PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 4/17/2016

Rick Tyler; Michael Steele; Chirlane McCray; Matt Welch; Tara Dowdell; Joan Walsh

Date: April 17, 2016
Guest: Rick Tyler; Michael Steele; Chirlane McCray; Matt Welch; Tara
Dowdell; Joan Walsh


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump`s war with his own party.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a rigged system, folks.
The Republican system is a rigged system.

distracting and really isn`t something that most people give a darn about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the bad blood cost him at the convention?

Also aftershocks from the Brooklyn brawl.


unqualified. I have been called a lot of things in my life. That was a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could it change the outcome of the New York primary?
And is there any hope for unity in the fall?

Also, why Bill Clinton`s legacy is a mixed bag for his wife.

And our gotcha on Donald Trump`s twisted version of New York values.

From Rockefeller center in New York, this is “politics nation with Al


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton.

It`s two days before the New York primary, and we start with Donald Trump
waging war on the Republican national committee. He has gone after party
leaders before, but not like this. After getting outmaneuvered in the
delegate fight in Colorado and other states, Trump let loose.


TRUMP: It makes it impossible for a guy that wins to win. It`s a crooked
system, folks. It`s a crooked system. It`s a rigged, disgusting, dirty
system. It`s a dirty system. The Republican National Committee, they
should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen.


SHARPTON: Following Trump`s tirade, the RNC released a pointed memo about
the delegate rules in each state. Quote “each process is easy to
understand for those willing to learn it. And the head of the RNC said the
whole debate is a distraction.


PRIEBUS: Quite frankly, the complaining that goes on is something that I
think probably distracts from what we really need to do. Which is to come
together as Republicans.


SHARPTON: In a blistering article, Trump also went off Ted Cruz, writing
quote “voter disenfranchisement is the Cruz strategy. My campaign strategy
is to win with the votes.” Ted Cruz`s campaign strategy is to win despite
them. Cruz accused Trump of sour grapes.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You may have noticed Donald is
very unhappy about this. He has been yelling and screaming and stomping
his foot, and an awful lot of whining. And the simple reality is, any time
the people vote against Donald, he screams the voters are stealing the


SHARPTON: Behind these tensions, the delegate count and the possibility
that no Republican will clinch the nomination before the convention,
leading to the kind of fight we haven`t seen in decades.

Joining me now, Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National
Committee, and Rick Tyler, former national spokesman for the Ted Cruz
campaign. Thank you both for being here.

you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michael, let me go to you first. Trump says the system is
rigged. Crooked, and disgusting. How big of a problem does the RNC have
on his hands?

think it`s a fairly significant one, to the extent that people already feel
that way about the system. So you have Ted Cruz and both Ted Cruz and
Donald Trump articulating that in different ways. But Donald Trump has
been the most explicit and has been able to put it in the lexicon of
populism. Along with, you know, I`m going to build the wall and stuff like
that. So, connecting the policy to the politics, if you will, has been a
very effective effort by Donald Trump.

And this new conversation that he sparked around the process. I mean this
is purely a process conversation, Rev, is one that a lot of people feel is
regulated against him to begin with. And also, as to the reset
opportunities that he`s looking for, Donald Trump that is, coming off his
loss in Wisconsin. So this covers a multitude of wins for Donald, if you

SHARPTON: Now, Rick, is this effective? Is this working? In terms of
being effective politically for Trump?

TYLER: I think it is working for the reasons that Michael just laid out,
is that there`s a deep distrust of the establishment. People see the RNC
as the establishment. The RNC is trying to defend itself. And in a sense
is not doing so very effectively because people don`t trust the RNC. They
could be doing everything exactly right, and people will still have doubt.

But look, this is not really about the RNC. This is about Donald Trump,
who is laying the groundwork for a loss. I mean think about it. He is
hundreds of delegates ahead. He is way out ahead, and yet he`s talking as
if he lost. He is trying to lay the groundwork for if he were to lose in
an open convention, which is fairly likely, that he can blame the system
and he can call the whole process corrupt.

