Politics Nation with Al Sharpton, Transcript, 6/26/2016

Liz Plank; Basil Smikle; Eleanor Holmes Norton; E.J. Dionne; Billy Murphy; Susan Del Percio

Date: June 26, 2016
Guest: Liz Plank; Basil Smikle; Eleanor Holmes Norton; E.J. Dionne; Billy
Murphy; Susan Del Percio



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s at stake, from guns to immigration, to the
Supreme Court, new urgency in the 2016 race?

have to make a decision about what we care about and who we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will hear from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
fresh from her sit-in on the house floor.

Also, justice for Freddie Gray. We will talk to the family attorney about
what`s next after the latest not guilty verdict.

All that, plus a double bogey for Donald Trump`s reboot.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The greatest factory in anywhere
in the world. Number 11 which is a spectacular hole, birdie, birdie,

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton`s big move with Elizabeth Warren and a
preview of the party with a purpose, essence fest.

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


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

We start with something a little different, a look at what`s really at
stake in this election with some echoes from the past. Fifty one years ago
President Johnson went to the house chamber where he addressed the nation
about the voting rights act.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time for waiting is gone. It`s all of us who must
overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall


SHARPTON: We shall overcome. This week in that same chamber, Democrats
held a sit-in to protest a new civil rights issue, gun violence. And they
sang that song.


SHARPTON: Congressman John Lewis helped lead the sit-in, an act of civil
disobedience in Congress like we have never seen.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The time for patient is long gone. Give us
a vote. Let us vote.

REP. BILL KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: America is sending out a 911 to the
only first responders that they have. That`s us. That`s Congress.
There`s no one else to answer that call.

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: We want to keep our city
safe, we`ll keep our own country safe. Pass the bill.


SHARPTON: The protest reminding the nation that politics is about more
than Donald Trump`s latest tweet. It`s about life and death and stopping
gun massacres. It`s about making sure immigrant families don`t get ripped
apart just because Republicans refuse to fill an empty seat on the Supreme
Court. It`s about the economy and the need for steady leadership after a
crisis like the one we`re seeing in Europe.

Those are the kinds of real issues in this election, a point President
Obama made this week in the middle of these dramatic events.


OBAMA: These are issues that are going to be debated by candidates across
the country, both congressional candidates as well as the presidential
candidates. And in November, Americans have to make a decision about what
we care about and who we are.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton who
participated in the house sit-in, and E.J. Dionne from the “Washington

First, let me thank both of you for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you.

NORTON: Of course, Rev. Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you were active in the civil rights movement of
the `60s, now this civil disobedience in the house. Do you view gun
violence as a civil rights issue in our time?

NORTON: I really do. And I think it shows the resonance of the civil
rights movement that you can take issues and make them appear not retro,
but of this moment, when you can link them to the kinds of battles we
fought then. Look what we were asking for. We were asking for the vote
then, all be it in another context and we were asking for a vote now. We
want a vote on the bill that said, look, if you`re on a no-fly list, you
can`t fly.


NORTON: That was the main bill we were after. So it seems entirely
appropriate to us to invoke our past. And I can tell you Reverend Al, I
did a little sitting in in my time, but we usually sat in seats. The house
floor is very hard.

SHARPTON: I have been in sit-ins and on the house floor.

But E.J., you know Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both staked out
separate positions on this. And really they staked out positions and
attack each other. Watch this.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the second amendment essentially.
She wants to take your guns away.

the gun violence –

Parents, teachers and schools should have the right to keep guns out of
classrooms, just like Donald Trump does at many of his hotels by the way.


SHARPTON: Starkly different messages. How much E.J., will this help to
shape the 2016 election and be part of it as one of the major issues?

DIONNE: Well, I think what Mrs. Clinton is doing fits in directly with
what the house Democrats did and also what senator Chris Murphy of
Connecticut did when he led that filibuster in the Senate. For 20 years,
more than 20 years, since the 1994 election, Democrats have been very timid
gone the gun issue. They thought they lost more votes than they gained
because people who supported the NRA`s position seem to devote on the
issue. And I think one horrible attack at another has people to - that
moment you might call it the sick and tired of being sick and tired moment.
And I think that`s true not only of people who long supported gun control,
but a lot of other people in the country.

