Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 11, 2016 Guest: Keith Ellison, Hakeem Jeffries, Philip Bump, Sam Seder, Robert Reich, Michael Grunwald
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have one of the strongest civil rights records in the United States Congress.
HAYES: As Sanders and Clinton battle for non-white voters, Clinton gets a boost from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: There`s no one else better prepared to be president of the United States of America than Hillary Clinton.
HAYES: But, I`ll speak with one CBC member who disagrees with the Clinton endorsement.
Plus, did President Obama just give a tacit endorsement himself?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Trying to find common ground doesn`t make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive.
HAYES: Then, could Republicans be headed for a contested convention?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re planning for anything. I mean, we`re ready for that.
HAYES: Why the Rubio campaign is saying it could benefit their candidate.
And, it`s Trump`s signature line.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Make America great again.
HAYES: But how great was America after eight years of Ronald Reagan.
TRUMP: I really am tired of seeing what`s happening with this country.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight, the fight for the Democratic nomination has shifted. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton having moved on from two of the whitest states in the nation, Iowa and New Hampshire, now engaged in increasingly intense battle in the hearts and minds of non-white voters who are poised to play a decisive role in deciding which candidate becomes the Democratic nominee.
Next primary, on the Democratic calendar, following the Nevada caucuses, is the South Carolina primary on February 20th. A state with a Democratic electorate was 55 percent black in 2008 and comes the so-called SEC primary on March 1st also known as Super Tuesday, when voters and a number of southern states where black voters make up a huge chunk of the Democratic electorate head to the polls.
Polling suggests Sanders is losing to Clinton by a massive margin, 50 points in one recent poll. And Sanders, in order to survive, absolutely must close this gap. Today, he rolled out an endorsement from singer and activist, civil rights legend Harry Belafonte, which comes in the heels of yesterday`s high profile meeting with -- in Harlem, with Al Sharpton.
But Clinton is not just sitting on the sidelines. Today, she secured an endorsement from the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus, which held an event at DNC headquarters to laud the candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TERRI SEWELL (D), ALABAMA: When I look at the issues that matter most to the African-American community, from health care to education from crime and violence in our communities, there`s only one candidate that stands shoulders above the others. And her name is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Civil rights icon John Lewis, a long time Clinton loyalist, who backed Clinton in 2008 before eventually switching to Barack Obama, unloaded on Sanders at the endorsement event, casting him as absent from the civil rights fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: I never saw him. I never met him. I would chair the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, freedom ride, the march on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But not all members of CBC agree with today`s endorsement.
Joining me now, Democratic Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who`s a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and who is supporting Bernie Sanders.
Congressman, take me through -- first of all, describe what the Congressional Black Caucus PAC is, and how it is distinct from the entity of the caucus itself, which is the African members of the United States Congress.
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Well, it`s about 20 members. There`s about 11 of them that are lobbyists, two of them are staff and the remainder are members of the Black Caucus. They operate separately. They don`t -- we don`t discuss their business in our CBC meetings, which we have every Wednesday.
They made this decision, as I understand, on the day they made it, several members -- one member was absent, others abstain and the majority came up with this endorsement. That`s what it is.
HAYES: You mentioned some of them were lobbyists. Do you think that plays a role here?
ELLISON: You know, who knows? All I can tell you is that Bernie Sanders is the right choice for African-American voters. He`s the right choice for all voters.
He has excellent history of advancing the cause of racial justice. I mean, you know, Bernie Sanders and I are co-authors of the bill to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour.
If that were to happen and there`s a growing and strong movement to do it, as many as 54 percent of African-Americans would get a dramatic raise. You know, his proposal on tuition and debt free college, you would see as many as 1.2 million black college students be able to save $36,000.
I mean, he`s done -- my son is a black soldier. I don`t want to see another Iraq war debacle. He voted no on Iraq. I want a president who is going to be standing there like that. There`s specific things that I believe make him the right choice.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. This is something that`s been said to me off the record by several elected Democratic members of Congress. A senator said this over the weekend basically.
They said, look, we serve with Bernie. Claire McCaskill said this out loud. How come no Democratic colleagues of Bernie Sanders have endorsed him in the Senate? When you look at the House, it`s overwhelming endorsements of Hillary Clinton. I believe it`s you and Raul Grijalva, another congressman in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who have endorsed Bernie Sadners.
They say, look, judge, trust the people that work with him who are making the choice to endorse Hillary Clinton over him.
What`s your response to that?
