The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 3/2/2016

Transcript:

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: March 2, 2016

CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Yes. Senator, I`m afraid we`re closing on the
end of time, but I think once the nominee happens, we`re going to see some
more pressure mount is the point.

Senator Al Franken, it was a real pleasure.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: OK.

HAYES: Thank you very much, Senator.

FRANKEN: Thank you.

HAYES: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: He knows exactly what was happening there.

HAYES: I know.

MADDOW: He is a broadcasting pro.

HAYES: What, am I being told to wrap?

MADDOW: A little something I hear right here in my ear. That was
brilliant.

Well done, my friend.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Lots to get to tonight including Ben Carson sort of but not quite dropping
out of the Republican race, reducing the field sort of but not kind of to
four people.

Also, the biggest abortion case in 20 years heading to the Supreme Court at
a time when the Supreme Court is down one justice.

Also, the White House apparently leaking a second name of a possible
Supreme Court nominee to replace Antonin Scalia. Nevada Governor Brian
Sandoval was the first name that leaked. We now have reported the name of
a second person who`s supposedly being vetted by the White House for the
Supreme Court.

We`ve also got some news today about something dramatic that is about to
happen in the next big primary state that`s going to be super hotly
contested in the race for the White House in both parties.

So, there`s a lot ahead tonight. Including a live interview tonight with
the man who is now basically explaining to the Republican Party, and to the
country, how Republicans might try to deny Donald Trump the Republican
presidential nomination at their party`s convention even if Mr. Trump
continues to win the most states and the most delegates.

So, we`ve got that live interview ahead tonight, plus much more. It`s a
big show.

But before we can get to all that, we are, as you can tell, by the fact
that I`m still at the election desk, we are still under the benevolent
penumbra of last night`s Super Tuesday contests including the one result
that came in latest of all on Super Tuesday, came in so late even I had
gone to bed. Finally.

And that was the result from Alaska, where the winner of the Alaska
Republican caucuses turns out to have been Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz. He won
another one. He won Alaska.

Last night, there were nine primaries and two caucuses for each party. On
the Democratic side, both caucus states Minnesota and Colorado went for
Bernie Sanders. His campaign had expected to win both of those caucus
states and they did.

On the Republican side, it was a bit of a surprise result. On a night
where Donald Trump basically manhandled the rest of the Republican field
all across the country, the caucuses, those two caucus states on the
Republican side ended up being a bright spot for Mr. Trump`s challengers.
In the Alaska caucus, it was Ted Cruz adding his third victory to his
primary wins in Oklahoma, in his home state of Texas last night.

And in the Minnesota caucuses, it was Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio added a win
there last night to his impressive in the beltway list of absolutely zero
wins anywhere else in the country.

Such a weird story about Marco Rubio that the beltway has decided he is
definitely the guy who can be elected instead of Donald Trump. He is the
guy who the voters will definitely choose if you just give him a chance.

But not only has senator Marco Rubio failed to win a single primary
anywhere in the country, it`s not like he`s even emerging as a clear second
choice, either. Senator Rubio came in third all over the map last night.
He came in third in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee,
Texas, Vermont – he came in third in all of those places. And he came in
third in the Alaska caucuses where Ted Cruz won and Donald Trump came in
second.

I should tell you, Marco Rubio did win a congressional district in Virginia
that is literally inside the Washington, D.C. beltway. That was enough to
give people hope he might win the state of Virginia, but it was not enough
to have him win the whole state of Virginia. The only place he won, the
only place he has won all year is in the Minnesota caucuses last night.
Ta-da!

And in the beltway, that undoubtedly will mean that Marco Rubio will
continue to be portrayed as the mighty, mighty Trump slayer, just like all
the candidates who`ve only ever won the Minnesota caucuses.

Regardless of how you feel, though, about any individual candidate,
regardless of how you feel about those individual races and how those
caucuses and those primaries turned out so far this year, you may have
noticed in the reporting on the presidential race more broadly, it`s not
just this year, happens every year, but you might have noticed when people
in the media, people commenting on the race and political figures are
talking about primaries and caucuses, you may have noticed that the
caucuses don`t get as much respect. And usually they don`t get as much
attention as the primaries do.

And that is true for a couple of reasons. First is that the caucuses are
hard to poll, so you don`t get a lot of advance notice about what`s going
to happen in the caucuses and that keeps anticipation down about what`s
going to happen there.

Second is that the caucuses tend to be smaller events. They take longer
and they`re more of a pain and they`re arcane and hard to figure out. So,
not as many people tend to participate in the caucus as compared to the
primaries.

