – fundamentally, organically
opposed to the idea of doing immigration reform because it will change the
demographics of the country.

immigration reform. They tried to do that with black folk, too. They were
in Brooklyn, New York trying to recruit African-American ministers and
others to the cause and it just didn`t matter because of the kind of
rhetoric that we`re hearing. There`s research out of the Center for
American Progress that says that even if you look at deferred action for
parents, you have households that could be incredibly active in this
process in 2016 but as you said, you have Rubio and Cruz trying to figure
out who`s best at talking about how to keep people out and keep them from
gaining a path to citizenship. So it doesn`t look like the Republicans are
at all interested in growing their party. To Roby`s point earlier, they`re
becoming far more regional as a party, not national, not inclusive. And
ultimately, you know, I think that hurts them at the end. When Donald
Trump is saying make America great again – like again, when is again?

REID: Yes.

SMIKLE: What part of history are we talking about? But clearly there`s
some anger that`s being tapped in to there that as we`ve talked about
earlier, we wonder if those folks are actually going out to the polls.

REID: And Whitney, I want to come back to you on this because I think
there is a sense that you have sort of the elites in the Republican Party
insisting that what Daisy said is true and Rob has said is true, that you
have to do immigration reform, that you have to do this thing. But even
that it seems like it feels like talking down to these voters that you`ve
gone out and talked to who say we don`t want. I want to read you a couple
of quotes and this was a moment at a Trump rally, the same Trump rally in
Arizona where reporters talked to a couple of people who were at the rally.

This is what they said. One of them said, it is like we`re being invaded.
It`s like I`m a minority here. Another said, it is like my son said, to be
a white man is like a sin now. Isn`t it the case that even for the elites
of the Republican Party to push immigration reform is seen to be
marginalizing and talking down to a defying the base of their own party?

DOW: Absolutely. And it is really incredible. I think what`s so
interesting about this whole race is that like it`s kind of as if there`s
things that Donald Trump has set the debate in unreality. So, this idea
that he said, OK, I`m going to decide that all humans can fly and we all
debate like at what altitude. That`s kind of what`s going on with the
immigration debate. I mean, every study has shown that immigrants, no
matter where they`re from – whether they`re here legally or not legally –
that their rates of incarceration, of violent crime are historic – are
much lower than native Americans – than I hate to say native Americans,
but you know, legal Americans. It`s really interesting that one of them
said since like 1993, that immigration has increased – legal immigration
increased has tripled and violent crime among immigrants has gone down by
48 percent.

REID: Yes.

DOW: So it`s not a rational argument and it goes back to a lot of things
that I see when doing the Whiteness Project, is that there is a fundamental
disconnect from the reality of people`s experience, objective experience,
what the world actually is objectively if you look at the data, and how
they`re experiencing it. And it`s very, very strange but it is no question
that that cohort of working class Americans are really trying to deal with
this new reality.

REID: Go ahead.

SMIKLE: If I can add, since Barack Obama has been president of the United
States, Democrats have lost almost 1,000 seats in legislatures across the
country. And it is the operationalizing of this kind of attitude and angst
that I think as a party we are wrestling with now.

REID: And Brittney, that must make it really complicated to be a black or
Latino or Republican. Because they have very different asks being made of
them as representatives of their party.

COOPER: Sure. I mean, one of the things we have to think about is like –
we are the integrity of Ted Cruz, right, or Marco Rubio that their whole
goal in the party is to prove that they don`t want to let people like them
into the country. Right? Like the fact that this is the thing that we
demand? Again, one of the things that we see with people of color who
happen to be Republican is that they fundamentally believe in this notion
of the American dream, that the American Project is really an inclusive
project that we can push it in order for it to grow. So, they sort of
concede this integrity that these white working class of voters who are
coming to these rallies and acting suggest is not actually the case and I
think that that`s the challenge.

But the other thing I want to say is that the GOP, this is really their
chickens coming home to roost. I mean, it is easy to blame Donald Trump
for this and to suggest that, you know, he is the cause of this kind of
incendiary rhetoric but they`ve been engaged in this kind of dog whistle
politics to the base for a couple of decades at this point. And so now
they`re getting embarrassed because he`s more blatant about it. But this
is what they have done to what their base, so it`s anybody saying things
about welfare politics, et cetera, right? So, this is the way that they do
things and now they`re just being, you know, called out.

