The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/5/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am moments away from that pint, Chris.
Trust me. Thank you very much, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
If you are noticing some striking dissimilarities from what our usual
set and our usual studio look like, it`s because we really are live tonight
from an awesome Irish pub called McHales in downtown Rock Hill, South
Carolina, where tomorrow night MSNBC`s going to be hosting the First in the
South Democrats Candidates Forum. Martin O`Malley, Bernie Sanders, Hillary
Clinton, they`re all going to be here in person before an audience of
thousands at Winthrop University. I am going to be moderating that First
in the South Forum tomorrow, which is totally fine, not at all nervous.
There have just been, speaking of the South, there have just been two
big governor`s races in the South this week.
In Mississippi, the Mississippi Democratic Party essentially did not
get it together to run a major candidate for governor this year. So
Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant basically got to run
unopposed. He did very well.
The other governor`s race in the south this week was very, very
contested. That was Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway losing the
Kentucky governor`s race to Republican Tea Party businessman guy Matt
Bevin. Now, Kentucky Democrats, Democrats across the country, really
thought Jack Conway was going to win that race, both because they thought
Matt Bevin was a very beatable fairly eccentric, fairly polarizing guy, but
also because the polling just told them that very clearly, in fact,
Democrat Jack Conway was going to win that race. He definitely lost that
race and by a lot.
And today, in today`s news, one very specific chicken came home to
roost on that story. “The Lexington Herald Leader” newspaper today in
Kentucky fired their pollster. That paper runs the Bluegrass poll, which
is supposed to be the gold standard poll in that state. But they
completely blew the governor`s race this year.
And so, that paper has fired their polling company. That`s the kind
of procedural consequence of that race going the way it did in Kentucky
this week. That`s the procedural consequence.
The real-life consequence of that race going the way it did in
Kentucky this week is that 400,000 people who live in Kentucky are now
watching their surprise new Republican governor trying to figure out if he
meant it when he promised them that he was going to throw them all off
their health insurance as soon as he takes office. Nearly a half million
But there is one more southern governor`s race that is still in
process right now and that is the Louisiana governor`s race. And ooh, it`s
a doozy. The current governor, Bobby Jindal, is running for president,
although he is polling so poorly it is sometimes hard to tell that anymore.
But regardless of how well his presidential race goes, Bobby Jindal
is term limited out as Louisiana`s governor and now Republican U.S. Senator
David Vitter is running in Louisiana to try to replace Bobby Jindal. David
Vitter came in second in an open primary last weekend. That was good
enough to get him into a runoff for the governor`s seat. In two weeks,
he`ll be running off against a Democrat named John Bel Edwards. Not to be
confused with John not Bel Edwards.
Now, the first big surprise in that Southern governor`s race came
when the first poll came out after that runoff match-up was set between
John Bel Edwards and David Vitter. The first poll after we knew it was
going to be those two guys showed David Vitter losing to the Democrat in
that race by 20 points. That was southern surprise number one in that
race. John bel edwards` family is here tonight.
But the Southern surprise number two in that race actually came
today. And this one blew me away. I never would have expected this. But
today one of the other Republicans who`d been in the running for that race
for governor, who ran in the primary, he`s actually the current lieutenant
governor of the state. He`s the Republican lieutenant governor under Bobby
Today, he came out as the Republican lieutenant governor and he made
his endorsement in the governor`s race and he endorsed the Democratic guy
over David Vitter. The Republican lieutenant governor of the state
endorsed the Democrat running against David Vitter saying, “The Republican
brand has been damaged by the failed leadership of Bobby Jindal during this
last term, David Vitter`s governorship would further damage the brand.”
And so, apparently, the best way to protect the Republican brand from
Louisianans like Bobby Jindal and David Vitter is to keep them from holding
public office by Republicans voting in the Democratic guy instead.
Southern politics are so weird and so great. And Southern politics
are not always what they appear on the surface, whether it`s people
outperforming the pollsters by double digits or grudges that last longer
than political reporters can remember and sometimes apply to people`s
children and grandchildren. Or in the South, it`s sometimes the supposedly
inevitable political truth that one day just poof into smoke and define
brand new rules when nobody was expecting it.
And that kind of dynamic is why we are here, because this is
supposedly the Deep Red South, where Democrats have no chance. But you
know what? When they made the tickets available to the public to come see
the Democratic presidential candidates in Rock Hill, South Carolina
tomorrow night, they put those tickets on sale at 9:00 a.m., all of those
tickets were gone by 9:05 a.m.
We`re here tonight because Barack Obama got a huge welcome here in
the 2008 race. Barack Obama made two separate visits specifically to this
town of 60,000 people in the 2008 race because he really needed to win the
primary in South Carolina, first in the South. And he did win that
But you know, he didn`t win the South Carolina general election,
because, of course not. South Carolina hasn`t gone for a Democrat for
president since Jamie Carter won in 1976. South Carolina has gone red in
presidential elections for going on four decades. South Carolina has had a
Republican governor since 2003.
