The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/24/2016

Guests:
Steve Schale
Transcript:

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: October 24, 2016
Guest: Steve Schale

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: I understand. I`m with you there in spirit,
sort of. Thanks, my friend.

And thanks to you at home joining us this hour. Happy Monday.

Do you know who Crazy Eddie is? A Craze Eddie is a guy who has been
parodied so many times, it`s hard to remember that there was an original
Crazy Eddie. But there was an original Crazy Eddie and his prices were
insane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAZY EDDIE: Ladies, gentlemen, reindeer, start your engines for a crazy
Eddie Christmas blowout blitz, FM stereo radio, car alarm, even a cellular
phone. It`s all on sale now.

Remember, we are not undersold. We will not be undersold. We cannot be
undersold and we mean it. It`s a Crazy Eddie Christmas in August car
stereo blowout blitz. Get anything, everything in car, sound, security and
communications on sale now! Crazy Eddie, his prices are insane!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Like I said, his prices are insane!

Starting in 1975 and running through the end of the 1980s, there were more
than 7,000 of these various, deliberately manic, low fi, screaming Crazy
Eddie ads. They all end with that tag line, “his prices are insane”!

Now, the guy who actually appears in those ads was not crazy. He was an
actor. A radio deejay named Jerry Carroll. But there was a real Crazy
Eddie. There was a real crazy guy named Eddie running the company. His
name was Eddie Antar.

I think it`s fair to call him crazy not just because of the name of his
business but because Eddie and his cousin cooked the books at that company
really terribly. They ripped off something like $100 million in cash out
of that company. Crazy Eddie, according to court documents, he would tape
wads of cash all over his body and then fly overseas and stash the money he
was stealing from the company in cash in all sorts of various foreign hidey
holes.

He and his cousin were ripping tens of millions of dollars out of the Crazy
Eddie stores for years. In the end, the worst thing about it for Crazy
Eddie himself, is that when they got found out, when their scheme was
uncovered, when they got caught, Eddie fled the country, but his cousin did
not – the cousin with whom he had been stealing all the money, the cousin
stayed behind and the cousin ultimately went state evidence against Crazy
Eddie.

And lucky for us along the way, he also found time to do this Crazy Eddie`s
crazy cousin interview on CNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: It was one of the most successful electronic chains in the U.S.

CRAZY EDDIE: His blowout prices are insane!

REPORTER: Crazy Eddie, controlled by the brash Eddie Antar dominated the
market. But there was a dark side.

SAM ANTAR, CRAZY EDDIE`S COUSIN: It`s built on deceit.

REPORTER: Behind the scenes, Eddie`s cousin Sam Antar was cooking the
books.

ANTAR: What I did was pure evil. I`m probably going to fry in hell for
many years before I get upstairs.

REPORTER: The scammed caused shareholders more than $100 million. The
feds investigated. Eddie fled with the cash. Sam turn`s state`s witness.

You turned around and turned on your family?

ANTAR: Yes. I put them all in jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: He did put them all in jail, including crazy Eddie himself, his
cousin, who got seven years in the pokey.

All right. Now, speaking of pokey, just stick a pen in that for a second.
That`s a Crazy Eddie story.

You know how Donald Trump`s sister is a federal judge? It hasn`t really
been a big point of discussion in this campaign, but his sister is a
federal judge. It came up a little bit during the Republican primaries.
At one point, Donald Trump was asked who he wanted to put on the Supreme
Court, and the first name he suggested was his sister and then we all had
to check to see if he was joking. He says he was joking.

But his older sister is a federal judge, a well-regarded moderate federal
judge on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Donald Trump`s sister,
the federal judge, was married to the man who was the lawyer for Crazy
Eddie all through the crazy, Crazy Eddie scandal.

His name was John Barry. He did white collar defense and corporate
litigation. He`s passed away now. But he was Crazy Eddie`s lawyer through
all that mishegoss with the wads of cash, taped to Crazy Eddie`s body and
the cousin narking them out and the whole thing. Crazy Eddie`s lawyer was
married to Donald Trump`s sister.

Crazy Eddie`s lawyer was also Donald Trump`s personal lawyer for years.
And on top of all of that, John Barry was also the lawyer for something
that is freaking out the National Republican Party right now.

New Jersey is one of those states that holds its statewide elections in off
years. Their race was not in 2012, and everybody had theirs. It was in
2013. The next one will be in the fall of 2017. They hold their statewide
elections in odd number of years.