SHARPTON: Now, Michael, you were chair of the RNC. I mean, have you ever
seen anything like this, the leading candidate, the front-runner, attacking
the party? I mean, how does this not undermine the party in November
whether it be Trump or whoever the nominee is?

STEELE: I have not seen that in my lifetime. It is largely unprecedented.
Particularly to have it so public. There have always been spats internally
between, you know, a leading candidate and the party. And you have heard
and covered in the past, Reverend, on both sides where candidates are a
little bit, you know, disjointed about, you know, the number of debates or
something like this.

This is a whole different conversation now. And again, it feeds into the
narrative that Rick just touched on about how upset the grassroots of our
party is. They are ticked off. They have been ticked off for a long time.
And so now, this fight that we`re seeing emerge, yes, I think there`s a
little bit of what rick is saying there about sort of hedging against the
future. And what happens on a second, third and fourth ballot at the

But here`s the other side of this for a Ted Cruz, and this is the problem
for him, which is why he should also be concerned about how this thing
plays out, because all those delegates that he`s getting, you know, when
they`re saying well he`s my third or fourth choice, he`s got to lock in and
make sure that they`re there on that second and third ballot. And that
again is also part of the process which a lot of supporters at the
grassroots level are concerned about. Whether or not these two men are
going to get a fair shake at the end. And a lot of folks think that`s

SHARPTON: Now, Rick, you know, talking about dead Cruz, he told NBC`s
Chuck Todd that this was about the GOP nomination fight is what I`m
referring to is about being democratic. Listen to this.


CHUCK TODD, NBC ANCHOR: Who`s picking this Republican nominee? The
delegates or the voters?

CRUZ: Both. But look, look, look, it`s a democratic process. It`s been
in place from the very beginning. If we go to a contested convention,
where nobody has a majority, it will be the delegates who were elected by
the people who make the final decision, but they have been elected by the
voters in the first place, and this is a battle to earn the support of the
American voters across the country.


SHARPTON: Now, will this argument, Rick, convince voters who are
supporters of Trump?

TYLER: It`s going to be – look if you`re explaining did there`s a rule in
politics, if you`re explaining you`re losing and it`s sort of difficult to
explain. And the reason it is because normally we would have a nominee by
now and then nobody cares what the rules are, and nobody cares what the
delegates are. But the system is now going to be stress tested in a pretty
acute way and people are going to try to look at the rules. They`re going
to try to see things that no one saw there before. They are going to try
to interpret it differently.

But what`s happening with Trump though is he`s really being outworked on
the ground, because the Cruz team understands the rules, and these rules
are set by the states, primarily. That`s where Cruz is winning. He`s
winning in these states that all have different rules, Colorado has
different rules than New York has different rules than California. And, he
is mastering this process. And the Trump people are so far behind the 8
ball on this they can see it coming. They know that if they don`t get to
1238, the majority that`s required, and that is in the rules, suddenly
Donald Trump wants to play black jack and 21 isn`t 21 anymore. And so he`s
trying – he`s he sees that if he doesn`t get the majority going in to
Cleveland, the likelihood is that Cruz will win on a subsequent ballot,
because he is locking up delegates who will vote for him on the second

SHARPTON: Now, Michael, 33 percent, 33 percent of GOP voters say Trump
should run as an independent if he has the most delegates, but is denied
the nomination. Is this a warning side to GOP delegates who see the
convention as a chance to stop Trump?

