The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/10/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: February 10, 2016
Guests: Ben Jealous, Jaime Harrison
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
MADDOW: It was a good time in New Hampshire with you last night, Chris.
But I hear you on the seriousness of it –
HAYES: It`s hard to juggle both those thoughts because there`s some level
of the sort of dynamism and enthralling spectacle of this and there`s that
core at the center of it. So –
MADDOW: Part of the reason it`s exciting is because it`s so important.
MADDOW: Both things matter a lot. Thank you for doing that. Thanks, man.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Nine years ago today, a United States senator named Barack Obama launched
what at the time seemed like a promising, an interesting but ultimately
pretty improbable run for the presidency of the United States – nine years
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What for weeks has been a foregone conclusion today became fact.
In a place steeped in history, Barack Obama joined the race for president.
On a frigid morning, Senator Barack Obama fired up a crowd of thousands.
BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I stand before you today to
announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.
REPORTER: At the statehouse where Abraham Lincoln called on a divided
nation to unite, Obama pledged to bridge a political divide, offering
himself as part of a new generation that can build a more hopeful America.
OBAMA: Let`s be the generation that makes future generations proud of what
we did here.
REPORTER: Facing a field of political veterans, he played his newcomer
status as an asset.
OBAMA: I know that I haven`t spent a lot of time learning the ways of
Washington. But I`ve been there long enough to know that the ways of
Washington must change.
REPORTER: Early polls show him third, trailing both Senator Hillary
Clinton and John Edwards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Aw. Remember John Edwards? That was after John Edwards had run
as John Kerry`s vice presidential running mate but before we learned about
his secret second family.
Yes, in 2008, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were thought to be the two
titans, the two big figures in the Democratic race. But this upstart
Barack Obama, this first-term senator, he not only beat John Edwards that
year, he went on to get John Edwards` endorsement on his way to winning the
Democratic nomination and ultimately to winning the presidency. That whole
journey of Barack Obama started nine years ago today.
And as president, President Obama went back to Springfield today – to
Springfield, Illinois, to mark the occasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Nine years to the day that I first announced for this office, I
still believe in that politics of hope. And for all the challenges of a
rapidly changing world, and for all the imperfections of our democracy, the
capacity to reach across our differences and choose that kind of politics,
not a cynical politics, not a politics of fear, but that kind of politics,
sustained over the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime, that`s
something that remains entirely up to us.
Thank you, Illinois. God bless you. God bless America. It`s good to see
all of you. I miss you guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: “I miss you guys.”
President Obama speaking to the Illinois legislature today – a place where
he used to work, among his former colleagues.
And when you look at the symbolism and the occasion that President Obama
marked today, it`s fascinating because nine years ago today, from that
Illinois statehouse, he did launch his bid for the presidency. That was
nine years ago today.
Eight years ago today, so exactly one year into Barack Obama running for
president, eight years ago today, Hillary Clinton fired her campaign
manager in the hopes of giving her presidential campaign a boost, changing
her strategy somehow, changing the course of that race against Barack Obama
so that she might somehow turn it around and win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Confronted by Obama`s financial and political advantage in
February, and facing critical showdowns in March, Hillary Clinton replaced
her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle with longtime confidant Maggie
Williams. Some Clinton advisors blame Solis Doyle for losing Iowa, and
spending so much money there, Obama was able to vastly outspend Clinton on
OBAMA: Our time as come.
REPORTER: But after loaning her own campaign $5 million, Clinton said
Sunday online contributions are now adding up.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So many people responded,
they went to my website, HillaryClinton.com, that we have raised since
Tuesday $10 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The more things change, the more politicians have to make sure
their website is spelled out completely including the dotcom part any time
they get quoted on the news. Ah, some things always stay.
Today, nine years on from when Barack Obama started his presidential
campaign and eight years on from when Hillary Clinton fired her campaign
manager and changed course so drastically to try to beat him in that
campaign, today, again, the Clinton campaign finds itself gutting it out
through another very difficult race.
This time, it`s Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who is proving to be her
strong, if slightly improbable opponent. And once again, even though
Secretary Clinton was expected to have an unassailable financial advantage
in this fight for the Democratic nomination, once again her opponent is
proving to be really, really good, like record-setting really good at
Last night after Senator Sanders scored his massive win in New Hampshire,
his 22-point victory, the largest margin of victory in any New Hampshire
primary in, like, half a century, last night, overnight, through the
morning, through today, the Sanders campaign has been taking a shock and
awe approach to displaying the fund-raising response they got to their
victory last night in New Hampshire.
