Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 24, 2016 Guest: Jess McIntosh, Nick Confessore, Olivia Nuzzi, Robby Mook, Jeff Weaver, Sheldon Whitehouse
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.
HAYES: A political earthquake in Nevada.
TRUMP: I think we`re really doing well. It looks like we`re on a great trend.
HAYES: Donald Trump may now be on the glide path to the nomination. Tonight, how did it happen? Who`s to blame? And can he be stopped?
Plus, who are the people who keep voting for Donald Trump?
Did you vote for Barack Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I sure did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twice, absolutely.
HAYES: My report from the caucuses.
Then, what`s the Clinton and Sanders plan to beat Trump? I`ll ask both their campaign managers.
And President Obama vows to ignore the unprecedented Republican Supreme Court blockade.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s see how the public responds to the nominee we put forward.
HAYES: Is the White House considering a surprise Republican nominee?
When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York City, I`m Chris Hayes.
All right. Ever since real estate developer/reality TV personality/prominent proponent of birther nonsense Donald Trump came down that escalator in June to announce he was running for president, Americans have grappled with an increasingly intense series of is this really happening moments?
Last night, with Trump`s third straight victory, an overwhelming 22-point win in Nevada, we experienced our most jarring such moment yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you listen to the pundits, we weren`t expected to win too much and now we`re winning, winning, winning the country.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And soon, the country is going to start winning, winning, winning.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump`s victory lap today included a trip to the Pat Robertson found Regent University in Virginia, formerly Christian Broadcasting Network University, where Trump got cozy with another of America`s greatest televangelists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have tremendous support and we have amazing people in this country, and one of the most amazing people in the whole country is our great friend, Pat. Will you come out here, Pat? Look at him. One of the great people.
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After Trump`s win last night, the political and media world finally seemed to come to grips with the fact that this seemingly preposterous candidate who tosses off calls for war crimes and human rights violations in the same showman`s tone he assigned challenges on "The Apprentice", appears to be pulling off in our midst a hostile takeover of one of America`s two major political parties, despite, or perhaps, in fact, partly because of a string of outrageous provocations that prompted pundits to predict his political demise over and over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They`re rapists.
I like people that weren`t captured.
I don`t know what I said.
Blood coming out of her wherever.
How stupid are the people of Iowa?
Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose votes.
When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.
I`d bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.
I`d like to punch him in the face, I tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That guy, according to the influential conservative website, the Drudge Report, that guy is, quote, "the nominee" for one of America`s two parties, the one that elected Abraham Lincoln, that`s been in uninterrupted existence for over 150 years.
Now, is it a done deal? It is not, and Trump`s increasingly desperate rivals are making the case it is far too early for the race to be called.
But let`s be clear-eyed about what the facts are. Trump has won three out of the four states by double digits. He took almost half the votes in Nevada last night. He is winning among every category of Republicans.
And last night, Trump drove record turnout, garnering more votes himself, nearly 35,000, than the total of number of votes cast in the entire GOP caucuses in Nevada four years ago.
Trump has now won 33 percent of the popular votes cast in Republican contests, and as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio point out, that means two-thirds of Republicans aren`t voting for Trump, at least not at the moment. And indeed, if you combine the roughly 20 percent each of those candidates are getting, they are beating Trump together.
But the notion that all the other votes are anti-Trump, that Republican voters will rally behind anyone else is belied by a lot of the data. Last week, NBC News Survey Monkey poll showed among Ben Carson supporters 22 percent chose Trump, higher percentage that chose Cruz and higher percentage that those Rubio.
On the ground in Nevada last night, I experienced the reality up close in the face of what is happening to the Republican Party firsthand as I walked from table to table at a GOP caucus site. Trump was the dominant figure. His name ringing out over and over, his presence looming over the process like a skyscraper emblazoned over his last name that looms over the Vegas skyline.
All of America`s political actors, from reporter, to voters, to members of both major political parties need to get very serious about what they want to do about that.
Joining me now, Jess McIntosh, spokesperson for Emily`s List, which supports pro-choice female Democratic candidates and which has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, he`s host of "The Majority Report", and "New York Times" political reporter, Nick Confessore.
All right. It was a real wake-up moment last night. I don`t know why -- how many wake-up moments you need because I do think there has been this entire time like it`s not happening, it`s not happening, it`s not happening.