ELLISON: Well, I guess my response is, what about the 3 million people who have endorsed him by sending him the average of $27. I mean, this is historic and phenomenal.
What about the fact he was supposed to be completely blown out in Iowa, ties that race and blows her out in New Hampshire. These guys are wrong about the wrong endorsers. The endorsers are the primary voters in New Hampshire and they are the caucus-goers in Iowa.
I predict things are really going to change in these upcoming contests, because when Bernie talks the people hear his message. And it is electrifying and very attractive to all voters and I think it will benefit black voters in particular. There`s a reason Harry Belafonte is in. There`s a reason Ben Jealous is in. There`s a reason I am. There`s a reason many others are.
And I think black voters will catch on.
HAYES: All right. Representative Keith Ellison, I appreciate it. Thank you.
ELLISON: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He`s a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Congressman, how much of this is about -- whenever I look at endorsements in any political party at any time, you also got to remember a huge part of that is people making a determination about who`s going to win, right? How much of all of this is people imagining that in the end, it`s going to be hilly Clinton who will be the Democratic nominee?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: I think electability is any important consideration. It`s electability of who in this particular election can defeat the Republican attack machine, replace Barack Obama, build upon the progress that he has made as president and keep the country moving forward.
And in the context of the very big problems that we`ve had, and Bernie Sanders to his credit has done a good job of articulating the notion of the need for political revolution based on these big problems, a rigged economy, higher education, affordability, I would add a criminal justice reform, crisis that is necessary for us to address as well, as, you know, the need to do with the gun violence epidemic. These are big problems that requires big solutions, and in the context of who can defeat the Republicans to assume the presidency and move the country forward, I think is reasonable for many of us to conclude that that`s Hillary Clinton.
She has the track record and experience. It`s clear to me that she`s ready, willing and able to assume the presidency on day one and move us forward.
HAYES: Are there things particularly in the Clinton record that stand out in terms of African-American voters in particular or even not just African- American voters. You represent a diverse group of constituents in my home borough. Are there issues you see concretely in her record that you think reflect well or auger well for a Clinton residency?
JEFFRIES: Absolutely. I think when you start at the beginning of a career as a young lawyer with the Children`s Defense Fund, when she was fighting against the prison industrial complex in the early 1970s, trying to deal with the issue of teenage people being incarcerated in adult facility down South and being successful. And then during her time in Arkansas where she started very impressive civil legal services organization that provided representation and assistance to poor folks down in Arkansas, many of whom were African-Americans, of course.
When you look at her time here in Washington, D.C. during the 1990s, she was significantly responsible for the passage of the Children`s Health Insurance Program which is the bridge between Medicare in 1965 and the Affordable Care Act in 2010. That was a Hillary Clinton initiative that she helped get over the top.
And then, of course, as it relates to her time in the United States Senate from New York, co-sponsored legislation prohibiting racial profiling, co- sponsored legislation that dealt with sentencing reform, help to support the issue of rye trying to correct the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine that eventually was passed into law when she part of the Obama administration.
There`s a consistency of work on issues of importance of the African- American community that I think stands out.
HAYES: Let me identify one place that people put a lot of emphasis, and that`s, of course, the years of her husband`s presidency. And it`s unclear even to me the degree to which this can be hang on Hillary Clinton, frankly. I think it`s a debatable point.
But people do point out that it was Bill Clinton who signed the crime bill, which was a popular bill. Bernie Sanders voted for the bill. Half of the Congressional Black Caucus, but was the main exacerbater of mass incarceration in this country. Of course, welfare reform also, which was passed with highly racially coded language, which has in many instances proven to be terrible for a lot of particularly women of color in this country.
What do you think of that part of the record?
JEFFRIES: Well, outside of her work on health care, it`s not clear that you can hang around her neck anything that related to her husband`s administration because if you go back and look at the 1990s, health care was the one issue where she took the lead.
But let`s unpack the Clinton record. As you point out, Chris, the 1994 crime bill which did increase the incarceration of Americans, disproportionately African-American at a time when it was signed, it was about 800,000 plus. Now, we`ve got 2.3 million. That`s a problem.
Democrats and Republicans made a mistake. Bernie Sanders made a mistake by voting for the 1994 crime bill. So, I think we can take that off the table.
When you look at the economic record during the Clinton administration, 20 million plus jobs that were created, one of the lowest poverty rates for African-Americans in recorded history. One of the highest employment rates that took place during an eight-year administration occurred for African- Americans.