And so, I think what you`re seeing and what Clinton is saying, a set of
convictions that she`s long had but also a belief that for a change, this
issue actually works for those who support gun control and not for those
who wrote the NRA line.

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, one of the things that`s done with
movements is deal with public opinion. And when you look at two of the
issues this week, gun control and immigration, it`s interesting to look at
the polling on that.

On guns, 89 percent support background checks. On immigration, 78 percent
support a path to citizenship or legal residency. Could this upcoming
election determine whether we see movement on these issues?

NORTON: I really do think so, Reverend Al. What is really different about
the gun control issue, you would have thought we would have had this
outpouring after the Connecticut massacre of 24 children. You`re having it
now because we`re able to link it to terrorism. And we have got to – for
the Democrats at least, there was a combustible mixture. There was
terrorism and guns. Remember we want you not to be able to fly if you`re
on that list. There was discrimination against the LGBT community.


NORTON: Two issues that meant a great deal to us. And they came together
and coming together when we had no – absolutely no alternatives and
remember we can`t do a filibuster. The third thing that inspired us was
the Senate filibuster. And we felt we could not go home for July 4th and
say, well, look, there was nothing we could do about it. This was not a
spontaneous idea but once it came out, the reaction to it was spontaneous
on the part of Democrats.

SHARPTON: Now, Dionne, you know, one of the things that occur to me as we
deal with these issues this week is that during the Republican primaries,
they kind of dismissed Trump as entertaining. Let me show you some of what
I mean.


REP. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I thought Donald Trump was very

He is fun to listen to.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: All of that has been incredibly

talent. I mean, he is very entertaining.


SHARPTON: So they dismissed him during the primary as entertaining and he
won - he beat them all. Will we see a more demand from the general
election for more substance and less entertainment from the general voting
public, which is a whole different base of voters and a lot more people?
Is the entertainment period over, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, I don`t think he is as entertaining as he used to be because
the audience is different as you suggest. Many of the things he said in
the primaries appeal to the right end of the Republican Party, which is a
pretty big part of the Republican Party. Once he moved into an electorate
that includes independents and Democrats, number one, many of the things he
was saying weren`t popular at all, were offensive in many cases. But he is
also now running against Hillary Clinton who can attack him on many of
these issues in a way that Republicans were afraid to. They were afraid of
alienating people who agreed with Trump on immigration or any number of
other issues.

Hillary Clinton isn`t worried about alienating voters who are never going
to vote for her anyway. And if I could, I would just like to underscore
something congresswoman Norton said which is when you have this linkage on
the gun issue with terrorism, a lot of these members of Congress who vote
the NRA line always said what we need to do, whatever it takes to fight
terrorism. And then suddenly, they are faced with the contradiction that
they are not actually willing to do everything that you can do to fight
terrorism. And I think that`s why they are really stuck on that particular

SHARPTON: I`m out of time but congresswoman, what I`m really getting at,
when you look at this week alone, from the gun issue, to the economy, to
what happened in England with the vote, when you look at immigration and
look at affirmative action, all in front of the Supreme Court, aren`t we
beginning to see that this election is more than about personalities. It`s
really about some real hard core issues and it`s a lot deeper than what
Donald Trump is tweeting?

NORTON: Reverend Al, what you said is very important. Even if the
candidates, were inclined to discussion issues and wanted to go at one
another, these issues are out there. They have got to take them on as they
come up. The Supreme Court issues that you just named, affirmative action
and rest of them, they are going to be thrown out there by forces outside
of the control of the candidates. Going to force Donald Trump to show that
he is the emperor with no clothes on.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and E.J. Dionne, thanks for
joining me this morning.

NORTON: My pleasure.

DIONNE: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, Trump 2.0, is it say reboot or rehash?

Plus, a preview of tomorrow`s big Clinton/Warren event. Are you looking at
the Democratic ticket?



TRUMP: We have taken the lighthouse, which is a very, very, important
building in Florida. I mean, in Scotland - just to the right of the light
house you have a green. This is a par four and we have then number 11,
which is a spectacular hole.


SHARPTON: Only Donald Trump would land in a country in the midst of a
political and economic meltdown and plug his new golf course. Trump was
supposed to be rebooting his campaign, making a pivot to a more serious
candidate and instead, he talked about golf.