At one point last night, the Sanders campaign uploaded his gif, this little
online video clip which they said showed the pace at which donations were
flooding into their website as senator Sanders declared victory in New
Hampshire. By midnight last night, they said they had raised more than
$2.5 million. By this evening, less than 24 hours after the polls closed
in New Hampshire and Senator Sanders was declared the winner, they said
they raised more than $5.5 million.
And I know big numbers just sound like big numbers to a certain extent, we
don`t have, for example, a declared fund-raising number from the Clinton
campaign since New Hampshire to compare these Bernie Sanders numbers to.
But if you do want context here for what these big numbers mean, in
January, it was a freaking shock to the Democratic establishment when the
Sanders campaign announced that it raised $20 million in total in the month
And in absolute terms, that`s obviously a big number. In relative terms,
it was even more impressive because $20 million was $5 million more than
what Hillary Clinton`s campaign raised in the month of January. So, head
to head, in January, those two campaigns, Hillary Clinton raised $15
million, Bernie Sanders shocked everybody by raising $20 million. And then
in 24 hours, we just got word that he raised another more than $5 million.
So, the technical term when you`re talking about raising money like Bernie
Sanders is raising money right now, the technical term is hand over fist.
If you prefer a different metaphor, you can imagine, perhaps, a fire hose
of money being blasted at Bernie Sanders right now by his supporters around
Now, that said, in the bigger picture, Hillary Clinton is still doing
better when it comes to money. These are the latest numbers from “The New
York Times” in terms of what the campaigns have for cash on hand.
Regardless of the rate at which each of them has been raising money up
until now, regardless of the rate at which each of them has been spending
money up until now, the snapshot of this moment in time, is that this is
how much money they`ve each got to work with. Bernie Sanders has $28
million in the bank. Hillary Clinton`s campaign has $38 million in the
bank. Plus, she`s got another $36 million in super PAC money that`s being
spent on her behalf.
So, you add all that up, that is a sizable cash advantage for Secretary
Clinton. That is part of why she`s still seen as the front-runner for the
Democratic nomination even though they tied in Iowa and he won big in New
Honestly, though, if you look at the difference in that money, if Bernie
Sanders has many more days in which he raises $6 million in 24 hours, that
Clinton advantage will start to disappear. And if Bernie Sanders and
Hillary Clinton end up being, you know, on par in terms of fund-raising,
and the money they`ve got to spend on this campaign, if they end up being
equal, or he ends up surpassing her, that will be yet another way in which
the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is starting to look like the 2008
Democratic presidential primary. Because back in 2008, Barack Obama may
have been brand new to the national political stage when he started his
campaign in Springfield, Illinois, nine years ago today, but from the very
beginning he was a prolific fund-raiser who kept face with and ultimately
surpassed what Hillary Clinton raised and spent that year in their
incredibly long knock down/drag-out contest which went on for months and
months and months and months, almost the whole way to the Democratic
And that brings us to our next trip down memory lane which is delegates.
Oh. Delegate – what? Delegates.
I remember in 2008 not being able to believe that delegate math was going
to be relevant for understanding who would really get the nomination. But
from the very start of that epic battle between Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton in 2008, there were signs that was going to be a competitive enough
race that every delegate was going to matter and we were all going to have
to learn how to do that delegate math.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Despite the fact that people look at the percentage vote that
shows Hillary Clinton with a big win coming out of Nevada, the Obama
campaign says actually if you do the math, he ended up with more delegates
there. Now, if you look at it that way, that means there was to real
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was “NBC Nightly News” right after the Nevada Democratic
caucuses in 2008. It`s Iowa, and then it`s New Hampshire, and then it`s
Nevada for the Democrats. And in 2008, Barack Obama won Iowa, Hillary
Clinton won New Hampshire, and then they went to Nevada for the Nevada
caucuses, and Hillary Clinton won Nevada except the way the delegate math
worked out, it was close enough that even though she won the popular vote
at the Nevada caucuses, Barack Obama is the one who ended up with more
And those kinds of calculations, those kinds of conversations, learning the
algebra of delegates versus votes, that ended up becoming critical all the
way through the Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama race in 2008, both
because that was a super close race but also because Hillary Clinton had
locked up a huge proportion of the delegates that are required to pick a
nominee for the Democratic Party`s presidential campaign. She locked up a
huge proportion of those delegates because she had the superdelegates.