Republicans have had full control of the legislature since 2000.
Both South Carolina senators are Republicans. South Carolina sent seven
lawmakers to Congress and six of the seven are Republicans.
So, yes, Barack Obama never really had a chance of winning South
Carolina in the general election either time. Even after beating Hillary
Clinton in the South Carolina primary in 2008 by nearly 30 points, in the
general election he lost here in 2008 and in 2012, first to John McCain and
then to Mitt Romney. South Carolina went red again.
But if you want to see where in the South Barack Obama won not just
the primary but the presidency, you only have to drive a half hour away
from here when the traffic`s good. You only have to drive a half hour away
to swing state North Carolina.
Democrats controlled the state house of North Carolina as recently as
2010. North Carolina had a Democratic governor as recently as 2012. They
had a Democratic senator until just this last year. And one of the times
Barack Obama has run for president, he won North Carolina.
So being here, it makes for kind of a high-stakes science experiment.
What makes South Carolina and North Carolina so different? Why is one of
them fire engine red, where I sit right now, and the other one a half hour
away kind of more of a great jelly purple? Why is this happening in our
Today, I finally got close enough to ask those questions myself on
the North Carolina side of the border, in Charlotte. I went there today
with a professor of southern politics, Scott Huffmon of Winthrop
University. And I met here in Rock Hill with Jamie Harrison, who`s the
energetic young new enthusiastically optimistic chairman of the South
Carolina Democratic Party.
MADDOW: We have Googled this within an inch of its life and I
believe with some big degree of confidence, I believe that this is the
actual border –
SCOTT HUFFMON, WINTHROP UNIVERSITY: So it would appear.
MADDOW: – between north and South Carolina. Oh, and a ladybug. We
call this checkpoint Nikki Haley.
HUFFMON: From the state where I grew up to the state where I –
MADDOW: So this is the North Carolina side, this is the South
Carolina side. The reason we`re here at this barrier is basically because
I want to understand what`s different in terms of political – realistic
political possibilities on this side of this border versus this side of the
border. It seems to me like obviously the Republican party is ascendant in
the south everywhere.
But in South Carolina it feels done and in North Carolina it feels
like it is at least in process and maybe not going that direction in an
HUFFMON: Now, on this side of the barrier –
MADDOW: South Carolina.
HUFFMON: The South Carolina side, the Republican Party is absolutely
dominant. And you`re right, it has been ascendant. They controlled both
chambers of the state legislature. Every statewide office is controlled by
What`s happening on this side of the border is the Democrats are
really trying to reorganize. They have spent several election cycles
losing at all levels except the seats they`re gerrymandered in. One
congressional seat and a lot of House and Senate seats.
Now, you see a whole new generation of Democrats in South Carolina
that are no longer happy with that status quo and they`re trying to figure
out how to build. They saw a lot of excitement around Barack Obama, a lot
of organization around Barack Obama in 2008, which is how South Carolina
really became Obama country in `08 for the Democrats. They want to build
The new generation in the Democratic Party in South Carolina are
tired of having a shallow bench. They`re tired of losing at every level.
But the truth of the matter is, electoral politics are against them for
several cycles but rebuilding has to start somewhere and that`s what
they`re trying to do.
MADDOW: And you see energy.
HUFFMON: I see energy.
MADDOW: You see energy and ambition and effort and this is not going
to be one of those southern Democratic parties that neglects to field
candidates for major offices anymore.
HUFFMON: Well, for maybe a cycle or two. When you have that many
seats to fill, it takes a while.
HUFFMON: But again, rebuilding has to start somewhere. And they`re
going to continue to lose because they are outnumbered. They`re going to
continue to lose for a while. But, you know, it`s not inevitable that they
can never rise again.
So they`ve got to bring in fresh blood, exciting candidates. And
you`re right, they`re not going to be able to do it for most races, but
they`ve got to contest every statewide race. They can`t do it now. But if
they expect to build they`ve got to take this excitement, this momentum
from this cycle knowing that this election is not going to be the election
where the Democrats try –
MADDOW: This isn`t going to be where it pays off for South Carolina
Democrats but if it`s ever going to pay off in the next few cycles or
anytime in our foreseeable future, it`s going to have to start here with
this energy, 2016.
HUFFMON: Right, that type of – you know, building muscles for
competition, you know, you don`t start off being an Olympic runner. You
start off dashing to the end of your driveway.
MADDOW: Fascinating. That`s fascinating.
And the border`s very handsome.
Do you have an opinion on the new chair of the South Carolina
Democratic Party, Jamie Harrison?