Last night, it was kind of this, I don`t know why it was, was it the margin of victory, was it the fact that it`s now three out of four, the fact it`s now three in a row? But it felt like this sort of epochal thing that happened.
Justin Amash, who is a congressman, a sort of libertarian-leaning Republican congressman, said, "I believe we`re witnessing the beginning of the end of the current two-party system in the United States."
Does that stand to you?
NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Absolutely, it does actually.
HAYES: It does? It really does?
CONFESSORE: Well, no, I think it`s possible that if Trump wins, that the Republican Party reconstitutes itself as a genuinely populist conservative party and not a weak marriage between populists and Wall Street and rich people, and that would be a fascinating thing in politics. It is possible.
HAYES: Like you could imagine a version of the Republican Party that embraces this kind of white identity politics, backlash politics, combined with the -- you know, skepticism towards trade, skepticism towards immigration, a desire for Social Security, expansion for the right deserving people, that sort of thing?
CONFESSORE: Yes, a protection of entitlements for the right people, for the deserving middle class as they see it.
HAYES: You`re shaking your head now.
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that`s unlikely. Playing this out if Trump becomes the nominee and loses, I think in a couple years, we`re back to exactly where we are now. The big money comes back in, fills the vacuum, and continues to exploit that sentiment that Trump -- that goes toward Trump. Continues to try and ride this sort of bull as it were and lose more and more control over it over time.
But I don`t know that there`s going to be an infrastructure around that. I mean other than I think, like, sort of the cottage industries that seem to grow up around it now.
HAYES: Jess, what`s your take on this?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: I think Nick could be right. I think that might be where the Republican matter is heading. I don`t think that that and the Republican Party being headed for oblivion are mutually exclusive. If they decide --
MCINTOSH: -- to take the tact where they are double down on being there for a small white male segment of the American population, that`s not a sustainable tact for the national party to take. That will be the end of them.
So, I think we`re seeing the fruit of a lot of labor on the part of Republicans, like, honestly, I blame Lee Atwater for Donald Trump. This has been going on forever for Republicans deciding to pander to the grossest, misogynistic element of their base, and after many decades of telling them that they matter, guess what they do, and this is what they want.
HAYES: Let me --
MCINTOSH: What they want is somebody who`s not a part of the Republican Party and, man, that`s really got us smart for everybody who works really hard to make that a national party.
HAYES: Yes. Let me interject for a moment, which is to say that you talk about the sort of most xenophobic. I`ve been talking to a lot of Trump voters, I`ve been corresponding with some. And I just want to say that there a broader group of people than you might initially think.
We`re going to talk about that in a little bit, which is not to say the ideas that are being embraced, quoted by him are not those things. They`re 100 percent those things.
But to me, part of it is a total breakdown in the mechanism of the Republican Party. I mean, Ezra Klein had this point the other day where he said a party literally exists to structure information. That`s why a modern party -- it signals people, says, yes, that`s our guy, that`s not our guy, that`s our gal, that`s not our gal.
This is broken down. They are unable to signal properly to their people to listen to their stamp of approval.
SEDER: Right. You can also see it in terms of institutions. I mean, the Koch brothers have a political apparatus that employs three times the amount of people as the Republican National Committee. I mean, so you have a situation here where there`s just other institutions that are moving in.
I mean, I`m not convinced that what Jess is saying is the future of the Republican Party. I think that`s now. I think that we`re just not -- we`re going to realize in hindsight that this is where it`s been heading and we`re there now where they are not a national party. You cannot have someone win their primary and then turn toward the American public and be elected. It doesn`t mean that they can`t control Congress, but I don`t think that they`re a national party. I don`t think --
CONFESSORE: Wait, I would just point out, right, that they control statehouses in over three-fifths of the states. They control both houses of Congress. They sure look like a national party to me.
SEDER: Well, I mean, I don`t think it`s possible, frankly, for a Republican to win the presidency --
HAYES: Yes, a national party and a party that can win presidential elections which is the ultimate prize and also which involves 120 million voters casting their vote on the same day.
SEDER: I think there`s always going to be Republicans who are going to win in states and win in congressional seats, but I don`t think that necessarily --
HAYES: This smacks of a certain kind of triumphalism that I think is a little -- that I`m not ready to buy into.
I mean, there has been for a long time, I think, there as been an idea among liberals, Democrats, people in the center left, political class of the Democrats, that Donald Trump will be a disaster.