If we want to criticize her for what happened with the 1994 crime bill, shouldn`t she be given credit for being a partner in the economy that benefitted African-Americans during that same period of time?
HAYES: All right. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right. The next state on the Democratic primary calendar even before South Carolina is Nevada, which holds its Democratic caucuses on February 20th, nine days from now. The last poll in the state showed Clinton with a 23-point lead over Sanders. But that poll was taken back in December and a whole heck of a lot has changed since then including a million dollar Sanders ad buy in state.
Nevada marks Clinton`s first chance to right the ship after being trounced in New Hampshire. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon doesn`t want expectations to get out of hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON SPOKESMAN: "The Washington Post" had an item, a smart item today that talked about, you know, that there`s reason to believe Senator Sanders should fair well in state like Nevada. Obviously, there`s an important Hispanic element to the Democratic caucus-goer universe in Nevada, but it`s still a state that is 80 percent white voters. You have a caucus-style format and he`ll have the momentum coming out of New Hampshire, presumably.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst, Jon Ralston. He`s a political reporter and host of "Ralston Live", which airs on PBS in Nevada.
Jon, you have not been shy about what you think of the Clinton campaign advancing an argument that Nevada is essentially and fundamentally in the same category of Iowa and New Hampshire as the kind of state that Sanders should do well. What do you think of that argument?
JON RALSTON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, I`m having a bit of trouble hearing you. But I think you asked me about the Clinton campaign making these ludicrous claims that it`s 80 percent white out here which you and everybody else knows is not true.
In fact, the people making the claims know it`s not true. Robbie Mook, the campaign manager for the Clinton campaign, worked out here in 2008.
The electorate here, the Democratic caucus electorate was 30 percent plus minority in 2008. It`s likely to be 40 percent plus.
But this is just evidence of the Clinton campaign coming out of New Hampshire and trying to lower expectations, but in such a way that it`s not credible. They clearly are worried. They had all the infrastructure set up here. They were the dominant campaign here, but now, they`re feeling the Bern, as it were.
And Sanders is all over TV. He`s got three ads. He`s doubled her in spending. They have real activity on the ground for the first time.
And so, I think they`re going with the outlandish claim of an 80 percent white electorate which even Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, criticized them for today for saying.
And so, I think they`re worried about what`s happening in Nevada even though I still think they have an advantage.
HAYES: You know, it`s interesting. I covered the Nevada caucuses back in 2008. Hillary Clinton won that over Barack Obama. At that time, Obama was seen as having a weakness among Latino voters. He was polling behind her in that respect.
How much -- what do you think the terrain looks like? We haven`t polled there since December. So, your guess is as good as anyone`s about the state of the race there?
RALSTON: Well, again, I`m having trouble hearing you, Chris, but as far as the terrain here and the Latino vote is here, which I think is what you asked about. I apologize if it wasn`t.
But the Latino vote was about 15 percent turn out in 2008 in the caucus. It`s likely to be the same or greater this time. But there`s been a pitched battle here between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns.
Clinton campaign reached out to the Hispanic vote here. They hired a couple of Hispanic operatives who worked in field here in `08. They had Hillary Clinton come out in last May and met with DREAMers, talked about going to the left of Obama. You think his executive orders are good. Mine will be even better, those DREAMers just endorsed a couple of weeks ago.
But now, Sanders is set up a Latino steering committee himself and suddenly, a member of that steering committee defected to the Hillary Clinton campaign. They released e-mails showing she actually was committed to Sanders. It`s getting really nasty to the point where you can tell that there`s real tension especially in the Clinton side that Sanders is making some kinds of inroads into the Latino community.
It doesn`t make much sense yet, Chris. We don`t have good polling data out here as you know. So, it`s difficult to have that kind of empirical data. But I think the Clinton people are worried that the Sanders people are making inroad, especially because the Culinary Union, which is the turnout operation for Latino voters in Nevada is essential being a wall flower. And I bet there`s a tremendous amount of treasure coming down on the Culinary Union to take its place on the dance floor, as it were.
HAYES: All right. Jon Ralston, thank you for that. I don`t know what it says about the predictability about my questions that you were able to define both of them with audio trouble. But thanks for having in there.
All right. Still to come, did President Obama take a swipe at one of the Democratic candidates?
And later, about Donald Trump`s promise to make America great again. What is Donald referring to?
Plus, reports of Marco`s contingency plan, relying on something that hasn`t happened in 40 years.