HUFFMON: I`ve only met him a few times. He seems incredibly
energetic. He really wants to grow the party and take it in a new way.
There was a lot of old blood who in the – you know, the heyday of the
Democratic Party had made it what it was, built it, but a lot of the
Democrats were feeling kind of taken for granted.
And Jamie seems to be new blood for them. And you know –
MADDOW: And new energy.
HUFFMON: And the truth is the Republican Party`s been doing that for
a while, bringing in new young talent in South Carolina to take advantage
of every growth. Jamie seems to be wanting to do that. The question is,
can he capitalize?
And things like this are his attempt to grow the –
MADDOW: Things like this forum.
HUFFMON: Things like the forum.
We`ll talk to him later. I`m excited about that.
Do you have – how old are you now?
JAMIE HARRISON, CHAIR OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: So I`m
39. I will turn 40 next year.
MADDOW: In your second term as chairman.
HARRISON: In my second term as chairman.
MADDOW: Did you have a horizon in terms of what you think is
realistically doable as chair of the party, a goal that you want to
achieve, something you think you can get done that you can see doing in the
time, you`re going to hold this job?
HARRISON: Exactly right. So the number one thing, and I realized
this after my first term as chair, that the hardest part of raising money
for a party, people are going to tell you yes I`m going to give you money
or no, I`m not going to give you money. The hardest part is finding
The bench here in South Carolina is depleted. But that is the
MADDOW: You don`t have people to run.
HARRISON: – all across the south. You don`t have – there are some
folks that you can get to run but you don`t have really good talented
people to run. And so this year, and we will be announcing this on Friday,
tomorrow, we are announcing the James E. Clyburn Political Fellowship.
It`s something that I created because I recognized that we have a dearth of
We don`t have – the average age of my county chairs, the people who
are on the ground, it`s probably in the 60s. The candidates that we have
don`t reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party. A lot of young people
in this state, they tend to – they go to college, they get their
education, and then they go to North Carolina, to Charlotte, or they go to
Georgia, to Atlanta, or they go up to Washington, D.C. or New York.
And so, we have to begin developing talent in the state.
MADDOW: Well, part of that has to be that people don`t see –
especially somebody who`s ambitious and talented and has other options,
don`t see any realistic chance of there being any political success for a
Democrat in South Carolina.
HARRISON: That`s true. But what I tell people is – and before I`m
a Democrat I`m a student of history. And the Republican Party in this
state probably about 40 years ago were at the same place the Democratic
Party is today.
MADDOW: That`s true, yes.
HARRISON: And so, there are some fundamental things they did in
order to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunity.
MADDOW: Do you get as chair of the South Carolina Party, do you get
support from the national party?
HARRISON: We do. And part of that is –
MADDOW: Is it enough?
HARRISON: I would love more.
MADDOW: What would you love more of? Just money or –
HARRISON: What I would love more of is a Democratic southern
strategy, something that is off budget, right? That basically says we are
going to dedicate a certain amount of money, and this is from not only the
DNC, DCCC, DSCC, which are all the acronyms for the Senate and the House
committee, that we`re going to set aside a certain amount of money to begin
to cultivate a bench of talent.
MADDOW: OK. Having people to recruit to run is a key, key –
HARRISON: Oh, it`s a key issue for me. And we need to break this
mold of how they decide on where to allocate resources. They use something
called DPI, the Democratic Performance Index, which basically is a
culmination of data of how people will perform in that district over the
course of history. But that doesn`t take into account the quality of the
people who ran previously.
MADDOW: So, you`re saying because Democrats haven`t done well in the
past they`re not getting a chance to run well in the future –
MADDOW: – because it looks hopeless.
So you have to change expectations in the state among people who
might consider a political career or try a political career to make them
think it`s possible.
MADDOW: You also have to change expectations nationally so
nationally Democrats look at South Carolina and think it`s possible. You
have to win in order to do that. Don`t you have to win something in order
to prove it?
HARRISON: It`s the chicken or the egg, right? And there`s a
fundamental problem. When you look at – Barack Obama had – his vote in
South Carolina was what, 44 percent and 45 percent, 45 percent I think
initially and 44 percent or 43 percent the last time. Most people think of
South Carolina as so ruby red. Like oh, my God, Barack Obama got 40-
HARRISON: The question is, to the National Democratic Party if you
invested money and we have to think not just a two-year cycle, and that is
the problem. Republicans on the other hand are thinking ten years. It`s a
long term engagement.
MADDOW: So we had a lot of Southern strategy, for lack of a better
phrase, Southern Democratic hope lip service from the Democrats in 2012
when they held their convention in Charlotte. But you`re saying it hasn`t
translated to the Democratic Party prioritizing winning individual races in
states like South Carolina that would give them something to go on.