New Jersey has been that way for a long time. Virginia is the same way.
But there aren`t many states who do that.

One of the consequences of being an off-year election state is when those
states elect their governor in these weird, odd numbered years, they don`t
have a lot of competition for attention, right? There aren`t a lot of big
ticket races going on to compete for everybody`s dollars, to compete for
everybody`s attention, to compete for the national parties to get involved.
Just by virtue of the weird schedule, statewide races in these off-year
states can get a bunch of national attention.

And that`s what happened in New Jersey in 1981. So, in context, that was a
year after Ronald Reagan got elected to the presidency for the first time
in 1980. The year after that, November of 1981, New Jersey had its
governor`s race. And in that governor`s race in 1981, the National
Republican Party newly energized from that huge win with Reagan and how
they took all those seats in Congress and the Senate, right, Republican
Party decided they had another shot to go for another big race and they
decided to basically flood the zone in that New Jersey governor`s race in
1981.

The Republicans flew in national political operatives. They launched this
very aggressive scheme where they challenged the registration of thousands
of New Jersey voters who turned up to the polls in Newark, and Camden and
Trenton. And in about 75 minority heavy precincts across New Jersey that
year in that race, they put up these four-foot tall warning signs.

When I first saw images of these signs online and in old newspaper articles
and stuff, I thought these were like flyers. I thought they were the size
of the piece of a paper. They staple them up on telephone poles or
something.

No, these warning signs were full-on sandwich board posters. They were
like bus stops. Four-foot tall signs that they put outside of polling
places and it`s warning, “This area is being patrolled by the National
Ballot Security Task Force. It is a crime to falsify a ballot or to
violate election laws.”

And they were not bluffing. The RNC did actually invent something called a
Ballot Security Task Force and put these guys on patrol in minority heavy
precincts.

It`s interesting. Nobody had advanced warning that they are coming. This
Republican operation just showed up on Election Day and nobody knew to
expect it. They had off-duty police officers and sheriff deputies carrying
walkie-talkies wearing Ballot Security Task Force arm bands. Many of them
were also openly carrying guns and they stalked around polling places in
minority-heavy districts, while they demanded that election workers strike
these people off the election rolls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Several of these signs were reported at polling places at
Newark`s North Ward. Republican poll watchers, some of them off-duty
policemen wearing guns and arm bands were also near the polls. It was all
part of the National Ballot Security Task Force set up by the Republican
and national state committees to guard against fraud, but Democrats charge
it was a scare campaign to intimidate voters primarily in minority
neighborhoods.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Yeah, you think? I mean, who knows how many people were blocked
or intimidated from voting in that election in New Jersey in 1981.

But as voter suppression schemes go, this one clearly worked. Both parties
in later years would claim that it definitely worked. There were 3 million
votes cast in that governor`s race. It was decided by less than 1,800
votes. And the Republican won.

And then the Democrats sued. The Democrats sued the Republican Party over
this ballot security task force stunt. And you know who the Republicans
used as their lawyer to defend them in that case?

Donald Trump`s brother-in-law, the Crazy Eddie guy who was married to
Donald Trump`s sister. He was the lawyer for the Republican Party in that
case in New Jersey. And he got creamed in court.

I mean, the damage was already done in terms of that governor`s race. The
Republicans won that election by this many votes, right? And the Democrats
weren`t going to be able to get that election back. But what the Democrats
did get was something called a consent decree, which bans the Republican
National Committee from doing this kind of thing again, from doing anything
like this, that prohibits them from being involved in any poll-watching
shenanigans that specifically targets minority voters.

And now today, in 2016, now the snake starts eating its own tail, because
now in 2016, it`s not Donald Trump`s brother-in-law, it`s now Donald who is
losing that exact case all over again for the Republican National
Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Go down to certain areas and
watch and study and make sure other people don`t come in and vote five
times.

So important that you watch other communities because we don`t want this
election stolen from us.

So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things
happen.

When I say watch, you know what I`m talking about, right? You know what
I`m talking about.

Take a look at Philadelphia, what`s been going on. Take a look at Chicago,
take a look at St. Louis.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Every time he says that, you can go ahead and picture Reince
Priebus hiding under a desk, because that`s a really dangerous path for the
Republican Party to be on legally. The Republican Party is still bound by
that consent decree from that case in 1981, that case that was lost by
Donald Trump`s brother-in-law on behalf of the Republican Party. Because
of that case, the Republican Party has promised they are legally bound to
not do the kind of racially charged poll watching they got caught doing
back in the battle days in New Jersey in 1981. They`ve promised not to do
it. They are legally bound not to do it through the end of that consent
decree and that consent decree was put in place and has been in place over
the years by one way or another since the early 1980s.

