The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 8/23/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: August 23, 2016
Guest: Jamie Harrison, Yamiche Alcindor
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Michael Cohen and David Sirota, thank you very
much. I appreciate that.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I`ve got a kinetic charge from that, Chris. My
blood pressure got up to healthy levels with that. Well done, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Once upon a time a popular, spunky, slightly iconoclastic Democrat in
Congress, a Democrat from Oregon, he got an unexpectedly well-funded, slick
challenge in the general election. This happened in 2010, and it turned
out to be a fascinating story.
The reason the slickness and well-funded nature of this congressman`s
challenge, the reason it was such a surprise was not because of anything
having to do with the congressman. It was because his challenger was not
someone from whom you would expect a slick, well-funded challenge.
The challenger to this member of Congress was an older man. And I don`t
mean this in a bad way, but he was kind of eccentric. He was a self-
employed scientist. He published a direct mail, sort of pseudo scientific
newsletter with graphics that looked like they were made on an Atari.
He ran what he called his own research institute on a sprawling compound in
rural Oregon, and from that self-proclaimed research institute, he made
direct mail solicitations to the general public in Oregon. And in those
direct solicitations, he asked people to please mail him samples of their
urine. He had this ongoing, long-term, scientific project for which he
said he needed pee samples from as many people as possible. So, he asked
He also had unusual theories about radiation being good for your health.
So, maybe we should think about spraying radioactive material around on
playgrounds and in backyards.
He also contended for a time that HIV/AIDS was not really a virus. HIV was
more of a government plot, a conspiracy, a man-made catastrophe.
This guy`s name was Art Robinson. He was a really unusual cat.
And if you`ve ever had the time to read the fine print about everybody
who`s ever run for Congress in your home district, no matter where you
live, probably not terribly surprising to find out that an eccentric guy
like that convinced himself that he ought to be in Congress and he made a
run for Congress.
It`s not surprising that he ran. What was surprising about Art Robinson`s
run for Congress is that it turned out to have a ton of money behind it.
He was able to absolutely blanket that huge congressional district in
Oregon with advertising material. He was able to run very slick, very
well-produced TV ads.
And again, no offense intended, but where does a pee-collecting, rural
Oregon, old-guy mad scientist get buckets of money to run a high end, super
slick, national look campaign. Well, it turns out, he got the money from
New York City. Specifically from a hedge fund billionaire who had made
this race his personal cause.
His personal cause did not appear to be to support Art Robinson, right? I
don`t think this hedge fund billionaire was all about supporting these
efforts to run a large-scale, ongoing urine collection organization in
rural Oregon. I don`t think he was out to prove that HIV was invented by
But there`s no evidence that Robert Mercer, this hedge fund billionaire in
New York, there`s no evidence that he cared about who he was shoveling his
money to out in Oregon. What appears to be the back story behind that
super weird race in 2010 was that this hedge fund guy didn`t care about Art
Robinson, he just wanted to fund someone, anyone, who could get rid of the
Democrat who held that seat out there in Oregon.
That Democrat who Robert Mercer wanted to get rid of it was Congressman
Peter DeFazio. And among other things, Peter DeFazio at the time had been
pushing for a transaction tax on financial trades.
This hedge fund billionaire, who funded Peter DeFazio`s opponent, he ran
one of these Wall Street firms, hedge fund, that made its money, by having
high-end computers and proprietary computer algorithms that orchestrated
massive volumes of super high speed financial transactions. This was not
an outfit that does long-term investing, right? This is high – at least a
significant portion of their business is high speed, mega trading at the
speed of light, totally computerized operation.
And at a firm like that, if you add on a transaction tax to every single
individual trade, even if it was a really small tax, that might add up for
a firm like that. That might actually take a little nibble out of the
bottom line for a hedge fund billionaire like Robert Mercer.
And so, yes, in 2010, Robert Mercer sent some of his hedge fund money all
the way across the country to that rural district in Oregon to try to kill
off Peter DeFazio, Democratic member of Congress, and he missed. Peter
DeFazio is still in Congress.
Art Robinson, as far as I know, still wants your pee. But if you want to
send it to him, you do still have to send it to Oregon. Please don`t send
it to Washington, D.C. With security the way it is right now, you`d
probably shut the whole place down for a week.