HARRISON: That`s exactly right.
MADDOW: I understand this better now. That`s very helpful.
MADDOW: You hear that, national Democrats? You hear that, national
Democrats? Basically, the word from South Carolina is a little help here,
can we get a little help here, please?
That was the chairman of the state Democratic Party here in South
Carolina who says Democrats have paid way more lip service to being a 50-
state party than they have actually followed through on and made good on in
states like this. And that is part of the reason Republicans have cleaned
up in states like, this because they`re playing the long game and making
the long investment, and Democrats are talking about it but not doing it.
Democrats in the Obama era won a whole bunch of down ballot races in
the states, then in Congress in 2008. Since then, they have shed those
seats like rain off a duck to the point where Democrats have lost a dozen
governor`s seats, more than 900 state legislative seats, 30 state
legislative bodies, Houses or Senates, 69 seats in Congress, 13 seats in
the Senate, all lost by the Democrats since President Obama has been in
And yes, some of that is because he won at first and he took a lot of
those seats for the Democratic Party when he first took office. So there
was going to be some snapping back.
But some of it isn`t that. Some of that really does feel like the
Democratic Party has ceased to really try, has ceased to actually really
even compete in whole swaths of the country. And a lot of the country
thinks the entire Southeast of this country is one of those places where
Democrats are not even trying anymore.
Well, they may not be trying nationally to win in the southeast, but
we are here tonight in the Southeast. We are here tonight in South
Carolina to find out if that is true locally here as well.
Stay with us. We`re live from McHales Irish pub in Rock Hill, South
Carolina. Congressman Jim Clyburn`s here. Steve Kornacki`s here in just a
We`ve got lots ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So we`re here in Rock Hill, South Carolina tonight, live at
an awesome bar. And we`ve got the biggest power broker in South Carolina
politics coming up live here with us in just a moment.
But we also, I have to tell you, we`ve got huge and for two
presidential campaigns absolutely devastating news about the next
Republican debate. There`s a big surprise tonight as to who is not being
let into that debate. We`ve got news breaking about that tonight, and it
is kind of remarkable that we are in South Carolina when we are hearing
that news. You`ll find out why that is important in just a moment.
But all that`s ahead. Stay with us live from McHales Irish pub in
Rock Hill, South Carolina. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Welcome back to McHales Irish pub in downtown Rock Hill,
I kid you not. There was a moment today, there was a moment today we
were out on the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, we were
literally standing at the border, and we`re having this big talk about
whether blue dot cities inside red states are politically important,
whether or not Charlotte, North Carolina should be called the blue dot,
especially because they just elected a female Democratic mayor for the
first time this week. And is Rock Hill, South Carolina technically a blue
So we`re having this conversation, blue dot this, blue dot that, blue
dot this, blue dot that. While we were having that discussion, I am not
lying, look what happens. Look what drove right past us.
It`s like God reads political blogs now and has a sense of humor
about it. Look. We`re having that blue dot conversation. And a giant
cement mixer drives up from the “blue dot ready-mix supply company”. Thank
you, universe prop allocator.
Joining us now is Congressman Jim Clyburn. He`s a living, breathing,
very influential blue dot. He`s the only Democrat in Congress from the
great state of South Carolina. And he`s the convening host of tomorrow of
the First in the South Democratic Candidates Forum.
Congressman, sir, thanks so much for being here.
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thanks for having me.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MADDOW: We are going to be talking about this in a little bit more
detail later on in the show but first I do have to get your reaction.
There is late-breaking news tonight that Fox Business Network has looked at
the qualifying polls for the next Republican debate in such a way that they
are not going to allow Lindsey Graham to debate at all. He will not even
be allowed to the kids` table.
I just have to – as your home state senator, I have to get your
reaction to that.
CLYBURN: I hate that this did happen. I know Lindsey. We work
together on our delegation. And I really would have loved to see him
Lindsey and I don`t agree on a whole lot of stuff, but we do like
each other. He is a very articulate spokesperson for South Carolina. And
I would have loved to see him there because whether we like it or not,
South Carolina`s going to be one of the primary states and I thought it
would be good for him to be there and talk about what people in this state
would like to see presidential candidates talk about.
MADDOW: It does – there`s a certain extra level of angst or drama
about it because it does seem sort of arbitrary in terms of whether or not
he was let in or whether he wasn`t. This debate process on the Republican
side has been so big and so chaotic, it seems like it was a little bit of
just luck of the dice.
CLYBURN: Well, if you`re going to have eight at the adult table,
four or six at the kids` table, what`s the difference?
MADDOW: Yes, exactly.
Let me talk to you about your special role here in South Carolina,
because you are the only Democrat in South Carolina`s congressional
MADDOW: The state houses, both the state legislature, both senators
obviously all Republican. People think of this as a solid red state.