It is finally set to expire next year, in 2017. The Republican Party would
desperately like to get out from under that consent decree that they have
been under since the 1980s. But they will not get out from under it if
they get caught violating it. They won`t get out from under it if they get
caught doing racially charged, racially targeted poll-watching again like
they used to do and that they got caught for.

They will not get out from that consent decree if they actually do what
Donald Trump is now asking all Republicans to go do now on his behalf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

TRUMP: Go down to certain areas and watch.

Watch other communities.

Go check out areas.

When I say watch, you know what I`m talking about, right? You know what
I`m talking about.

Take a look at Philadelphia. Take a look at Chicago. Take a look at St.
Louis.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Or don`t. Or don`t. Or don`t.

Thanks to that old case, lost by Donald Trump`s brother-in-law in the early
`80s, one of this year`s more unexpected freak-outs within the Republican
party is now officially under way.

The Republican Party has now issued a special request to all RNC members to
please not do what Donald Trump is asking them to do, to please not gather
around polling places in Philadelphia and St. Louis and Chicago or anywhere
no matter what the Republican presidential candidate is saying on the
stump.

The national party sent a whole – the whole RNC a memo to, quote, “remind
you of the restrictions placed on the RNC by the consent decree.” Quote,
“You are encouraged not to engage in ballot security activities even in
your personal state party or campaign capacity. If you elect to do so,
please be aware that the RNC in no way sanctions your activity.”

I mean, right now, as it stands, the Republican Party is legally bound to
not do any racially specific poll watching through next year, through 2017.
If they get caught doing it, though, the consent decree gets extended until
2025. And the Republican Party does not want that. They really do not
want that.

Crazy Eddie`s lawyer is now long gone. But it is kind of amazing that it
is now his brother-in-law, the Republican nominee for president this year
who`s the one screwing up that big case, that John Barry lost for the
Republican Party back in the `80s.

I mean, in the waning days of these elections, in the last two weeks,
Donald Trump is telling his supporters that he doesn`t trust the polls
anymore and neither should they. He tweeted this, this morning. We have
not edited this in any way. See if you can figure out why I`m saying that.

This is what he said. “Major story that the Dems are making up phony polls
in order to suppress the the Trump. We are going to win.”

Democrats are making up phony polls to suppress the the Trump. Is that the
the so?

Anything could happen. Election Day itself may be a freaking hullabaloo,
especially if Trump supporters up to and including the RNC or not, if they
do go try to freelance their own makeshift ballot security task force this
year, or what-have-you, I mean, anything could happen.

But right now, “The New York Times” probability that the the Trump will
lose this election is 93 percent. The 538 probability is more
conservative. They put his probability of losing right now at 86 percent.
Those are pretty high numbers.

It may be that the actual drama in this case is moving down to the question
of who`s going to control the Senate. FiveThirtyEight says there`s a 74
percent chance. The Democrats are going to take the Senate. “New York
Times” puts that probability slightly lower at 67 percent.

Because of those kind of numbers, I mean, two weeks out, the story of today
is that Democrats are thinking about long term, right? Democrats are
thinking about how they can make this a big win for the Democratic Party
beyond winning the White House for Hillary Clinton. We`ve got a bunch of
interesting reporting on that subject still ahead tonight, including one
race that I think the Democrats are really screwing up.

On the other side of the aisle, though, Republicans are also thinking long
term. Republicans are looking at Donald Trump and thinking about what else
it is that they have to lose this year besides the presidency. The
Republicans basically know now that picking Donald Trump to be their
presidential nominee has almost certainly cost them the White House. What
they have to worry about now is whether that`s it, whether the price of
choosing Donald Trump might actually be sort of insane.

We`ve got more ahead tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

MADDOW: It`s a big day for news and politics today. I think we`re going
to have a lot of those in the next couple of weeks. But tonight, we got a
lot coming up, including something I have to warn you that I got very, very
wrong on this show a couple of days ago. I will correct it this evening.