REID: Well, so glad that you mentioned Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio because it
just so happens that when we come back, Cruz, Rubio – oh, yes, it`s so


REID: Two top-tier candidates in the race for the GOP presidential
nomination, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, finally mixed it up this
week over immigration reform.


choosing, as Reagan put it, where there was a battle over amnesty and some
chose, like Senator Rubio, to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and
support a massive amnesty plan.

I`m always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support
legalizing people who are in this country illegally.

CRUZ: I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty bill.

RUBIO: Does Ted Cruz rule out ever legalizing people that are in this
country illegally now?


CRUZ: I have never supported legalization –

RUBIO: Do you rule it out?

CRUZ: I have never supported legalization and I do not intend to support


REID: Daisy, I am fascinated by this fight between two Latino Republicans
over who can be more opposed to legalizing largely Latinos.

HERNANDEZ: It is painful to watch.


Absolutely. I think what`s interesting to me is, absolutely, it is a race
to whiteness. Right? Who can be the whitest person in the room right now?
But also, I think it is less representative of the Latino community which
is what I find it really fascinating. It is more representative of where
the U.S. is right now. Where actually I think Rubio in a lot of ways is
the future. He can actually talk about race, he can actually engage, he
can actually compromise. Ted Cruz is that other side. He`s the Donald
Trump side.

REID: Well, let`s listen to Marco Rubio talking about – today, just this
morning on “Face the Nation,” he continued this tag. Because what he`s
done really is to bait Ted Cruz because Ted Cruz also actually used to
support – he proposed an amendment that he said would improve the
immigration bill that Marco Rubio helped to negotiate with Chuck Schumer
and others. This is Marco Rubio going after Ted Cruz for what he says is
hypocrisy on his position this morning.


RUBIO: When you run by telling everybody you`re the only purist in the
field, you`re the only one that`s always consistent, conservative, well I
think then your record is going to have a light shown on it and in this
case it`s proven that in fact well after the immigration debate had ended
he was still talking about how he was open to legalizing people.


REID: But this is not Marco Rubio talking in a very subtle, sophisticated
way about race. This is Marco Rubio saying, you see? I`m the one who`s
more pure. But he was the Tea Party guy who still has to prove his bona
fides as against legalizing undocumented immigrants.

COOPER: Absolutely. So, one of the things that I think we should pause
and say is the way that they are talking about legalizing people as though
they`re talking about legalizing marijuana is a very interesting rhetoric.
I think we should really call that out. Right? Because what we are
talking about is that folks who contribute to this country and who have
been here for generations and also folks whose parents have been here and
who have been making a life for them are, you know, are being denied a
pathway to citizenship even though in many respects they have more of this
sort of American ideal that we celebrate than any of these guys is talking
about. So, like as an African-American person who stands in solidarity
with other people of color, I think it is really important to name the way
that this rhetoric plays out in the public that it becomes really
problematic. Right?

But also, again, there is the way that Republicans engage in politics
around race which is why they`re becoming a party that shows themselves to
be increasingly unfit for the demographics of the country in the 21st
Century because they require that people of color, whether we are talking
about African-Americans or Latinos, pledge their loyalty to Republican
ideals by denying any of the sort of legitimacy of any of these social
issues that matter to people of color constituencies and we have to reject

REID: And to that point, I want to play now Ted Cruz. Because Ted Cruz I
think, in my opinion is probably the Republican candidate who is most
situated to unite these various squabbling factions of the Republican base
should Trump not be able to go all the way to the nomination. This is Ted
Cruz trying to explain his position on immigration and whether or not he
did offer an amendment to support what they`re calling an amnesty bill.
This is him talking to FOX News Bret Baier.


CRUZ: The fact that I introduced an amendment to remove part of the Gang
of Eight bill doesn`t mean I support the rest of the Gang of Eight bill.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: That is not what you said at the time. And
Yahoo! dug up these quotes from back then. You said if this amendment were
to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase
dramatically. Sounded like you wanted the bill to pass.