So, we might remember, we covered that at the time. It was such an
interesting story. That was 2010, the case of Robert Mercer, the weird
congressional race in Oregon. It was like a side bar to that whole
election. It was like a campaign finance, Wall Street, human interest
story from the 2010 congressional election. That`s how we covered it at
But we can now see that story as chapter one in a much more specific and
much more significant ongoing personal story, because Robert Mercer`s
appetite for politics has only grown since those weird misfiring beginnings
six years ago. Initially during the Republican presidential primary this
year, Robert Mercer, hedge fund zillionaire, was one of the Republican
donors who was thought to be a never Trump guy. He supported Ted Cruz to
the tune of millions of dollars in the Republican primary.
But after Ted Cruz flamed out, Robert Mercer, despite earlier suggestions
that he`d never support Donald Trump, Robert Mercer has now become the
single biggest donor in the country, in the effort to elect Donald Trump to
the presidency. Robert Mercer has made his donations through a PAC that`s
called – I kid you not – Make America Number One.
Given his history with the “send me your pee” guy in Oregon, I don`t know
if Robert Mercer gets how funny that is. But he`s the sole multimillion
dollar donor to “Make America Number One.”
I`m sorry. I`m 8 years old.
But the millions of dollars that he has put into Make America Number One,
the millions of dollars he`s put into that PAC to help Donald Trump, makes
Robert Mercer as of right now, according to the “Associated Press”, makes
him the single largest Donald Trump donor in the whole country. And here`s
where it gets really interesting. Number one.
Here`s where it gets really interesting. Because Robert Mercer, in
addition to having that really interesting back story from 2010, in
addition to being the biggest donor in the country to the Donald Trump for
president effort now, in addition to that, Robert Mercer is also,
reportedly, the main funder of Breitbart.com, whose chairman was just moved
over from Breitbart to start running the Donald Trump for president
campaign, and reportedly, he made that move directly at the suggestion of
He`s been funding Breitbart. He`s been funding Trump. He`s apparently the
guy who brought the chairman of Breitbart over to run the Trump campaign.
And, you know, as we and lots of other people have been reporting for the
last few days, since the Breitbart guy took over at the Trump campaign,
putting Breitbart`s chairman in charge of the Trump campaign, it does raise
all sorts of interesting, hard-to-answer questions about the Republican
Party and whether the Republican Party is going to feel comfortable jumping
in there, into that campaign, to help Trump and help Trump`s campaign, when
the guy who`s running that campaign is from Breitbart, and Breitbart is one
of the outlets that`s been leading the charge to destroy all the best known
Republican leaders in the country, to fire the Republican majority leader
Eric Cantor, by costing him his seat with the Republican primary challenger
They also helped lead the charge to fire John Boehner as the Republican
speaker of the House, and ultimately forced him out of Congress altogether.
Breitbart more than anyone, tried this year, to cost Paul Ryan his
speakership. By trying to drum up national support for the Republican
challenger to Paul Ryan in his home district. That was just a couple weeks
The man running Trump`s presidential campaign has championed all those
efforts to take out and humiliate the Republican Party`s top elected
leaders. Is the Republican Party really going to feel comfortable working
with him closely to elect Donald Trump, to run the Trump ground
organization, for example?
Well, now, the ante is up because now, today, “The Arizona Republic”
reports that Donald Trump`s top donor, Robert Mercer, the hedge fund, the
main funder of Breitbart.com, the man who reportedly brought the chairman
of Breitbart onto the Trump campaign, to put him in charge of that
presidential effort, “The Arizona Republic” reports today, that Robert
Mercer, Trump`s top donor, is now also leading the charge in Arizona to get
rid of John McCain.
A week from today, John McCain has a primary in his home state of Arizona.
Early voting has already started in that race. His main challenger is a
heart-right Republican named Kelly Ward. She`s been boosted all along by
Breitbart.com, and by the head of Breitbart.com, who is now running Trump`s
campaign. You see some of the headlines here from Breitbart, they`ve been
running headlines boosting her for weeks and months at Breitbart –
boosting John McCain`s challenger, trying to make it a national
conservative cause to throw John McCain out of office.
Now in Arizona, with one week left before that primary, John McCain`s
challenger is reportedly being boosted by what appears to be a huge, late
new ad buy, that is funded by a PAC, that is funded by Robert Mercer,
Donald Trump`s biggest donor.
It`s an amazing thing, right? I mean, the chief pursuer of all the
Republican Party`s top leadership, the top pursuer of every household named
leader in the modern Republican Party, up to and including their supposed
savior, their speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Their chief antagonist, for
all of the Republican Party`s top leadership is now running the Republican
Party`s presidential campaign.