There`s something that I think the Democratic Party is currently getting
very, very wrong but in that case I have no expectation that they will
correct it because I don`t think they think that they are wrong. But I do.
And that story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He thinks that because he has
money, that he can call women fat pigs and bimbos. He thinks that because
he`s a celebrity that he can rate women`s bodies from 1 to 10. He thinks
that because he has a mouthful of Tic Tacs he can force himself on any
woman within groping distance.

I`ve got news for you, Donald Trump – women have had it with guys like
you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And nasty women have really had it with guys like you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Yeah. And get this – Donald, nasty women are tough. Nasty women are
smart and nasty women vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And on November 8th, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to
cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Elizabeth Warren I think coining nasty feet for the first time in
political history. We keep saying stuff is unprecedented and then it turns
out, oh, yeah, in the 1860s. I think nasty feet is first. I think that
was a first.

Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton in New
Hampshire. This is the first time Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton
have campaigned together in the same place since the Democratic convention.

As you saw there, Elizabeth Warren scorched Donald Trump but she saved some
of her other best bolts for one of the her colleagues, Republican Senator
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire who is up for re-election and who may not
survive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: Donald Trump, call Latinos rapists and murderers, Kelly stuck with
him. Trump called African-Americans thugs, and Kelly stuck with him.
Trump attacked a Gold Star family and Kelly stuck with him. Trump even
attacked Kelly Ayotte and called her weak, and Kelly stuck with him.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I mentioned at the top of the show that the chances of the
Democratic Party taking control of the Senate are pretty good right now.
That`s 67 percent from “The New York Times,” the highest probability “The
Times” has put on that yet all year long.

And that is just one number for an overall probability that the Democrats
will win control of the Senate. But it`s not just one election, right?
Taking the Senate doesn`t happen in one fell swoop, it happens race by
race, state by state, candidate by candidate. And that`s why the tippy top
level Democratic campaign events now sound like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marco Rubio said Donald
Trump is a con man and Donald Trump is dangerous. Therefore, I support –
whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. How can that work?

If he won`t stand up against Donald Trump and there are plenty of
Republican who are standing up against Donald Trump and calling him out,
but Marco Rubio won`t.

And Patrick Murphy will be a great U.S. senator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Tim Kaine taking some shots at Republican Senator Marco Rubio who
is up for re-election in Florida. Senator Kaine there also talking up the
Democratic candidate in that race, Congressman Patrick Murphy.

And you would think things would be going reasonably well for Patrick
Murphy right now. The polls have definitely tightened in that race. The
latest CBS/YouGov poll in Florida shows him within two points of Marco
Rubio. Last week, Patrick Murphy got the endorsement of Marco Rubio`s
hometown paper, “The Miami Herald”.

In fact, Patrick Murphy has now been endorsed by all four of Florida`s
largest newspapers, three of which backed Marco Rubio when he first ran for
the Senate.

Also, the prevailing climate looks good for Democrats in Florida. Hillary
Clinton leading Trump by about four points at the top of the ticket.
Democrats running a huge ground operation in that state.

And so, mystery, here`s the mystery. Why is the Democratic Party just
pulled its money out of the Senate race? Last week, the campaign arm of
the Senate Democrats, they canceled millions of dollars of Florida ads they
were going to run against Marco Rubio and for Patrick Murphy. That
followed by a couple of weeks the biggest Democratic super PAC doing the
same thing. Why is that?

I mean, I know that the Democrats have to make choices. I get that,
obviously, right? Democrats want to win as many seats as possible,
advertising Florida is expensive. The amount of money it takes to
advertise a week in Florida, you could spend the same amount of money and
advertise in two or three cheaper states, states with competitive races,
places like North Carolina or Missouri, right?

But the timing of this and the strategy of this is still weird. Florida
would really appear to be a winnable race for the Dems. I mean, the last
three polls, these are the last three polls. They`ve either shown a tie or
it`s within two points.

Early voting has now started in most Florida counties. Democrats are
psyched with where they are. They believe they are ahead of where they
were four years ago when Obama beat Romney in Florida.

And look at this, compared with 2012, today, the Clinton campaign said the
Latino vote in Florida is up, oh, I don`t know, 99 percent, from this same
point in the race four years ago – 99 percent increase in the Latino vote.
How do you think Donald Trump`s going to do with the Latino vote?

By all objective measures, Marco Rubio would appear to be beatable in
Florida in a race which could determine control. He got shellacked there
in the presidential primary. Now, he`s going to win there while Donald
Trump likely loses the state? Really? Why are Democrats giving up on this
race? Does it make sense?