There`s also the matter that the caucuses are sometimes a mess. They`re
sometimes a little sketchy in their results like in the 2012 Republican
caucuses in Iowa, where three different winners were announced at three
different times and at one point, the party tried to get away with saying
that they had no idea who had won and we should all just decide to perceive
Iowa as a tie that year.

It was the great moment we accidentally captured live on camera at the
caucuses in Nevada this year when Donald Trump walked into the room during
a Republican caucus just outside Las Vegas and everybody in the room just
left their ballots that they were filling out, they left their ballots on
their little tables and ran over to see Donald Trump in the corner of the
room. And who knows whatever happened to all those ballots and all those
votes.

Caucuses are weird. Caucuses are weird. They`re a little sketchy. They
are not official government-run elections. They`re just events hosted by
the party. And, frankly, sometimes the parties are nuts or incompetent and
so sometimes the caucuses are bonkers.

I don`t want to get Iowa or Nevada or Minnesota or Colorado or Alaska, I
don`t want to get you guys mad at me. Caucuses are not always bad. Even
though they`re run by the parties, sometimes now the caucuses are run
professionally and they really are just elections in all but name. That
does sometimes happen.

But honestly, let`s be real. Sometimes the caucuses are a mess. And that
comes from somewhere. Because in the not too distant past, the parties
didn`t even try to make caucuses look like real elections. In the not too
distant past, caucuses really were, they just were the place where party
leadership chose who they wanted to be the presidential nominee, without
really any regard at all for the voters` wishes.

That`s what caucuses were until not that long ago. And that ends up being
really important to understanding how the success of Donald Trump is about
to explode the Republican Party. Because this is not a fantasy about what
might happen at some distant point in the future. This is what the
Republican Party is planning on doing right now to deal with him.

And if you want to see how what they`re planning is going to work out, we
can see how it works in recent history because parties have tried this sort
of thing before. This is the way parties used to do it. And in the most
recent history, when parties have tried to do this, it ended up in
catastrophe.

And let me show you what I mean here. Take 1968. 1968 was a strange year,
right? There was a Democratic president who could have run for re-election
if he wanted to, but he didn`t.

President Johnson started off running for re-election. He ran in the first
state that year. He ran in New Hampshire. But he won there by an
unexpectedly small margin then he bugged out. He got out of the race. The
spring of that election year, he said he would not run for re-election.

And so, Eugene McCarthy was going to run against LBJ. Gene McCarthy was
running against him. And then once Johnson withdrew and said he wouldn`t
run for re-election, Robert F. Kennedy started running against him as well,
and these two anti-Vietnam War candidates started winning primaries all
over the country for the Democratic nomination.

And LBJ at the time was escalating the war in Vietnam and the country was
turning virulently against the war in Vietnam.

And in the primaries that year, not every state had primaries at that
point, but in the states that had primaries, the Democratic voters were
making very clear over and over and over again they wanted a break with
LBJ, they certainly wanted a break with the war. They wanted an anti-war
Democratic nominee.

And so, after scaring the daylights out of LBJ in New Hampshire and
effectively chasing him out of the race, Gene McCarthy went on to win 6 of
the 13 primaries that year. Of course, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated
that year. He was assassinated during the campaign on the night that he
won the California primary. Robert F. Kennedy won four primaries that year
to Gene McCarthy`s six.

And in that bizarre, tragic year, 1968, with the incumbent Democratic
president not running for re-election but still looming large over the
party, as the party voted in primary after primary for Democrats who would
turn the party against the war, with all of that going on, Democrats went
to their convention in Chicago in 1968, in this very strange circumstance
where Gene McCarthy had won six primaries and Robert F. Kennedy had won
four primaries but then he`d been killed and nobody else still in the
running had won more than one primary anywhere in the country.

Democrats in that bizarre year, they went to their convention with Gene
McCarthy having won six primaries and Robert F. Kennedy having won four
primaries. They went to their convention that year and they picked for
their nominee, Hubert Humphrey.

Hubert Humphrey had won no primaries. Hubert Humphrey didn`t compete in
the primaries in 1968. He was LBJ`s vice president. He was LBJ`s choice
for the nomination because Hubert Humphrey wasn`t anti-war, he would
continue LBJ`s policies.

And even though nobody had voted for Hubert Humphrey anywhere in the
country, he put together a slate of delegates at the national convention by
collecting them from the party leadership. By collecting delegates and
negotiating for delegates and trading for delegates just with party leaders
at the various caucuses around the country, where regular voters had
nothing to do with the process, it was just a party leadership thing.