I mean, it`s true in terms of who is running the Trump campaign. It`s also
true in terms of who is more responsible than anybody else, other than
Donald Trump for funding the Trump campaign. How is it possible that`s all
happening in one party? I mean, I know the Republicans are supposed to be
a big tent, but right now, that tend feels like it`s on fire and somebody`s
kicking the poles down.
That said, here is their bright spot today. There`s new polling just out
yesterday and today that shows surprisingly good numbers, not for Donald
Trump, but for some of the other Republican Senate candidates around the
country who have been seen as vulnerable, including Republican senators in
swing state Ohio and maybe swing state Missouri.
Monmouth polls in both of those states over the last 48 hours, show
Republican Senator Rob Portman in Ohio leading in his race over Ted
Strickland by a healthy eight points. In Missouri, new poll shows Roy
Blunt leading his Democratic challenger, Jason Kander by a healthy five
points. So, Ohio and Missouri.
It`s interesting, though. Those are both states where Karl Rove`s network
and the Koch Brothers have been spending enthusiastically and for months on
those Senate races. Because here`s the other thing that`s going on in what
used to be Republican politics and now feels like it needs another name,
because for every Robert Mercer out there who didn`t like Donald Trump but
is now spending millions on him, for every one of those, there really are a
bunch of other big Republican donors who truly are not spending on Donald
Trump, who will not spend on Trump, who will not spend in the presidential,
who will give money, but they only want their money spent down-ballot,
particularly on the Senate races.
And that is going to push a tremendous amount of Republican money into
tremendous down-ballot races, particularly into contested Senate races, and
that has created a really interesting dynamic where Hillary Clinton is very
well-positioned against Donald Trump, both in terms of the polls and in
terms of money for the presidential race. Both of those Monmouth polls
showed Hillary Clinton doing well against Donald Trump in Ohio and
Missouri. She`s within a point of him in red state Missouri and she`s up
by a handful of points in Ohio. Even with those Republican Senate
candidates doing well there.
But with all of that Republican dark money, big super PAC money not going
into the presidential and instead going into the Senate races, we don`t yet
know if the Democrats are going to be able to keep pace in these Senate
races. They`ve been pretty confident about their prospects for taking back
the Senate if Hillary Clinton is elected president, having a Democratic
Senate will be a huge part of whether or not she`s able to get anything
done. We don`t know if Democrats can keep pace with those Rove network,
Koch Brothers network funds going into the Senate races instead of the
presidentials. It`s weird dynamic this year.
The winds are blowing in a weird direction. There`s Trump Republican money
that`s going strange places like trying to knock off Paul Ryan, and trying
to knock off John McCain next week in Arizona. There`s non-Trump
Republican money that`s flooding at an unexpectedly high races into Senate
races in places like Ohio and Missouri.
But then the other strange breeze blowing through all of this, this year,
is this issue and open question of whether the presidential math is going
to be so different this year, as compared to a normal year, that it puts
everybody`s baseline expectations at risk.
I think that`s what the Clinton campaign wanted you to think when you saw
this headline today about the Clinton campaign opening up a campaign office
in Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They`re putting their money where their
mouth is. They`ve been talking a big game about Utah, now they`re opening
an office there.
You know, the last time a Democrat won a presidential race in Utah was
1964. The best recent performance by any Democrat presidential candidate
was in 1992 when Bill Clinton lost there by 19 points and didn`t even come
in second, he came in third, both to Poppy Bush and Ross Perot. That was
the best a Democrat had done there in the modern era.
And honestly with Utah, it`s not clear the Hillary Clinton campaign thinks
they have a shot there this year, even though they are opening this
campaign office. A new poll just came out from Utah, it shows terrible
numbers for Donald Trump. He`s only getting 39 percent of the vote. But
Hillary Clinton is still 15 points behind that, less than a quarter of the
vote in Utah. If you take the minor candidates out and you just set up
Trump versus Clinton head to head in Utah, this latest PPP poll shows him
leading in that state by 20 points. So who knows if they think they can
make a go.
I mean, the Clinton campaign did open up that campaign office in Salt Lake
City. It is meant to be a shot across the bow, a sign of confidence.