Those stories and more, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: For those who abandon hope, we`ll we store hope and we`ll welcome them into a national crusade to make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Make America great again. Ronald Reagan may have been the first to say it, but Donald Trump was the first to trademark it. So, when does Trump think America was its greatest? We`ll attempt to answer that with some must-see video, ahead.
HAYES: All right. Donald Trump is holding rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We will keep an eye on that, of course.
The next big Republican contest, the South Carolina primary, is just nine days from now. Campaigning on his birthday today, Jeb Bush was serenaded at a campaign stop in Florence, South Carolina. Bush recently told the South Carolina crowd that a President Trump would be worse than President Obama. But Bush seems confident that South Carolina will respond well to this president, former President George W. Bush, who will campaign with his brother in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday.
Now, the Trump-Cruz portion of the battle for South Carolina looks like it`s taking a nastier although probably expected turn. Today, Trump tweeted, "We are getting reports from many voters that the Cruz people are back to doing very sleazy and dishonest push-polls on me. We are watching!"
NBC News has not yet confirmed the alleged maneuver by the Cruz campaign. But Cruz will run a tough ad against Trump in South Carolina. An ad buy starting this week. Take a welcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Vera Coking`s home was all she had left but it stood in Donald Trump`s way and the limousine parking lot he wanted for his casino. To him, she was a nobody. So, Trump schemed with Atlantic City government to force Coking from her home using eminent domain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, in the end, that woman`s home was never actually destroyed through eminent domain, according to PolitiFact -- as has been noted by Trump himself.
Now, as for the once shining golden boy, Marco Rubio, after his disappointing fifth place finish in New Hampshire, the Rubio campaign seems to be playing the ground work for a long nomination battle, possibly hoping to hedge against further dashed expectations in South Carolina.
According to "The Associated Press", Rubio`s senior team has raised the possibility of a contested convention. Rubio himself has been very guarded, even when asked directly about the chance of a contested convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: That could happen. I mean, that`s not -- we`re planning for anything. We`re ready for that. We`re ready for a long primary process. We`re ready for it to end in a more traditional way. No one can predict this year. It`s completely unpredictable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A contested convention, of course, is the unicorn of political journalism, the great mythical creature, a lot of folklore around it, a lot of illustrations and remembrances of things past.
We would all love to encounter it. Every year, there`s talk of contesting the convention. And every year, there isn`t one. But if this year has shown us anything, as Marco Rubio said, it`s that many of the old rules don`t seem to apply.
Now, at a glance, the delegate glance looks simple. Well, relatively. Out of 2,472 delegates in the GOP nomination process, a candidate must get 1,237 to win the nomination. In other words, 50 percent of the delegates plus one.
But if enough candidates, say three to four, stay in the race long enough, it could prevent any one candidate from reaching that 50 percent plus one threshold of total delegates.
It doesn`t seem actually that difficult to imagine. Put another way, could Trump win a plurality of the delegates without becoming the nominee? Joining me now to help make sense of it all is "Washington Post" political reporter, Philip Bump, who`s written at length on this very subject.
OK. You got to try to get 50 percent plus one.
PHILIP BUMP, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right.
HAYES: Now, we get into delegate apportionment, right?
HAYES: Part of the problem here is most of the states are not winner-take- all. Am I right?
BUMP: That`s correct. The RNC has allowed states, because they want states to run their own process, they`ve allowed states to come up with their own rules for how the delegates exactly get apportioned. After March 15th, states were allowed to be winner-take-all states. But most of them are not. That`s correct.
HAYES: Right. So, we think to think, because we are used to the electoral college model, right? You win Ohio by three votes. You get all the Ohio electorates, right?
So, you can, you know, you can have a very narrow popular margin vote, but a big Electoral College vote, right?
That`s not the case with delegates here, right? Because so few of these are winner-take-all. If you`re winning states a plurality of 30 percent, 32 percent, state after state, you`re racking up a one delegate lead, a two delegate lead, a three delegate lead on people. Maybe you go towards Cleveland with, you know, a 100-delegate, 200-delegate lead over your next closest rival, right?
BUMP: Yes, that`s exactly right. I mean, look at the state like California, where they do the apportionment, why whoever wins the congressional district in the state gets a certain number of delegates from that. That`s the way they actually apportioned it, in addition to having some portion in other ways.
The way it`s broken down in California is a great example, because you can come out of that with a massive split. How San Jose, California, votes for the presidency can give a certain number of electorates to Ted Cruz or give a certain of electorates to Marco Rubio, which I think is the other thing that we have multiple strong candidates in this race, which is the other problem, as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.