And so, he didn`t win any primaries. The delegates that he collected that
way, not through votes but just through the party`s backroom dealings, with
just those delegates, the party maneuvered that year in 1968 to make Hubert
Humphrey the nominee.

He`d won zero primaries. He won zero votes. He represented a continuation
of Lyndon Johnson`s prosecution of the war. He was his vice president,
after all.

Humphrey had won nothing. He was not what Democratic voters said they
wanted that year. Whether or not you agreed with Democratic voters that
year and what they wanted, he was not what they wanted.

But the party leadership wanted him. So, the party leadership installed
him at that convention. Thus, giving the party`s voters a big one-fingered
salute.

How did that work out at that convention that year?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is John Johnson (ph) on the floor. I`m looking
down at Edward Newman in the middle of a huge bunch of security people.
How this got started, we don`t know.

Your microphone is broken, Ed.

A lot of pushing. Watch it. They`re going to knock it over. The man is a
delegate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just leave him in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check with our state chairman, he`s an elected
delegate. What are you trying to – he`s an elected delegate. You are.
Check with the delegates. Where are the rules that say we have to –

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you the one they`re trying to throw out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are they trying to throw them out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I objected my behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my first memory of going to convention that the
police have come in on the floor armed as they were and taken out people
who were disputing the checking of credentials. Can you ever remember
that, Ed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t, John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First time in the United States, John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Including the eight alleged delegates arrested with
Dick Gregory, there is a total of 64 persons that have been arrested
tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few minutes ago, about half a dozen policemen
went into the crowd. It is believed they went in to try to take control of
the microphone. There`s been shoving and jostling and release of tear gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steven Reinhart (ph), the committeeman-elect from
California, says he plans a drive to eliminate the convention system as a
means of nominating a presidential ticket.

Well, of course, Mr. Reinhart is not by any means the first one to make
that proposal. And there may be more of them made after this convention
ends and the delegates go back. There`s been all sorts of talk about it
this year and reams of materials written about it.

But we were talking the other night to some of the delegates to this
convention and one insisted that before going too far in eliminating the
convention system, and his basis and his central argument was that a party
simply has to have a convention. It just can`t get along without a
convention, but it might be very helpful if each state would set up a
primary for the election of delegates to the convention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: You know what, they didn`t get rid of the convention after that
disaster, but they did set up in each state a primary or some other way to
elect delegates to that convention for the purpose of picking the party`s
presidential nominee.

And that disaster in 1968, that violent disaster is how we got the modern
system of caucuses and primaries so that voters in each of the states can
actually pick their party`s presidential nominee, instead of what the party
did to such disastrous effect in 1968 when the voters of the Democratic
Party were clambering for an anti-war candidate but the party instead used
the convention and the delegate process to pick LBJ`s vice president, even
though he hadn`t won a single primary.

It did not go well. It did not go well inside the convention. It did not
go well outside the convention.

Incidentally in the end, it didn`t go well for the party. Handpicked
candidate chosen by the party leadership, demoralized, fractured the party,
divorced the party, itself, from their voters, right? They went on to lose
in November in the general election. That`s how we got Richard Nixon as a
Republican president. No wonder.

Both parties used to have a straight-up system where the voters were
basically decoration. And, yes, obviously voters matter in the general
election in November, but when it comes to picking the party`s nominee,
used to be that voters were just decoration. They provided a nice comment
on the process.

The party leadership ultimately picked whoever the party leadership wanted
to be the nominee. No matter what the voters said. We used to have a
system like that in both parties. We decided to get rid of it. Not that
long ago, when TV was in color, we decided to get rid of it only about a
generation ago.

Now, the Republican Party is thinking about bringing back the old way,
because specifically of who their voters said they like this year.

And you know what, Donald Trump is not Gene McCarthy, right? Donald Trump
is not an anti-war candidate. He`s not particularly anti or pro anything
in particular that is as stark and galvanizing an issue as the Vietnam War
was in the Democratic Party in 1968.

But like it or not, after 15 state contests all around this country, it
could not be more clear that Donald Trump is the clear choice of Republican
voters. He is who the Republican electorate wants, as that party`s nominee
for president this year, way more than any of the other 16 worthies who
have tried to run against him, they want him.

Nobody`s anywhere near him in the delegate count. Nobody runs against him
has any plan to win the nomination outright by winning enough states
between now and the convention to actually lock up the nomination. The
only candidate who is capable of doing that now is Donald Trump. And the
only way anybody else can win other than Donald Trump is to somehow pull
off some 1968 LBJ-style delegate magic at the convention to deny him the
nomination.