Joining us now is Steve Schale, former state director for the 2008 Obama
campaign in Florida and a senior adviser in 2012. He`s now a Democratic
strategist.

Mr. Schale, it`s really nice to have you with us tonight. Thanks for being
here.

STEVE SCHALE, FLORIDA BASED POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thanks for having me on,
Rachel.

MADDOW: Do you think – I mean, first of all, am I describing the
Democratic calculus here right, that it`s so expensive to spend money in
Florida that maybe you`re better off spending that same money in multiple
other states? Is that basically the map that they are doing here or have
they got other factors?

SCHALE: Yes, that`s right. I mean, they viewed this very antiseptically.
You look at the map, you go, North Carolina is cheaper, Missouri is cheaper
and spend a little bit of money in Indiana to help Evan Bayh. You know,
Florida is a $23 million state. You take a pass.

The reality is Patrick Murphy shouldn`t be standing and I think the DSCC
were probably right in September when down 7 or 8 points to slow-walk the
race. But the last four polls have shown even two and down one in one poll
and down two in another. So, we`re basically in a dead heat, 14 days out.
It`s not as expensive now as it was. I think the momentum has definitely
headed his way and I don`t understand the decision at this point.

MADDOW: Well, and is this the sort of thing where in these last two weeks,
money from the Democratic Party is what he needs? Obviously, you think
that he`s in shooting distance but in terms of what he needs to do to win,
would TV ads and radio ads be the sort of thing that would make the
difference here?

SCHALE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, there`s an old saying in Florida that
the win statewide, you have to lose statewide, and it comes from the fact
that it`s hard to build name ID here without money. Murphy really
shouldn`t be standing. He`s been outspent 4-1 since the primary but he is.

And what he needs is help with Hispanics, which the president has cut an ad
in Spanish for him and needs help with name ID in the I-4 corridor. So, a
little bit of TV in places like Tampa and Orlando and West Palm would go a
long ways, and closing a little bit of name ID gap with whites we can go
get. And again, I think with the Clinton turnout operation, today the
early vote numbers and major I-4 counties are phenomenal for us.

I mean, really almost shockingly good. I think he`s right in this thing.

MADDOW: In terms of the more personal picture here, too, there`s also the
fact that it isn`t just any senator. This is Marco Rubio.

SCHALE: Yes.

MADDOW: And I wonder, within Florida, having been beaten so badly in his
home state primary – I mean, he lost the Republican presidential primary
badly but he really lost at home, what`s Marco Rubio standing in the state
and what are his long-term prospects as a politician coming from Florida
right now?

SCHALE: Well, I think there`s two ways to look at it. First of all, if
you look at our U.S. Senate races, in the same term as presidential
elections, our Democratic nominees are usually within a point or two of the
top of the ticket. The only exception is Bill Nelson who was able to
really outperform President Obama in 2012.

Marco Rubio is no Bill Nelson. He didn`t get a majority of the year when
he ran in 2010, and, the best year for Republicans in a hundred years.
And, you know, so we go into this thing and Republicans acknowledge it`s a
race at this point and, again, I don`t really want to have this
conversation with you in 2019 and saying, wow, if we had only spent 4, 5
million more, we could have taken him out when we had the chance.

MADDOW: Steve Schale, former state director for the Obama campaign of
Florida 2008, senior adviser 2012, now Democratic strategist – Steve,
thanks for being with us. Nice to see you.

SCHALE: Thanks again, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right.

Still ahead, some surprising and slightly nauseating news from a person who
I think is the most surprising Senate candidate of the year. That`s ahead.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: If you`re up to date on your famous American racists, then you
will recognize this little treat from the heavens as David Duke, former
imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite being a well-known, full-on
white supremacist, proud racist, wearing a bed sheet with arm holes, David
Duke really did win a seat in the Louisiana state legislature in 1989. He
served just a single term.

Since then, he`s been to prison for a good long stretch but now, he`s back
in politics. He`s running for a United States Senate seat in Louisiana
this year. It`s the race to replace Republican Senator David Vitter.

There`s a giant field of 16 candidates in that Senate race. David Duke,
for his part, says he has benefited in this race from having Donald Trump
as the Republican nominee at the top of the ticket. He says Trump voters
are Duke voters. Naturally.

Well, now we have news that David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku
Klux Klan and current Republican hopeful, David Duke has qualified to
participate in the next debate for that Louisiana Senate seat. He needed
to clear 5 percent in a statewide poll to make the stage. He made it with
5.1 percent.