MADDOW: Do you think that is true in an ongoing way or do you think
that the Democrats could make up ground here?
CLYBURN: Oh, yes, we could. No question about that. I think we
I really love what Jamie Harrison is doing. Jamie is a disciple of
Governor Dean. He loves the 50-state strategy. I was not able to hear all
of what he had to say when you talked with him. But I know that he`s doing
everything he possibly can to build a bench in South Carolina.
He came to me several months ago with his fellowship program that he
wanted to honor me with. I think called it the James E. Clyburn Fellowship
CLYBURN: Whatever it is, he costs me a bunch of money.
MADDOW: Congratulations. What do I owe?
CLYBURN: Yes. Jamie`s all about putting together the resources
necessary to build a bench, and I think he will.
MADDOW: In terms of the national attitude toward South Carolina,
obviously, South Carolina every four years has the equivalent of a
political birthday. Both parties come to South Carolina, they send all
their headliners, you get lots of news attention, you get lots of lip
service from all levels of the party because the primary comes so early,
right after Iowa and New Hampshire. Is there something specific that
Democrats could do to try to turn some of that attention into something
that lasts here in the long run for governance here once the presidential
campaigns move on after February, March?
CLYBURN: Absolutely. We have to start at the legislative level.
Remember, we`ve gotten into this difficulty as a result of the elections of
2010. And it was because I don`t think we had enough focus on the
gubernatorial races, on the state legislative races. Because 2010, every
ten years, is very critical to the political process.
And I think that a bunch of very smart people who are really a little
bit dumb took their eyes off the real prize, and that is who gets the
results every ten years will determine what redistricting will be all
about. And so, when we lost so big in 2010, it meant that the
redistricting fell out of our hands and we were decimated.
MADDOW: Ten years.
CLYBURN: Absolutely. A lot of us kept begging, some of the
professionals, not to walk away from these races because we don`t draw our
own seats. The seats are drawn in the state mostly. There are some
commissions in some states. But by and large, in the South, they are drawn
by the legislatures. And when you lose the legislatures, you lose that
MADDOW: That`s right.
Congressman Jim Clyburn, a leader in this state on so many issues and
for so long, and the person whose name is on everybody`s lips every time I
talk to them about anything going on the state, thank you for your time
tonight. Thank you.
CLYBURN: Thanks so much for having here, Rachel. Thank you for
MADDOW: Of course.
We`re going to have much more from McHales Irish pub in Rock Hill,
South Carolina, right after this. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUFFMON: Bumper sticker.
MADDOW: Symbol of heritage.
HUFFMON: South Carolina plate. Yay.
MADDOW: But I`m always interested in what are the other things we`re
also proud of at the same time? That appears to be the Miami Dolphins
HUFFMON: That`s right.
MADDOW: What heritage is that?
MADDOW: So there`s been some pretty shocking late-breaking political
news tonight. Just a short time ago, the Fox Business Network released
their line-up for Tuesday`s Republican debate, and there are a bunch of
surprises. Several of which are sort of devastating.
First of all, this time only eight Republican candidates are going to
appear on the main stage. That`s the fewest number to appear on the main
stage for the debate so far in this campaign. The line-up`s going to be
Donald Trump in the center, flanked by Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. They`ll
be joined by Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul.
Not included on that main stage is Chris Christie. Tonight, Fox has
announced that Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee will not make it into the
main debate because they didn`t poll at at least 2.5 percent in the four
most recent national polls picked by Fox Business.
Christie and Huckabee will be relegated to the kids` table because
they didn`t make the cut. Rand Paul, interestingly, did make the cut,
barely. He`s literally on the line at 2.5 percent exactly. So he`s still
on the main stage by the skin of his teeth.
But that`s not the only big news tonight. The line-up for the
undercard debate, the kids` table debate, is pretty stunning as well, not
only because Chris Christie`s going to be there and Mike Huckabee`s going
to be there too. It`s also stunning because of who is not even going to be
there and how that was decided by Fox.
So, check this out. The candidates who are going to be at the kids`
table debate are Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Bobby
Jindal. Bobby Jindal is in. He`s in even though South Carolina Senator
Lindsey Graham is out, altogether not allowed to debate at all.
The reason this is especially surprising is because of a very big,
very surprising value judgment made by the folks over at Fox Business.
We`ve been reporting recently how Fox has refused to say in advance which
national polls they would use to decide the line-ups for their debate.
Well, in the end tonight, for some reason, they chose to include a
poll run by, I kid you not, Investors Business Daily instead of a poll done
by CBS and the “New York Times.” Nothing against Investors Business Daily,
but really? Why did they choose that poll? I don`t know.