STEELE: I think it is. I think that, you know, a lot of these delegates
have a plan “a,” “b,” “c” and “d” going into this thin. And it`s
unfortunate, I mean, that we`ve kind of come to this point, because I think
regardless of how this thing plays itself out, it`s going to be a little
bit tricky, if not somewhat difficult before the RNC, the nominee, and who
is ever left standing, Kasich and Cruz or Kasich and Trump or whomever, to
sort of come together in a way that everybody`s talking about right now,

I think it`s going to be very hard to do particularly when the spitfire in
the belly of the delegates is going to be, as you just noted, a third of
them saying we`re ready to take this outside of the convention and continue
the battle in November in independent fashion. That`s not good for the
party. It`s not healthy for the system. And it`s something I think the
RNC is very, very concerned about.

SHARPTON: Michael Steele and Rick Tyler. Thank you both for your time.

TYLER: Thanks, Rev.

STEELE: Thank you, Rev.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, the Democrats, can the party unify after the
brawl in Brooklyn?

And later, ahead of the New York primary, a deep dive into Donald Trump`s
history with the big apple.


SHARPTON: Two days out from the New York primary, and the Democratic race
for president is more tense than ever. This week both candidates spoke at
the convention of my group, the national action network. They talked
specifics about their policies and goals starting with criminal justice


CLINTON: As your president, I`ll work with you to lead a national effort
for end-to-end reform in our criminal justice system.

SANDERS: What we have got to do is to demilitarize local police
departments. Police departments should not look like occupying armies.
This is not Iraq. We`re not invading a community.


SHARPTON: They also took the opportunity to highlight their differences.


SANDERS: We`re going to raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Not
everybody agreed with me. My opponent did not think that was right. Still

CLINTON: Thirty three thousand people a year killed by guns in America,
every year. Now my opponent will be speaking to you tomorrow, and I don`t
see this the same way, but I think this is a national emergency.


SHARPTON: And both attacked the Republican front-runner.


CLINTON: When the front-runner for the Republican nomination was asked in
a national television interview to disallow David Duke and other white
supremacists supporting his campaign, he played coy.

SANDERS: And I believe, along with many other people, if you want to beat
Donald Trump you`re looking at the strongest democratic candidate to do


SHARPTON: But when they met in Brooklyn for their ninth debate the gloves
came off.


CLINTON: I stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a
senator. I called them out.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness. They must have been really crushed by this.

CLINTON: Look, I – I supported the crime bill. I`m sorry for the
consequences that were unintended.

SANDERS: It was a racist term and everybody knew it was a racist term.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is New York City first lady, and Hillary Clinton
supporter Chirlane McCray.

First, let me go and ask you, first lady, are you surprised by how tense
the Democratic race has become?

CHIRLANE MCCRAY, FIRST LADY, NEW YORK CITY: No, I`m not at all surprise.
I think that Bernie`s getting a little desperate. He is feeling the burn.
Hillary has a commanding lead with 2.5 million more popular votes, and more
states, and more delegates, more superdelegates, and so I think it`s
getting a little tense for that reason.

SHARPTON: So you think that when it got a little feisty at the debate the
other night, it`s more senator Sanders getting, as you say, desperate?

MCCRAY: That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: Now let me ask you this, if Clinton is the eventual nominee, how
do you get some of the Sanders supporters on board?

MCCRAY: Well, Bernie said himself that he would support Hillary. And I am
sure that the voters, when they look at what the choices are between
Hillary, and Trump, or Hillary and Cruz, that they`re going to – they`re
going to choose Hillary.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the points of contention has been Secretary
Clinton`s support of the crime bill and she`s apologized for it. She
apologized again at the debate about its unfortunate impact, as she put it.
Do you think that will be enough?

MCCRAY: I do, because all of her actions since then have just shown her
commitment to criminal justice reform. I mean her two terms as a senator,
fighting against racial profiling, and ending mass incarceration, it`s
actually what her first major policy speech was about during this campaign.
Was about ending mass incarceration, and criminal justice reform. She`s
done so much, and also in terms of disparities in sentencing between crack
and powder cocaine. She`s got a record, and once folks take a look at it,
I think that they`ll realize that she`s got the heart and the mind to do
this work.