That debate is going to happen next Wednesday, including the Klansmen. If
your stomach is turned by that news, it`s about to turn further when you
hear the rest of it, which is at the location of that Senate debate is an
issue here. That Senate debate is going to be held at Dillard University
in New Orleans.

Dillard is a historically black university. Michelle Obama gave the
commencement speech there a couple of years ago. Now, it`s 2016 and the
former Klansmen is on the way to the black college that did agree to hold
the Senate debate this year in Louisiana, but honestly, they did nothing to
deserve this.

This election is going to be over before you know it this year, but in a
lot of places, its stink might last a little longer than the next two
weeks. Watch this space.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: If you`re former Speaker of the House John Boehner, retirement
looks a little bit like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is the coolest wine opener
ever. I don`t remember the last time I did an interview with a glass of
wine.

(LAUGHTER)

Cool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: He`s pouring like fish bowls full of red wine there.

The key to a happy retirement, everybody says, is to keep busy. Now that
John Boehner has escaped Washington and floor votes and obstinate caucus-
goers, he can do what he loves most, which by his own admission is drinking
wine and take care of his lawn. Also, hitting the open road in his RV.

On his YouTube Channel, he says he`s out in Freedom One in this clip,
that`s the name of his RV, Freedom One. He says he`s, quote, “Somewhere
upon America`s asphalt prairie.”

Retirement looks different for everybody, right?

President Obama is about to have his own political retirement, forcibly
thrust upon him as of late January. Well, we`ve now got word that his
retirement is apparently going to involve a lot more politics than what
John Boehner has been doing. We`ve got some of that reporting ahead.

We`ve got some of that reporting ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Last year, you might remember this, MSNBC did an interesting thing
called “Seven Days of Genius”. Everybody, pick a genius.

My colleagues here picked people like the genius behind the Broadway show
“Hamilton,” the great Lin-Manuel Miranda. Also, singer and songwriter
Carole King, comedy titan Judd Apatow. Right? Geniuses all.

I picked this guy. It`s OK if you don`t recognize him. His name is Chris
Jankowski. He`s a Republican political operative.

Here`s what I think is his genius. After President Obama won in 2008 as
the 2010 midterm election approach, Republican political operatives started
a project they called the Redistricting Majority Project, red map for
short. It`s not formally affiliated with the National Republican Party,
but the idea behind red map was to flip as many state legislators from blue
to red.

And the timing was important because every ten years when they do the
census, state legislators get to redraw election districts. 2010 was a
census year, so in the lead-up to the 2010 midterm election, red map
starting raising money to flip districts, to flip legislative seats, to
approach that whole problem systematically. They raised a little over $30
million and that`s a lot of money. It`s not a ton of money for a national
political project.

But here`s the genius. Instead of pumping that $30 million into high-
profile Senate and congressional districts and all of the big races,
instead, they put all of that money into states where the legislators would
have the most control over the redistricting process that was going to
happen after the census. They focused scientifically on finding flippable
seats in key legislatures around the country and because they were obscure
races, they had to spend very little money to flip these seats.

They flipped a bunch of these seemingly obscure seats, in places like New
York where they ended up losing control at the New York state Senate, in
places like Alabama, where they flipped the House and the Senate from
Democratic control to Republican control. In Wisconsin, they took the seat
of the Democratic senate majority leader.

They picked off these key seats that they targeted around the country, they
executed this plan that basically had them strategizing all the way down
the ballot, specifically so they could get control over redistricting. So,
by doing that in that low-profile way out of that one election, they were
able to impact the results of their congressional districts for at least a
decade, until the next census, in 2020.

You want to know what everybody keeps saying that the way the House
districts are drawn that makes it almost impossible for Democrats to win
back the House this year, even if the Democrats have a huge night on
November 8th, this is why – because the districts are drawn in the way
they are drawn and they are drawn that way because of some genius political
strategizing went in to who would be in power to draw those districts.

At a certain civic level, you probably hate this, right? Redrawing
congressional districts along party lines feels flat-out wrong but it is,
in most cases, how the system is built and Republicans really did pull off
this amazing trick in 2010 with very little money and no hoopla and
Republicans have had nothing equivalent to this in their toolbox.

After President Obama won in 2008, Republicans mobilized this little thing,
they were able to mastermind it and execute this plan. It was political
genius.

Mr. Jankowski, welcome to Genius Week. I think you were a genius.