About 30 percent of all the delegates you need to become the Democratic
Party`s presidential nominee come from people who aren`t picked in an
individual primary, individual caucus, in any individual state. They`re
just elected officials and VIPs who commit to one candidate or another, 30
percent of what you need. So, every state has delegates they award in a
primary or caucus but every state has superdelegates, sort of VIP
And I really enjoyed forgetting that after the Democratic race in 2008.
Boy, was that boring to learn and hard to keep in your head.
But now, apparently, we`ve got to learn all that math again. Because I am
here to break it to you tonight that despite headlines like these, all over
the country and indeed around the world today – despite all the headlines
you have seen proclaiming got just that Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire
last night, but that Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton we a historic
margin in New Hampshire. Despite that news, technically it was a tie.
They tied last night in New Hampshire.
In terms of progress toward nominating the Democratic Party`s presidential
candidate, New Hampshire has 32 delegates. Two of them have yet to be
awarded. So 30 of them we can say what they`re going to be. We`ll get
back to those other two in a second.
But of the 30 delegates that can be assigned based on the outcome of last
night`s New Hampshire primary, in which, again, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary
Clinton by 22 freaking points. But if you look at the delegate allocation
after last night`s New Hampshire primary, it`s a tie. Bernie Sanders gets
15 delegates and Hillary Clinton gets 15 delegates. What?
It`s kind of incredible. There are 32 delegates all together, as I said
from New Hampshire. 24 of them are awarded based on the vote in last
night`s primary. So, because he won by a big margin, Bernie Sanders got
the lion`s share of those. He got 15. Secretary Clinton got nine.
But that leaves another eight delegates in the state. They`re
superdelegates. Two haven`t committed, haven`t said who they`re going to
support. Those are the two delegates that are still outstanding in New
Hampshire. The other six delegates that are superdelegates, they`re all
people, every single one of them who are committed to Hillary Clinton.
So, he won six more delegates because of the proportion of the vote he got
last night, but she won six more delegates because she had the
superdelegates. So, ginormous, historic, very energizing win for Bernie
Sanders that among other things put a jet engine on the back of his already
very impressive fund-raising machine, but in the end, it was a tie.
Everybody, freak out!
The delegate issue and the superdelegate issue was a huge controversy in
the Democratic party in that fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
in 2008. It may yet be again between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
and if that race – if that makes this race feel even more unpredictable to
you than it has already felt, well, don`t worry, there`s more to add to
that feeling because today we also got news that Jim Webb might be getting
back in the race.
Remember him? Jim Webb ran in the Democratic race for a hot minute
alongside Linc Chafee. Jim Webb and Governor Lincoln Chafee got out a long
time before Governor Martin O`Malley get out of the race.
I have to tell you that Jim Webb had basically zero impact on the
Democratic race for the short time that he was in it, but tonight, his
spokesperson says that Jim Webb will be holding a press conference tomorrow
at the World Affairs Council in Dallas to announce something.
Jim Webb ever since he dropped out basically has been hinting that he might
get back into the presidential race, not as a Democrat, but as an
independent. And maybe that will have no impact on the race, but in a year
like this, do you really want to predict that?
And when it comes to not predicting things, also add to your chaos stew the
fact that the next race in this Democratic contest, it`s not South
Carolina, which is where the Republicans are going, because they got a
primary in South Carolina next. No, the Democrats are going to Nevada and
in Nevada, they`ve got a caucus.
And partly because it is a caucus and partly because Nevada has not been an
early state for very long and partly because nobody quite understands how
the Nevada caucuses work, there is basically zero polling about what`s
going to happen in Nevada and who`s going to win those caucuses.
I`ve been trying to consult with experts in the polling field today to ask
if in this race, in this year of all years, couldn`t we finally expect some
polling in the state of Nevada? Basically the answer is no, because every
polling firm knows or at least suspects that they cannot accurately poll
what`s going to happen in Nevada. They can`t poll a good sample. They
can`t predict who`s going to go to the caucuses and they can`t predict
what`s going to happen once people are inside of them.
So, no polling firm wants to screw up their average by proclaiming some
kind of prediction about how the race is going to go in Nevada when they
know on the facts it`s absolutely 100 percent not predictable. So, we`re
heading into Nevada the next Democratic contest, there will basically be no
polls ahead of that contest.
And if you want just one more wildcard, consider African-American
Democratic voters. After Nevada, Democratic contenders will go next to
South Carolina, which has a Democratic electorate that is 55 percent
African-American. After South Carolina, Democrats will head into the March
1st states, the big Super Tuesday contests. A number of those states have
a similarly heavily African-American demographic in terms of who`s going to
turn out and vote in the Democratic contest.
