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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 11/02/15

Guests: Dave Weigel, Stanley Greenberg, Paul Krugman, Wil Hylton, BasBaraka, Holly Harris

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the RNC has some cleaning up to do. HAYES: Mutiny in the Republican Party, as candidates band together to seize power from the RNC. But now, is Donald Trump going rogue? DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I went on, I got these ratings. And I can understand why they asked me more questions, frankly. HAYES: Then, Paul Krugman is here to break down the great economic myth Republican candidates are trying to sell. Plus, President Obama announces another change, helping former prisoners find jobs. BARACK OBAMA ,PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake that they made in the past. HAYES: And Paul Ryan`s first full day as speaker. While vowing to block immigration reform, there is one priority he`s committed to. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`m going to have to work on the carpeting in here. You know if you ever go to like a hotel room or get a rental car that`s been smoked, that`s what this smells like. HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. After helping to lead a mutiny with his fellow GOP candidates against the Republican national committee, Donald Trump is now going rogue, further complicating what has already become a chaotic nominating process and producing exactly the kind of circus that party officials were hoping to avoid in 2016. In the wake of a raucous third debate last week, the Republican campaigns citing RNC mismanagement and profiteering by ratings-driven networks decided something had to change. Spurred on by the front-runners, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, and by two of the undercard participants, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham, almost all the campaigns convened at a hotel outside Washington last night to collectively bargain for changes in the debate rules. Just before the meeting started, RNC Chair Reince Priebus tried to head off the revolt, appointing a new official to oversee debate negotiations between the campaigns and the networks, but it was apparently too little too late. The campaigns decided to cut the RNC out of format negotiations altogether, relegating the organization to a logistical planning role and usurping one of the only major powers remaining to the Republican Party`s central institution. According to Chairman Priebus, however, he`s still in control. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The truth is we`re involved, we`re in control, we`re setting the calendar. In fact, if what happens from last night goes forward, I think it`s exactly where we want to be. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The meeting produced a list of demands agreed to by all the campaigns. At least 30 seconds each for opening and closing statements, an equal number of questions for all the candidates, and approval of on-screen graphics. It also produced a joint questionnaire to be circulated to the networks demanding specific details about what each debate would look like including a pledge to keep the temperature of the debate venue below 67 degrees. The less than 24 hours later, Donald Trump already seems to have changed his mind about the new Republican alliance. "Washington Post" reporting Trump and his advisers are planning to negotiate directly with the TV networks about debate format and to reject the joint letter to the networks drafted at yesterday`s meeting. Speaking with NBC News, Trump`s campaign manager wouldn`t say one way or the other what they`re doing about the letter. But now, spokespeople for Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Carly Fiorina all say they won`t sign it. Amid increasing defections, the way forward through the debate process is once again in doubt. And the two issues at the heart of the candidates` mutiny are even further from being resolved. First, the fate of the field`s least popular candidates, who want an opportunity to debate on the main stage, not just at the so-called kids` table. Second and more fundamentally, the foundation of debate moderators, who`ve become a major flash point on the campaign trail. In an interview yesterday, front-runner Ben Carson laid out his vision for their role. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: Well, I think we should have moderators who are interested in disseminating the information about the candidates as opposed to, you know, gotcha, you did this and defend yourself on that. TV HOST: Should the candidates be challenged? Don`t you want to hear what they have to say and have that challenged by a free press? CARSON: There`s a place and time for that, but as far as I`m concerned, these debates are to highlight the differences in philosophy between the candidates, particularly when you have as many candidates as we have now. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, several of the candidates are starting to echo Ted Cruz, seen here in a hunting trip over the weekend in Iowa. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have suggested a very, very simple rule. How about the moderators of Republican primaries actually be Republicans? If you have individuals who`ve never in their life voted in a Republican primary, maybe they shouldn`t be moderating Republican primaries. How about a Republican primary moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin? Now, I guarantee you, you would get incredible ratings for that. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Dave Weigel, national political correspondent for "The Washington Post." What is going on here? I am deeply confused. I`m confused to a certain extent about what actually the beef was, whether this letter was ever a real thing, and now, it`s all falling apart. Talk me through it. DAVE WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the letter was a real thing. You`ve set it up the right way. Ben Carson and Donald Trump both had problems with the way this debate was set up. The undercard candidates, especially Lindsey Graham, who`s very well respected by pretty much everyone in the field except Trump, were getting a lot of sympathy and there was such a momentum against the way the CNBC debate went that the candidates agreed to meet on Sunday and the agenda was firmer than a lot people expected going in. I talked to all the campaigns I could on the way in and on the way out. And they said while not knowing what to expect here. They`re expecting to have a conversation. It was encouraging that we all agreed there should be opening and closing statements, that there should be fair questions, equal time for the candidates. They came to a lot of conclusions because in the end, they all really dislike the media. They dislike people like us, and were encouraged by the opportunity to bond together on this. HAYES: Well, see. Here`s what struck me, right, the stuff you see reflected in the letter and the questionnaire are essentially format issues. OK? And even things like we want the room to be 67 degrees or we want to make opening and closing statements because we want some little piece of time we can control, or we don`t -- we want to prove graphics, which seems like careening into editorial control. But the issue it seemed to me was basically about the questions they got and you`re seeing from Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, there`s a deeper sense of resentment where they want to basically be asked questions by people that are conservative Republicans. WEIGEL: Yes. And CNN has already sort of dealt with that problem or thought they dealt with that problem by bringing on Hugh Hewitt to help moderate the upcoming events. Hugh Hewitt today is interviewing Paul Ryan. Hugh Hewitt, somebody who I think not just speaks the language but understands what these Republicans would like to be asked and how to press them, how to press them in ways that are sometimes problematic. I mean, Hugh Hewitt is a guy who I think has gotten Ben Carson and Donald Trump over their skis when he`s asked about foreign policy. I think the -- it`s only complicated to discuss because everyone has a slightly different problem. They all agree, though, that the debates are not doing enough to let them just introduce themselves. One complaint I heard from a few people was that they thought going into CNBC that the first question would be an introduction or opening statement. Instead they got that question about the biggest weakness they had, admitting that to the American people. They all felt sandbagged by that. And that started the bad feeling. But again, all this bad feeling was pent up because of negative feelings about the media and a disrespect for Reince Priebus. And I`d point out parenthetically, Cory Lewandowski, Trump`s campaign manager, whose leading the revolt to the revolt, this is a guy who worked with Americans for Prosperity for years. This is a guy who has some experience in building a power structure outside the Republican Party, who has learned not to care about the old establishment. HAYES: There`s also a fascinating sort of set of kind of power relations and negotiations here, right? I mean, there`s some level which this is collective bargaining. It`s like when laborers realize they`re being exploited and not enjoying the fruits of the money they are make for someone else, right? WEIGEL: Yes, good thing Scott Walker`s not here for this. HAYES: Exactly. Here are people that are producing ratings that are as big as anything that`s debuting on television this fall, they feel like they want to see some benefit from that. So, there`s that. There`s also the fact it seems to me when you talk about Reince Priebus, I mean, this is yet another assault on the institutional core of the Republican Party. They fired him from what was in some ways his most central role in this campaign. WEIGEL: Right. And a few campaigns told me that they think Priebus is concerned whoever becomes the nominee will get rid of him as soon they possibly can. It`s a little tough to defend someone in the middle of the campaign. But keep in mind, Priebus pushed up the conventions earlier than they`ve been in I think half a century. So, the theory is that this guy knows that he`s on the ropes, even though his RNC has raised a ton of money. They just don`t care. Their vision of what politics can be and what party should be is so different from what Reince Priebus` fairly successful electoral vision has been. HAYES: I should note, the next debate is on Fox Business News. The Fox Business Channel has basically said we`re going to do it the way we already were going to do it. So in some weird way, none of these demands apply to the next debate and that also has to do with the power relationship between Fox and Roger Ailes and these candidates. WEIGEL: Yes, it worked out that way. There was agreement in the room that it was a bit too late to ask for Fox Business News to renegotiate, but also they did not want to mess with FOX News. There was not much (INAUDIBLE) messing with Roger Ailes. It as was easier in the words of one campaign manager to mess with CNBC than to mess with FOX News. HAYES: Yes, exactly. Thank you, Dave Weigel. All right. I`m joined now by Democratic pollster and political strategist Stanley Greenberg who advised the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and among others, the author of the new book "America Ascendant: A Revolution Nation`s Path to Addressing Its Deepest Problems and Leading the 21st Century". You have been in politics a while. Have you ever seen anything like what is going on institutionally with the Republican Party right now? STANLEY GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER AND POLITICAL STRATEGIST: No. And we are all in awe each day. But it also shows to me quite naked. I think what I realize and I think it`s very real, the RNC doesn`t have any power. It is not the Republican Party. We have watched a Republican Party that`s mounted a ferocious