CRUZ: Of course I warranted the bill to pass. My amendment to pass. What
my amendment did –

BAIER: You said the bill.

CRUZ: – takes citizenship off the table. But it doesn`t mean that I
supported the other aspects of the bill which was a terrible bill.


REID: He sounds like he`s in confession, Whitney that he`s trying to
explain his sin. But Ted Cruz, despite that sort of uhm, uhm, uhm moment,
does seem to have the alchemy, he seems to have found the formula that does
make him more appealing to these very voters that you interviewed in the
Whiteness Project.

DOW: Yes. And I think that you know, the idea that there`s certain types
of Latinos, certain types of black people, certain types of Asian people
that white voters really like. And it`s sort of – what I actually think
is really interesting is I did a bunch of interviews with some people who
were half Latino, half White. And this idea of how you become white when
you`re Latino and talking very directly about what it means to leave that -
- leave your heritage behind. And there is a real desire for it in this
group of people I interviewed in Dallas, about leaving that – the Latino
heritage behind because it allowed them many, many more opportunities. So
it`s very, very, very strange to see. As I said earlier, I just think that
the thing that`s most confusing for me is this debate about immigration as
a bad thing. I mean, it`s just fascinating to me where – look. We`re all
anchor babies on some level. Right? And this idea that somehow that you
are trying to reject that heritage and make a connection to something that
simply doesn`t exist.

SMIKLE: Well, that`s why, it`s interesting, I agree with your point that
if there`s not Donald Trump, I think it is Ted Cruz that`s sort of the
inheritor of that kind of demographic. But when you talk about Marco
Rubio, that`s why it`s interesting that he could be for Republicans what
Clinton was for Democrats in 1992 –

REID: Right.

SMIKLE: – as a candidate. And he is now sort of getting into this
conversation with Ted Cruz about legislative politics which most Americans
don`t understand.

REID: Yes.

SMIKLE: But you could actually transcend that and he`s chosen not to.

REID: Yes. And he`s at 11 percent. And I do think it is important to
make the point as we`re talking about this. If you look at that Republican
field, you take a look at them, and their debate stages have a lot of
diversity. You take a look at the democratic stage, oh, the irony.

All right. And up next – “Saturday Night Live” gets to have its say.


REID: Last night, “Saturday Night Live” once again spoofed the most recent
Republican debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we go to commercial, we`ll give Jeb one last
chance to make an impression.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, listen. If we work together, we can stop Donald
Trump. If combine my numbers with yours, yours, and yours, we`d almost

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Jebra, shut your pie hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You know what? You`re a jerk. You`re never going
to be president, Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, no kidding. None of us are, genius.



REID: And then because life imitates art, let`s listen to real Jeb Bush
talking about Donald Trump today.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just one other thing I got to get
this off my chest. Donald Trump is a jerk.



REID: Actually, that was on Saturday. And now, let`s listen to real
Donald Trump responding today on “Meet the Press.”


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, his people gave him that
quote. You can see he was just saying, okay, I`m ready now. I`m ready now
to say it. Jeb is a weak and ineffective person. He`s also a low-energy
person which I`ve said before but he is a weak and ineffective person.


REID: At a certain point Basil, it is hard to tell which one is the parody
and which is real.

SMIKLE: And what`s amazing to me is Donald Trump has done this without
doing commercials. He has not spend money on advertising at all and people
by instant were laughing at him and that`s the exact reaction that he`s
trying to get.

REID: He doesn`t even have to show up to be on TV. He just calls in. But
you know, the interesting thing about Jeb Bush while we are talking about
him is Jeb Bush is not just the guy who used to be the front-runner, the
guy who raised $100 million. He`s also the guy who had the ability at one
time in his career to translate the politics of immigration in a way that
seemed rational and seemed like it would be helpful to the party. Why do
you think that that has not worked for him? Has the party just passed him

DOW: I think what`s so funny about watching those clips? And, you know, I
don`t want to say it is my original idea but I read a great article about
comparing Donald Trump to – the debates – the campaign to a boxing match.
Everybody`s boxing. And Donald Trump is a professional wrestler. They`re
trying to score points with their hits and he`s hitting them over the heads
with chairs and they just don`t know what to do.