I mean, it was the inverse of what John Kasich said about Bernie Sanders. Right? John Kasich of the debate says if Bernie Sanders wins, we`re winning 50 states, I`m not even going to -- there is a belief that -- I don`t know if that, Jess -- I mean, you`re someone who`s gotten a lot of electoral experience. You know, you`ve been around races. Like I don`t know if that confidence is earned at this point.
MCINTOSH: No, I mean, I think it`s terrifying to run against somebody as unstable as Donald Trump is. And there is no playbook for that.
I think, you know, when Kasich made those comments, we have seen n what happens with candidates in the mold of Bernie Sanders before. We have never seen what happens with candidates in the mold of Donald Trump before because nobody like Donald Trump has ever been a nominee for president.
So, it`s a little like running against a monkey with a gun, like, yes, you`re a person, so you`re probably going to beat the monkey, but the monkey`s got a gun and you have no idea what it`s going to do with it. So, I think any confidence that this is going to be easy by any stretch is definitely misplaced.
That said, I think there could not possibly be a clearer and more compelling contrast between what Democrats are saying for America and what Hillary Clinton is saying about breaking down barriers and Donald Trump wanting to build walls. Like, that is a contrast that I am OK with entering into the general election.
CONFESSORE: OK. I would just say that I see it the opposite, right? I see the Republicans as a strong party and the Democrats as a party that can only win the White House.
CONFESSORE: If they don`t win it one year, that`s it.
HAYES: That`s right.
CONFESSORE: Now, if you look at Trump, you think about what states can Trump win that Mitt Romney could not win? Think about the appeal that Trump has to union workers, in the industrial Midwest, in places like Indiana and Ohio, other places like that.
I think Democrats would be foolish to underestimate the appeal he could have in national election.
HAYES: Zach Carter and Ryan Grim wrote a great piece in "The Huffington Post" about that sort of Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania belt essentially, and what that could mean for a national election.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let`s just also consider the fact that mega donors have shied away from -- you talked about the Koch organization. No one is going to drop -- you know, this is the empire, it`s like a -- this dude showed up outside the empire`s walls and people just resigned without firing a shot. They just decided, like, we`re going to get out of -- OK, I`ll get down from my throne, whine about it a little bit, OK, guess it`s all yours, that guy said some mean things.
It`s like, hey, how feckless are you? If you actually care what you say you care about and if you believe this guy stands for all the things you say you don`t stand for, then put some money and some effort in trying to stop him, but there has not been that in any concerted way.
MCINTOSH: There has to be an alternative to him. There has to be a person that people are excited about supporting. And there isn`t. And that field is totally a disappointment.
SEDER: Yes, Jeb Bush had $130 million, $150 million. I think the problem was, if I`m a millionaire or billionaire, maybe a billionaire, I`m a little looser with it, but I`m looking, saying, he`s got $120 million.
SEDER: If that`s not going to work, why is mine going to work?
HAYES: That`s right. Why throw good money after bad?
All right. Jess McIntosh, Sam Seder, Nick Confessore, thank you all. That was illuminating.
All right. Still to come, who, who are the people voting for Donald Trump? I talked to some of his supporters at the Nevada caucuses. A breakdown of the Trump coalition next.
Plus, the pressing question bearing down the Democratic candidate, can you beat Donald Trump in the general election?
I will ask the campaign managers for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to make their case.
And later, as Senate Republican vow to block any Supreme Court nominee, did President Obama just call their bluff? His remarks and more, ahead.
HAYES: Last night was rough for team Ted Cruz. Donald Trump took more than twice as many votes as Cruz in the Nevada caucus, but his dominance was apparent long before any of the results were actually tallied. Take, for example, the video of Cruz supporter and right wing icon Glenn Beck speaking at a Las Vegas caucus site.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: America is great because of two reasons (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. If you pause it there, you hear the whoops and the cheers and sounds like Beck is really getting ahold of the crowd, really getting them geared up. Maybe, just maybe his stump speech for Cruz is resonating, perhaps it`s swaying caucus goers. Or maybe not.
At that moment, turns out, Donald J. Trump was walking into the caucus site. Backs started turning on Glenn Beck. Louder yelps and cheers and eventually all-out pandemonium.