Nationally, Hillary Clinton is viewed as having a huge to the point of
prohibitive advantage with minority Democratic voters of all kinds and
particularly African-Americans. The last national polling on this was done
between Iowa and New Hampshire. It showed Secretary Clinton with a lead of
74 points over Bernie Sanders among African-American Democrats – a 74-
point margin between them in terms of African-American Democratic support.
So, you`d think that would make the next few races predictable. But
wildcard here is that Senator Sanders is working triple time to try to
close that gap. He has announced a number of endorsements from prominent
African-American leaders and elected officials in recent days.
And in terms of the optics, with the spotlight shining on him today, as
bright as it has ever shown, today, he left New Hampshire as the triumphant
victor in the vote if not the delegates in the New Hampshire primary. He
was – he`s never had as much attention as he has had today. This massive
win in New Hampshire.
Where was the first place that Senator Sanders went? He didn`t go to
Nevada. He didn`t go to South Carolina. He didn`t go to the next states
about to vote. No, the first place he went was to Uptown Manhattan,
Harlem, to sit town at Sylvia`s Restaurant with National Action Network
director and MSNBC host and my pal, Al Sharpton.
And if that scene looks a little familiar to you, it`s because eight years
ago at the same restaurant, at the same table, when Al Sharpton was not as
healthy and trim as he is now, at the exact same table at the exact same
restaurant in the 2008 race, it was Al Sharpton and then-candidate Barack
Obama. Today the candidate, same table, same Al Sharpton, Bernie Sanders.
And, yes, Hillary Clinton has run a presidential race before. In some
ways, it`s starting to feel like Hillary Clinton has won this presidential
race before. The question now is whether she knows how to make it end
differently than it did the last time.
This is a very exciting time.
MADDOW: One of the biggest surprises today about what happened in New
Hampshire last night is that in the delegate count. It was apparently a
tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, despite his huge historic
margin of victory last night. You can blame superdelegates for that.
The other big surprise about what happened in New Hampshire last night was
the thing that everybody used to explain why Bernie Sanders won that race
and won so big last night. It turns out not to be true. Perhaps the most
popular perception of what happened last night and how Bernie Sanders won
is not born out by the facts at all.
And that counterintuitive story is coming up. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ended his bid for the
Republican presidential nomination today. Or forgive me, he suspended it.
Like it might start back up at any moment.
One of the things that was unusual about the start of Governor Christie`s
presidential bid was that as soon as he declared he was running, the first
thing he did was go to Maine, which is not an early voting state. Not
usually seen as a first stop on anybody`s presidential campaign trail,
particularly if they`re not from Maine.
But in Chris Christie`s case, he had a really specific reason to go.
That`s because in Maine, he picked up his first endorsement from a
statewide office holder in the United States. He got the endorsement of
Paul LePage, governor of the state of Maine.
And on the one hand, it`s not unexpected that a Republican governor who was
up for re-election in 2014 like Paul LePage would endorse Governor
Christie. Governor Christie was the chairman of the Republican Governors
Association at that time. He was in charge of getting Republican governors
elected and re-elected, so Paul LePage owed Chris Christie one.
On the other hand, though, Paul LePage is Paul LePage. So, if he does
endorse you for president, this is what your presidential campaign is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Number one, I got a bill into the legislature
right now to take the traffickers, now, the traffickers, these aren`t
people that take drugs. These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie,
Shifty, these types of guys that come from Connecticut, New York. They
come up here. They sell their heroin then go back home. Incidentally,
half the time, they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After saying that, Governor Paul LePage responded to the ensuing
uproar first by claiming he had not been talking about race at all when he
said “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”
The governor said, quote, “The governor is not making comments about race.
Race is irrelevant.” That was first.
Then, he decided to blame the media for reporting what he had said. Then
he sort of started to apologize for ultimately not apologizing, because as
he pointed out, Maine is very white. So why apologize?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: I was going impromptu and my brain didn`t catch up to my mouth.
Instead of saying Maine women, I said white women. If you go – and I`m
not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to
Maine, you will see that we`re essentially 95 percent white. If you want
to make it racist, go right ahead, do whatever you want. I didn`t say
anything about black.
REPORTER: Didn`t you say, D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty? Arent` those –
LEPAGE: Yes. What are they, black? I don`t know who they are. I just
read the names. I don`t see them because I don`t read your newspapers.
I get a report and they`re saying his street name, D-Money, street name,
Smoothie. I don`t know where they`re from. I know where they`re from. I
don`t know if they`re white, black, Asian. I don`t know.