HAYES: Now, back in 2008, David Plouffe, he sort of running the Obama campaign had this kind of ingenious money ball insight, right, where he realized that states like low turn out caucus states in the plains like North Dakota, they could come in with a relatively small amount of investment and run up a big margin that could give them a big delegate lead, because also it was proportional representation.
The Republican version of that money ball would seem you have to invest heavily in the biggest states that are winner-take-all, right?
BUMP: Yes, to some extent, although Ted Cruz, for example, starting to play some of that money ball game as well. I mean, I think because this thing is such a mishmash that people will have to split their recourses wherever they can in order to rack up delegates.
HAYES: I don`t imagine if there`s anyway mathematically to get to 50 percent plus one if enough people stay long enough, right?
BUMP: I think that`s probably right. I think the system design for having two contenders, who make it to the very end, which I don`t know is the path that we`re on right now. I think that`s right.
HAYES: If you did get to -- let`s say you had this no one gets it, right? On the Democrat side, there`s the thing calls super delegates, right, which is about 25 percent of the total delegates, which are people who can just endorse wherever they want, vote for whoever they want, but not pledge to anyone. And it`s a kind of check on the whims of the crowd, right, so that party establishment gets its vote, too. There`s nothing like that on the Republican side?
BUMP: Well, there used to be something more like that which were the so called unpledged delegates who were -- you know, there are several people in the state, the state party chair and a few other people that were able to make up their minds along those lines. The great blog front-loading headquarters which does a real good delegate map on this stuff, they actually went to the RNC. The RNC change its rules, and they essentially said you can`t have any of those anymore.
So, everyone who is a delegate needs to be apportioned to one of candidates. So, they took out that question mark, as far as the rules are being interpreted at this point in time and that could be a problem down the road as well.
HAYES: This is the key point is there`s no block of votes waiting to decide a tie break or thrust someone over the threshold, which is why this possibility of contested contest, which, you know, is something we all pray for every year, every four years, as actually a possibility.
Philip Bump, thank you very much.
BUMP: My pleasure.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, do Democrats see President Obama`s term as a success? Now, the answer to that question will impact whether voters choose Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: There`s a huge gap right now between congress and the American people. What presidential leadership is about is closing that gap.
HUNT: And you don`t think President Obama has successfully closed that gap?
SANDERS: No. I don`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bernie Sanders critical of President Obama in the interview he did yesterday with MSNBC`s Casey Hunt.
The Clinton campaign couldn`t wait to pound. Press Secretary Brian Fallon tweeting, the idea of Bernie Sanders, who has little to show for his 25 years in congress, giving leadership lectures to President Obama is absurd.
Now, while President Obama is officially remaining neutral in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has taken great pains to identify herself with his policies and politics, even accusing Sanders of running away from, even threatening to dismantle, the Obama legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We have the Affordable Care Act. That is one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party and of our country. To tear it up and start over again pushing our country back into that kind of a contentious debate I think is the wrong direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, while that may be the Clinton campaign`s narrative. There`s evidence Democrats are split on what the right direction would actually be. In New Hampshire exit polls show 40 percent of Democrats want the next president to continue Barack Obama`s policies, while 42 percent want to change to more liberal policies.
Not surprisingly, Clinton won the majority of the first group and Sanders on the second.
And if Clinton is the candidate who is most closely tying herself to Obama, there`s some evidence the president himself views the race along similar lines.
Speaking yesterday at the Illinois state house where he launched his first presidential campaign exactly nine years earlier, President Obama talked about politics in some of the exact same language as Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Trying to find common ground doesn`t make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive, it means I`m trying to get stuff done. So, when I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I`m not impressed. All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Obama`s former press secretary Jay Carney says those rhetorical similarlities are no accident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, FRM. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president has signaled, while still remaining neutral, that he supports Secretary Cclinton`s candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee. He won`t officially embrace her unless and until it`s clear that she`s going to be the nominee. I don`t think there`s any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes that she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he`s achieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, if those are the battle lines of this election, Clinton, the continuity candidate while Sanders stands for change, at least in the Democratic primary, then how Democrats vote, how they choose their nominee, will depend on how they view the accomplishments of Obama era.
Now, according to one of my next guests, voters are crazy if they don`t realize just how good they have had it under this president. That conversation is after the break.
HAYES: I`m joined now by Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and author of "Saving Capitalism for the Many Not the Few." And Michael Grunwald, senior writer for Politico magazine, author of "The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era."