Here`s the bird`s-eye view when Trump arrived which we sped up. See the mob scene rushed to catch a glimpse of the Donald. As Glenn Beck stepped down from the stage, the message from the room was clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Up next, what the heck are these people thinking? My interviews with caucus-goers who chose Trump, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, we had a very exciting evening last night, and I went all around. The word, caucus, it`s a little complicated because you don`t know how it`s going to work out and they say it`s hard to poll, but we polled fine and really won big last night. So, we ended up getting 46 percent of the vote and, you know, during the day I was walking, I saw all these people and they`re all saying, "Donald, we love you, Donald, we love you", but you never know what`s going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The defining feature of Trump`s decisive victory last night is how well he performed more or less across the board with the various groups that make up the Republican coalition. Thanks in part to record-setting turnout in Nevada, Trump nabbed 46 percent of the vote, the highest share won by any Republican in any state thus far in 2016.
But since he`s right now managing to win pluralities of so many different kinds of voters, the question is, what exactly do people who are voting for Donald Trump have in common?
There are a few theories out there. A political scientist Lynn Vavreck examined recent polling data to better understand the Trump voter and found that, quote, "a significant part of this coalition of his voters are people who are responsive to religious, social, and racial intolerance."
Meanwhile, researcher Matthew McWilliams found that "a voter`s gender, education, age, ideology, party identification, income and race simply had no statistically bearing on whether someone supported Trump. Rather it is one`s inclination toward authoritarian behavior. People who value and I`m quoting, "conformity and order, protect social norms and are wary of outsiders. And when authoritarians feel threatened, they support aggressive leaders and policies."
Enter Donald J. Trump and his pledge to make America great again, or so the theory goes.
So, what do the voters, themselves, have to say about why they are supporting a Trump presidential bid? Last night, I went to a caucus site at Durango High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, and heard what some caucus- goers had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What brought you to Trump?
STEVE SOARD, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: : Business, actually. The -- I like him as a leader. I like him as a, you know, I know he`s not a politician, that`s actually what I prefer is a non-politician, point of view I feel like America is a business. We got a huge debt in this country and I feel like if anything, he knows how to handle the budget better than anyone else.
MICHAEL TURLEY, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: I`m here supporting Donald Trump.
HAYES: You are?
TURLEY: I make no bones about it because we have tried every way in the world to get a foothold in D.C. and stop some of the crap and, well, let`s see, I was a Cruz supporter. Cruz cheated and lied. Rubio, he`s an establishment shill. That`s all he is.
HAYES: What is it about Trump? You said you`ve basically been supporting him since the beginning.
KAREN HOVSEPIAN, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: Right, right, right. Because he`s aggressive and he`s strong and he`s bold.
HAYES: So you -- the thing that really pulls you to him are his personality qualities more than his, like, positions?
HOVSEPIAN: Right. His position is a businessman.
HOVSEPIAN: I like businesspeople. I like businessmen. I like, you know, people that can negotiate.
HAYES: Do you understand why there are people who are scared of Donald Trump?
HOVSEPIAN: I can totally understand it. You know, and I question myself also. I think, well, you know, is my judgment right? And then when I listen to everybody else and I listen to him, I think that I`m OK with it. I feel comfortable.
HAYES: One of the things I hear from a bunch on people who are supporting him, they feel like some of the things he says that some people might find offensive or --
HOVSEPIAN: Oh, definitely, but everybody says everything.
HAYES: But you just don`t --
HOVSEPIAN: I go past it.
HAYES: Right. So you think he says stuff, he gets attention but you`re not going to expect he`s going to do that stuff.
HOVSEPIAN: Right. Right. Yes. I`m past it. That`s his personality.
HAYES: Did you vote for Barack Obama?
HOVSEPIAN: Oh, yes, sure did.
HOVSEPIAN: Twice, absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I want to thank those caucus-goers last night at Durango High School who are incredible patient and gracious to talk to me. It takes some time.
Joining me now, Olivia Nuzzi, she`s political correspondent for "The Daily Beast".
All right, Olivia, this is the big question, right, because people look at these entrance polling and you think, oh, well so-and-so has the lock on evangelicals, or so-and-so has the lock on very conservative, or so-and-so has the lock on moderates. And the Trump voter essentially cuts through all of those categories.
What`s your experience been in reporting on the Trump voter?