REID: Yes.

SMIKLE: And I think what`s happening is that Jeb has been out of office
for so long, campaigns, the tactics and campaigns and elections including
social media have changed a lot. You don`t have the evangelical wave that
rode his brother into office. He hasn`t been able to capture that sort of
gone to Carson for a period of time. So, a lot of what I think Jeb had
counted on to get him to do well in these debates and in these polls has
actually dissipated and been eaten up by all these other candidates.

REID: But Daisy, has the tactics change? Have the mechanics of campaign
changed or have we seen a part of the Republican base simply decide to draw
a line in the sand on immigration and Trump is on their side of the line
and Jeb is on the other?

HERNANDEZ: I think they have drawn that line. And Jeb Bush showed up, and
I almost feel I was surprised by his own party, on the shock, and didn`t
know how to show up because he actually is willing to compromise on
immigration, is willing to come toward the center. Right? But his party
isn`t wasn`t there anymore.

REID: And Brittney, I wonder what the implications are, if we continue to
move to these different polls, of having one party which is the party of
multi-culturalism, the party that has all of America`s racial identities in
it and one party that is almost entirely white except for a few
representatives of other racial groups. What`s does that mean for the

COOPER: Well, you know, I`m hoping that anybody that`s on the side of
multiculturalism wins. I mean this is the win that we need. What I think
is that this is white supremacy`s last hurrah. And I`ve been saying this
for a while. And what I mean by that is that folks have lots of anxiety
about the fact that the demographics of the country are changing. We
simply will not be a majority white country in just a couple of decades.
That is what is true. Those are the facts. And so I think that – but
what has not changed though is the amount of power that white men in
particular but also that white middle class and white upper class have.
And so what they are doing in terms of policy is building a scaffolding so
that what we – if we`re not careful, if we`re not vigilant and if we don`t
get some real structural policy agenda on the left that actually attempts
to change this, what we`re going to have is a situation in which white
people still retain a lot of power even though the demographics of the
country look more colorful.

REID: Yes.

COOPER: And that`s a thing we don`t have.

REID: Yes. But Whitney, what does that mean for the non-economically
empowered white American?

DOW: You know, the non-economically empowered white America, what
Steinbeck say that they always like, that they kind of consider themselves
as embarrassed millionaires. I think that`s one of the problems is that
they kind of – they identify with rich people. But I think one of the
issues, and just to speak with Brittney said is, one of the things that
really concerns me is, we sit around the table and we criticize what`s
going on, and we say this is bad what they`re saying and we are not
necessarily making the positive argument on the other side. Whether you
look at the Sam`s Club flap or anything like that, is that multi-
culturalism isn`t an opposition to something that`s bad. It is actually
something that`s good. And it`s not – and it always confuses me that
we`re always making these binary distinctions and I think about like the
Sam`s Club thing that is saying, well –

REID: Actions that this CEO wants to see more supplier wanted to see more

DOW: Right. But she didn`t say why. And I would argue that in my world,
I want multicultural, I want a diverse team of people working on all my
projects, not because I`m some sort of like do-gooder but because it is
good for me. It makes my – I only have a single narrow vision of the
world and by having a wide range of opinions to experience on my team, I
benefit. It makes what I do better. And that`s part of – I think when
you talk about multi-culturalism in the country, it makes the country
better. It is not just some arbitrary concept. It actually is making us
better and stronger.

REID: And no one is making that win-win argument in a way that`s
compelling to these voters. I want to thank other panel. Basil Smikle,
thank you. Daisy Hernandez, and Whitney Dow. Brittney Cooper will be back
in a bit.

And up next, he has virtually no chance of being president but he just
might be the king of the pithy one-liner. Coming up, a few words from
Senator Lindsey Graham.


REID: In his quest for the GOP presidential nomination, South Carolina
Senator Lindsey Graham is currently polling at near zero. And perhaps
those not-so-great expectations have freed the struggling candidate to
speak the truth as he sees it and to crack wise in ways his competitors
wouldn`t dare. Senator Graham did just that on Tuesday night during CNN`s
GOP undercard debate, affectionately known as the kid`s table delivering a
performance in the Lindsey Graham style that is become an entertaining
staple of the 2016 debate season.