They are right now working to come up with a process by which the
Republican Party will tell the candidate who Republican voters chose to be
their nominee that he`s not going to be the nominee. Despite what the
voters said, he`s not allowed to be the nominee. And instead, the party
leadership is going to pick someone else. That`s the plan. That really is
the plan right now in the Republican Party.

And regardless of whether you love Donald Trump or hate Donald Trump,
regardless of whether you think he is politics as usual, or absolutely
terrifying, if the Republican Party tells the voters who picked him as
their nominee that they don`t get him, the party`s going to pick someone
else despite what the voters said, think about how that`s going to go over.
What could possibly go wrong?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, as you saw, it came to this. At some point,
my microphone was yanked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: What are you doing later? Would you like to get together would
you like to get together later? Will you be watching TV later?

Because tonight, I would like to see you later on “The Tonight Show with
Jimmy Fallon.” I`m going to be on “The Tonight Show” tonight with Jimmy
Fallon tonight. Look, I can prove it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It seems like it is irretrievably cleaving the Republican Party,
and the cleave, like the two sides, are all the people in Washington, all
the people in the Beltway press, all the people in the Republican
establishment who are like, Trump, we can`t give our party to Trump. And
then on the other side is all the voters. And so, you – who want Donald
Trump.

JIMMY FALLON, TV HOST: Hey, what are you going to say?

MADDOW: Yes, so you can split, but Trump gets all the voters and you guys
get yourselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” tonight. That`s going to be
super fun. Please watch.

And in the meantime, the guy who can actually explain how that split is
going to happen and what it`s going to mean, he is here live next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States heard its biggest
and most important case on abortion rights in 20 years. The Texas anti-
abortion law that has shut down dozens of clinics in the state, it was
upheld – that law was upheld by a conservative lower court while similar
laws in other states were struck down by less conservative lower courts.

That`s the sort of split that the Supreme Court is supposed to settle in
our country. However, the Supreme Court is, itself, likely to be split on
this one because of the simple mathematical fact there are an even number
of justices on our Supreme Court right now, four conservatives and four
liberals. And that even split has been true ever since the death of
Antonin Scalia last month.

As President Obama chooses a nominee to replace Justice Scalia, the first
name that emerged from the White House vetting process was Nevada`s
Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. Governor Sandoval seemed briefly
thrilled by the news that he was being considered for the court. Then he
ultimately asked that he not be considered for the position.

Now, today, a second name has emerged as “The New York Times” was first to
report that Federal Judge Jane Kelly is also being vetted as a possible
nominee. Jane Kelly was confirmed to her current judgeship unanimously
only three years ago in the Senate with effusive support from, in
particular, the Republican senator who`s the chair of the committee that`s
supposed to take up Supreme Court nominations, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

Now, whether or not Jane Kelly is ultimately President Obama`s nominee for
the high court, her name being floated is clearly designed to put Chuck
Grassley on the spot about his decision that he`s not going to hold
hearings or even take meetings with any nominee no matter who that nominee
is.

The thinking is it will become particularly hard for Senator Grassley to
defend that stance about holding this vacancy open on the Supreme Court no
matter who the nominee is. The thinking is that will become particularly
hard for him to defend if the nominee is someone he`s on the record as
praising to the high heavens, praising as qualified to be a federal judge.

And I bring this up not only because it`s news, and it`s an interesting
story about what might happen on the Supreme Court, I also bring it up to
show, to prove to you that there are some aspects of what`s going on in the
news right now that are kind of normal. Where even on very important
matters, political figures are taking interesting and explicable political
action designed to elicit political responses from their political
opponents and we can game out how it might work or how it might not work.

I`ve just proved to you, I`ve at least just shown you, in some aspects of
our nation, politics even at the extreme end of politics where we`re, like,
keeping Supreme Court vacancies open for a year, politics in some normal,
understandable level proceeds in our country right now, which is easy to
lose track of given the state of the presidential race, because in the
presidential race, what`s about to happen there might reasonably be
described as everything going haywire.

The two options that seem possible right now in Republican presidential
politics are: number one, that Mr. Donald J. Trump continues steam rolling
all other candidates on his way to getting the nomination of the Republican
Party for president of the United States. That`s option one. Option two
is that Mr. Donald J. Trump continues steam rolling all other candidates,
but at the part where you might expect him to go to the Republican Party`s
convention and collect the nomination of the Republican party, instead, at
that convention, they`re going to figure out a way to not give it to him
and to give it to somebody else instead.