Michael, let me start with you. I thought you had a really interesting piece in Politico after New Hampshire where you said, OK, on everyone`s angry that these two sort of non-traditional or outsider candidates have won, although I think the comparisons between the two are somewhat facile. That`s another point.
But basically, what do you people want? Unemployment is 3.6%. New Hampshire has undergone a tremendous recovery. If these voters are angry, what is going on?
MICHAEL GRUNWALD, POLITICAL: Well, I think it`s an interesting question, right. And certainly in New Hampshire there is 3 percent unemployment. Gas is cheap. They have the country`s lowest poverty rate. They have the country`s lowest homicide rate. And yet you saw this incredible sort of demand for not just change but kind of revolution. And this is, as you mentioned, there`s a real split in the Democratic Party right now between people who sort of think Obama has kind of been a sellout and people who say, well, but wait a minute, you know, he sort of help prevent a depression. He`s passed the most sweeping Wall Street reform since the depression. He`s launched a clean energy revolution. He reformed health care. He`s had gays in military. He had this deal with Iran. He has had this opening to Cuba. You know, he brought all these troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now, this has been a pretty consequential presidency.
HAYES: Let me ask you quickly, you don`t have to say yes or no, but I read you a lot and I get the sense from you that you think, a, this president has been excellent and, b, that people are kind of ingrates. I mean, that basically people are not giving him the credit that he`s due.
GRUNWALD: Well, I think he`s been consequential, you know, whether you like what he`s done or not, he`s done a lot of stuff. You know, and I wrote that bit Obama legacy piece, I talk about how buried in Obamacare, right, which is not only has it extended health care to 20 million people and now you see the lowest health care cost growth in 50 years, but it`s really starting to transform the way health care is delivered. It`s a really big deal.
But buried in there was this government take over of the trillion dollar student loan program that nobody even noticed. It was on page A16 of The New York Times. So, I do think that there`s been, you know, partly because there`s been such opposition on the Republican side where he`s just -- he stinks, he`s ineffectual, he`s a joke, but also on the left where it`s, you know, why wasn`t the stimulus bigger? Why wasn`t there a public option? Why didn`t he break up all the banks?
You`ve had this kind of crossfire, which I think has overshadowed the fact that this change, whether or not it`s change we can believe in, it`s change.
HAYES: Robert, this seems a fundamental point of contention here, right? Have the structural foundations of the American economy profoundly changed in the Obama era or have they not, right? At one level, you know, everything about the recovery is very evident, right, and the kind of legislation that Michael has talked about. At another level, the sort of things that Sanders highlights, which is both inequality and the political economy, there seems to be a lot of continuity. Which of those do you think is the sort of more important emphasis?
ROBERT REICH, AUTHOR: Well, Chris, it`s certainly possible to believe, as I do, that Barack Obama has been an excellent president and given the hand he was dealt in 2008/2009 you know with the Wall Street crisis and the housing bubble and then in 2010 and `11, a very recalcitrant congress, very unified against him, that he`s done an extraordinarily good job. I think history will treat him very well. It`s possible to have that position and at the same time agree with what Hillary Clinton, herself, said at the start of her campaign when she said, and I quote, "the deck is stacked in favor of those at the top."
That is the structure of the economy and power in America is such that those who are very, very wealthy are also very powerful, more wealthy and more powerful than they`ve been in over 100 years since we had the first Guilded Age.
And even though Obama did very well, and he tried hard, we have a huge amount to do, which I think is one reason so many young people across the country and certainly we saw it in Iowa and New Hampshire are mobilizing for Bernie Sanders, not because he`s Bernie Sanders but they`d be mobilizing for Elizabeth Warren. I mean, what they are mobilizing for is a fundamental change in the structure of our politics.
HAYES: But then the question becomes is that even -- I guess my question is, you have the largest congressional majority since LBJ and one of the greatest political talents maybe in the past century of Barack Obama, you`ve got a lot of stuff passed and all that structural stuff stayed the same.
Can you actually change anything?
REICH: Well, we`re going to find out. I mean, the whole point, as I understand it, Chris, the whole point of the Sanders candidacy is mobilization. I mean, the only way anything really changes in this country, and I can tell you as somebody who served in the Clinton administration, who has been in and around politics for 45 years, the only way you get fundamental change is if people outside Washington are mobilized and organized and energized and demanding of change. And they have to be tenacious about it over years.