Here`s the thing, though. If the Clinton campaign and the Democrats in
general really want to change the map, if they really want to plant a flag
and move in and say they are, in fact, gonna win a state that nobody thinks
a Democrat reasonably could have a shot – well, it might not be Utah. We
have some exclusive new data tonight that shows a different state, a
different supposedly deep red state all the way across the country, where
Hillary Clinton looks like she`s got a way better shot than she does in
Utah. She`s got a way better shot than I think anybody would have expected
anytime this year, even when we knew Donald Trump was going to be the
Republican candidate. We have that exclusively here, breaking news, next.
MADDOW: Hot off the presses, we are breaking this news right here, right
now. You`re going to think I`m kidding, but the presidential race appears
to be tied in South Carolina.
Yes, I said South Carolina, not North Carolina. South Carolina.
And maybe we should have seen this coming a couple weeks ago. Couple weeks
ago, South Carolina Democrats hired PPP to do a presidential poll in South
Carolina. They came up with an unexpectedly close result.
Again, this was a couple weeks ago again, South Carolina, PPP. This is a
poll commissioned by the South Carolina Democratic Party. They found Trump
leading in South Carolina by only two points, 41-39. That`s with other
minor candidates included.
Well, now, we can exclusively report tonight that brand-new polling from
the Feldman Group, new polling that we`re reporting for the first tonight
shows that the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in South
Carolina is not only close, it is literally tied at 39-39. That is in a
four-way race with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the minor
candidates from the Libertarian and Green parties, 39-39, Trump-Clinton.
If you make it head to head, if you have it, if you exclude the minor party
candidates, instead just have it be Trump versus Clinton, this new poll in
South Carolina does find that Trump ahead. But again, leading only by two,
45-43. That`s well within the margin of error, which in this poll is plus
or minus four.
And again, this is a brand-new poll, commissioned by the South Carolina
Democratic Party, and this is a Democratic polling firm, but this is a real
polling firm. This is legit methodology, and they`re finding a tie? In
presidential politics in South Carolina?
No Democrat has carried South Carolina in the presidential since Jimmy
Carter. Pollsters who carried out this survey tonight told us this.
Quote, “Clinton could win South Carolina this year, if her campaign chooses
to contest the state.” Clinton could win South Carolina.
Every campaign season turns up new strange bedfellows. Races you wouldn`t
expect to be competitive that are. Races that ought to be competitive but
But if this year, not just North Carolina but South Carolina might go blue,
then I`m telling you, no matter what else happens, everybody`s math is
Joining us now is Jamie Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic
Party which again commissioned this new poll.
Mr. Harrison, it`s really nice to see you. Thanks for being with us.
JAMIE HARRISON, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: It`s great seeing you,
Rachel. Thank you for having me on.
MADDOW: So, the first thing I thought, the cynical me in this thought,
well, this is bleed over from North Carolina. That the Hillary Clinton
campaign and some of the other hotly contested races, including the
governor`s race and the Senate race in North Carolina are producing so much
red hot advertising there, it`s bleeding over the border and affecting the
South Carolina race as well.
Is that part of this?
HARRISON: You know, Rachel, we might get some residual from that. But you
have to remember, in 2008 and 2012, South Carolina and Georgia really
literally looked the same. Georgia was probably one point better in terms
of their performance than South Carolina.
So, when we started to see that, you know, things were changing in Georgia,
we thought, well, you know, maybe there`s similar things going on in South
Carolina. And that`s what we found. I mean, more and more, the young
people in the state are relating to the progressive values of the
Democratic Party than, you know, the rhetoric of hate and vitriol and all
of that, that`s coming out of the Republican Party.
And so, the future is bright for the Democrats in South Carolina. But, you
know, Donald Trump has accelerated the progress. Many people said maybe
two cycles, three cycles down the road, then South Carolina will turn blue.
Well, Donald Trump is really accelerating that process. And we`re really
excited about it.
MADDOW: Jamie, on that point, one of the things that I found that your
pollster actually polled out about this as one of key findings, younger
people, people under the age of 45, have a very – basically break very
positively for Clinton.
HARRISON: Yes, 45-37. So, a nine-point lead by Secretary Clinton in terms
of younger people. So, we`re really, really excited about that. And when
she asked about certain issues, from background checks to the minimum wage
– overwhelming majority all in support of those things, reducing student
loan debt, all very important things to young people and millennials.