Back here at home, he is sinking in the polls versus Hillary Clinton. He
is scrambling to make up for a huge cash deficit against her and the never
Trump movement is still trying to slow him down. One group is even running
ads urging delegates to reject Trump at the convention comparing Trump`s
rhetoric to Ronald Reagan`s.


than he needs us.

TRUMP: I don`t bring god into that picture.

REAGAN: Use of force is always and only a last resort.

TRUMP: I would bomb the (bleep) out of them.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Rick Tyler, former Ted Cruz campaign spokesman
and now MSNBC political analyst and Republican strategist Susan Del Percio.

Thanks both of you for being here.


SHARPTON: So Trump is trying to reboot – I mean, Rick, he becomes more
professional in his campaign they are saying. He is rebooting. Is he even
capable of doing it?

RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it remains to be seen. I think
he gave a very good speech. Needs a little work on teleprompter and
getting familiar with the text and making his own. But I thought the
speech was pretty good and I think he avoided the temptation he often has
of re-litigating the past and then the past grievances of people have
against him, particularly Hillary Clinton going after him on economic
issues and on foreign policy issues. I thought overall it was a good
speech. It could have been two speeches. There`s a lot to go after. So
we will see.

SHARPTON: But, Susan, he made a speech, read the teleprompter, then he
goes off to Scotland, the day that we find out that they have voted against
staying in the European Union, shakes the markets worldwide, shocks Europe,
and he is selling sweets to his golf resort and talking about golfing.
Doesn`t he lose whatever mileage, if any, he gained from the speech?

DEL PERCIO: Well, it was one speech and this is one event in Scotland –

SHARPTON: But a huge event as he would say.

DEL PERCIO: And I heard the suites were beautiful over there. But the
question that we really have to look at is can he do something more than
one time? Can he do it two or three or four times? Is this a candidate
that is really developing?

SHARPTON: Talking about the speech?

DEL PERCIO: Talking about Donald Trump. Not just in his speeches but in
his rallies. He`s a new candidate, and as Rick can attest to this, too.
With any new candidate there`s a big learning curve. And with this new
candidate there is also very thin skin involved. So we have to see can he
be steady? Because he is not going to change –

SHARPTON: But, Rick, you have to deal with he`s had a busy week, more than
one speech. Not only the Scotland trip. He fired his campaign manager.
He came in with only $1.3 million on hand whereas Mrs. Clinton is over 40
million. I mean it`s been one after another after another this week. The
speech really was like one of ten stories on Donald Trump, none good.

TYLER: Yes. No, you know, you`re right, Rev., it was kind of interesting,
he had a very bad couple of weeks and, you know, all the press starts to
give him credit for putting out press releases and it actually reacting to

And you know, going to Scotland was really – I thought a bad idea. You
know, you`re running for president. He is going to a place where there`s
no – virtually no voters for him. And then on the eve the Brexit vote,
really historic day in the UK deciding to leave the European Union. The
markets tank everywhere. On Friday we lost 111 points in the Dow. And he
didn`t take the opportunity to really address that. He addressed it a
little bit but he didn`t – he talked more about his golf courses as you
say and I think he missed an opportunity of being there in Scotland, part
of the UK, Scotland by the way voted against Brexit –

SHARPTON: Yes. Scotland took the other way.

TYLER: Yes, it did. But the rest of them did. And Scotland –.

SHARPTON: But most people going to Europe during the presidential race to
show their international bona fides, you know, and that I can handle issues
on international level. I have never heard of you going so sell your
personal property or to sell your resorts. I mean, Republican senator Jeff
Flake said Trump can`t win unless he changes. Listen to this.


REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: What will increase his chances of winning is
acting differently than he`s acted so far. No Republican or no candidate
of either party is going to win the number of votes that is needed saying
the things that he is said and acting way he has acted.


SHARPTON: Susan, it goes back to you saying can he do the speech more than
one time? Can he really come back in? And this is a sitting Republican
senator saying he can`t win unless he changes. And you`re saying, can you
teach an old dog new tricks?

DEL PERCIO: It`s going to take a long time for the establishment, for the
money that you mentioned. He is far behind on fund raising. His
endorsements are mediocre at best. He has no real surrogates. He has to
show over time that he is worth the investment.