Which of those options is more crazy?

Joining us now is a veteran of some of the Republican Party`s political and
legal wars who not only had a leading role in Bush V. Gore, he also had a
leading role in trying to keep hold of Mitt Romney`s Republican
presidential nomination in 2012 in face of a fascinating Ron Paul campaign,
a stealth effort to basically run off with all the Mitt Romney delegates
even though the Ron Paul campaign had lost all the primaries.

Our guest for “The Interview” tonight is an expert on this stuff. It`s a
dark art but somebody needs to be the artist – Republican attorney Ben
Ginsberg.

Mr. Ginsberg, it`s really nice to see you. Thank you for being here.

BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY : Thanks for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: So, we talked about this last night, a little bit on TV, a little
in the hallway here. I want to make sure I understand it.

Doesn`t the nominee get picked based on who wins the primaries and the
caucuses that lead up to the convention?

GINSBERG: Well, sure. That`s the way the nominee gets picked. And I
think two things are true, number one, if any candidate, including Mr.
Trump, has more than a majority of delegates at the convention, he will
receive the nomination.

The second possibility is that somebody is ahead but does not have a
majority going in. And then the rules under which the convention is run,
and the choices made by the delegates can send you in different places as
people use the rules to their advantage which, after all, is why rules are
imposed.

MADDOW: If that process was going to be used to try to get somebody who
was not the person with the most delegates to be the nominee, if there was
going to be an organized effort to use those rules to make, let`s say, not
Donald Trump the nominee and some other individual person who was selected
by some means, how would you organize it? Could you do it in a top-down
way, would it have to rise up organically from the states? Could the
delegates organize it themselves? How would it happen?

GINSBERG: Well, I think it would have to be very organically from the
state.

What`s true about the Republican delegates selection process is that is
about three quarters of the delegates are actually chosen by state party
conventions or state party central committees or executive committees, and
the candidate doesn`t really have a say on who those individual delegates
are.

And secondly, under the rules of the Republican Party and its convention,
the delegates are bound to the candidate who won their state for the first
presidential ballot and in some instances more than that, but they`re bound
for the presidential vote. They`re not bound for things like decisions on
rules, decisions on credentials, decisions on who the vice presidential
nominee is, decisions on who the permanent chair of the convention is. All
of those things are actually up to the individual delegates working their
will.

MADDOW: So this seems like if this is the way the nominee is going to be
picked, if it`s going to happen through the delegate process after the
first balloting on which nobody gets a – nobody gets a majority and so we
don`t know who the nominee is, if it`s going to get settled at the
convention in Cleveland, it seems like such an organizing effort that I
would expect that people are already working on organizing it. Is this
effort already being organized within the party?

GINSBERG: So I believe it is such a big effort that it is being organized
by campaigns as they go state to state. I mean, I know that you`ve talked
about party leadership.

Honestly, Rachel, who are the leaders of the parties, either party right
now, who can command a group of delegates?

In reality, the strength of the party committees has rendered them not
nearly as relevant as they were in 1968 when you were showing that film.
And, in fact, this will be a battle amongst the candidates and their
supporters and whatever you think party leadership and party structure is,
it`s going to be really tricky to define who those people are.

MADDOW: Briefly, to be clear, though, it doesn`t have to be somebody who`s
currently competing for the Republican nomination who`s going to be the one
who gets nominated, right? It doesn`t have to be somebody who`s already
playing.

GINSBERG: When you speak of the sorcerer`s magic at the convention, that
could take three different hoops of varying heights to jump through. There
is a way to do it, but it would be a tricky but really fascinating
maneuver.

MADDOW: Ben Ginsberg, veteran Republican attorney, NBC News, MSNBC
political analyst, who`s with us at exactly the right time we need him to
be with us. Ben, thank you. I really appreciate it.

GINSBERG: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: That`s invaluable. Really appreciate it.

When Ben Ginsberg says that would be increasingly difficult hoops, nothing
like that has been done before, that would be really hard to do. You know
what has never been done before? A presidential recount. That had never
been done before. Supreme Court picked a presidency not that long ago.

Things that have never happened before have never happened before until
they happen. And this year something weird`s going to happen.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was called a (EXPLETIVES DELETED) and got kicked
out.

REPORTER: What`s your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m Shaya (ph).

REPORTER: What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got escorted out by the police, along with the
people at the rally, they were pushing and shoving at me, cursing and
yelling at me, called me every name in the book. They`re disgusting and
dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: We are to the disgusting and dangerous part of it.