Now, Secretary Clinton is also facing criticism over large donors. Only 19
percent of Clinton donors give less than $200. Do you think that that will
mean anything to voters? And does that really have a major impact on her
policies, and her positions?

MCCRAY: No. I think that people realize that this is the system we have.
And it needs major reform, but it`s very difficult to run for president, or
any office, for that matter, without – without these kinds of donations.

Bernie did accuse Hillary of being compromised, because of her speeches to
Wall Street, and when she asked him, you know, well can you give me one
vote? Can you show me one vote that shows that I have been compromised?
And he was unable to give her even one sign that that was the case. She`s
– everyone has to take these dollars. But when people have principles and
they stand firm and true to them it doesn`t really matter where it comes

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. I have to ask this as the first lady of
New York, what do you think about all this talk about New York values?

MCCRAY: I`m very proud of New York values. I`m really so happy that
there`s all this campaigning and debating going on in New York and that
we`re getting so much attention, because it`s important that the focus be
on a state with so much diversity where they ask the hard questions, and
people have to respond.

SHARPTON: All right. The first lady of New York city, and a supporter of
secretary Hillary Clinton, Chirlane McCray. Thank you so much for being
with us this morning.

MCCRAY: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, Donald Trump talks about New York values. And
walks straight in to our gotcha.


SHARPTON: For days now Donald Trump has been going after Ted Cruz for the
way he attacked quote “New York values” a few weeks ago.


TRUMP: When this character said with disdain and actually with hatred, and
if you watch the way he said it during the debate, he knocked pretty
viciously New York values, we have the greatest values, nobody has values
like us.


SHARPTON: Trump is even running ads on the radio about it.


TRUMP: I love New York. Everybody knows that. When it comes to New York
values, other candidates do not like us.


SHARPTON: But it makes you wonder exactly what values Trump is talking
about? New York values like trying to bulldoze a widow`s home to make way
for a limousine parking lot. Values of being sued by the justice
department for housing discrimination. Values like plastering your name
all over town whether residents like it or not. And finally, New York
values like eating pizza with a fork, a fork. I don`t eat pizza anymore,
but when I did, I sure didn`t use a knife and fork. No real New Yorker
does that. The truth is, Trump`s New York values aren`t the ones shared by
most of the millions of people who live here. So, nice try. But as folks
in New York might say, forget about it because we got you.



TRUMP: I guess number three in the polls in New York and many of the other
states, and nobody even knows who number two is. They don`t know. To sum
up, so important that on Tuesday you vote.


SHARPTON: Right now, Donald Trump has a big lead with Republicans across
New York State. He`s up double digits in most polls. But here in New York
City, many people take a dim view of Mr. Trump. After all, a lot of the
country knows him as the birther king, or the host of “the apprentice.”
here in the big apple, folks have been watching Trump make headlines for


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump was born in queens. Went to a military
school. Then to work in real estate with his dad. He made the front page
of “The New York Times” when he was just 27 years old, sued over housing
discrimination. Three years later the times portrayed him as a Robert
Redford type who liked cadillacs and models. Soon Trump was on national

TRUMP: And I really am not looking to make tremendous amounts of money.
I`m looking to enjoy my life and if that happens to go with it, that`s

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soon he was a New York staple. A fixture in the local
press. Enjoying the New York spotlight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You walk down the street sometimes, people will touch
you just for the good luck.

TRUMP: I`ve never figured that out. I`ve never really understood it. I
really believe very strongly in luck. I also believe to a certain extent
you can make your own luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And working on his national brand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say in the book that you don`t do it for the
money. Why don`t I believe that?

TRUMP: I don`t know. I don`t know what I do for the money. I do it for
the thrill and the excitement and the creativity involved, perhaps, but I
really don`t do it for the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By 1990 the thrill was gone. He was facing bankruptcy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump had an awful week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He missed a $43 million payment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trumps creditors are all over him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a messy divorce. But Trump clawed his way back and
started moving toward an idea he was kicking around as far back as 1988.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have said that if you ran for president, you`d win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I`d have a very good chance. I mean I like to
win when I do something. I like to win. I like to do well. And I think I
probably would have a pretty good chance.