Senator Graham`s quips, vings and facial expressions set up the gut punches
he threw at other candidates, mainly Donald Trump. He ridiculed their
rhetoric, side-eyed their policy positions and of course he managed to save
a jab or two for President Obama and democratic front-runner Hillary
Clinton proving that sometimes the undercard offers a better performance
than the championship bout. So, for those who missed it, here are a few
unforgettable moments with Senator Lindsey Graham.


Cruz. Please ask him the following question. You say you would keep Assad
in power. I will tell you that is the worst possible thing that could come
out of an American leader`s mouth. His favorite move is apparently
“Princess Bride.” “Princess Buttercup” would not like this.

I`m not afraid of a guy riding around on a horse without his shirt. The
guys got a pair of twos it and we got a full house.

George W. Bush made mistakes but he did adjust. I blame Obama for ISIL.
Not Bush. I`m tired of beating on Bush. I miss George W. Bush. I wish he
were president right now. We wouldn`t be in this mess.

If you`re worried about somebody having your phone number in the
government, don`t be. The only thing you need to worry about is if you`re
talking to a terrorist and a judge gives an order to listen to what you`re
saying. We`re at war, folks. They`re not trying to steal your car,
they`re trying to kill us all.

Donald Trump has done the one single thing you cannot do. Declare war on
Islam itself. ISIL would be dancing in the streets. They just don`t
believe in dancing. This is a coup for them. And to all of our Muslim
friends throughout the world, I am sorry he does not represent us. For
God`s sakes, Mr. Trump, you`re asking to be the commander-in-chief, the
leader of the free world. Up your game.

I would stay. I would hold the hands of those who are willing to live in
peace with us. I would build small school houses in remote regions of the
world to give a young woman a voice about her children.

Muslims have died by the thousands fighting this hateful ideology. There
are at least 3,500 American Muslims serving in the armed forces. Thank you
for your service.


You are not the enemy. Your religion is not the enemy.


REID: Now, Buttercup did like that.

And up next, let`s just make this clear. Serena Williams is the sports
person of the year. Person being the operative word.


REID: This year, “Sports Illustrated” sportsperson of the year is a woman,
even though a lot of folks thought the title should go to a male. Serena
Williams is the first individual woman athlete to snag the honor in more
than three decades. The magazine gave us a laundry list of why. Williams
won three major titles, went 53 and three and provided at least one new
measure of her tyrannical three-year reign at number one. For six weeks
this summer, Williams, twice as many ranking points as the world`s number
two. But Serena`s well-earned victory triggered an unprecedented public

Unprecedented because the haters were hating because the winner is human.
That`s right. Well, “Sports Illustrated” named their champion, an online
poll gave the magazine readers a chance to weigh in. And Serena received
just one percent of that vote while American Pharoah, the horse that won
the Triple Crown this year got a whopping 47 percent. Adding fuel to the
fire, the “Los Angeles Times” asked, who is the real sportsperson of 2015?
Appearing to grant legitimacy to an already problematic debate. But Serena
as always is taking the whole thing in stride.


downs. I`ve had many struggles, I`ve had blood clots in both my lungs, at
the same time, and I lived through tragedies and controversies and horses.


I had to say it.


REID: But American Pharoah, meanwhile, had no comment because he`s a
horse. Back with me is Brittney Cooper. And this week she wrote a piece on Serena. The truth about Serena and American Pharaoh.
Here`s the real reason why the comparison is so insulting. OK, Brittney,
what`s the real reason why it`s so insulting the fact that it`s a horse?

COOPER: Because people aren`t horses and black people in particular are
not animals. But that is actually a thing that this country has struggled
to acknowledge. So, we actually built this country on the fundamental idea
that black people were property, that they were a no more value than
chattel, than animals. And so, folks are acting outrage saying that, you
know, black people are being hypersensitive when the American Pharoah had
an awesome year. But we can`t understand this kind of comparison outside
of this long history of always seeing black people as animals first rather
than seeing their humanity. And so, for the “Los Angeles Times” to there
suggest that a horse is a person is absurd and outrageous and we have a
right to be mad.