The incident that that young woman is talking about actually happened at a
presidential campaign rally and it is part of a larger story that`s turning
out to be more and more important with each passing day, and that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: With the exception of Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton owed her
great big night last night to Southern states and specifically to pulling
in a huge portion of the African-American vote in the South using it to
roll up tons of primary victories.

Bernie Sanders did get a win in Oklahoma last night, but otherwise, it was
Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. Also Texas,
where Secretary Clinton nearly doubled up Senator Sanders` tally at the end
of the night. She won all across Texas with few exceptions.

But one of the places where Senator Sanders beat Hillary Clinton last night
in Texas was in Travis County. Travis County is a blue dot in red Texas.
Travis County contains the capital city of Austin, which is a very liberal
place. They got some of the world`s best barbecue, they`ve got lots of
tech jobs, they got the South by Southwest Festival and solar power and
bicycles and public freaking transportation and people playing hacky sack.

Austin is a great place, a liberal place. Keep Austin weird, right?

And that`s part of why I think it was a shock today in Austin, and maybe
even in the rest of Travis County, Texas, when they woke up this morning
and realized who Travis County Republicans had just elected as their new
party chair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come over here. I`ll show you my JFK collection.
Here`s my library on the JFK assassination also known as the 1963 coup
d`etat. In my opinion, Lyndon Johnson and his Texas old men used their
CIA-military connections to murder John Kennedy for many reasons, both
personal and political.

REPORTER: Why so interested in this kind of stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a truth seeker and a truth teller, even if it`s the
ugly truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That`s the new head of the Republican Party in Travis County,
Texas, who was just elected last night. And he spent his election night
promoting his book with a series of tweets that are not necessarily
showable on basic cable. I`m going to try. You may want to hide the
children and also forgive me.

This one started with the Bush family deserving prison and ended, quote,
“Rick Perry is, was, a rampaging bisexual adulterer.”

This one I`m still trying to decide whether I can read this one about
Hillary Clinton. Yes. I can`t read that.

OK. This next one, this one`s about presidential timber by which I do not
mean lumber.

This is a guy who will now be in charge of the Republican Party in the part
of Texas where the governor lives in the state capital. And local
Republicans are not just seeing this as, you know, doing their part to keep
Austin weird. Local Republicans are sort of losing their minds over what
has just happened.

Quote, “We have someone who ran here who absolutely has no intention of
serving the Republican Party with leadership and faithfulness. He is a
total disaster.”

Quote, “I will not rest until we remove him as chairman. He`s going to be
an absolute embarrassment to the party.”

Yes, sometimes that happens in politics, right? The establishment of a
particular party wants a particular person and instead you get some fringe
guy selling his conspiracy theories book and tweeting about presidential
timber, right? It happens. Sometimes.

Sometimes, an unexpected political rise comes with a bunch of other stuff
the party would prefer not to have tagging along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to tell it so strong,
Hillary Clinton does not have – oh, get out of here. Get out of here.
Look at these people. Get out of here. Get out. Out! Out! Out! Get
out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: This was a Donald Trump for president rally in Louisville,
Kentucky, yesterday, and you can see here, just watch what happens in the
crowd here.

You see a young woman, young protester being forced out of that rally
actually getting physically shoved, getting pushed aggressively by a number
of people attending that rally. At least one of the Trump supporters
shoving that young woman and screaming at her.

He has taken credit for what he did there. He`s a well-known white
nationalist figure who today is admitting and bragging that he helped
physically shove this woman out of Trump rally yesterday. He said today,
quote, “It won`t be me next time but white Americans are getting fed up and
they`re learning they must either push back or be pushed down.”

That particular white supremacist says you will not be seeing him
personally at anymore Donald Trump campaign events. He says he personally
does not want to become a distraction to the Trump campaign which he
supports.

So, this is what`s going on at Donald Trump rallies now. I mean, this is -
- this is hard to watch, right? Just like it was hard to watch that man
getting tackled and kicked at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama,
a couple months ago.

Just like it`s been hard to listen to the vote Trump robocalls sent out to
voters in four states by avowed white voter groups.

And, of course, Mr. Trump is not asking for their support and disavowing
them when asked about these groups supporting him.

But the degree to which white nationalists, white supremacists and the
white power movement have latched on to Donald Trump`s campaign, it`s
starting to become an un-ignorable problem for his campaign.

And then today came the reports that Donald Trump`s son who`s an active
part of his father`s campaign, he allegedly gave an interview to a white
supremacist radio host, a radio host who spent three hours on Saturday
broadcasting his white power radio show from inside a Donald Trump event in
Memphis.