SHARPTON: Donald Trump over the years. One question today, is he doing
well in New York because of his hometown celebrity or because of who his
opponents are?

Let`s bring in our panel, Joan Walsh, MSNBC political analyst and national
affairs correspondent for the nation. Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell
who on Friday appeared with other former contestants on “the Apprentice” to
condemn Trump. And Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason magazine.

Let me get right to it. Matt, groups in which a imagine or have an
unfavorable view of Trump are independents, moderates, African-Americans,
Hispanics, people over 40, people under 40, women, GOP women,
conservatives. I mean, these are where the majority of those groups have
an unfavorable view.

unfavorable views this high of anyone. I mean if it wasn`t for Donald
Trump we might be talking about historically high unfavorable views for
Hillary Clinton. She`s not going to get within miles of his unfavorable
views. And this is going to have an actual impact on this presidential

Right now is when the Republican or democrat, anyone is supposed to be
consolidating their games. It`s supposed to be kind of over, coasting at
this point. That`s not happening precisely because Republicans realize
this isn`t going to go down outside of his core constituency. There`s a
ton of Republicans, let alone people from every other group that you name,
who are going to oppose Donald Trump. And that`s going to hurt him. And
it might even hurt him in New York, in a way, even though he`s going to win
the state in a big way, he might not win as many delegates as he thinks
he`s going to.

SHARPTON: So Tara, is it that the opponents that he`s running against are
so unattractive, or not connecting to New Yorkers? I mean, why is he ahead
if he`s unfavorable in all of these categories?

TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, his closest front-runner is Ted
“New York values” Cruz. I mean so Ted Cruz is someone who is polarizing in
his own right. I think one of the big issues with Donald Trump is he`s
made Ted Cruz seem a little bit better which is bad, and not good.

But I think definitely he`s running against John Kasich who has not been
able to make any traction within the Republican Party, particularly amongst
the primary voters. And I would say generally in the Republican Party, I
mean, Marco Rubio still has more popular votes and he`s not even in the
race than John Kasich. And then you have Ted Cruz, who is, as polarizing
as they come, and many in the Republican Party don`t like Ted Cruz. So
that`s the competition.

SHARPTON: Then why was it so seemingly difficult? I started to say
impossible, but difficult for the Republicans to come up with a mainstream
candidate that could unite people against him? Why left with a Kasich or a
Cruz, if they couldn`t reach the bar of bringing about – of following or
uniting the mainstream Republicans?

JOAN WALSH, THE NATION: It`s mystifying, really. I mean this was supposed
to be the year they had 17 candidates. Some of them were high caliber. In
2012 we were told, well the problem was we had a bunch of jokes running for
president. Newt Gingrich in 2016, we had a bunch of governors, we had
senators, we had supposed libertarians, we had a real roster, a very
diverse, including racially diverse roster. And still these are the three
left standing.

And I think you know, Trump – Matt makes a good point. It`s possible he
doesn`t get over 50 percent. But I think he could get over 50 percent
because I don`t think the party has quite known what to do with him. They
seem to have seeded New York, in a lot of ways, to him.

And you`re right, Ted Cruz, New York values, I mean I don`t know if people
saw footage from the GOP gala the other night, where the Republican guests
are walking around ignoring Ted Cruz as he spoke. I mean that was –

SHARPTON: Taking selfies.

WALSH: But not with him.

SHARPTON: But, Matt, let me go back to you. You talked about, you brought
up Mrs. Clinton. Let`s say in the general election, it ends up being Mr.
Trump against Secretary Clinton, and the battle of who has the most
negatives. But is it going to be nasty? Because if a radio interview this
week, a radio host was talking to Trump about the bible. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Favorite bible verse or bible story that has informed
your thinking or your character through life, sir?