But in the Investors Business Daily poll Bobby Jindal gets 2 percent
and Lindsey Graham gets zero percent. And that`s enough. The inclusion of
that truly random fairly unheard of poll instead of the CBS/”New York
Times” poll means Bobby Jindal gets to keep debating and Lindsey Graham
Literally, it`s this one decision, had they chosen “The New York
Times” poll it would have been Graham who made the cut and Jindal would
have been out. But they made their decision. This is a big deal, and
parts of it do seem pretty inexplicable. It is a gift to Bobby Jindal. It
is devastating to Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee. It is particularly
devastating to Lindsey Graham.
And now, because of this decision by Fox the only candidate in either
party who has served in the military, Lindsey Graham, will not be allowed
to debate the day before veteran`s day.
And whatever you think of Lindsey Graham, I cannot believe this is
the process the Republicans are using to pick their president this year.
But they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DONALD TRUMP RADIO AD)
NARRATOR: Donald Trump will protect Israel and brutally and quickly
cut the head off of ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: As opposed to nicely cutting off their heads. He will do it
brutally. Weird new ad today from Donald Trump that`s running here in
South Carolina and also in Iowa and New Hampshire. It`s a radio ad.
Starting tomorrow, Ben Carson`s going to be running ads, specifically
targeting black radio audiences with a Ben Carson rap song.
(BEN CARSON RADIO AD)
MADDOW: Ben Carson and Donald Trump with their own unconventional
take on the necessary political convention of running ads.
And you know, these guys apparently don`t do it like anybody else is
doing it. But today if you needed it to be any more real that Donald Trump
and Ben Carson really are the front-runners and front-runners by a mile,
today, we got the wake up news that the Secret Service is now going to be
providing protection for both Donald Trump and Ben Carson as presidential
That said, the big news in Republican politics is not at the top of
the heap, it`s at the bottom of the heap. We just told you about that
devastating news for the Chris Christie campaign that he will not be
allowed onto the main stage at the next Republican debate. Neither will
Mike Huckabee. Instead they will be at the kids` table debate.
Also even more devastating news for both George Pataki and Lindsey
Graham, that they will not even be allowed to the kids` table. Just
remarkable news today.
Joining us now is the shameless panderer, Steve Kornacki and his
Winthrop Eagles jersey. Well done.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much.
MADDOW: I know you were wearing that anyway today.
KORNACKI: I love the NCAA tournament and they pulled off a great
upset once, so I wear this with pride.
MADDOW: You know, every Thursday night. I know you always do.
I want to start with this debate news. It seems like incredibly
devastating news that Christie and Huckabee are off the main stage.
They`re not out entirely, though. Is it possible the kids` table debate is
not a bad place for them to be?
KORNACKI: Well, I mean, Carly Fiorina would tell you it`s not the
worst place to be in the sense that she had a good performance there in the
first kids` table back in August. It vaulted her to the main table. Of
course, the flip side of that is the minute she got there she slipped back.
She barely made it back onto the main stage in this one by half a point.
One theory would be if you put a Huckabee, if you put a Christie at
this second-tier debate, maybe that brings up the stature of the debate a
little bit, maybe there will be more eyeballs on it, maybe people will take
it more seriously.
But it`s hard to argue with it, especially now that we`re into the
third and fourth debate here, when you get this far into it, I think
there`s less curiosity factor about that first debate. We`re getting
closer to the actual voting. It is a blow to a campaign just in terms of
your status if you`re told you`re not good enough to be on that main stage.
MADDOW: And it`s a blow of a different magnitude to not even be
allowed into the undercard debate. I mean, it`s to me the decision by
which – or the means by which Fox got to this decision to include Bobby
Jindal, to exclude Lindsey Graham and George Pataki, it`s – I mean, I`m
sure they`ve got a justification for it. On its face it seems like a very
But that has to be – to be disappeared entirely off the stage, that
has to be kind of the end.
KORNACKI: And that`s it. If you`re on the second-tier debate you
could at least theoretically turn in a very good performance and be
promoted. But when you`re not in any debate at all, what do you do? You
go around trying to get free media attention. But that difference between
being off the stage completely and being in the second-tier debate, I mean,
you look at those polls, you just put them up on the screen, you could take
a poll of Lindsey Graham, you could take a poll of Bobby Jindal you`re
getting .001 and then one is .0011 – there`s almost no statistical
difference between how they`re performing in the polls but when you have to
make these cutoffs, that`s the sort of thing that happens.
MADDOW: And you make these cutoffs based on which polls you choose.
Investor`s Business Daily makes the cut and CBS/”New York Times” poll –
KORNACKI: What Fox is saying is they chose when these polls
specifically were in the field and the IBD was in the field longer than the
CBS – more recently that the CBS one. If you look at it that way
chronologically it would be one of the top four.