SHARPTON: He doesn`t have that much time.

DEL PERCIO: He doesn`t have that much time. And the things - the trip
with Scotland besides everything you`ve mentioned have also left a lot of
Republican money folks saying why are you doing this? You`re not changing.
We don`t know what to expect from you from the convention. That`s why
there are delegates looking to see if they can create a different panel to
knock him out of contention.

SHARPTON: Not only are there delegates looking to knock him out of
contention. You have GOP senator Mark Kirk who is running for re-election,
tough race in Illinois, he just became the first to television ad directly
attacking Trump. I have never heard of this. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mark Kirk bucked his party to say Donald Trump is not
fit to be commander in chief. Mark Kirk, courageous and independent.


SHARPTON: So let me frame this again for our viewers. This is a
Republican senator sitting - a sitting Republican senator that is running
for re-election that`s running ads against the presidential nominee of his
party. I have never heard of this, Rick.

TYLER: It`s fairly unprecedented. I don`t know any analogy before we had
TV that might have been something like that. But look. I think that, Rev,
you know, that the UK getting out of the European Union sends a big signal
to the United States. People are rising up against centralized power. And
I thought that Trump did a pretty good job of connecting Hillary Clinton to
the idea of centralized power and elite governing class.

And so look, he won the primary. We ran against him. We didn`t want him
to win. So let me be clear about that. But he is in this race. He has a
name it fundraising. He has to get a ground game together. He has got to
hire more staff. Looks like they are doing that. And looks like they
getting that together and maybe too late. But look. The people are angry
with Washington. They are angry with the way things are going and angry
they are not getting ahead and wages are static. So look. I just have a
very hard time predicting with any confidence how this race is going to
turn out.

SHARPTON: No, I don`t think that I can predict it either, Rick. But I
think that one of the ways to show that you are crusading against the elite
class is not by showing your golf course and the suites in Scotland. But
that`s just my personal opinion.

Rick Tyler, Susan Del Percio, thank you both for being with me this

TYLER: Great to see you, Rev.

DEL PERCIO: Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, why tomorrow is a big moment for those who want
a Clinton/Warren ticket.

Also, a high profile acquittal in the Freddie Gray case. The family`s
lawyer on “Politics Nation” next.


SHARPTON: This week`s not guilty verdict in the Freddie Gray case was
disappointing to his family but perhaps not surprising. Officer Caesar
Goodson was acquitted and of all charges. He was accused of giving Gray a
so-called rough ride that allegedly led to his fatal injuries. Goodson
chose to have a bench trial with his verdict decided by a judge instead of
a jury. And experts say that tends to favor police defendants. Since
2005, 23 police officers have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter
by juries. But none, zero, have been found guilty by a judge. Goodson was
acquitted by the same judge who found another officer not guilty back in
May. The next trial in the case is set for next month.

Joining me now is Billy Murphy, attorney for the Freddie Gray family.
First of all, thanks for being with me this morning.


SHARPTON: Do you think the case – the fact it was decided by a judge not
a jury had any impact at all?

MURPHY: Well, this judge is known – he has strong reputation for being a
reasonable doubt judge. And that`s a correct point of view for a judge to
take. We have all complained as black people that there were not enough
judges who believed strongly in the concept of reasonable doubt. And this
judge also has a long history of prosecuting police as a federal prosecutor
for police misconduct of various kinds, including brutality.


MURPHY: And so it`s a confusing position for the public to be in and the
reason they are not in it was because this trial was not televised. So it
occurs –

SHARPTON: You made it clear, attorney Murphy, that the public has not been
able to see it and that the judge has to deal with the evidence in front of
him. So how does the family, you`re the family attorney, how does the
family define justice in this case? What would be justice for them given
the legal barriers that have to be dealt with and given what we`ve got to
deal in terms of evidence? We are not dealing with a public jury now. We
are dealing with a judge or a jury that would be looking at the law. No
one knows it better than you.

MURPHY: Well, they respect judge Williams. On the other hand, that
doesn`t mean that they agree with him. And they don`t know quite what to
make of this. They don`t know whether it was the judge`s fault. They
don`t know whether it was the prosecutor`s fault. And they don`t know
whether it was a good defense. And the problem is that nobody knows. And
so there`s a lot of finger pointing going on, which is not really healthy
because people need to focus on what really happened instead of what they
imagined happened. That`s virtually impossible.