TRUMP: Well, I think many. I mean, you know, when we get into the bible,
I think many. So many, and some people look an eye for an eye. You can
almost say that.


SHARPTON: An eye for an eye. I mean, is he telling us, aside from putting
aside my biblical understanding of what several ways that could be taken,
of why that stands out to him, but is he forecasting if he`s in the general
election we`re going to see this eye for an eye combat kind of election?

WELCH: Absolutely. Keep in mind roger stone is lurking around his
campaign at every – and not only is he issuing kind of veiled threats to
delegates in Cleveland, but Roger Stone wrote a book about the Clintons
that I don`t recommend anyone necessarily read. But it makes some pretty
provocative accusations. That`s what the campaign will be about. The
moment Trump can pivot to the general, if he`s allowed to do it. I don`t
think that he will.

And going to the 50/49 thing. Two of the three polls this week about New
York had Trump at that number, 50 or 49. The difference between 50.1
percent in New York, and 49.9 percent in New York could be the difference
of 35 delegates. Right? So it`s a significant amount and I think Ted Cruz
has shown himself to be a very good delegate hunter. It will be
interesting to see whether he can convert that to his advantage and take
advantage of New York`s registration rules, which I think might hurt Donald
Trump, because he`s attracted to independents and people outside of the
party process, including his own children.

SHARPTON: How does the Democrats handle that? Well, first of all, Tara,
is this – if he wins New York big, and they go in to this nasty season –

DOWDELL: Aren`t we already in that?

SHARPTON: Well, nastier season, if it`s possible.

How does – how is – is it inevitable that he cannot be stopped at the
convention in your opinion? Or is all of that out the window now, because
Joan seemed to feel like they are ceding New York, are they ceding the
nomination if he wins New York over 50 percent?

DOWDELL: I think they may be ceding New York. I do not believe they are
ceding the nomination. I know that there are back room talks that are
going on. And contrary to what Paul Ryan might have said, he was involved
in some of those discussions. And so I know that there are efforts under
way to utilize the party structure, the RNC rules, to ensure, what they
hope to ensure, will – a non-Trump – a – nomination I should say, excuse

SHARPTON: Joan, Tara and Matt stay with us. Lots more ahead. I`ll come
to you first, though, Joan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, back to the `90s. The legacy of bill
Clinton`s presidency. And what it means for Hillary Clinton`s future.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier this week, Bill Clinton made some very
disturbing comments seeming to defend Secretary Clinton`s now infamous
super-predator community. What are your thoughts about what he said,
senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Unacceptable. I think we all know what that term meant.

CLINTON: I would never use that word again. It was used once.


SHARPTON: The debate about President Clinton`s 1994 crime bill. A bill
that many blame for 20 years of mass incarcerations, has become a key part
of the democratic race in 2016. It is not just the crime bill. It`s also
Clinton`s so-called welfare-to-work bill. Which has impacted millions of
the poorest Americans.


SANDERS: The scapegoat of the poorest people in America. All of the
welfare recipients, all the welfare claims, remember that? I voted against
that bill, spoke out against that bill.


SHARPTON: And also his financial law that removed key regulations, and may
have opened the door to the banking crisis. Now, of course, President
Clinton had major – many major for that matter, many major achievements
and helped create millions of jobs. But his record is more complicated now
than it appeared when he left the White House. Going in to this race, most
folks thought the big question would be how is Hillary Clinton going to
handle the Obama legacy? Instead, is how she`s handling the legacy of her

Let`s bring back our panel, Joan Walsh, Tara Dowdell, and Matt Welch.

Joan, I`m seeing that this legacy question with Clinton, some of us, I`m in
complete disclosure, was against the crime bill very publicly.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: And the welfare reform. But we didn`t have a lot of people with
us at that time or at least not the majority even in the black community
but now it`s become an issue. Is it going to be something that weighs down
the candidacy of Hillary Clinton?