The Donald Trump campaign has condemned the radio host`s white nationalist
views. The campaign initially said that so far as they knew, the interview
with Donald Trump Jr. didn`t even happen. Then Donald Trump Jr. said
tonight that had he known who that host was, he wouldn`t have done the
interview but he did do the interview, so too late. The white power radio
guy says this interview with Donald Trump Jr. is going to air on his radio
show this Saturday.

This Saturday, for what it`s worth, Saturday happens to be the day when the
presidential primary is going to take place in David Duke-istan, in
Louisiana. In Louisiana. Where the former KKK grand wizard was a duly
elected member of the Louisiana state legislature not that long ago and
where David Duke was the Republican Party`s nominee for governor of
Louisiana in 1991.

More recently, David Duke has come out in support of the presidential
candidacy of Donald Trump. He`s told his followers they should volunteer
for the Donald Trump campaign. David Duke is now saying his white
supremacist radio show that for white people, not voting for Donald Trump
would be a betrayal of the white race.

So, that`s where we are, heading into this next race in Louisiana. Is this
going to keep getting worse? Or is there any reason to believe it will
start to get better?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think Duke is a Nazi. He doesn`t look like
one. He doesn`t act like one. He doesn`t talk like one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the working white class of people has been kind
of forgotten about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man say yes, you`re going to vote for David Duke,
oh, you`re a racist. That`s not the fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just listen to what he says, it`s common sense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is saying what all of us have been feeling for a
long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: 1991, former KKK leader and white supremacist, David Duke, ran as
the Republican nominee for governor of Louisiana. He got more than 60
percent of the white vote, 60 percent of the white vote. It wasn`t enough
to win, but it was enough to get him into the runoff.

Now that Donald – excuse me, David Duke, same David Duke, endorsed Donald
Trump for president in 2016, Donald Trump supporters are now wrestling, or
not, with whether it bothers them to be on the same side of this particular
aisle with somebody like David Duke and the Klan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you planning on voting for Mr. Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.

REPORTER: Is there anything he can say that might make you change your
mind?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all.

REPORTER: And recently, in the news, there have been some white
supremacist groups that have come out in support of him, David Duke, former
head master of the KKK. Does it bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all. We`re the same age.

REPORTER: What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re the same age. I grew up in the `60s.

REPORTER: It doesn`t bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t. It doesn`t matter to me at all. I`m for
him totally.

REPORTER: OK. But none of those other –

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Joining us now is MSNBC national correspondent, Joy Reid.

Joy, thank you so much for being here.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for inviting me.

MADDOW: You`ve just flown in. Boy, are your arms tired?

REID: Very tired.

MADDOW: You`ve just come from Arkansas. You were in South Carolina before
that.

REID: That`s right.

MADDOW: You are an experienced reporter and you have reported all over the
country. You`ve seen a lot of campaigns.

Is this par for the course and we`re got used to looking at it this
closely, or is this Southern iteration of the Trump campaign getting more
scary as time goes on?

REID: Yes, it`s par for the course but what you talked an at the top of
the show. 1968, right, when I watched those Trump rallies, you know, you
and I sort of talk this – I see the 1968 George Wallace rallies.
Remember, that was the year Hubert Humphrey was going to be the nominee.
You had Richard Nixon.

But George Wallace essentially taught Richard Nixon and the Republican
Party how to win across the South. He used the same flamboyance, the same
communicating to the working class blue collar white voter, the Schlitz
Malt Liquor voter, saying, “I understand your grievances”. He had sort of
a sense of humor about it. But they also were quite menacing to black and
Jewish protesters.

And so, the interesting thing that we see now is that Trump reinvigorated
the George Wallace style and David Duke, who one of his first brushes with
the law was some chicanery around his fund-raising for George Wallace in
1972, the innovation that David Duke is sort of credited with in white
nationalism is marrying Klanism, which is essentially anti-black, with
Nazism, and dressing it all up in a suit and tie and taking off the hood,
and marrying anti-Jewish, you know, really Nazism, with anti-black racism.

So, now, with a Jewish man running and a woman running prominently, and
with a woman running very prominently, and with Donald Trump really winking
and nodding at this kind of hatred really –

MADDOW: Uh-huh.

REID: – it is really a throwback.

MADDOW: And the relationship of Donald Trump personally as an individual
candidate to this stuff, it`s happening at the couple of different levels.
Obviously, there`s the issue of disavowing or not disavowing, whether he
ever elaborates and explains why he`s disavowing, whether he ever makes a
case to white supremacist sympathizers that he wouldn`t be there guy and he
doesn`t agree with them, that`s one level.