counterrevolution to the trends in this country. It`s built over a decade. And the voters that are backing these candidates want these candidates to be fighting the party, fighting the leadership. They failed them. And I think we are watching the Republican -- modern Republican Party butt naked. HAYES: There`s a chapter in your book called "The death of the Republican Party." I mean, this is something -- I guess the question is how deep is that? Are we watching an actual organizational institutional collapse like we only see every 100 years or so in American politics? GREENBERG: I didn`t think it would be brazen as this. Look, I`ve worked around the world. When you have divided parties, when you have parties fighting each other, I remember when the Democrats used to fight each other, you don`t trust a party to govern when they are so much at war with each other. And Republicans have struggled not to be disunited going into elections. They are divided all over the place. And there are factions at war. They`re going to play out obviously in this primary process. But I think it`s the end of a process. I mean, this is all against these huge trends in the country. Huge changes that are producing a growing American majority that -- whose values they are fighting. These candidates are on the stage to fight them. HAYES: This is -- the thesis here is fairly optimistic. It`s in line with some earlier writing of the emerging Democratic majority. The chair`s some sort of feature of this, that we have this sort of essentially governing progressive majority in America as exemplified by these -- the 2008-2012 elections. But then you see the state houses, the -- I mean, every level of Democratic Party in this party other than the White House is essentially in shambles. So, how do you square that? GREENBERG: I think you have to have a sense of history because I think we will look back on this period and say this is the end of a period in which they fought ferociously to keep this new American majority from governing and from governing with the values it brings to every day. And the -- if you look at their mobilizing these voters, every election was nationalized in order to stop the Obama Democrats from achieving. But we talk about huge changes. We`ve gone from 51 percent of the country being this new American majority to 63 percent in just four years. HAYES: What do you mean? Define that. What is that? GREENBERG: If you look at racial minorities, you look at single women, you look at millennials, you look at seculars, you`re talking about 63 percent of the electorate and it`s growing at an extraordinary pace, because the changes taking place in the country are taking place at that pace. And, by the way, I don`t assume the Republican Party`s dead. HAYES: Right. GREENBERG: First of all, they will battle from the rural areas that are biases in the system that enable to continue the fight. But they will know I think if they have a shattering election which I think is largely given by the scale of these changes, that they themselves have to deal with the new changes. HAYES: When you look at the latest polling that`s out today from NBC and "Wall Street Journal", you have Carson at 29 percent, Trump at 23 percent, Rubio at 11 percent, Cruz at 10 percent, and Bush down at 8. What we`ve been tracking is the Carson-Trump-Cruz bloc. That`s -- like you said, I mean, that is reflective of where I think the majority of the Republican base at least at this point is at in terms of just not trusting anyone at all too closely associated with the institutional Republican Party. GREENBERG: That`s one divide and it`s a critical one. But I think the critical ones I focus in on are the Tea Party anti-immigration fight for American jobs more working class. That`s about a quarter of the base. You have about half are religious conservatives, evangelicals dominate. HAYES: From whom Ben Carson`s drawing tremendous support. GREENBERG: Right. And then you have moderates who are moderate ideologically and religiously, about a quarter of the electorate. What I think you`re watching is these candidates fighting within those blocs. HAYES: Right. GREENBERG: And so, that`s why I think Trump is sustaining his support and it`s why I think Carson is doing very well, but Cruz could well emerge out of that bloc. HAYES: And it also is an explanation that Jeb has very little national constituency there when you break it up that way. GREENBERG: Small base. HAYES: All right. Stan Greenberg, it`s pleasure. Thank you very much. GREENBERG: Thanks for having me. HAYES: Still to come, more on the continued self-isolation of the Republican Party. Paul Krugman joins me to talk about the shrinking GOP universe and the increasing need to fact check. Plus, meet Buddie -- part superhero, part cannabis plant. Why a marijuana mascot has been touring Ohio. And later, the little box that can stand between you and employment if you have a criminal record. Obama announces an initiative to help ex- criminals enter the job force. Those stories and more, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m a grinder, man. I`ll keep grinding each and every day. I think I can break through. I`m going to give it my all to do it. As I said to one of the reporters, I eat nails before I have breakfast. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That was Jeb Bush vowing to grind on as long as he takes as he sought to reboot his campaign in his home state of Florida. Using the revamped slogan "Jeb Can Fix It." He said he would not take the role of an angry agitator but did take a veiled shot at Marco Rubio. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: The challenges we face as a nation are too great to roll the dice on another presidential experiment, to trust the rhetoric of reform over a record of reform. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The relaunch comes as Bush picked up the endorsement from Rubio`s former chief of staff, Richard Corcoran. Though the new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll released tonight shows Bush has a ways to go. He`s still derailing his Florida rival nationally and places fifth overall. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: As we reported last week, the Republican National Committee decided to suspend their only debate scheduled to appear on Spanish- language television. That`s the February 26th discussion of ideas hosted by NBC News and Telemundo. Now, Telemundo say sister network of MSNBC. "New York Times" points out that last night Jeb Bush`s campaign manager lobbied to reinstate Telemundo at that big meeting but the campaign manager for Donald Trump refused, threatening to boycott the debate. Suspending the debate with Telemundo seems to be at odds with the party`s goal following the 2012 election of greater outreach to a greater variety of different constituencies including first and foremost Latinos. And it`s reflective of a broader trend within the party of speak exclusively to its base in a kind of self-contained universe, something which "New York Times" op-ed columnist and Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman has been writing about for years. Joining me now is Paul Krugman. It`s wonderful to have you here. PAUL KRUGMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Hi there. HAYES: What do you make of this sort of inward turning that we`re sort of seeing effectuated in the Republican field? KRUGMAN: Well, this has been obvious for a while and it`s just getting worse. This hermetic universe of you only watch FOX News and you only listen to people and if some information that doesn`t suit your world view comes along, it`s because of the liberal bias of the media. So, yes. HAYES: You know, there are people watching this who say liberals read Paul Krugman and every time they get in an argument with him they`re citing Paul Krugman or they`re watching MSNBC and they`re contained in their own little bubble, too. KRUGMAN: Yes. I mean, certainly, people like people who are like you. You like people who share your opinions. But it`s just not -- you know, people like me are aware of what`s on FOX News. I have a suspicion that the people on MS -- who are FOX News watchers have no idea what`s on MSNBC. And we see that in lots of things. I mean, one of the kind of things we do in my professional circuit is we say that a liberal economist can imitate a conservative economist, can pretend, can -- you know, what will one of those guys say? The reverse is not true. So, there is a level of openness to at least acknowledging that there are other viewpoints, not agreeing with them but understanding them that is not symmetric. HAYES: This is Ryan Lizza who today was writing about the famous sort of RNC autopsy after 2012. KRUGMAN: Yes. HAYES: And this is -- again, this isn`t Paul Krugman speaking or Chris Hayes speaking. This is the report issued by the RNC. It says, "The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people but devastatingly, we`ve lost the ability to be persuasive with or welcoming to those who do not agree with us on every issue." KRUGMAN: Yes, think about -- think about when unemployment rates really started to come down, before the 2012 election, unemployment was pretty good. The reaction was not, well, how do we frame our message? The reaction was the BLS has taken the numbers. This was not crazy, you know, fringe people. This was Jack Welch. HAYES: Right. KRUGMAN: This was senior Republican official. When the initial -- HAYES: Really saying the Chicago guys in the phrase had reached into the bowels of the BLS to massage the data to essentially pull a con on the American people. KRUGMAN: Right. When the initial enrollments on Obamacare came in above expectations the reaction was not, well, you know, maybe we haven`t been right about this program. It was well, they`re cooking the books. So, you have a whole party -- and this is -- again, we`re not talking about the fringe. We`re talking about members of Congress. We`re talking about committee chairmen. When you have that kind of situation, sure, how can you expect them to be able to face up to a changing America? HAYES: One of the reasons I was excited to have you on tonight is lost in the sort of reaction to the CNBC debate is the fact that the idea behind the CNBC debate is that it would be the debate focused on economic issues. KRUGMAN: And they had little of that. HAYES: And it strikes me that essentially the central domestic policy plank of the Republican Party now is the same as when George W. Bush ran in 2000, which is lots of tax cuts, which will distributionally benefit the wealthiest the most. Is that a fair -- KRUGMAN: Sure. Except the difference now is tax cuts are bigger, they`re less responsible, and the claims being made for them are even more extravagant. So, Bush looks cautious and statesman-like compared with the current crop. HAYES: Really? KRUGMAN: Yes. No, it`s amazing, actually. We are -- I`m starting to look back and I said, boy, that was a same party in the Bush years by comparison. This is crazy. You know, Marco Rubio, who is now sort of emerging as the establishment candidate, $6 trillion of unfunded tax cuts which he claims will pay for themselves, which is deep voodoo. And that`s amazing that a major party has gone that far downtown crazy path. HAYES: Rubio`s also done something really ingenious with the way he structures these tax cuts, right? Because the poorest earners get the largest percentage cut, right? And then it sort of goes down the very -- not that much relatively for the upper middle class and upper middle class and then a huge cut for the rich. So, when people say these are tax cuts for the rich, you can point at the poorest folks. KRUGMAN: The thing about the poor is the poor are so poor that you can throw a little bit of money -- (CROSSTALK) KRUGMAN: There`s even some question about whether that`s really there. There`s some questions about what`s refundable and what`s not. But you can claim, since the plan is vague enough, you can claim, oh, we`re throwing (INAUDIBLE) is that the bottom docile which are the poorest of the poor, you