SHARPTON: What does the family expect and you expect from the cases
against the remaining officers?

MURPHY: Well, the family is a strong supporter of the prosecutor, Ms.
Mosby. And they are reinforce that and reemphasized that in their remarks,
through me, yesterday or rather a couple of days ago. And so, they are
cautiously optimistic but there`s minor resignation in their view of about
what may happen with the rest of these officers because it`s going to be
the same judge. And the judge`s rulings have strong implications about
what is going to happen in the remainder of the case. So they don`t quite
know what to make of all of this but they are resigned to accept whatever
happens because they don`t want to see any looting or burning. They don`t
want to see any civil unrest that results in loss of life or property. And
so, they are in a very unusual position but they are an unusual family
because again, they define justice as what happens after a fair process
where both sides put on all of the evidence and a fair minded judge rules.

SHARPTON: All right. We`re going to be watching. Thank you, Attorney
Billy Murphy. Thank you for your time this morning.

MURPHY: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the break, Marco Rubio, reversing course, running
straight back to Washington and straight into our gotcha.



for re-election to the Senate.

I believe in (INAUDIBLE) so much, I`m not even running for re-election to
the senate.

I want to explain why it is I`m not running for re-election to the Senate.


SHARPTON: Of course senator Marco Rubio totally flip flopped this week and
declared he is going to run for re-election after all. So he wants to stay
in even though during the campaign he couldn`t stop talking about how awful
the Senate was.


RUBIO: I got to the U.S. Senate and it`s not a place where a lot happens.

We are not going to fix America with senators and congressmen.

I`m frustrated at my time in the Senate because nothing happens. We don`t
do anything.


SHARPTON: If it was so bad, why does he want to stay? He will have to
explain that but he may have a bigger problem in Florida. Donald J. Trump.

Here`s how Rubio talked about Trump during the primary.


RUBIO: I will go anywhere to speak to anyone before I let a con artist get
a hold of the Republican Party.

We are not going to allow done add Trump to do to America what he did to
those students at Trump University.

To think you`re going to make someone like that commander in chief –


SHARPTON: But then he totally flip flopped and Rubio turned around and
endorsed Trump, even saying he would speak for him at the GOP convention.
How is Rubio going to explain to Florida`s nearly five million Latino
that`s he`s the most anti-immigrant candidate in recent American history?

Watch out, Rubio might have to flip flop again. Either way, nice try. But
we gotcha.


SHARPTON: Let the veep stakes begin. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton
will hit the campaign trail together in Ohio tomorrow as they try to unite
the Democrats following a long primary battle with Bernie Sanders.
Clinton`s short list for VP is said to include Virginia senator Tim Kaine
and Secretary Julian Castro as well as Senator Warren.

Meanwhile, Sanders lack of endorsement is still causing some problems for
the Democrats. On Friday, he said he would vote for her but refused to
endorse her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton in

issue right here is I`m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why have you not endorsed her?

SANDERS: I haven`t heard her say the things that need to be said.


SHARPTON: Joining us, senior correspondent and producer at Vox Liz Plank
and Basil Smikle, the head of New York State`s Democratic Party and former
senior aide to Hillary Clinton. Basil, this event tomorrow has a lot of
folks getting hopes up about a Clinton/warren ticket.

Basil, this event tomorrow has a lot of folks getting their hopes up about
a Clinton-Warren ticket. Any chance at all?

a good chance. What I would say is that it`s not disqualifying that there
are two women on the ticket. Elizabeth Warren has been great in attacking
Donald Trump. I think in terms of the - when you talked about Bernie
Sanders and his supporters, in terms of being able to bringing Sanders
supporters over to Hillary and sort of reengage them in this general
election, I think she would be fantastic at that. The longer that Bernie
Sanders stays out of this race so to speak before he makes an endorsement,
before he talks to supporters, Elizabeth Warren is the one that can speak
him. So I don`t think it is disqualifying.