OLIVIA NUZZI, THE DAILY BEAST: My theory is this is sort of a middle- finger vote. I think what defines these people, because there`s nothing, no race, no gender, no age that defines all of them. But I think what does define them is this is more about an emotion than it is about the way that they`re thinking. This is not an intellectual thing. This is an emotional thing.
I think they really love Trump personally. I mean, you were talking about with his voters last night, this is something that -- they really support him because of how they feel about him. They like his personality. They like the things that he says.
They don`t necessarily think that he believes all of it, but they like he has the chutzpah to say it, and I think that`s really what it`s about.
And I think it`s also -- you know, they say they don`t like politicians and I think a lot of it has to do with how politicians speak. Don`t speak in a way that really means anything to them.
Trump talks sort of a lower level. He talks in a way that a lot of people can understand. And when, you know, we listen to his speech, we might say, well, that doesn`t mean anything, you know, that`s not a policy position. And I think that`s actually what these people like about it.
HAYES: Yes. I want to say, you said something important there. First of all, the personality qualities -- people mention his personal qualities more than anything else. They just personally feel attached to the man, the individual.
I would also say that for people watching this unfold who finds is somewhat terrifying, someone is calling casually while he calls into "Fox & Friends" to murder the families of terrorists and calling Mexican rapists, the Trump voters that I`ve spoken to and I`ve now spoken to quite a few are much more reasonable about that stuff than Donald Trump actually is.
The point you make there about them discounting it, it`s like this certain idea that this is all shtick, this is just part of this great showman`s show, and I don`t really care about that either way, I don`t want -- I don`t think Mexicans are rapists, but it`s -- but I`m sort of enjoying the show while it happens.
NUZZI: Totally. You know, I think it was someone I talked to a few months ago when I called up Trump donors told me this is just show business. And they were able to compartmentalize and say this campaign is show business, I believe that he feels differently as a person, that he has principles as a person, and I trust him.
I think it really does boil down to trust. They see in Trump someone who`s never been screwed over in his life. He`s been able to become a successful businessman.
He`s wealthy. He has a beautiful wife. He has a beautiful family. He has all of these, you know, beautiful classy things to put it in words he might use.
And they trust he will do for them what he`s done for himself. That he will protect them from the establishment. That they will protect them from the politicians and people who seek to screw them over. I really think that`s what it`s about at its core.
HAYES: Another big part of this, people talk about the fact he`s a businessperson. You say this, you know, you mentioned that. You know, in a country that constantly talks about government is bad and business is good, the free market is good, government is bad, and politics is corrupt and market, you know, there`s a certain force to that.
And I`m reminded of the fact that, you know, Ross Perot, who`s a man with 1/100th of the charisma and media savvy as Donald Trump, I think that`s fair to say, won 20 percent of the vote, right, in 1992. Just this dude that no one had heard of who came out of nowhere. Here you have someone who`s on television for almost a decade. In some ways, when you just think about it in the context of celebrity sort of attention and business, you get to -- you get to 35 percent pretty quickly.
NUZZI: I think so, and I also -- I just have sort of a sympathetic view of a lot of these people. I talked to, I would estimate, a few hundred of them at this point and I`m sure you`ve talked to a lot of them, too. And I think they`re not personally hateful people. They`re very quick to point that out. I think they`re afraid of being tagged as such.
HAYES: Oh, yes.
NUZZI: But they feel like they`ve been left behind. They feel like the country has just completely forgotten about them. I think that`s really what it is about at the end of the day.
HAYES: Yes. I want to reiterate, again, how sort of just impressive and kind and gracious and patient all the Trump voters I talked to last night. I appreciate them talking to me.
Olivia Nuzzi, thank you for joining me.
NUZZI: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, with the South Carolina Democratic primary this Saturday, why is Bernie Sanders in Oklahoma? I`ll explain, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started this campaign nine and a half months ago. We were at 3% in the polls. 3%.
Today, in the last week, there have been three separate polls which nationally has us in the lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With three days until the Democratic primary in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders is in Oklahoma at this very moment.
The senator was in South Carolina last night for a town hall and hung around for a press conference this morning, he spent the rest of the day in Missouri and Oklahoma, and tomorrow Sanders is scheduled to make a stop in Ohio.
The campaign seems to be making a strategic decision here, after South Carolina.
There are 11 states up for grabs on March 1st, Super Tuesday, and a whopping 880 delegates.