That`s where we got the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. We got the Environmental Protection Act and so forth. You don`t get that unless people are really organized and mobilized.
And I think that`s what the Bernie Sanders campaign is about.
Hillary would make a great president for the system we now have. I have no doubt about that. But Bernie Sanders is leading a movement to change the system we have.
HAYES: Michael, you`re shaking your head briefly.
GRUNWALD: Well, it`s funny because President Obama when he was a candidate, he sort of said, you know, we have to change our politics, change our policies. And he proved himself wrong, right. He -- in many ways his presidency has been a political disaster. He lost the House, he lost the Senate, ten governors, 900 state legislatures and certainly Washington is as dysfunctional and nasty and petty as he used to talk about during his campaign.
But what he showed is that you don`t need a revolution to make significant change, to go from losing 800,000 jobs a month to 71 straight months of job growth.
REICH: But Michael, let me agree with you. I think you`re right on that. But I think we`re talking apples and oranges. What I`m suggesting to you is that we have not seen this degree of concentrated wealth and power in 100 years. This is a different issue. This really goes to the fundamentals.
HAYES: And the question of how those fundamentals get overturned is sort of the one that hangs over this. Robert Reich, Michael Grunwald, I could do that for an hour. Thank you both.
REICH: Thanks very much.
HAYES: All right, quick programming note about something you aren`t going to want to miss tonight. Coming up at 9:00 p.m. eastern, Rachel Maddow has a special report breakthrough in Flint. It`s a look at a possible way to fix the problem with the lead in the water in Flint, Michigan. Make sure you stick around after the show to check that out. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Well, it`s now day three of Bernie Sandwich gate, the phrase that launched 1,000 tweets, memes and puns. But perhaps the best product of that viral moment came from one Stephen Colbert who last night took Bernie sandwiches and ran with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, LATE NIGHT: That`s right, Bernie sandwiches, a name everyone can get behind because he`s not a member of the old boy`s club. He fights the rich guys on behalf of the Po boys. Someone with a trusting open face and will surely win Florida by appealing to Cubans and, this is a French dip so he`s au jusish candidate.
HAYES: After 41 days, the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge has come to a close. Today, the last of the anti-government militants surrendered to the FBI, marking the end of an hour`s long and at times dramatic intense negotiation. While FBI agents closed in on the group beginning yesterday in Burns, Oregon, the audio of the confrontation streamed live online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After three hold outs turned themselves in, the fourth and final occupier, David Fry, refuses to surrendered.
DAVID FRY: I`m a free man. I will die a free man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before finally, peacefully giving up.
FRY: If everybody says hallejuh, I`ll come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: During the standoff, Fry had repeatedly threatened to shoot himself, complained he couldn`t get marijuana, ranted about UFOs, leaking nuclear plants and the government chemically mutating people. After he shouted hallelujah, Fry walked out of his barricaded encampment into FBI custody. The stand off drew outside negotiators from Nevada state assembly woman Michelle Fury (ph) to the Reverend Franklin Graham, who noted on his Facebook page, he has been talking to the occupants every day by phone for the last week, at their requests and at the requests of the FBI.
Today`s peaceful end to the armed occupation was a welcome one. Just two weeks ago, one of the group`s members, Lavoy Finicum (ph) was shot and killed by law enforcement while traveling outside the wildlife refuge. That shooting is still under investigation. The FBI releasing video that shows Finicum (ph) appearing to reach toward a loaded gun he was carrying. Finicum`s (ph) family denies he was armed.
Today`s non-violent resolution with the remaining members of the militant group occupying that refuge, also stands in stark contrast to the string of confrontation that law enforcement has had with people, some armed, many unarmed over the last few years that have been caught on tape, particularly young black men and women.
One of the most prominent cases is that of a 12-year-old child, Tamir Rice, who was playing in a Cleveland Park with what turned out to be a pellet gun. One of the officers involved in the shooting opened fire within seconds upon arriving at the park.
The grand jury did not indict him or the other officer involved in the shooting.
Yesterday the story of Tamir Rice made headlines again over the news the city of Cleveland was suing Rice`s estate to cover his last medical emergency treatment.
Today, city officials said the bill had been generated automatically and they were withdrawing the claim.
But the ultimate issue at the heart of Tamir Rice`s story is not one of errant medical billing, but why no one approached young Tamir Rice with the same patient commitment to non-violent resolution that we saw play out over the past 24 hours in Oregon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t like what I see happening to America. The infrastructure of our country is a laughing stock all over the world. Our politicians are all talk, no action. Let`s make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s no mystery that Donald Trump wants to, quote, make America great again. It`s a slogan that`s seemingly very effective at selling merchandise and for rallying those who believe that America has been in sharp decline under President Obama?