SHARPTON: Elizabeth Warren went on the attack just one week after
endorsing Hillary Clinton, Liz, and she never endorsed Bernie Sanders,
which was interesting, but watch this attack.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We complain about Donald Trump,
we can whimper about Donald Trump or we can fight back. Me, I`m fighting
back. I`m fighting back. He is a thin-skinned racist bully. And every
day it becomes clearer he will never be president of the United States.


SHARPTON: Liz, can we expect more like that in Ohio tomorrow from Senator
Warren when she appeared with Secretary Clinton?

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, VOX: Absolutely. And yes, she`s sort of
this fantasy VP, I think for a lot of Democrats particularly who think that
she can short the Bernie supporters who might be attempt go to Trump. But
also she is energizing. You are talking about the entertainment factor and
we get segment. I mean, she is entertaining. She goes after Trump. She
is a great anti-Trump surrogate.

But also it really comes down to chemistry. Is there going to be chemistry
between the two of them? Because so far Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth
Warren have been campaigning separately against Trump. So it is going to
be interesting to see if their frosty relationship that we have known in
the past which has not always been great. Elizabeth Warren has been very
critical of Hillary Clinton, if they can put those difference aside and
really stand together.

SHARPTON: Aside from the frosty relationships in the past because we know
frosty relationships can get very warm when self-interest is involved.

PLANK: Or Trump is involved.

SHARPTON: And Trump kind of helps.

Aside from that Basil, how do you view the fact that some would say that
independence some of who are centrists and disaffected Republicans are a
lot of voters for Mrs. Clinton to get and that Elizabeth Warren may be too
far to the left for them? Is it more in Mrs. Clinton`s interest to go
after centrists and independents and disaffected Republicans or to try to
get the supporters of Bernie Sanders, some of which may not come to her

SMIKLE: You know, I think there`s value in both argument. Look. She is
an incredibly talented politician. She is conversant on a wide variety of
issues, wide variety of issues, having worked for her, I can say that with
my bias noted. But that noted –

SHARPTON: Bias good or bad.

SMIKLE: Bias good in support of her.

SHARPTON: Go ahead.

SMIKLE: Someone like a Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia, I think that if
there`s concern about Elizabeth Warren being too far to the left, I think
Tim Kaine is someone who has executive credibility having been a former
governor. He is probably considered more moderate.

But look, I think Hillary Clinton is not the – not so far to the right as
people sometimes like to label her. She is actually very progressive. So
I don`t think that she is so starkly different from Elizabeth Warren in
certain respects. But if you`re looking for someone who is moderate and
comes from an important state from Virginia, Tim Kaine is your person.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s look at the recent polling shows Elizabeth
Warren as the top pick among Clinton supporters, Liz. Elizabeth Warren, 35
percent, Corey Booker, 17 percent, Julian Castro 12 and Al Franken seven,
Sherrod Brown six, Tim Kaine only five percent, who Basil is convinced
brings balance but only five percent agrees with him. Would the base be
considered in this choice?

PLANK: Yes. I mean, I think Kaine is a very safe choice but not an
exciting choice. And at this point, you know, Hillary Clinton has to
weigh, does she want to go with someone who can help her – one of her
weaknesses is this enthusiasm gap, especially with young voters. That I
think someone like Elizabeth Warren or even Corey Booker could help her
help resolve that issue. I mean, she needs millennials to come out for her
and she needs them to vote for her too.

And so yes, Kaine is – might be the obvious choice at the end of the day,
but it`s definitely not the choice that many Democrats might be excited
about when you compare him to people like Elizabeth Warren and Corey

SHARPTON: Before I run out of time, I want to go back, Basil, to Bernie
Sanders. He says he`ll vote for her but he`s not endorsing her. What do
you make of that?

SMIKLE: That`s disappointing and a little troubling. Because this time in
2008, Hillary Clinton had already come out of the race and endorsed Barack
Obama and said, I need you to work as hard for him as you did for me. And
if you remember, the convention floor, she asked for a vote of acclimation
to that we could all sort of be behind Barack in a very unified way.

Bernie Sanders hasn`t done that as yet. And that`s a little worry some
because I don`t think his supporters have just turn on a dime. It`s a
process for him and it is process for them also. And he needs to sort, in
my mind, begins the process of bringing his supporters over to her side to
unify the Democrats.

SHARPTON: Looks like – sounds like a mixed signal to me.