It wasn`t intended to be race. It was intended to be Maine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Maine Governor Paul LePage insisting when he talked about drug
dealers named D-Money and Smoothie and Shifty coming to Maine impregnating
white girls, he was not talking about race at all. He said specifically, I
didn`t say anything about black.
That answer held as the governor`s on the record explanation for those
comments for about four weeks until now. Now, the governor has decided to
concede what he really meant. He was asked on local radio station WVOM
about getting more drug enforcement agents working in Maine and here`s how
the governor responded.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LEPAGE: We got a few more drug agents but what did I have to do? I had to
go screaming at the top of my lungs about black dealers coming in and doing
the things that they`re doing to our state. This is what it takes with
this 127th. It takes outrageous comments and outrageous comments to get
them off the dime.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Outrageous will take, but notice he said screaming at the top of
my lungs about black dealers coming in and doing the things they`re doing
to our state.
Perhaps he meant blackjack dealers. I don`t know. Blah dealers. A la
We`re still saying this wasn`t about race when you said they were
impregnating white girls?
So, the man who Governor Paul LePage endorsed for president, Chris
Christie, is out of the presidential race as of today. He`s no longer
saddled with a presidential endorser like Maine Republican Governor Paul
Now, we have to wonder who else in the Republican field might get Governor
Paul LePage`s coveted endorsement and what they will do with it when it
comes. And that`s a little snapshot of the state of the discussion of race
and racism in the United States within the Republican presidential field
and I present that just for context.
In the Democratic presidential field, as the two Democratic candidates are
about to leave states where the electorate was 91 percent and 93 percent
white respectively, they`re headed into much more diverse states. The
Democratic candidates now are fighting tooth and nail not only to try to
appeal to minority voters and specifically to African-American Democratic
voters, they are fighting very specifically for the endorsement of leaders
within the black community.
One of those leaders who chose to plight his troth with Bernie Sanders is
the former president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous. He`s the youngest ever
leader of that organization. Today in Harlem when Bernie Sanders was there
having breakfast with the Reverend Al Sharpton, at a nearby table, there
was Ben Jealous having breakfast with Senator Sanders` very nice wife,
Ben Jealous joins us now.
Ben, thank you very much for being here.
BEN JEALOUS, FORMER NAACP PRESIDENT: Absolutely. Good to see you.
MADDOW: How was breakfast?
JEALOUS: It was great. I’d forgotten about Paul. He’s such a nightmare.
MADDOW: Didn’t he once say the NAACP in Maine, or did he mean NAACP nationally
should kiss his –
JEALOUS: I think he meant nationally. I think he meant nationally.
He reminds you that historically, in like the 1920s, Maine was second only to Georgia for the
concentration of the Ku Klux Klan. The funny thing is they were trying to
actually keep – not so funny, tragic, but in his case, ironic – keep
MADDOW: French Canadians.
JEALOUS: There are only two groups that we know of that still exist that were
fighting the Klan on behalf of French Catholics and like him, it’s the
Knights of Columbus and the NAACP of Maine.
MADDOW: Wow. That’s an amazing history.
JEALOUS: I would like for him to say thank you before he steps down.
MADDOW: Well, before he steps down is sort of question there.
MADDOW: Given – you are a smart guy, and I say that with some pride, because
we went to school together. We’ve known each other a long time. I know
you look at things in a big picture, historical, historically inflected
But you look at things like that, look at the swath of American history and
where we are as a country, do you feel like in the Democratic presidential race right
now, you`re kind of spoiled for choice? Was it a difficult decision?
JEALOUS: It was not hard at all.
MADDOW: You feel like there`s such a clear distinction, you feel like
Bernie Sanders would be good and Hillary Clinton would be bad?
JEALOUS: Here`s the thing. If Liz Warren was running, it would be much
easier because we could get a real progressive and we could get our first
woman president and both those things are big deals.
But the reality is that for me, as somebody who grew up in the first
generation in the mass incarceration era, there`s nothing more important
than actually getting things shifted so we stop spending so much money on
prison and we start spending it on education so our kids when they`re 18,
they don`t have to choose essentially, you know, one of three roles in our
society. You can go to prison, you can go to college and be deeply in
debt, or you can do neither but still not get the college degree because
you can`t afford it.
MADDOW: I feel like when I hear Hillary Clinton talk about why she`s
running, and what she would do as president, she`s making that same pitch now. I
feel like her policy take on these issues right now is pretty similar to
JEALOUS: And then you remember 2008 when there were seven Democrats on
stage, and they were asked specifically about if we get rid of the
disparity between crack and powder, which had sent so many black women to
prison, disproportionately black women to prison, would you support
applying it retroactively. These women can get out, and take care of their
families, reunite, get their kids, get their kids out of foster care. Everybody said yes
except for her. She said no.