MADDOW: Let me ask one last question about a stark difference they didn`t
necessarily expect to see from this polling and I`m not sure I`ve seen it
in other surveys, which is that, there was a very stark difference in terms
of engagement, how engaged people feel with the election, along the lines
This poll in South Carolina that you commissioned tonight finds that
African Americans are significantly – said they are significantly more
engaged in this election this year than white South Carolinians are. The
group that is least interested in the election is white independents.
What do you attribute that to and what could either campaign make of that?
HARRISON: There`s a huge enthusiasm gap, and that`s part of it. Donald
Trump is sending whites and independent moderate and Republicans out of the
Republican Party at a very, very fast pace. It`s incumbent upon us
Democrats, Democrats in South Carolina and across the South to have open
arms for them.
And so, Rachel, I`m telling everyone, if there`s a political venture
capitalist out there, who wants to play in something that`s interesting,
invest in the future – well, invest in South Carolina, Georgia, and North
Carolina because young people are ready to come over to us. But we just
need the resources and the infrastructure in order to welcome them.
MADDOW: I think the Democratic Party broadly has heard that message on
North Carolina. I don`t think they`ve heard it on South Carolina. And
that`s why I think this news tonight is going to blow a lot of people`s
Jamie Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democrats – thanks for
being with us tonight.
HARRISON: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
Again, this breaking news tonight, which we are reporting here for the
first time. South Carolina poll, again commissioned by the South Carolina
Democratic Party – so if you want to take that grain of salt with it, you
may – but it finds a shocking result, a race involving Hillary Clinton and
Donald Trump and the two minor party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald
Trump are tied, not in North Carolina, but in South Carolina.
Lots more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: If you start in the Continental United States and you head east,
let`s say you get to the East Coast, but then you keep going east, you will
land first in the Atlantic Ocean. You then keep going further over and up
and you will get eventually to the North Sea. And then if you keep going
just a little further over and up, you will get to the Baltic Sea. And if
you keep going just a little further over from there, east of the Baltic
Sea, you will get to the Baltic states, three of them. Estonia, Latvia,
And those three countries are small. They`re equivalent population as
countries is about the same as Maine, New Mexico, and Kansas. Baltic
states, lovely places, interesting part of the world, really small
But after 9/11 happened, those really small countries in that far-flung
part of the world, they decided to step up in a big way, for us. When 9/11
happened, those countries had not been made part of NATO yet. They all got
admitted to NATO alliance in 2004. But after 9/11.
The big deal about NATO, the heart of it is called Article 5. Article 5
says if any country that`s a member of NATO gets attacked, the other
countries in NATO will come help. That`s the alliance. You attack one of
us, you attack all of us. That`s the treaty. That`s Article 5.
And the first and only time Article 5 has ever been invoked was after we
were attacked on 9/11. And those small Baltic countries who were on their
way to joining NATO, who weren`t even in NATO when the attacks happened,
they stepped up and they punched way above their weight.
Take, for example, the teeny tiny Baltic state of Estonia. Population: 1.3
million in the whole country. That whole country has less population than
San Diego. But even so, they deployed a combat force of about 150 soldiers
into some of the most dangerous combat zones in Afghanistan, to go fight
They lost a total of nine soldiers, which might not seem huge numbers wise,
but per capita, based on the size of their population and ours, per capita,
they lost about the same amount of soldiers as the United States did in
Afghanistan. They not only sacrificed a lot, the Baltic countries are
really valuable in the fight.
Take this one tactical decision. In 2007, Lithuanian special forces were
deployed to Afghanistan. They were frustrated that their soldiers in
armored vehicles kept getting ambushed by Taliban fighters on motorcycles.
The Taliban guys on the motorcycles could outrun them, they were faster and
nimbler. They couldn`t catch them when they tried to go after them after
So, Lithuanian special forces made a decision, they traded in their armored
trucks for their own motorcycles. They put their special operators on dirt
bikes. It became their signature thing about the Lithuanian commandoes.
They rode souped up Yamaha motocross bikes. They set up a training area,
they taught themselves to ride like basically armed motocross bandits, how
to maneuver these light, nimble, totally unprotected bikes, in rough
terrain, offroad, while chasing down the enemy.
And the lightness of those bikes, ended up being a key adaptation for that
particular fight. In that part of Afghanistan, the Taliban would regularly
set pretty stiff springs on the pressure plates that they used as triggers
for their hidden IEDs. So, they`re planting bombs in the road, but they
set the pressure plates to be pretty stiff. The idea was that random
civilian traffic and foot traffic wouldn`t set it off.