Liz Plank and Basil Smikle, I thankful of both you for being on but not
grateful you on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, previewing a party with a purpose. Essence fest,
and why this year could be unique.


SHARPTON: Essence fest comes back to New Orleans next weekend. And this
year it has some extra residents. It is the last festival under Barack
Obama. It`s first since the passing of Prince and the death of Muhammad
Ali. It comes in an election year when voting rights are under assault and
at a time when tens of thousands of lives are being lost to gun violence,
crime and a broken criminal justice system.

Joining me now is Vanessa De Luca, editor in chief of “essence.”

Thank you for being here, Vanessa.


SHARPTON: 22nd year and every year, it is a party with a purpose, top
entertainment but also dealing with some of the vital issues of their time.
I have been honored to speak at every one and will be speaking this year,
but there are also be a focus on issues like guns and Flint, Michigan. I
mean, tell us things we`re looking at this year. Because the daytime you
have these wonderful workshops and speeches and primary sessions and group
discussions and at night the best that you can get in music.

DE LUCA: That`s absolutely right. I mean, the daytime really is where we
get an opportunity to talk about the issues happening in our community that
are relevant, real and have honest conversation. So we will be focusing
on, of course, gun control is a big and gun violence is a big issue –

SHARPTON: I see you have some of the mothers of victims coming to speak.

DE LUCA: We do. We have a panel featuring Sybrina Fulton, (INAUDIBLE), as
well as Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis. And they will be talking
about, you know, everything that`s happening around us. I mean, just think
about what happened in Orlando not too long ago. Think about what`s
happening to their own families. And we will be talking to them about what
can we do and what can we do collectively to make a difference.

SHARPTON: And they are the ones that feel it. I mean, we saw the sit-in
this week in Congress which is great. But now what happens and how do we
turn moments into movements? But also it`s a lot of the entertainment
world. I mean, it is amazing which one of the reasons I go every year
since it started because you get the best in entertainment and you get the
real relevant cutting edge issues. Prince did the tenth and the 20th year
of the “Essence” festival. What are you going to do special to honor and
remember Prince this year?

DE LUCA: Well, suddenly, all of the artists in the super dome at a certain
point in time throughout the weekend will be paying special tribute to
Prince. And you know, he was extraordinary. He really made the 20th
anniversary of the festival something special.

SHARPTON: It was great. I was at both tenth and 20th and he was


SHARPTON: And you have got a great lineup. I talked to Puffy Combs and
he`s excited about Sunday night. Give us some performers that is going to
be there this weekend.

DE LUCA: Sure. We got Kendrick Lamar on Sunday with Puff Daddy on Friday
night. We got Maxwell, Tyre (pg), Faith Evans, Baby Face. Saturday night
we got Mariah Carey closing us out. It will be the first time doing
“Essence” festival in the 22-year history.

SHARPTON: The last festival under the first African-American president,
President Obama and the significance of that. I know many including me
will be addressing that. How does that look to you as editor of the major
black women`s magazine in this country and around the world? And what does
that put on this festival because we`re going to see for first time in
American history an African-American president and family leave the White
House. Never been here before.

DE LUCA: Never been here before. But we want to make sure our interest
and things that matter are taken care of. So we are going to be looking at
the black women`s vote and reminding people the importance of the black
women`s vote. There will be a whole panel about that including Mya Harris
who works on Hillary Clinton`s campaign and a number of other women in the
political space will be a part of that conversation. Because we want to
make sure the people remember black women drove the results and were
leading in the results of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. And so, we have
power to wield and we can`t sit back and hope that the two candidates
before us, presumptive candidates before us are going to take care of those
issues that are important to us. We have to make sure that we keep this
top of mind and in front of our community to go out and vote in November.

SHARPTON: Well, we want to make sure when that family leaves the White
House, our interests don`t leave with them.

Vanessa De Luca thanks. And you can go to essence.com for more information
on the “Essence” fest next weekend.

Finally, a quick note. We got a great response to part one of our series
following Alton Mills, a nonviolent drug offender who spent 22 years in
prison. One viewer said congratulations to him and his family. A true
testimony to faith and perseverance. So glad President Obama served during
this time.

Keep watching “Politics Nation” for more of our series on Alton and his
search for new life after prison.

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



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