And then you look this year, you have three Democrats on stage. One of them,
Martin O’Malley abolished the death penalty state. One of them, Bernie Sanders, opposes it.
Now, mind you, things have shifted since 2008. Six governors, five plus Martin,
had led their states in abolishing the death penalty and Hillary Clinton says,
yes, I support the death penalty.
And so the concern is that on these issues, yes, she can get pushed to the
left. As she started off this race, she was in support of for-profit prisons.
Now she says she`s against it. She took money from their lobby. Now she says
But the concern is, one, she can flip-flop, she can move. And two, she really sets
her edge based on where the Republican Party is at the moment. Now, the Republican
Party generally supports retroactivity. She does, too. But they`re still
for the death penalty, and so is she.
MADDOW: Because you`re so drilled down on criminal justice issues –
JEALOUS: Sure, just as a distinction.
MDDOW: But Bernie Sanders on his website until recently bragged about the
fact he was a supporter of the crime bill in the `90s.
MADDOW: And so, it`s not like he`s been an unwavering champions on this
issue alone. He also shifted on this issue from the same position she was in.
JEALOUS: Well, again, shift from the `90s, I mean, you have to recall –
MADDOW: And was still campaigning on it recently.
JEALOUS: But let`s be really clear, you have to recall that in the 1990s, most
CBC members supported the 100 times disparity. Most CBC members voted for
it. Everybody sort of lost their mind, there was so much urban violence, right?
And, I mean, not everybody, but lots of folks now who would like us to
forget that they were for those bills.
2008. We`re talking about retroactivity. 2016, she supports the death
penalty. I don`t want to – you know, look, I`m willing to say let`s not hold
any of her husband`s bills against her. We’re talking about her own actions. And I`m
also talking about her own words.
I mean, this is a woman who starts off, you know, starts off a supporter of Barry
Goldwater, you say fine, that`s her parents. Then she`s a lawyer for the
Black Panther Party.
MADDOW: She was in college, right. I mean –
JEALOUS: And Bernie in college was going to jail with the Congress of Racial
Equality, all right?
MADDOW: All right. OK. It`s fair enough, but –
JEALOUS: But hold on, but then you get to the `80s, she`s chairing the children`s
defense fund. But in the `90s, she`s pushing the superpredator theory.
The superpredator theory was, there were some children that were so sociopathic that by
age 6 months they were beyond redemption. It`s not just a violation of
psychology, it`s a violation of theology.
It was never used to explain the actions of, like, young white men in
Columbine and those sorts of strategies. It was almost always used to
explain the actions of young urban black men.
And so, it`s that ability, how can you go from being at the side of Marian Wright
Edelman to pushing the superpredator theory? I can`t explain it. It confounds me.
And, with – I think for me as a movement person, it comes down to the trio
that Martin Luther King referred to as the giant triplets of evil –
racism, militarism, and greed. And when you go by that standard, what you see
is Bernie Sanders has been very consistent in fighting racism. He`s been
very consistent in fighting stupid wars, whether it was, you know, Vietnam
or it was Iraq. And he`s been very consistent in fighting greed.
When you take those with Hillary, it gets confusing. It just gets
MADDOW: At the end of this, when there is a nominee, if it`s Bernie
Sanders obviously you`re going to get what you want in terms of this
endorsement. If it`s Hillary Clinton, do you feel like this campaign will
have pushed her to the kinds of policy positions that would make you
comfortable with her as the Democratic Party nominee or would you abstain
at that point?
JEALOUS: Look, you know, I`m somebody who supported Obama early on.
Independent expenditure effort to try to help him win the early primary
states because I wanted to see the black electorate fully engage, asking
tough questions, getting competed for, not getting taken for granted.
And I find it offensive, quite frankly, when you see so many Hillary surrogates
sort of implying they could take the black vote for granted. Our vote is
precious to us. Only question in your family is, was it your mother or
grandmother who fought for it?
And so, for them to say we`re going to take it for granted when just as a
country, forget about race for a second, we have the most indebted college
students we`ve ever seen, we have the most incarcerated people on the planet.
We have old people who are wondering what is the purpose of Social Security, because
they`re starving even though they`re getting it, they’re getting $12,000 a year. There`s
no way to live on that.
We have parents who work, you know, 60 hours a week and still can`t quite
feed the kids and we have record numbers of school kids, backpacks packed
for them to go home so they don`t starve on the weekend.