The Sanders campaign, based on a reflection of where their candidate is spending much of his time and money, is betting they have a better chance of winning a number of those states than they do South Carolina.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton up by nearly 30 points in South Carolina, where she is making her final push with several events planned for this week including a rally yesterday with the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Eric Garner.
The Democratic primary so far has been characterized by a number of things, dueling domestic policy proposals, questions of who can speak better to the 21st century civil rights struggle, black voters. The influence of big money and the foreign policy experience.
Now we have two more defining features heading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. One, the possibility of a deadlocked Supreme Court being handed to the next president. And relatedly, who can beat Donald Trump?
Next, I`m going to have a representative from both campaigns. I`m going to ask them to make their case for their candidate on those terms.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Robby Mook, he`s the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.
All right. Your case.
I think -- I talked to a bunch of Democrats in my friends circle over the last, you know, 24 hours and they`re all like, okay, who`s going to beat Donald Trump? This sort of idea he`s going to be the nominee. What is the case that it`s Clinton?
ROBBY MOOK, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, HILLARY CLINTON: Well, look, this is still a very competitive primary. We are very focused right now on winning South Carolina, as you know. Very focused on Super Tuesday.
Sanders is going to win some states there.
MOOK: We`re going to win some states. But, we`re focused on those delegates.
HAYES: Okay, I`m going to hand this to you on a silver platter. I`m going to talk to Jeff Weaver after you.
Neither of you are looking past the other, okay? I am telling you to make this case to a democratic voter who`s going into the voting booth in South Carolina and what is on the top of their mind, and I don`t think this is unrealistic, what is on the top of their mind is who is going to win?
MOOK: Yeah. Well, you mean in the general election?
HAYES: Yes. I`m not saying, oh, you have the nomination. What I am saying is, if you`re talking to that voter who`s going to go in there and say, I think both these people have great policy positions, I want to choose one that will win.
MOOK: Look, the middle class is hurting right now. Corporate profits are at a record level. Families are are not seeing their incomes rise. They need someone who`s going to go in and break down those barriers so families can start to get ahead again after this --
HAYES: Okay, but if that`s the argument you`re going to make in the general, why isn`t Bernie Sanders, Mr. populist insurrection himself, Mr. low dollar, $27 donor, why is he not the person to provide the biggest contrast with billionaire Donald Trump?
MOOK: Well, the problem that Sanders is facing right now is his plans don`t add up. It sounds great. Free college. Free health care. But, when you look on paper it doesn`t add up.
And he`s proposing raising taxes on the middle class, and I don`t think this is --
HAYES: Wait a second. If you think plans not adding up is a problem, I want to introduce you to the person that they are going to nominate on the Republican side.
Do you honestly think there`s political gravity in plans not adding up in a general election?
MOOK: The issue on Sanders`s case is that he`s going to raise taxes on the middle class. I think the problem in the case of Trump or any of the Republicans is that they all want to cut taxes for the ultra wealthy at the exclusion of the middle class.
They all want to overturn the president`s executive orders on immigration, they all have extreme social policies that are going to take us back.
So, the contrast with the republicans could not be clearer.
HAYES: You`re saying this now but here`s the problem, Donald Trump is going to, if he comes out of this is going to come -- I don`t what he`s going to be, maybe he`ll be pro-choice by June, maybe he`ll be anti-trade deals, maybe more middle class tax cuts and tax raises. I mean, who knows -- he can get to your left if he wants to.
MOOK: Well, I mean, sure. He`ll try to whitewash his record. He`s on the record as clear as can be right now that he`s out to help the ultra wealthy like himself.
We`ve seen this throughout his entire career. This is someone who`s been bailed out a million times and keeps trying to make himself richer and richer, and he wants to take us back. He`s totally out of touch with Americans right now. A woman`s right to choose is at stake right now. The executive actions President Obama took on immigration is at stake.
He`s more focused on building a wall than helping the American middle class get ahead.
HAYES: Here`s the last thing I want to ask you. The negatives, the favorable/unfavorable view for Hillary Clinton are are lower than Donald Trump, but they are the worst negatives of anyone in this race nationally after Donald Trump.
Why should that not worry Democratic primary voters?
MOOK: Well look, the right wing has made it literally their business for the last few decades, particularly the last year to take Hillary Clinton down. We know that that`s coming.
But as we discussed earlier, the choice could not be clearer in this election.
The question is who do you trust to stand up for the middle class, help break down barriers that are holding people back, help get wages rising, help you afford college, help you bring down your health care premiums?