But it also poses a natural question, when exactly does Trump think America was great?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You have said you want to make America great again. In your view, in what specific year in the past was America at its greatest?
I wouldn`t like to say years, I`d lake to say periods. I think during the Ronald Reagan years, we were very good.
CHUCK TODD, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: When was the last time America was great?
TRUMP: I would say during the administration of Ronald Reagan, you felt proud to be an American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But here`s the thing, near the end of the Reagan era Donald Trump didn`t actually seem to be celebrating America`s greatness, he seemed to be saying all the exact same things he`s still saying today.
Trump was on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1988 to promote his book "Art of the Deal," in which Oprah asked if he would consider running for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Probably not.
But I do get tired of seeing the country ripped off.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, OPRAH WINFREY SHOW: Why would you not?
TRUMP; I just don`t think I really have the inclination to do it, but I do get tired of seeing what`s happening with this country. And if it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally, because I really am tired of seeing what`s happening with this country, how we`re really making other people live like kings and we`re not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Sam Seder, host of the Majority Report weekly podcast and MSNBC contributor.
If you go, we played a short version of that clip. If you go online, it`s like Japan is screwing us, China is screwing us. We`re losing everyone. We can`t make good deals. It`s exact same thing 30 years ago.
SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: Well, I mean, `87 was a rough year for the stock market. In New York, `87 was a pretty tough time. So, he probably was talking really maybe about the trailing nine or ten months in that clip. I mean, that`s all I can tell you.
I mean, he`s -- look, he`s a marketer.
HAYES: Right. I guess that`s my point about this clip. Is like, he has had this shtick forever.
SEDER: Sure. And I think, you know, it makes a lot of sense to basically say, you guys decide when America was great, I`m going to return to that time. If it was the Reagan era, that`s fine. If it was the 1950s, that`s great. And if he`s got to be pressed you say Reagan because that`s the default position of just about anybody in the Republican Party.
HAYES: There`s all this -- you know there`s this attempt to kind of corner him on his conservative orthodoxy, right. You`re shaking your head.
SEDER: Yeah. I just don`t think that makes a difference.
I mean, what was really interesting is that, you know, Ted Cruz put out this ad with little kids saying that Donald Trump essentially is pretending to be a Republican, which is a little bit odd because Ted Cruz is not been the biggest Republican Party booster, right. He`s been carrying this conservative banner.
But I think, you know, the bottom line with Donald Trump is that he is projecting a disposition, and that is what people who are attracted to him are attracted to. And so the bonafides of being a conservative doesn`t quite cut it. And really, all you need to do is say I want to return to that optimism that Reagan had. He`s not quite so optimistic. He`s a little bit more aspirational in some way.
But, you know, it`s returning it to that shining beacon on the hill.
HAYES: You know, I thought of you Tuesday night. Brendan McDonald who used to be a senior producer on this show, he now produces for Mark Marin (ph), a friend of yours.
Brendan McDonald had a tweet the other day. He said instead of everyone`s talking about no one could have predicted Donald Trump, no one could haev predicted. Let`s give a round of applause to those that did.
And it`s true, you`ve been on the show. From the beginning you said this guy is going to be a real contender. There`s a base for this. How did you get Donald Trump right?
SEDER: It`s not -- I don`t have any insight to Donald Trump that anyone else doesn`t. I think it`s really a function of a big part of what the conservative movement has become. And I think a lot of people have missed that over the years.
And if you look at the trajectory it`s not terribly him. I mean, we went from Sarah Palin being the vice president. I mean, this is pretty far from John McCain. And that was eight years ago. The trajectory has moved in that direction.
HAYES: Glenn Beck getting like a million people -- I mean...
SEDER: All these moments.
All the 928 or whatever...
SEDER: 9/12 or whatever it was.
I mean, this has been a growing movement. And there`s so much cash now in the right that it develops these strains that otherwise would be sort of subjugated by where the consolidation of the cash is. And now there`s a lot of it and it`s spread out. And this is part of what the conservative movement is.
And so it really has more to do with sort of -- I think maybe it was coming from radio. I`d hear from these people more than I think a lot of other prognosticors do.
HAYES: Yeah, the Trump fans. White Genocide sending emails to Sam Seder.
Sam Seder, thanks for joining us.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow shows 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