And then you have people saying, oh, we as a party, we can`t elect our
idealists. We can`t elect the ones who really want to change things so we
actually open up opportunity.
The Republicans can do that. But if we`re going to negotiate with them,
we`re not going to, you know, the sort of establishment says – well, why
don`t we send in somebody who will appease and be willing to compromise
quickly? That`s one theory.
My theory, trained as an organizer in Harlem at age 17, is game recognizes
game. You send your idealists, we`ll send our idealists, and a compromise
will be a real compromise.
MADDOW: Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, endorsed
Bernie Sanders to great calamity in the Democratic establishment when it
happened. The game is on right now on these issues that you`re fighting
for right now.
Thank you for being here to talk about it, my friend.
JEALOUS: Good to see you.
MADDOW: Great to see you.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Thanks to last night`s results in New Hampshire, we`re finally
getting to do tonight something we thought we would be doing six months
ago. We waited and we waited very impatiently.
Finally, the poof is due. That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: When Bernie Sanders is pressed on his electability, when he is
asked how as a socialist independent senator from Vermont he could be a
viable Democratic presidential nominee who could give the Republican Party
a real race in the general election, when he`s asked about that, as he
often is, Senator Sanders tends to make one pretty solid argument over and
over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s why I think I
will be if nominated the strongest candidate. Democrats win when there is
a large voter turnout, when people are excited, when working people, middle
class people, and young people are prepared to engage in the political
process. Republicans win when people are demoralized and you have a small
You need a large voter turnout. Republicans win with small voter turnouts.
I think I am the candidate to bring about that large voter turnout.
I think and I believe that the way Democrats win elections is when there`s
a large voter turnout. Republicans win elections when the voter turnout is
Our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that
will result in a high voter turnout. Republicans win when voter turnout is
low. Democrats win when voter turnout is high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Sanders argues that he is viable for the nomination and
for the general election because he will drive voter turnout up. And he
will not just drive it up, he will drive it way up.
He will bring out all these people who have never voted before and will be
astronomical turnout numbers and that will change everything about what is
possible. It`s an argument he made, again, last night after winning New
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: And tonight with what appears to be a record-breaking voter
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Because of a huge voter turnout, and I say huge, we won because we
harnessed the energy and the excitement that the Democratic Party will need
to succeed in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Sanders last night citing a record-breaking voter turnout
in the New Hampshire primary. But not actually in the way that he meant
it. And I got to tell you, everybody is getting this wrong today. It
turns out to be really important in terms of what`s likely to happen next,
and that full story is ahead. Stay with us. Lots to come tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Because of a huge voter turnout, and I say huge, we won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When Senator Sanders talked about record-breaking voter turnout
last night, that was true, but only if you`re talking about the Republican
side. In 2012, 248,000 people voted in the New Hampshire Republican
primary. That was a record in that state.
This year, that record was blown out of the water. More than 280,000
people voted in the Republican primary this time around. Record-breaking
turnout on the Republican side.
But on the Democratic side, turnout was actually down this year – 40,000
fewer people voted in this year`s New Hampshire primary than did in 2008 on
the Democratic side – 40,000 less.
And it was the same story in Iowa last week. Voter turnout was a record
for the Republicans in Iowa, but on the Democratic side, it was down. Iowa
voter turnout on the Democratic side was down from 2008.
Even though in Iowa, for example, voters under 30 backed Senator Sanders by
a 70-point margin, that was a huge part of how he won in Iowa, and that was
a huge takeaway from Iowa, he won young voters by so much, but the total
percentage of young voters in the Iowa electorate was actually down in Iowa
this year from when Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.
So, everybody keeps saying record-breaking turnout in Iowa and New
Hampshire and that is true for the Republicans and it has not been true yet
for the Democrats in either case.
And so, here is why the upcoming primary in South Carolina matters so much.
If Senator Sanders could not drive record voter turnout in a state like New
Hampshire where there`s a very large share of liberal voters and a
demographic profile in that state that very much matches his most
enthusiastic voters, how will he fair and therefore how will Democrats
broadly in a more conservative state like South Carolina?
If Senator Sanders wants to build a broad coalition like Barack Obama did
in 2008, one that drives people to the polls and powers them to a general
election victory, can Senator Sanders appeal in a more racially diverse
state like South Carolina?
On the flip side, the positive side for Senator Sanders, will his newfound
momentum, the worldwide attention he`s getting for his surprise success
thus far in the Democrat primary, will that even the gap in South Carolina?