REID: Yes. And you wrote in your piece update, that argument to the
president day, you wrote, “The Supreme Court thinks corporations are
people. The religious right thinks fetuses are people. Every day racist
are willing to state their bets on the claim that horses are people too.”
That such ideas necessitate – necessarily undercut the humanity of black
people and black women in particular conveniently goes unacknowledged in
public discourse. Because the idea of sort of expanding personhood is
quite ironic given the history that you just sided, when the humanity of
African-Americans is just being bald down to, can we just say Black Lives

COOPER: That`s right. So, we are in this moment where we have a whole
social movement that job is simply to say that black lives have value. And
so, there`s this lack of structural acknowledgment that we have a long way
to go in this country in terms of actually conceding the inherent value and
right to protection of black people. But I`m also thinking of something
that Zora Neale Hurston said many years ago. And I actually hate this
quotation what she said, “Black women are the mules of the world.” And,
you know, I reject that, right? But what I understand is that black –
that folks certainly often want black women to bear the load, to bear the
weight and the burden of American racism and then to deal as Serena did
with such grace and such power and such beauty even when that`s not well-

REID: Yes.

COOPER: You know, so that becomes part of the challenge here. But also
another thing is Serena is absolutely excellent. So, she`s so wonderful
that they had to name the Serena slam after her because she defied what we
already know. But we`re in a moment where the Supreme Court is also
deciding a case about affirmative action that is a case about whether
excellence is the thing that is being rewarded or not. So, we have a
country that saying, you know, we don`t want black people to receive
special considerations and then Serena showing up, exploding all of the
rules and so now people saying, well, then, she`s not even as good as a

REID: As good as –

COOPER: Right.

REID: And I have to show this cover here. Because at first, it`s so
fierce and she`s so gorgeous. Because another component of the outrage and
the response to this Serena Williams cover. You talked about it in your
piece. But it was also unpacked by Serena Williams in the “Daily Beast.”
I want to read a little bit of what he wrote. “There has been an anti-
Serena element” – and there`s in for a long time, “because she didn`t fit
the stereotype of the old-fashioned elegant white female tennis player.
British horseracing broadcaster Brough Scott told CNN. She was big and
muscular and black. Let`s be candid about it, there`s been plenty of that
sort of unspoken prejudice against Serena, I`d have thought, over the
years.” And that`s Serena Williams quoting a long time horseracing

COOPER: That`s right. So, there`s this long history of unsexing black
women. So, Serena talked about it in her remarks as well. She said, you
know, they criticized me because I didn`t look like other people. I looked
stronger, she said. But her femininity has been called into question. And
so, the “Sports Illustrated” cover tries to celebrate her femininity.
Because black woman – so this is the classic Sojourner Truth, ain`t I a
woman moment, right? Where she bare her arm. But even in one speech,
Sojourner Truth had to bare her breasts to prove that she was a woman. And
so, there`s this idea that muscular black women`s bodies, that strong black
women`s bodies, that strength that we love to celebrate about black women,
we also very often make the claim that it unsexes them, that it makes them
not feminine, that it disabuses them of the right to make a claim to
womanhood and to the protections that come with it.

REID: Yes.

COOPER: So, I really appreciate the way Serena has reacted to that and
just challenging them and saying, my womanhood is fine. My strength is
fine. You are the problem.

REID: Yes. She`s gorgeous, she`s fabulous, she`s fierce, she deserves the
awards. Stop hating haters. All right. Thank you so much to Brittney
Cooper. And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for

And now it`s time for a preview of “WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT.” Alex.

Can I say, I`m the biggest fan of Serena Williams. Who could possibly hate
that girl? Her talent, her beauty. I mean, so good on you for that

REID: Amen. Thank you.

WITT: Anyway, to all of you, a private moment with the President after the
San Bernardino shooting. You`ll going to hear from a loved one of a man
who was killed about what President Obama told him.

Analyzing the democratic debate. Who won, and does it matter?

Plus, the five best gifts for technology for that nerd on your holiday
shopping list. Don`t go anywhere, I`ll be right back.



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