know, but the middle class basically gets screwed. And huge tax cuts for the rich. And yes, it`s -- and what`s interesting then is when -- you know, when Harwood says something completely correct about the tax -- you start yelling oh, you`re lying because of this irrelevant point about the bottom tenth. HAYES: Right. Harwood challenges them on the middle class. Rubio responds in turn oh, but look at the bottom tenth. They`re talking past each other. KRUGMAN: It`s a little bit of -- some of that -- you know, some of that, that is a Bush-like tactic, only goes far beyond what Bush did. Yes, throw some people who are -- you know, don`t look rich, throw them something and then claim that`s what it`s all about. HAYES: There`s also this question of growth. I mean, you`ve seen this kind of bidding war about who`s going to guarantee more growth. I mean, it`s a wonderful thing to say -- I mean, if I were running for president I would say sure, you guys are going to get 5 percent growth. That would be awesome. But here we are in 2015. People actually don`t know that much about - - I mean, first of all, whether a president can deliver on that promise and why growth varies under different presidents. KRUGMAN: That`s right. We`re pretty -- you know, the truth is we know very little about what determines long-run growth. We know a lot about how to fight recessions, but aside from that we don`t know a lot. But what we do know is any confident pronouncements about tax cuts are completely not justified by the evidence. You know, Reagan cut taxes. OK, the economy recovered pretty fast. Clinton raised taxes. The economy grew incredibly. Bush cut taxes. Lousy performance. Obama has raised taxes some. Hey, his record`s a whole lot better than Bush`s. So, the idea -- and, of course, Kansas, it`s funny. Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas, said we had an experiment, we`re going to cut taxes and show that it works. And, of course, Kansas has done really badly. But somehow experiments don`t count if they yield the wrong result, right? But, of course, this is -- this one is obvious. You have to ask who benefits. So an idea that leads to tax cuts for the donor class is going to -- doesn`t matter how much evidence there is against it. HAYES: There`s some interesting economic literature about what happens to states when they get too captured by small groups, right? Whether that`s crony capitalism, whether that`s the concentration of wealth. I mean, what does the literature say about where we are as a nation right now? KRUGMAN: Well, yes, this is kind of a classic -- the classic Latin American problem of a small elite who the state ends up being for the benefit, that it`s all about rent seeking -- sorry, jargon. But it`s all about handing out favors to people, which means the public interest gets neglected. Education, crucial public services get neglected. And yes, if you were going to ask why is it that some of the Asian countries did so well and Latin America lagged, a lot of that seems to have to do with whether you have economic programs that are broadly based as opposed to generating benefits for a narrow elite. And, yes, we look more and more -- actually, some of Latin America`s looking less like that but we`re looking more and more like that here. HAYES: Yes, Paul Krugman. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner. "Times" columnist -- always a pleasure to have you. KRUGMAN: Always good to be on. Take care. HAYES: All right. Be well. All right. It`s his first day as speaker of the House and Paul Ryan already has a full agenda, starting with the carpet. I`ll explain, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The day before his first full day as house speaker, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan did what is known in the business as the "full Ginsberg". Appearing on all five major Sunday talk shows on the same day, it`s a feat named after Monica Lewinsky`s former lawyer, William Ginsberg, the first to accomplish the "full Ginsberg" back in 1998. Speaker Ryan began his first work week today in a fortunate position, avoiding what promised to be a messy and divisive fight over raising the debt limit, thanks to his predecessor John Boehner, who helped negotiate and pass a budget deal before resigning his seat and handing over the speaker`s gavel. But that is not to say that Boehner, seen here lighting up on the south lawn of the White House in 2011, didn`t leave some pressing issues for Ryan to deal with. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re kind of a health nut. How are you going to get the smell of smoke out of the speaker`s office? PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s a really good question, and we`ve been talking about that. They have these ozone machines apparently that you can detoxify the environment, but I`m going to have to work on the carpeting in here. You know if you ever go to a hotel room or get a rental car that`s been smoked, that`s what this smells like. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Ryan has a lot of other things on his to-do list, including in the short term passing a much-needed bill to fund highway and infrastructure spending. There`s one thing that Paul Ryan yesterday made abundantly clear he will not deal with. Legislation that would radically improve the lives of 11 million people living in this country, significantly reduce the deficit, and which would likely help Ryan`s party in both the presidential election and in the long run. It could also pass with a combination of Republican and Democratic votes tomorrow if the speaker would just bring it to the floor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: By the way, on immigration I don`t think we can trust the president on this issue -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tried to go around congress with the executive order. RYAN: Absolutely. The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don`t write laws, congress does. The president`s proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue. I think if we reach consensus on something like border enforcement, interior security, that`s one thing, but I do not believe we should advance comprehensive immigration legislation with a president who has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The smell in the speaker`s office may be changing, but so far the speaker himself sure seems a lot like the last one. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: So tomorrow voters in Ohio will go to the polls to vote on a state constitutional amendment that would legalize both personal and medical use of marijuana for those over 21 years old. If the amendment passes, and recent polls in the state are split down the middle, issue 3 would make Ohio the largest state to fully legalize marijuana, the first state to do so in the Midwest, and the first to approve making marijuana legal for personal use without first legalizing medical marijuana. The deep-pocketed backers of the amendment are pulling out all the stops to get it over the finish line, including deploying this guy, Buddie, a pro-legalization mascot with a green marijuana bud for a head and the sort of washboard abs you don`t normally associate with smoking pot. He`s been on a tour of Ohio colleges, designed to drum up support. If Buddie seems like the brainchild of a modern corporate marketing campaign, that`s because the people who deployed him are not exactly hippies. The amendment was bankrolled by a group of wealthy investors spending nearly $25 million to put it on the ballot and sell it to voters, and they are not doing it for free. In exchange for putting up a minimum of $2 million each to back the amendment, the investors will get exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio if the amendment passes. That arrangement has angered many long-time supporters of marijuana legalization in Ohio, who are thus opposing the legalization amendment and decrying what they see as big business trying to monopolize the state`s pot industry. They`ve joined a strange bedfellows consortium of opponents, which also include law enforcement and children`s health advocates, who are backing a rival amendment, also on the ballot tomorrow, that the state`s secretary of state says would invalidate the legalization measure if both amendments pass. Joining me now to clear all this up, Wil Hylton, contributing editor of New York Magazine, who just published this fantastic, must-read story about Willie Nelson and the rise of big pot. Wil, it`s great to have you here. Okay, I`m confused by this situation in Ohio. Explain to me how this works in terms of the backers of issue 3. WIL S. HYLTON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: They`re creating a cartel. I mean, they`ve put together a ballot initiative that explicitly gives them control of the legal pot industry in the seventh largest state in America, basically indefinitely. Their oligopoly can`t be challenged for the next four years, by which point it will be essentially impossible to challenge. So what they`re doing is they`re setting themselves up as a cartel. And this poses huge problems for the legalization movement, which has been largely organized around issues of social justice. And implicit in that concern is the disproportionate impact of the war on drugs in poor communities. So, to see the wealthy set up this kind of arrangement where they benefit exclusively from the legalization process is deeply distressing to all sorts of advocates of legalization. HAYES: So what`s happening in Ohio is just the most extreme example of what a lot of people say is going to happen more broadly as legalization comes to this country. Obviously, it`s already in two states. Which is basically the rise of big pot. I mean, in your piece you write about the fact that there is millions of dollars in investment capital flowing into big concerns that want to be essentially the Starbucks of weed. HYLTON: Right. I mean, these organizations are coming together all over the country right now. There are two states in which legalization is fully implemented. There are two more states in which it has been passed, it is in the process of being implemented. There is Washington, D.C., where legalization was passed, but can`t be implemented because of interference by the federal government. And then there are five states where it`s almost certain to be a ballot initiative in 2016, and another dozen where it might be a ballot initiative in 2016. So this is gearing up. It`s going fast. And big money is rallying to become big pot. And you can see it in all sorts of different forms. What`s interesting in Ohio, I think, and about issue 3 tomorrow is that it`s actually a pretty complex issue. There`s a lot in the issue, in the ballot initiative, for advocates of legalization to love. It`s not just about creating a monopoly. It does literally say "creates a monopoly" at the top of the ballot initiative, but embedded within the initiative is language that also explicitly legalizes possession, and that has dramatic criminal justice implications. It allows home growing, which cuts against the grain of the monopolistic intent. It also establishes dispensaries, that`s been the big hurtle in Washington, D.C. so far. The federal government has allowed this legalization to take the form of basically decriminalization, but has not allowed sale, retail sale to happen. And so in Ohio they`ve said, okay, the initiative that`s under review tomorrow says 1,100 dispensaries. That`s a lot of pot dispensaries that are going to be allowed if this passes. And then there`s this whole very ugly, very concerning aspect of the monopolies. And so, this issue too that the secretary of state says would invalidate it, doesn`t address any of those other pieces of issue 3. HAYES: Right. It just gets knocked down -- HYLTON: Knocks down the monopoly, exactly. And so it really remains to be seen what happens if both pass, and there`s a strong case to be made that people who favor legalization as it has been understood elsewhere should just vote yes on both and let the