The other level at which I`m interested in happening is what`s happening
with these protesters, protesters because we are seeing an effort to
disrupt almost every Donald Trump rally in some way or another.

REID: Yes.

MADDOW: What do we know about that effort and what do you see about how
his crowds handle that?

REID: Well, first of all, if you look at the Trump rallies, but he comes
on stage, there are typically announcements telling people how to handle it
if a protester erupts, or a protest erupts. And they say to sort of
surround the person and start yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump”, and they
orchestrate the shouting down of protesters. There`s also the physical
interaction really scary and menacing in which protesters are manhandled
and thrown out the door.

MADDOW: And he encourages that from the dais. He encourages that from the
podium.

REID: Which George Wallace did. George Wallace essentially said, if a
protester lies down in front of one of our vehicles, it will be the last
vehicle they lay down in front of. He encouraged the crowd from the dais
to throw out black protesters.

And that is why it is so – Donald Trump, he may not be as brilliant as he
claims he is, but he`s not stupid. He understands who he is attracting.
He`s going to now be competing in Louisiana, which you talked about David
Duke, nearly 60 percent of the white vote, you know, Barack Obama got 14
percent of the white vote in 2008, it was the third worst performance among
white voters, the only worst ones were Mississippi and Alabama.

So, this Friday when Marco Rubio was supposed to be in Louisiana they
cancelled their event, Donald Trump will be there in Louisiana and
competing for what he knows it is. If you look at that map of the old
slave states of the Union, that was the Democratic Party`s old south
stronghold that converted now to Republicanism and that`s now turned off by
that party.

MADDOW: Uh-huh.

REID: And he is appealing to those voters. Whether he`s doing it or not,
he`s whistling at them and they`re hearing it.

MADDOW: Yes, and it`s working for him electorally and the – the supposed
blow back it is something he doesn`t feel at all.

Joy Reid, thank you so much. That was actually the best interview segment
I have had with anybody on this show in a very long. You`re so smart.

REID: Well, thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you very much.

REID: Thank you.

MADDOW: Joy Reid, we`re very lucky to have her.

All right. Much more ahead on the campaign and other news. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Michigan, you were so busy today. Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio
both had Michigan rallies today. John Kasich had three Michigan events
today. All the Republican candidates are going to be in Detroit for a
debate tomorrow night. Donald Trump will be in Michigan Friday, and then
the Democratic candidates will be in Flint on Sunday.

It`s a super busy few days in Michigan right now, leading up to the
Michigan primary that`s going to happen on Tuesday.

Michigan is the first big delegate prize post-Super Tuesday. Michigan,
Tuesday next week.

And we have learned something else is going to be happening on presidential
primary day on Tuesday next week. Starting that day, as everybody turns
out in Michigan to go vote for who they want to be the nominee for
president in each of the parties, starting that day, Michigan activists are
going to start their effort to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder because
of Flint, because of the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan, that happened
because of the actions taken by the Snyder administration.

On Tuesday next week, recall supporters plan to be at polling sites all
across the state, recruiting volunteers for their signature gathering
effort, and then on Easter Sunday, they`re going to be collecting
signatures in earnest. They`re going to be organizing that effort again
starting Easter Sunday. It`s mostly going to be organized through Michigan
churches.

In order to get the Governor Snyder recall on the ballot, they`re going to
have to turn in almost 800,000 signatures collected in just a 60-day
period. That is a very, very heavy lift. But it is starting on primary
day in Michigan.

And we`re going to have some other news over the next couples of days on
this show about what else is going on that state that is going to affect
the future of that governor, it could shape the presidential contest there,
too, on Tuesday. We`re working on that report now. We`re going to have it
for you over the two days.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The Republican field of presidential candidates started with 17
people running for the nomination. It`s now down to – poof – five. We
spent the day thinking that the field would be shrinking with the departure
of Dr. Ben Carson.

But despite admitting that there is no path to the nomination for their
candidate, the Carson campaign now says Ben Carson will technically stay in
the race and not suspend his campaign for a couple of more days.

So, Dr. Carson is not going to participate in the Republican debate
tomorrow night, but he does want to still give a speech as a candidate the
day after that on Friday.

So, that means even though we will be able to poof him soon, we cannot poof
him yet for some inexplicable Ben Carson reason. Hold tight though, he`ll
go soon.

That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.

Good evening, Lawrence.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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