But you send across one of those trigger plates, a big, heavy, armored
vehicle, like all the foreign troops use, well, yes, that would be heavy
enough to set it off. Here come the Lithuanian special forces riding these
light motorcycles like the Taliban did, it was one of the ways they beat
that critical tactic.
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, these three tiny countries, when Article 5 was
triggered after 9/11, they stood up, they sent troops to go fight and die
alongside the United States in Iraq, in Afghanistan as a response to the
9/11 attacks, no questions asked. We`re in a treaty together. That`s what
NATO means. We`re there.
That is part of why it is a big deal that during this presidential campaign
this year, Donald Trump said if Russia invaded those three little
countries, those Baltic states, those three countries we`re in a treaty
with, who came to our defense in aid after we were attacked, that`s why
it`s a big deal that he said, yes, if they got attacked by Russia, we might
not come to their defense. If they ever needed us – eh, not sure.
And granted, that`s just one of a million things that Donald Trump has said
that`s controversial since he`s been running for president. But it`s also
the sort of thing that has consequences, international consequences that
may not be dependent on whether or not Donald Trump gets elected. It`s the
kind of comment that can do harm right now to our alliances, to our
relationships between us and our allies, especially small countries like
these that gave up so much when we asked.
That is why Vice President Biden went where he did today. Vice President
Biden today went to the Baltics, he went to Latvia and he met with the
leaders in Latvia and Estonia and Lithuania, he basically went there and
talked to them to try to clean up this mess that Donald Trump made, to try
to reassure those countries that regardless of what you might have heard,
we are not going to abandon them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Despite what you hear
in this political sea, there say wide, deep, bipartisan commitment to NATO
in my country. Don`t listen to that other fellow. He knows not of what he
speaks. And he doesn`t know of what he speaks.
We will never forget that Article 5 was triggered for the first time after
the United States was attacked on 9/11. So, America will never fail to
defend our allies. We will respond. And with Russia once more taking
aggressive action and threatening the sovereign rights of its neighbors,
NATO remains as vital today as it ever has been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Don`t listen to the other fellow – which gets kind of a gasp and
a laugh from the room. Just ignore that guy, he has no idea what he`s
Vice President Biden having to go all the way to Latvia today, to the
Baltic States, to go tell them, to reassure them that this other fellow
running for president has no idea what he`s talking about and what he
threatens and what he says will never come to fruition.
Clean up on aisle five.
MADDOW: For months, Senator Bernie Sanders is going to be doing a big
launch event for his new political operation, tomorrow night, I think.
That is what is supposed to be happening, but there`s apparently trouble in
Bernieville. Potentially very bad trouble for what is supposed to be his
next big political act.
This is still an evolving story. It is potentially a huge deal for the
Democratic Party, particularly for the liberal wing of the Democratic
We`ve got the latest on this coming up next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: What you see right here is a political map. Seen a lot of these
But this isn`t the typical road to the White House map you see these days
on cable TV. This is something different. The makers of this map are
hoping this shows a way to victory for progressives in down-ballot races
across the country. They`re hoping for new seats in state legislatures,
new progressive mayors, even new seats on school boards, right down the
line to the bottom of the ballot.
This map was tweeted out by Vermont senator and liberal hero, Bernie
Sanders, last night. And all those dots on the map, those are the 2,300-
plus house parties that are planned for tomorrow night when they were
officially going to launch Bernie Sanders` new organization, which he is
calling “Our Revolution.”
Senator Sanders announced Our Revolution was going to be formed last month.
He made that announcement after he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president,
but before he spoke at the Democratic convention. And the idea of Our
Revolution was that yes, Senator Sanders was getting out of the
presidential race by necessity, but the legacy of his run would continue,
he would hit the ground running with this new thing. Our Revolution, which
would recruit and train and fund progressive candidates all over the
country, everywhere, 50 states, and all the way to the bottom of the
Now, it was announced last month, the big official kickoff is tomorrow
night with the house parties and the live-streamed speech by Bernie
Sanders. But tonight, with less than 24 hours to go until that big
kickoff, the reports from Bernie Sanders` new organization are not good.