Certainly when it came out, it didn`t have the sort of luster of a
CBS News/”New York Times” poll.
The only thing I`d say about Jindal, the Jindal people have been
arguing he belongs on one of the stages because of the early states,
specifically Iowa. Jindal has pitched his message almost exclusively to
The latest poll in Iowa actually had him moving there. He`s at 6
percent. He`s ahead of Jeb Bush in Iowa.
MADDOW: Ahead of Jeb, that`s right.
KORNACKI: So he has shown a little life in one of the early states,
which is more than Lindsey Graham can say at this point.
MADDOW: Chris Christie showing life in New Hampshire.
KORNACKI: That`s right.
MADDOW: Lindsey Graham showing life at the last debate. Lindsey
Graham being an early state senator from here in South Carolina.
Everybody`s got a good argument to be there.
Ultimately, with Fox Business Channel being the arbiter of who`s
there, it`s a pretty nutty outcome.
Steve Kornacki, thank you so much.
KORNACKI: Happy to be here.
MADDOW: If you stay another 20 minutes, I`ll buy you a beer.
MADDOW: We`ve got lots more ahead from McHales Irish pub in Rock
Hill, South Carolina.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: OK. Here`s how this goes. There are only three Democrats
left in the presidential race. Right now right here at McHales Irish pub
in Rock Hill, South Carolina we are going to do a spectacularly
unscientific straw poll.
OK, you guys. I do not care if you are a Democrat or not. I do not
care if you are a South Carolina resident or not, or whether or not you`re
going to vote in the Democratic primary. Right now in this room pretend
that you are.
I`m going to ask you first Martin O`Malley, second Bernie Sanders,
third Hillary Clinton. And in our straw poll, if you`re going to vote for
that person, I need you to make this noise. Hoot! Just a noise like that.
We`re going to do a practice one. Ready? All together. One, two,
MADDOW: Very good.
How many of you are going to vote for martin O`Malley?
MADDOW: How many of you are going to vote for Bernie Sanders?
MADDOW: How many of you are going to vote for Hillary Clinton?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
MADDOW: That`s our straw poll. Do not take that to the bank. Thank
you very much.
MADDOW: So this is a really cool story. If you were an activist in
the civil rights movement and you got arrested at a sit-in or some other
form of civil disobedience. For a very long time, the movement raised
money to pay your bail and that was the way the system worked in the civil
rights movement forever.
Until something happened here in Rock Hill, South Carolina to change
that. There was a sit-in movement that started here in Rock Hill, South
Carolina in 1960, 1961, and the young activists who sat in here and got
arrested decided they would do something different. They got arrested,
they were assigned $100 bail, and they decided they would not pay it.
The authorities here decided, well, if they weren`t going to pay
their bail they weren`t going to let these guys just sit here in a jail
cell getting fed, they were going to do hard labor.
So, these young men who got arrested sitting in at a lunch counter in
Rock Hill, they got assigned to the chain gang – hard labor for their
arrest, which was remarkable at the time. But that strategic change that
those young men made, jail, not bail, that shifted the financial burden of
civil disobedience of the whole sit-in movement, the whole movement, so
that instead of the financial burden being on the movement, it would be on
That started right here. Jail not bail. It changed the course of
the civil rights movement and thereby changed the course of American
history. And there was a group of these nine pioneering sit-in protesters
who were arrested here in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and they did those 30
days hard time on the chain gang. They became known as the friendship
nine, named after the black college they all went to here, friendship
junior college here in Rock Hill.
And it was not until more than 50 years after they were arrested and
did that hard time that jail, not bail, that Rock Hill, South Carolina,
decided to make it right with those men who had been arrested as teenagers
here and had their convictions stand all those years.
More than 50 years later, Rock Hill overturned those convictions. It
just lapped this year and in Rock Hill they made this remarkable decision
that they would not wipe those convictions off the books. They weren`t
going to expunge them and pretend that it didn`t happen, like this was some
normal criminal case where the conviction was vacated and expunged. They
decided here to do a special exception. They would leave those convictions
on the books so people would know what had happened here about those
people, those activists getting convicted for the crime of trying to buy a
sandwich and getting sentenced to chain gang time for having done it.
And so, the historical record, the physical record here still shows
that those arrests happened and that that time was served. And that
historical record now also shows that Rock Hill changed its mind and when
they changed their mind they wanted to make sure nobody would forget what
they had done. And so, they left it on the o books and you can actually
see the books.
We got to do that today. Watch this.
DIANE ANDERSON: It`s been opened so many times, it opened right to
MADDOW: So many people want to come see it.
MADDOW: OK, starting right here with trespassing?
ANDERSON: February 1st, 1961 was the day of arrest. So the clerk
writes the name that go in front of the judge.