WALSH: I think it`s weighing it down, sure. I think that she, you know,
did a good job and got out and said I would never use the term super-
predator again. And so it was really disturbing to see her husband then go
out and try to defend the use of the word. That was completely off
message. He stepped on her message and I thought that was terrible.

But I also thought the other night at the debate she missed an opportunity
to really, I`m going to say sound sincere, be sincere and sound sincere
about the impact of that bill. Its intentions from the Democratic side
were not bad. The consequences, she can say they were unintended, they
were bad. And she still seems to have a hard time speaking – speaking to
the pain that people feel. And especially younger African-Americans who
really just – the whole bill looks so horrible, they can`t understand the
thinking why anybody would have ever participated in it. They don`t care
that the congressional black caucus mainly went for it. And they want to
hear more reckoning. More authentic reckoning of what –

SHARPTON: I also, Tara, was waiting for her and for senator Sanders, who
also had voted for the bill.


SHARPTON: Tell us, I was waiting they both spoke at National Action
Network`s convention, and I was waiting for them to say yes it was bad, it
might have been unintended but this is what I`m going to do now to heal the
folks that are still in jail, deal with the families, and legislation going
forward or this is the kind of attorney general. It seemed that they –
she was stuck and Sanders is almost trying to act like it didn`t happen.
And he voted for it.

WALSH: Right.

DOWDELL: I think you`re absolutely right. We are all waiting to hear
what`s going to be done to address the issues as they stand now. I think
with respect to senator Sanders, I think one of the things that he wants to
do, and he`s been pretty well-spoken on this is decriminalize drugs. And I
think in particular marijuana, starting with marijuana. And honestly, many
young people and I think beyond just young people, many people agree with
that. And I think there`s a lot of – and I think that`s an area where he
can resonate with African-Americans, because what African-Americans are
seeing now is that so many young African-Americans are in prison, have
their lives destroyed over marijuana, and then you look at Colorado and
people are becoming millionaires in Colorado for – something that we`re
languishing in jails for.

SHARPTON: Languishing right now.

DOWDELL: Languishing right now.

SHARPTON: But `90s, Matt, which is why it`s ironic that Mrs. Clinton has
so far dominated the black vote everywhere. Even where he`s done better
he`s nowhere another approached majority, even among young blacks.

WELCH: It has been an ongoing curiosity that I think Hillary Clinton
hasn`t received more scrutiny about this. Bill Clinton`s statements were
terrible in a couple of ways that are I think worth thinking about. One is
that he says that Hillary Clinton was the first candidate in this
presidential election to bring up criminal justice reform. That is
actually a kind of offensive, compared to what Rand Paul has been talking
about for a long time. Even though Ted Cruz since he`s switched on it and
become kind of worthless on the issue. But he was talking about sentencing
reform. And sentencing reform, keeps in mind, Hillary Clinton ran against
Barack Obama`s sentencing reform in 2008. She`s a late comer to this
issue. So she does have some reckoning there.

The other thing that Bill Clinton did is that he reminded us of the
ugliness of the politics, I put more on him than I do on Hillary when he
said to black lives matter protesters, oh, so you`re on the side of blacks
killing blacks in the inner city. That is the kind of ugly, awful,
politics that has created three, four decades of this war on crime. This
war on crime has been a war on people. A war on due process. And it
wasn`t just the crime bill. It was the effective death penalty and anti-
terrorism act. Removing –

SHARPTON: That`s why a lot of us oppose it. It also was the death penalty
and other things in that bill. But, Joan, the other bill, the welfare
reform bill, which really put people off welfare, who couldn`t get jobs. I
mean, I think that that has not gotten as much of attention, but that
impacted generations in terms of where we are in terms of particularly in
the black community and poorer communities, and many of us objected to that
`96 bill.