(AUDIO GAP) new group is already in turmoil. This headline, “Bernie
Sanders` new group hits major trouble on the launch pad.” This one from
“BuzzFeed”, “Sanders brings former manager to run new manager, staffers
Eight staffers, more than half the original crew of staffers apparently
quit en masse over the weekend. Reportedly resigned all at once in protest
after Bernie Sanders` campaign manager from the presidential run, Jeff
Weaver, was brought in to run things at Our Revolution. Several staffers
tell NBC they had been assured personally by Senator Sanders that Jeff
Weaver wouldn`t be running the new effort. The staffers told NBC that they
believe Our Revolution should run on small donations like the Sanders
campaign did, and they were upset that Jeff Weaver also wanted to solicit
big checks from billionaires.
Now for context on that, consider where they`re at with this overall idea
thus far. Last week, on a conference call with Democratic Party officials,
Jeff Weaver made an appearance on that call and he reportedly said that
since Bernie Sanders announced our revolution last month, the group had
already raised $300,000 for liberal, Democratic and down-ballot
congressional candidates – $300,000, which is impressive, unless you`re
the Bernie Sanders` operation, which in the primary raised over $228
Now, you`re going to run races all over the country, up and down every
ballot with $300,000? That`s enough to buy every progressive candidate in
the country a corn dog and a beer maybe if it`s cheap beer.
And then we got this view today from the trenches. In that Florida
Democratic primary, where a candidate endorsed by Bernie Sanders is
challenging the outgoing chair of the Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman
Schultz, for her House seat, that Democratic primary is a week from today.
And the challenger, Tim Canova is currently trailing in the polls by double
Well, today, Tim Canova said that despite Bernie Sanders holding him up as
the poster boy for his Our Revolution movement for his down-ballot effort,
actual help from Senator Sanders or his outfit has been slow in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM CANOVA (D-FL), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We need all the help we can
get. Look, when Bernie endorsed me, he called me and gave me his number
and said, stay in touch and please call. And I have, and I`m waiting for
Bernie to return my call.
So, you know, we are hoping that the Sanders campaign does still come
through, that Bernie comes through and makes an appearance for us, or at
the very least, helps us raise some more money during such a critical
period down the home stretch. And that is our hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Tim Canova running against Debbie Wasserman Schultz said he`s
thankful for the Bernie Sanders endorsement, but also, he would like a
visit or some help with the campaign or some money.
So, on the one hand, we`ve got, you know, one of the hugest stories of
2016. Bernie-mentum, the evident yearning of thousands and thousands and
thousands of people to keep it going. On the other hand, over half the
staff for the new operation just quit and its highest profile supported
candidate says he`s not getting any help at all and can`t even get a call
What`s going on with the Senator Bernie Sanders` revolution? Which way
Joining us now is Yamiche Alcindor. She`s a political reporter for “The
New York Times.” She`s covered the Sanders campaign all through the
Yamiche, great to see you again. Thanks for being with us tonight.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: What I explained there, is that your understanding of the current
situation, is that pretty much your understanding of what happened over the
weekend and what the upset is?
ALCINDOR: That is my understanding. I`ve been on the phone call day
talking to staffers who quit. And really they`re saying the reason they
quit was because Jeff Weaver is seen as two things. One, he`s seen as a
bully. They say he doesn`t treat his staff very well, that he really
doesn`t understand the role that digital staffers did, the organizing that
really needed to go in to build in movement.
And they said they`re really scared because it`s a 501c4, that he`ll take
money from anonymous donors and that he`s going to able fill the coffers
with money from billionaires, which is the opposite of what Bernie Sanders
has been telling all the people who believed in his revolution.
So, they`re very worried about the future of it. There`s going to be a
launch tomorrow, but people are saying without an organizing staff, you can
say, you know, come join the revolution, but there`s no one there to tell
people what to do next.
MADDOW: Was – does this indicate, I mean, I don`t want to be the dead
horse, this upset and this en masse resignation over Jeff Weaver being
involved here, does this reflect back into the primary, that there was real
resistance, real resentment against Jeff Weaver during the whole Bernie
Sanders run? Was he a problem inside that organization that we didn`t know
about at the time?
ALCINDOR: I think for most people, I would say for me, we knew about that,
I knew about the fact that there were a lot of people who had issues with
Jeff Weaver. I talked to a lot of people who talked to me on background,
because they were fearful of backlash they might have. But the people have
said that Jeff Weaver really mismanaged a lot of the money they were
collecting. They said one of the things he focused on was TV ads and
really focused on kind of filling the airwaves with Bernie`s message, but
really the majority of people that he need to turn out don`t really own TVs
but are really in digital spaces.