You can trust Hillary Clinton to do this.
She`s the one who took on the health insurance companies. They knocked her down, she kept on fighting until we got health insurance for 6 million kids. She`s the one who stood up to dictators around the world, stood up to Vladimir Putin.
This is someone who people can trust to get results for them.
HAYES: Alright. Robby Mook, thank you very much.
MOOK: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Joining me now, Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.
JEFF WEAVER, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BERNIE SANDERS: Hey, Chris.
HAYES: I think that this idea that you want to raise taxes on the middle class. I remember that moment when Senator Sanders, to his great credit, let me say, in a moment of un-politician-like honesty, said, yeah, yeah, if we pass this, if we do Medicare for all, taxes will go up.
That clip playing with half a billion dollars of ads supporting behind it, you don`t think that dooms Bernie Sanders in a general election?
WEAVER: No, let`s talk about it, Chris.
Let`s talk about what that is for the typical American family making $50,000 a year, that`s a $45 a month increase in, for health care premiums, but they`re going to save $5,000 a year in health care costs because we`re not going to have any co-payments, no deductibles, no private health insurance premiums and they`re going to have 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
I think for $45, people will pay $45 a month to get a $5,000 a year savings. Come on.
HAYES: Here`s the problem you face with that, particularly in the general election.
Someone says, I don`t believe you, I don`t believe you can make this happen. I can believe that you`re going to raise my taxes but I do not believe you can conjure this.
WEAVER: Well, it`s not about conjuring it. You know, you raise taxes on the rich to pay for most of it, frankly.
You know, the thing has been vetted by economists. You know, there are tons of economists who are supporting this. Others have looked at this who say it`s a great idea. We`re going to save lots of money.
Every other country does this. Somehow the Clinton people and the Republicans are both in the same camp in saying the United States uniquely cannot accomplish what every other major industrialized country has done. It`s a ridiculous argument.
Let me say something about trust in terms of this general election, because I want to answer the question that my good friend, Robby Mook, sort of tried to dodge, which is, who would be the best candidate in the general election against Donald Trump?
Let`s be clear about that. It`s Bernie Sanders. No doubt about it.
If you look at the polling that`s gone on, head-to-head matchups are being conducted in polling across the country. In every case, Bernie Sanders does better against not only Donald Trump but every other Republican than does Secretary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton has some serious problems as a general election candidate. Rightly or wrongly.
You know, Robby can say it`s the right wing that did it, or what have you. But this is the reality of it. The secretary is popular with Democrats, there`s no doubt about that. But she is not trusted by independent voters. Independent voters do not have a high level of trust in her.
HAYES: Here`s the problem, Jeff, here`s the problem with that analysis.
HAYES: In terms of the head-to-head polling, in terms of the trust numbers, I`m not disagreeing with what the numbers say right now, but it is not a static process. As they say in the army, the enemy gets a vote. Which is to say, were Bernie Sanders to be the nominee, for the first time in his life, a man who has represented a very small state of Vermont, has never faced half a billion dollars of negative ads, which is probably what he would be staring down.
To the Democratic voters, I don`t know what`s in the guy`s record, I don`t know how vulnerable he is. I do know that Hillary Clinton has been through three decades of this and survived it. Assure me that Bernie Sanders can survive half a billion dollars in negative ads.
WEAVER: Well, I think if you look at the polling, Chris, what it shows you is that she has not survived it as a viable general election candidate. That`s the problem. The problem is that Democrats like her, but other people, Independents and Republicans do not.
What the polling is telling us is that three decades of problems have created so much baggage it`s going to be very, very difficult for her to win in a general election matchup. That`s the reality, what the polling is showing.
When you look at the internals of these polls, you say ask Independent voters about Secretary Clinton, rightly or wrongly, I`m not saying it`s necessarily all justified, but it is the reality that they do not have a high degree of confidence in her.
And so, when you`re going to have a contest against somebody like Donald Trump --
WEAVER: You understand the problem obviously.
HAYES: I do. I just think there`s a case to be made that things are priced in in Hillary Clinton and a floating price on Senator Sanders.
WEAVER: Well, here`s the thing. No one is going to like her more. She`s a well-known commodity. Nobody is going like her more than they like her today.
HAYES: Alright, Jeff Weaver. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
WEAVER: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the latest move by Senate Republicans to halt any step toward a Supreme Court nomination.