WALSH: Well, and the booming economy, people – it looked like a success
for a-while. But then when the economy sputtered there`s a reason that we
have a safety net. And you know, President Clinton and I think secretary
Clinton would say they got a lot of money. They expanded the earned income
tax credit, they did. They did try to build in a new safety net. But it
didn`t go far enough. I`m kind of surprised the extent to which that
question is not a big issue in this primary campaign between her and
senator Sanders. How would you change the welfare reform bill and what is
the safety net (INAUDIBLE)?

SHARPTON: Is it fair, though, Tara to blame her for her husband`s policies
under his administration? Because, I`ve heard it come up this week, well,
that`s sexist. She`s not responsible for her husband. Even though she
supported it. Sanders supported the crime bill. Is it fair?

DOWDELL: I don`t think it`s fair to hold her accountable for decisions
made by Bill Clinton. However on those decisions that were made by Bill
Clinton where she actively supported them vocally, that`s where she has a
problem. That`s where she has – that`s the rub for her.

I think for senator Sanders, though, I mean, he has sort of – I think the
reason why he`s ignored in some ways the issue is because he did vote for
the crime bill. I will say this, though. Both of them do have some
criminal justice, I want to be clear, they do have criminal justice

SHARPTON: And been very vocal about it –

DOWDELL: I think they have –

SHARPTON: Act like it didn`t happen, that his vote didn`t happen. He is
not ignored this issue.

WALSH: Right.

DOWDELL: But I do think they could be more vocal about the specifics of
them. A lot of times they said go to my Web site, and even me as much as I
love this stuff I have a full time job. So I think we do – we want – we
look to these debates, we look to these opportunities when they speak for
them to truly tell us the specifics. And some of the key points that will
make our lives better.

SHARPTON: If it ends up a debate all the way to the convention, what`s
going to happen there, matt? We keep looking at the Republican convention.
If Sanders does well in New York, or better than expected, or even wins, or
going on, could we have a contentious Democratic convention? I mean, it`s
getting a little hostile.

WELCH: We all hope. I`m afraid Sanders has too big of a hurdle in New
York with this voter registration thing. I think it would be a great and
healthy debate particularly over the drug war which Hillary Clinton has
been bad on her whole career and Sanders is great on in ways that didn`t
get enough headlines I think this week. But I`m afraid that it`s not going
to be –

SHARPTON: Because it`s a closed primary only Democrats can vote? Which is
why I don`t understand why the Sanders folks didn`t do voter registration
if you want a long-term movement.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh, Tara Dowdell and Matt Welch, thank you and enjoy the
rest of your weekend.

WELCH: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still to come, the week in social media. From the
fight for equal pay to the real-time reaction to the Democratic candidates.


SHARPTON: Finally this morning I want to give a big shout-out to our fans
and followers on social media. This past week, we hit a milestone, 400,000
likes on Facebook. That`s number two across all of MSNBC. Second only to
Rachel Maddow. And if you`re not with us on social media, then you`re
missing out on some great content. Like our Facebook live events this
week. With immediate audience reactions to the speeches from Hillary
Clinton and Bernie Sanders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was very granular as it relates to what she would
do with regard to specific programs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie Sanders I believe him. He`s helped push the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t want another gray-haired old white male
following Barack Obama. Let`s (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very big Bernie Sanders fan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A family in front of her administration would be – I
can say hey Hillary.


SHARPTON: And our social video exploring the gender pay gap for equal pay


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to end gender inequality.


Today the typical woman who works full time earns 79 cents for every dollar
the typical man makes. And the gap is even wider for women of color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pay disparity between men and women is just too

OBAMA: Congress needs to pay the paycheck fairness act.

That`s the thing about America, we are never finished. We are a constant
work in progress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should our women go to the Olympics, winning the
gold, when they don`t get paid the gold?


SHARPTON: That`s only on social media, it`s not on TV. So there`s much
more to politics nation than what you see here on Sunday mornings. To get
in the conversation, like us on facebook.com/politicsnation. And follow us
on twitter.

That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next


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