Could that potentially drive this political revolution that he talks about,
including starting to actually increase voter turn out? Could Bernie
Sanders actually win South Carolina? Could he make the idea of a Bernie
Sanders nomination a real prospect?
Nevada is caucuses. Nevada has no polling heading into the caucuses.
Nevada is a bit of a black box in terms of what happens next. South
Carolina could hold a lot of answers.
Joining us now is Jamie Harrison. He`s the chairman of the South Carolina
Jamie, thanks so much for being on with us tonight.
JAMIE HARRISON, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Of course. It`s
great seeing you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, when I last saw you in South Carolina you told me that you
were pretty sure that Bernie Sanders was trying as hard as he could in
South Carolina, but you felt like particularly with how far behind he was
starting with the African-American electorate in South Carolina, he didn`t
have much of a chance of closing the gap that black Democratic voters in
South Carolina just didn`t know enough about him.
Has that changed over the last couple of months?
HARRISON: Well, Rachel, I can say that Senator Sanders has put together a
very good and strong grass roots operation in the state. They are
attracting young people.
The challenge still remains, South Carolina is going to be a very tough nut
for him to crack. It`s not impossible but it`s going to be very tough and
you can look at the numbers from 2008 to get a glimpse of what his
challenge really is.
MADDOW: In terms of what moves voters in South Carolina, we`ve received
word today that the Congressional Black Caucus PAC is going to endorse
Hillary Clinton. We also are hearing some noises that James Clyburn, the
esteemed congressional dean of South Carolina Democrats may also be moving
towards an endorsement for Secretary Clinton, even though he said he would
stay neutral before the primary.
Are either of those things likely to make an impact?
HARRISON: Well, I`m not sure about Congressman Clyburn`s endorsement. If
he does endorse, I can tell you, Congressman Clyburn probably is one of the
only Democrats here that really has a machine in terms of getting voters to
As it relates to the Congressional Black Caucus, I think that will have
some influence, particularly if members of the caucus come to South
Carolina, blanket the state and talk to voters.
You know, the key demographic for us in South Carolina, Rachel, and when
you look at the 2008 results, 61 percent of the voters in the Democratic
primary were women and 55 percent of those voters in that Democratic
primary were African-American. And so, you put those two statistics
together, it tells you who are the most important demographic for both
Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders is African-American women.
And so – and, particularly those of middle age, my mom`s generation.
HARRISON: If they can really get those folks involved and talk to them
about the issues that are important to them, that is – that is going to be
the determinative of who wins South Carolina, whether it`s Bernie Sanders
or Hillary Clinton.
MADDOW: Chairman Harrison, Jamie Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina
Democratic Party – I`d love to talk to you again in the next couples of
days especially as you get a sense of how excitement there is, who – how
many people might turn out, I`d love to keep having you back right up until
the primary, sir. Thank you.
HARRISON: I`d love it.
MADDOW: Great. Let`s do it. Agreed. I`ll hold to you it.
All right. We`ll be right back. Lots more to come. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This was our initial list of who might run for the Republican
nomination this year. It had 22 people on it, which was overwhelming. And
then, a few of them said they wouldn`t run. So, then, we got down to 17.
Everybody assumed that would winnow down quickly.
But that`s not how it went. We had to wait until September for the first
one out, Rick Perry. In September, he got out September 11th. Ten days
later, it was Scott Walker out.
Since then, it`s been really slow. We had to wait another 58 days before
Bobby Jindal dropped out. And then it took another month until Lindsey
Graham drop out, and then finally, George Pataki got out at the end of
It seems like nobody really wants to leave until some actual votes started
coming in. Now since Iowa, bing, bing, bing, we`re finally saying good-bye
to some people at the pace we expected six months ago.
Since Iowa, we`ve lost Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and Rand Paul. And
then around midday today, we lost Carly Fiorina. Late this afternoon, we
lost Chris Christie.
Governor Christie was not on track to make it into the upcoming Republican
debate this year, which might have made a difference. Carly Fiorina also
not slated to make it into that debate, which might have made a difference,
but regardless. They`re both out today.
And so, to them, we say adios to you and you. We`ve been waiting a long
time. Let`s now do it. Let`s poof Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie off
the list of candidates. Ready?
Carly Fiorina, three, two, one, poof. And Chris Christie, three, two, one,
And this remains the Republican slate of candidates for this party`s
presidential nomination this year. The guy on the bottom, that`s my
boyfriend, Jim Gilmore. He got ten times as many votes in New Hampshire as
he got in Iowa. I`m just saying.
That does it for us tonight. Thanks very much for being with us.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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