President Obama has 87 days last in office now. He`s almost done. We have
now learned a little bit about what he`s going to do next after leaving
office.

And so, behold, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He`s
going to be focused on redistricting reform for Democrats. They`re going
to organize initiatives and legal challenges to redistricting maps.
They`ll push for Democrats winning in down-ticket races. President Obama`s
former attorney general, Eric Holder, he`s going to chair the new group and
President Obama has reportedly decided he wants this to be the main
political focus of his post-presidency life – redistricting. What a
better time to start than now.

And as of right now, President Obama is taking his first presidential jab
at those key down-ticket races. He`s doing something he`s never done
before. This week, President Obama is endorsing 150 candidates for state
senate and state assembly across 20 different states. He specifically is
targeting state candidates who win might flip a state legislature.

This is a huge effort. This is something that President Obama has never
done. It`s something no president has ever done. But what does this mean
for Democrats down-ticket in this election cycle and in election cycles to
come? Is this a good answer to what Republicans did so effectively after
President Obama was first elected in 2008? How effective will this be?

Joining us now is the man who knows these things, Steve Kornacki, host of
the 4:00 p.m. hour here on MSNBC and an all-around smart man.

Hi, Steve. How are you?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: How you are doing?

MADDOW: President Obama is doing – am I right to say, first of all, that
President Obama is doing something that presidents otherwise haven`t done?
We`ve never seen this kind of a down ticket effort systematically.

KORNACKI: Yes. And I think as we`ve entered sort of into a new era where
this is on people`s radar in a way it just hasn`t been before.

MADDOW: What do you think of this as a strategy?

KORNACKI: It`s a strategy and it shows that it`s on the minds of Democrats
and they feel they need to do something. I think the issue here though is
there`s a structural component of this, too, where Republicans can come up
with a plan they came up with and they are sort of running downhill. They
are sort of at an advantage when you start talking about redistricting,
when you start talking about congressional district lines or state
legislative lines.

And this is sort of another legacy of really the Obama era, how the two
political coalitions have evolved. The Democratic coalition, the
Democratic Coalition right now probably has the numbers to win a national
election. You talk about it all the time. It`s young people, single women
in particular, nonwhite voters, white collared professionals.

Well, those people more and more ever are packed more and more tightly into
cities in metropolitan areas. And so, the geographic reach, if you`re just
talking about square miles, if you`re talking about land mass, if you`re
talking about area, the geographic reach arguably has never been smaller.
So the numbers are there but they are increasingly packed into smaller and
smaller – really into smaller numbers of districts.

MADDOW: Uh-huh.

KORNACKI: So, it`s much easier, if you`re a Republican and want to draw
lines to give yourself control of the state legislature or congressional
map, it`s much easier to do that because you don`t have – your voters
aren`t – in these rural areas, you might not have 90 percent but you`ve
got 60 percent.

In these urban, Democrats are sitting on 90 percent in a lot of – I mean,
here`s the stat that I think explains the evolution of politics better than
anything else. Go back to 1988. Michael Dukakis got wiped out nationally,
right, epic landslide loss in 40 states. He carried 820 counties in this
country, in a landslide loss, 820.

A generation later, Barack Obama is reelected by 5 million votes, a solid
victory for Barack Obama. He wins 690 counties. The geographic share for
Democrats shrinks that much that in a big win, they lost ground.

MADDOW: But if Democrats don`t want to concede that geographic is destiny.
If they want to roll that stone up that hill, is this the way to do it, to
try to be strategic about winnable seats, to try to flip legislatures, to
try to get in their redistricting process in a way that`s advantageous?

KORNACKI: Yes, absolutely.

MADDOW: A way to fight if you`re going to, right?

KORNACKI: Absolutely.

And it`s a longer-term question and the best news for Democrats on that
front is, look, in 2010, which is the legislatures that were seated that
then did the redistricting that resulted in what we`re talking about right
now is the result of the 2010 elections. Well, what was 2010? It was an
off-year election. It was a midterm election with a Democratic president.
This is one of those things, the way politics has evolved. That recipe is
the best thing Republicans could ever hope for.

Well, the next time that`s going to happen, 2020, not a mid-term year,
presidential election year and Democrats are always talking about how the
voters who turn out on those years are better for them. So, they have
maybe more of an opportunity in 2020 than in 2010.

MADDOW: And maybe by starting it in 2016, they`ll get their training
wheels for 2020.