So, while there were staffers, you can remember that in California, there
was a high profile person that quit in California ahead of the primary
there, and the main reason was because he wanted to go after digital
operations and he wanted to go after organizing efforts and wanted to spend
money in that realm, but Jeff refused. So, it`s been something that I`ve
heard about for a while.
And also, I should say that staffers have said for a while that Jeff is a
hard person to work for. The bully that we see and in some ways he was
great with going after Debbie Wasserman Schultz and really great with kind
of being the attack dog that the campaign needed. On the flip side, people
said he was also someone who would attack staffers and someone that would
berate them. So, I think that`s what I`ve been hearing.
MADDOW: It will be interesting to see if – it sounds like they are going
to go ahead with the launch event tomorrow night. But it will be
interesting to see if the senator himself, senator and his wife, as other
advisers come in and try to reset this effort to start it in a way that is
Yamiche Alcindor, political reporter for “The New York Times” – Yamiche,
thanks for being here. Appreciate seeing you tonight.
MADDOW: All right. Next up, the quiet humiliation of being utterly
unknown in politics. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This one I could watch on a loop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need a haircut, Bernie.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Don`t take much off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie, what`s your style?
SANDERS: You know my style.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You know my style.
Senator Sanders getting a $7 haircut in Kansas back in March. Is this
strange kind of cute that candidates sometimes do, pile into a barbershop
somewhere with all the press and the entourage and the Secret Service
looking, while you do the necessary work of getting a hairdo.
Well, today was Donald Trump`s running mate, Mike Pence`s turn. Mike Pence
went to barber shop in Norris Town, Pennsylvania and of all the things that
could go wrong when vice presidential nominee gets an unexpected haircut on
tape, what happened with his photo op haircut might be about the worse. I
He spent 27 minutes getting the haircut, chatting with the barber the
whole, Henry Jones. But when it was all over, watch?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Perfect.
HENRY JONES, BARBER: What`s your name, sir?
PENCE: Mike Pence.
JONES: Mike Pence.
PENCE: Yes, sir. I`m the governor of the state of Indiana running for
vice president of the United States.
JONES: Vice president.
PENCE: Yes, sir.
JONES: Oh, boy.
PENCE: I`m running with Donald Trump so I`m his running mate.
JONES: OK, all right.
PENCE: He`s tapped me a month ago. So, we`re just in town doing rally
campaigning and I heard you were the place to come for haircut. And you`re
JONES: Oh, boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. All right. Oh, boy. And you are? That barber may have had
no idea who Mike Pence is, he did seem to know who Donald Trump is, you can
tell from the cringing and the wincing. Oh man.
MADDOW: Moment of personal privilege, we`ve got some news today here at
this show that I`m very, very excited to tell you about. This is something
that I hoped would happen. Honestly, a few days ago I more or less got on
the TV machine right here and begged it to happen. Even though begging on
TV almost never works. This time, I apparently have got my wish, I`m about
to get something on this show that I never ever, ever get. I cannot wait
to tell you about it. That`s next.
MADDOW: In June, Donald Trump did 27 interviews. Fourteen of the 27 were
on FOX News. In July, Donald Trump did 18 TV interviews, 12 of which were
on FOX News.
This month, in August, there have been 12 Donald Trump TV interviews up
through tonight, want to guess how many were on FOX News? How about all of
them? Twelve out of twelve.
Now, in fairness, he did call in once to CNBC, but I don`t know if that
counts as being on TV. There was nothing else to any other major networks
on this month.
Now, his opponent Hillary Clinton doesn`t give a lot of interviews, but she
does at least spread them when she does them. In June, she did 13
interviews. Some networks got more than others. CNN and ABC got three.
But everybody else got at least one, including FOX News.
In July, she did seven interviews, again, spread out pretty evenly among
the networks. Last night, she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, which has been her
only network appearance, but at least when she does do interviews, she
doesn`t just stick to one place like Donald Trump apparently now.
And it`s a shame because there are so many questions that I think people
outside of FOX News channel, there`s a lot of questions outside of FOX that
people have Mr. Trump.
Well, tomorrow, I`m very excited to say, that – no, I will not have Donald
Trump on this show. But I will have his campaign manager. Yay! Donald
Trump`s campaign`s manager, Kellyanne Conway has graciously agreed to be on
this show live with me here tomorrow night.
I am excited. I probably wasn`t going to sleep tonight any way, but now,
I`m definitely not going to. Please don`t cancel, please don`t cancel,
please don`t cancel.
That does it for us tomorrow. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s
time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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