MADDOW: This is arresting officer. The name of the prisoner –
arresting officer. This is the offense for all nine of them. It is
ANDERSON: Notice each defendant had a different officer.
MADDOW: Oh, right.
ANDERSON: Imagine that?
MADDOW: So, even though they`re all arrested in the same time, same
ANDERSON: Same restaurant, everyone had had a different officer.
MADDOW: That tells you just what a big police presence there was for
those kind of protests.
MADDOW: Now, the protests had been going on a lot time at that point
in Rock Hill. This wasn`t the very first sit-in in Rock Hill.
ANDERSON: No, I don`t think so. Yes, this would have been one of
the first jail, no bail.
ANDERSON: So, here you see the convictions.
MADDOW: They`re all guilty.
ANDERSON: A hundred dollars or 30 days is the sentence. Sent to
chain gang. Sent to chain gang. Sent to chain gang. Sent to chain gang.
Sent to chain gang.
Had they paid the $100 –
ANDERSON: They didn`t. They served time.
MADDOW: They served the time.
ANDERSON: Had they paid the $100, they wouldn`t have served the
You look at the end of the day, this is Billy Hayes, he was the
ANDERSON: So, at the end of each docket day, he would sign his name.
MADDOW: OK. I see.
ANDERSON: What was interesting to us is that all these years later,
it`s 50 years later his nephew, Judge Billy Hayes` nephew, John Hayes, is
the one who vacated these.
MADDOW: Literally his nephew.
ANDERSON: He`s circuit court judge.
MADDOW: That`s remarkable.
So, this was January of this year the decision was made – is the
word vacated? Overturned? Or what`s the –
ANDERSON: Well, this is his order. Judge Hayes` order. The words
he used – vacated and dismissed with prejudice.
MADDOW: Which means they can`t be brought again.
Now, we have this beautiful docket because they were not expunged.
If something is expunged, it no longer exists. And we would have to white
this out, erase it.
MADDOW: Literally obliterate the record.
Nobody wanted that to happen. The defendants didn`t want it to
happen. Lawyer didn`t. We certainly don`t.
MADDOW: It happened here, yes.
ANDERSON: In the city court – although this wasn`t existing at the
time, like –
MADDOW: Was it hard to persuade to do it? Once you had the idea was
it pushing on an open door?
QUIDA DEST, DEPUTY SOCLITOR FOR YORK COUNTY, SC: It was like a
snowball going downhill.
MADDOW: But there wasn`t anymore like we`re going to have to open up
every case or we`re going to become a truth tribunal, like South Africa or
something. There wasn`t – we didn`t have those –
ANDERSON: Not one bit. Not one bit. That happened here.
DEST: It was, it was. I think everybody was just as supportive that
something should be done.
MADDOW: Half a century later, Rock Hill, South Carolina, choosing to
make it right by those civil rights activists who were arrested as
teenagers. By the time they got their apology, by the time they got their
convictions overturned, by the time they got that note in the docket, they
were men in their 70s.
Sometimes it takes that long but Rock Hill, South Carolina, you are
an amazing place.
And we`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Welcome back to McHales Irish pub at downtown Rock Hill,
It`s been very fun to do this show from here tonight. Everybody has
been very kind. I got to tell you, Rock Hill is where you will find the
mighty, mighty Winthrop University Eagles.
One of the things I learned today is their eagle mascot has a name.
The name of their mascot is – Big Stuff. Which nobody here thinks is
I know I`m not from here, but the name “Big Stuff” doesn`t
intrinsically have anything to do with an eagle. That`s all I got to say.
Winthrop University is also home to the Winthrop poll, sponsored by
Winthrop University. We just got new polling from Winthrop University this
week on the Democratic presidential field, and that result is not subtle.
Hillary Clinton leading the presidential field in South Carolina by a
margin of 56 points. She has some fans here tonight. She`s at 71 percent.
Bernie Sanders at 15 percent. Martin O`Malley at 2 percent, which is what
we technically call in political science terms – room to grow.
But Hillary Clinton is really running away with it in South Carolina.
I should also tell you, technically among African-American voters here,
Hillary Clinton`s support is even higher. She`s at 80 percent support
Traditionally in South Carolina, everybody I talk to says when the
Republicans come here, they want to know which Republican can sweep the
entire south by appealing to all conservatives. When Democrats come here,
they are testing their appeal mostly to an African-American electorate.
Hillary Clinton right now in the polls is winning that test. It is
Bernie Sanders` biggest challenge right now as a Democratic contender.
I will be talking about that with all of the candidates tomorrow one-
on-one in our First in the South Democratic presidential forum. It starts
8:00 here on MSNBC. I will see you there.
That does it for us here tonight in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Now,
it`s time for “THE LAST WORD”.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>