KORNACKI: Exactly.

MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, good to see you, my friend.

KORNACKI: You too.

MADDOW: Lots more to come. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Hoot, hoot. Debunktion Junction, what`s my function?

OK, I said on Friday that a Vice President Joe Biden apology was presumably
imminent, because of something that the vice president said on Friday
afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said, because I`m
famous, because I`m a star, because I`m a billionaire, I can do things
other people can`t.

What a disgusting assertion for anyone to make. The press always asks me,
don`t wish I were debating him? No, I wish I were in high school and I
could take him behind the gym, that`s what I wish.

MADDOW: I wish we were in high school and I could take him behind the gym.
Apology presumably coming from the vice president`s office in three, two –

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Let`s check it. For saying on Friday that he wishes he could take
Donald Trump out behind the gym and teach him a lesson, Joe Biden would
soon issue an apology.

Was that true or was that false?

(BUZZER)

Very false. Not only did Vice President Joe Biden not apologize for saying
that, he said it again today in Toledo, Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: I`ll get myself in trouble and say something like I`d like to take
him behind the gym if I were in high school. I mean, all kidding aside,
wouldn`t you? I mean, for real.

Can you imagine a guy in the locker room talking that way and your sister`s
out there watching the game?

Not a joke. If I were in high school, I want to make it clear. I
understand what assault is. I`m not in high school.

If I were in high school – I used to be, I used to have a temper in high
school. I don`t have a temper anymore. I don`t ever, nothing ever bothers
me. Look, folks, I get it, no. No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Vice president clearly working it today, restraining himself,
having a little fun, but in no way apologizing for saying that he wants to
take Donald Trump behind the gym to teach him a lesson. Our playfully
pugilistic vice president. I was very wrong about that.

We don`t know who the next vice president will be. But tomorrow night,
we`re going to have a chance on this show to get a really close look at the
leading contender.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is going to be joining us
exclusively here in studio. Senator Kaine has been a guest on this show
before, but this is the first he`ll be joining us since he`s become Hillary
Clinton`s running mate. We have yet never talked to him since he`s running
for V.P.

So, there`s a lot more to say, a lot more to hear from him on. I`m very
much looking forward to that. That`s tomorrow night.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: We`ve been keeping track here at the show of newspaper
endorsements in the presidential race. It`s been a weird year for that.
The names listed on the left are a selection of Hillary Clinton`s formal
daily newspaper endorsements. She has a lot of them, including from a lot
of Republican papers.

In contrast, the last time we reported on Trump endorsements, he had three,
one each from tiny papers in Santa Barbara, California, St. Joseph,
Missouri, and “The Waxahachie Daily Light” in Texas.

You guys have been super helpful at tracking these endorsements,
particularly, when they`re really tiny papers. You can go online to
sendittorachel.com, send us tips, please. It`s been very helpful.

Tonight, thanks to you guys, we can add “The Times Gazette” of Hillsboro,
Ohio. Also, “The Antelope Valley Press” in California. There`s also for
the first time, a big one, Sheldon Adelson, you`ve heard of. He`s a casino
mogul, a big league Republican donor. He largely funded the presidential
Gingrich campaign in 2012 all by himself in 2012.

This winter, when “The Las Vegas Review Journal” got a new mystery owner
who paid $140 million for the paper and nobody knew it was, it was “The Las
Vegas Review Journal`s” own reporting staff that was forced to ferret out
the name of their new owner. That out turned out to be Sheldon Adelson.
He bought “The Las Vegas Review Journal” in December.

For the record, it`s not at all weird for super rich people to give money
to political candidates. It`s also not weird for rich people to buy
newspapers. It was weird that Sheldon Adelson tried to buy and run a
newspaper anonymously, but his reporting staff caught him.

Adelson went into this election cycle saying he planned on donating $100
million to the Republican nominee for president. He did meet with Donald
Trump, reportedly, but he did not reportedly open up his money spigots for
Trump.

He is no longer just the money man, though, or a gambling man. Sheldon
Adelson is now in the paper business, baby. When you`re buying ink by the
barrel, and you just bought $140 million worth of ink barrels, even if you
don`t want to spend your money, you might want to spend some of that ink
for Donald Trump – “Donald Trump, the right choice for president,” which
means “The Las Vegas Review Journal” joins the ranks of newspapers
endorsing Donald Trump. Maybe “The Waxahachie Daily Light” will pass the
coffee.

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.



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BE UPDATED.
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