legislature sort it out, and if they screw it up then people can put together a different ballot initiative. HAYES: One of the -- the focal point of the piece you wrote, which is about Willie Nelson basically trying to, as sort of his final political act, the last sort of crusade he`s taking on, is basically creating Willie`s reserve, which I came away from the piece thinking, will be to marijuana what essentially organic farming and farm to table movement is to corporate agriculture, this would be to big pot, essentially. HYLTON: I think that`s exactly right. And I think that`s very deliberate on his part. When you think about Willie`s legacy, for the last 30 years he`s been holding these farm aid concerts, which have raised millions and millions of dollars for small farmers and started the conversation in a lot of ways back in 1985 about local, organically grown food and the farm to table movement. He doesn`t usually get credit for being part of the farm to table movement, but if you really look back at it, almost nobody was talking about these things in 1985. So, he`s been at the front of that kind of endeavor. And he said to me that he sees this as the natural extension of that, that a lot of these struggling small farmers, well, here`s a crop that they can grow that looks like it will be pretty profitable. And as long as it doesn`t end up being the providence of huge corporations with unregulated pesticide use and, you know, horrible environmental footprints, he`s very eager to see this happen. But, the trouble is, you look around at places like Colorado and Washington State and they have not yet got it under grips. So he wants to create a company that will have those low environmental footprint and less pesticides, no pesticides, and keep things clean. HAYES: All right. Wil Hylton, thank you very much. Coming up, President Obama`s continued push for more criminal justice reform, this time by removing one simple question from a job application. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Another democratic candidate for president dropped out today. Lawrence Lessig, who got into the race just under two months ago, on the single issue of civic equality and campaign finance reform, didn`t qualify for the first democratic debate. Now he says he won`t qualify for the second debate either because, he says, the DNC changed the rules to make his eligibility contingent on his performance in polls that already have happened, leaving him no choice but to end his candidacy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE LESSIG, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is now clear that the party won`t let me be a candidate, and I can`t ask people to support a campaign that I know can`t even get before the members of the democratic party. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Lawrence Lessig will be sharing more of what led up to his decision to quit the race right here on MSNBC tonight at 10:00 p.m. on The Last Word with Lawrence O`Donnell, and, the three remaining candidates will all be part of a democratic forum hosted by none other than Rachel Maddow in South Carolina this Friday, right here, only on MSNBC. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Here`s something you`ve probably seen at least once in your life, a job application. It`s got this question on it, "have you ever been convicted of a felony"? Guess what happens if you check the yes box. For people who are getting out of federal prison, encountering that on a job application is basically a dead end. I mean, if they tell the truth, what are the odds they are going to get a call back. And for years, civil rights activist have mounted a campaign to, quote, ban the box, so that, employers, while still perfectly free to eventually perform a criminal background check, don`t get that information on the very first screening of job applicants when they are whittling people out. Today at a halfway house and rehab facility in Newark, New Jersey, as part of his push for criminal justice reform, President Obama announced an executive action that will ban the box for federal job applications. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m taking action to ban the box for the most competitive jobs at federal agencies. The federal government I believe should not use criminal history to screen out applicants before we even look at their qualifications. We can`t dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake that they`ve made in the past. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The President noted that there`s a bipartisan bill working its way through congress that would ban the box for federal contractors, and the president pointed out that many big name employers are way ahead on this issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: And keep in mind, some really good, really successful companies are already doing this. Walmart, Target, Coke Industries, Home Depot, they`ve already taken action to ban the box. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In an exclusive interview with Lester Holt, President Obama also discussed racial disparity in the criminal justice system overall. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Pretty much up and down the line what we see is disparities in how white, black, Hispanic suspects are treated. Higher arrest rates, tougher sentencing, longer sentences. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The president unveiled his initiative in Newark today and met with that city`s mayor. The city`s mayor will join me next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: This is a bill that would reduce mandatory minimums for non- violent offenders. It would invest in law enforcement. It would reward prisoners with time off if they complete programs that make it less likely that they will commit crimes in the future. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, who met with President Obama today, and Holly Harris, executive director of U.S. Justice Action Network. Mayor, let me begin with you. How central, how important is this issue broadly of reintegration after incarceration to the folks in Newark? RAS BARAKA, MAYOR OF NEWARK: Thank you for having me this evening. It`s incredibly important for us here in the city of Newark. You have thousands of people that have come home from incarceration annually. They come back into our communities, sometimes without housing, definitely without employment, without marketable skills, without a place to go. It is essential for us to integrate them back into society seamlessly, or else they`ll be creating more problems for us in the community and the streets of Newark, and wind up back in prison where they came from in the first place. What we need to do is create opportunities for them to get involved in our economy here, help us build and grow the city, and be part of Newark as a citizen like everybody else here. HAYES: What can you do as mayor, though? It strikes me that there`s so much operating beyond the power of the mayor of Newark to make that first day out of the penitentiary really daunting. I mean, what can you do as the mayor to not make that quite as daunting? BARAKA: There`s a few things we can do. We create re-entry one-stops, where we get them before they actually step foot on the pavement, where we begin talking to them when they`re short on their sentence to direct them into programming here in the City of Newark, with transitional jobs like Project Hope that we have, transitional housing. We begin getting them back into society by getting their I.D.s back. Try to help them get their driver`s license. Give them the skills and the training through WIB, the Workforce Investment Board, Newark Works, to get them back into the community. So, we do this with the help of the county, the state, federal dollars, municipal funds and private, you know, donations as well to help us reintegrate people back into society. So we can do plenty on a local level, especially with the assistance from the federal government. HAYES: Holly, when I think to myself, when I sort of run the thought experiment of okay, I`ve just been incarcerated, it`s my first day out, and I try to create -- you know, even from my personal position of relative privilege, right? I know a lot of people, those people have educations, they have networks, they have contacts. Even when I try to run that thought experiment, I think about how daunting it would be. It`s sort of a miracle to me that anyone actually manages to come out and find a job and not reoffend. How does that ever happen? What do we know about what works? HOLLY HARRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.S. JUSTICE ACTION NETWORK: Well, let me say when you mentioned this is very daunting for these individuals, you know, individuals who`ve been incarcerated work nine fewer weeks per year and take home 40% less annual pay than their colleagues. And when these individuals can`t find good jobs they very often return to crime, return to prison and again become the taxpayers` responsibility. So, it`s a very good thing to get these government obstacles out of the way. Give these individuals more access to employment. At the end of the day, recidivism rates go down, we save money and most importantly, we make our community safer. HAYES: But what -- I mean, right now unemployment for folks who say, don`t have a high school degree, which is a large percentage of those who are incarcerated, right? Unemployment can be anywhere from 16% up to 25%. I mean, the job market itself is not particularly welcoming to folks who are in that situation, even without a felony conviction. Right? HARRIS: Well, I actually would disagree with you. You know, I`m from Kentucky, as you can probably tell from my accent. And the Kentucky Manufacturers Association was recently lamenting that they have a real dearth in skilled labor out there. And so, you know, this could open up an entire new pool of skilled labor for manufacturers. So, I do think there`s some opportunity out there. Again, we`ve just got to remove government obstacles to these individuals, you know, finding these jobs. HAYES: Mayor, let me ask about the politics of this, because we`ve already seen there was a really horrific shooting of a police officer in New York, there was a lot of press about his former -- his sort of previous brushes with law enforcement, whether he was rightly processed. What are the politics of this sort of new era we seem to be very tentatively entering into, of a less punitive approach, more of a focus on reintegration, when inevitably someone reoffends in some sort of terrible way, which is bound to happen statistically. What are those politics going to look like, and are you and others prepared for that? BARAKA: Yeah, we have to be prepared because this is absolutely the right thing to do. Of course, people are going to try to exploit any hole or mistake that is available to exploit. But ultimately, it`s just the right thing to do. It saves taxpayers money. There is millions and billions of dollars being spent, excuse me, in incarceration that can be spent on other things like education, like job training, like opportunities to get people housing. All of those things can be used for that. We`re using the money in the wrong way at this time. It`s just simply not working. We`re incarcerating more and more people in America, and it has no real effect on a reduction of crime and violence in our community. So, this is a very real fact, and we have to address that as Americans, and begin to come up with alternative solutions. It`s going to be difficult for people to swallow at first, but it`s real and it makes the community safe. It makes police safer. It makes everyone safer. So, it just makes sense for me -- for us to begin to go down this road. HAYES: Yeah. Those steps have started and we`re going to see there`s going to be a lot of pushback as we go down this very long road. Mayor Ras Baraka and Holly Harris, thank you both tonight. I really appreciate it. HARRIS: My pleasure. HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END