I`ll talk to a member of the judiciary committee, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Not only does President Obama have to get a Supreme Court nominee for the Senate, he also has to get the next Librarian of Congress through. And today he announced his pick for the job.
Let`s meet her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARLA HAYDEN, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: I`m Karla Hayden, a nominee to be the 14th Librarian of Congress.
People might not realize that the Library of Congress is America`s library. It`s the national library and it holds all of the books that have ever been printed in the United States.
The library in the Congress is responsible for not only making sure that all of the resources are available and taken care of, but also that people realize that they have this treasure right there in Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Now, running the Library of Congress, the nation`s librarian, seems like a pretty noncontroversial position, right? Wrong.
Librarian of Congress oversees the U.S. Copyright Office and Hayden you see is a big proponent of information being free and equally available to everyone.
Not surprisingly, then, here`s how the recording industry association of America responded to the news of her nomination.
"It is worth noting that the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office have been mutually respectful of each other`s area of expertise. We would hope new librarian would continue that respect for the Copyright`s Office expertise in copyright policy and recommendations to Congress."
In other words, stay in your own lane.
Hayden will also have to bring the Library of Congress into the 21st century. Her predecessor has been described as a technophobe who refused all gadgets more advanced than a fax machine.
Along with being pro open access, Hayden was an outspoken opponent of the Patriot Act. So, presumably much like President Obama`s eventual pick for the Supreme Court, her confirmation will only be the first in a series of battles.
We`ll talk about that other battle, the one to fill the open position of the Supreme Court, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: In their latest bit of obstruction, Senate Republicans say they`ll meet with President Obama about the vacancy on the Supreme Court, but only to tell him in person they plan to refuse to consider any of his nominees.
A spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley releasing a statement which reads in part, "Senator Grassley has reiterated that he will talk to the President anytime and welcomes the opportunity to explain the position of the majority to allow the American people to decide."
This evening the White House confirmed to NBC News that the meeting will take place next week.
The President spoke earlier today about how unprecedented the Republican obstruction is. He even sympathized with the GOP`s need to play to their face, and indicated that their posturing may very well collapse under pressure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it will be very difficult for Mr. McConnell to explain how if the public concludes that this person`s very well qualified, that the Senate should stand in the way simply for political reasons.
We`ll see what happens, and I think the situation may evolve over time.
And by the way, there`s not a lot of vigor when they defend the position that they`re taking. That they wouldn`t even meet, for example, with a Supreme Court nominee.
They`re pretty sheepish about it when they make those comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Insufficient vigor.
Now, there`s good reason to think that the united front by Republicans on the judiciary committee is an attempt to make sure no nominee is ever named because, as the President indicated, once an actual candidate is named, things could get dicier for the obstructionists.
For instance, what if the nominee were a popular Republican governor Nevada, Brian Sandoval? Senate minority leader Harry Reid met with Sandoval on Monday. A source close to the process told NBC News the White House is considering the Nevada governor for the post.
Now, is this just advanced-level trolling or a real proposal? And what kind of leverage do Senate Democrats have in this process?
I`m going to ask a Democratic senator who is in the trenches of this fight about that, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island who is a member of that senate judiciary committee.
Senator, let me start with this. This Sandoval news today, I can`t decide if this is a thing I should take seriously, this is actually something, or this is just a pretty ingenious bit of countertrolling by the White House saying, well, you won`t consider anyone, how about a very popular Republican governor?
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, SENATE JUDICIARY COMITTEE: You know, it`s a sort of tempting thought. Lindsay Graham might be another person who`d put the Republicans in a real predicament.
But none of this gets around the bizarreness of the underlying situation.
HAYES: Have you ever encountered anything like this? And if when you talk to your colleagues, are you in communication with them? I mean, are they honest about how unprecedented this is?
WHITEHOUSE: Yeah, I think everybody knows. This is unheard of, and I suspect they`re a little bit worried because, you know, Americans would be reassured by a sense of regular order again and the Republicans took us through the explosion of the filibuster and basically rebooted the entire senate.
They shut down the government to make their point and now they`re trying to reboot a whole new way of outside the constitution handling Supreme Court nominations.
So, I think it contributes to a real sense of unease.
HAYES: Well, they -- I mean, you cite the Constitution there and it strikes me that`s part of the problem.
The constitution does allow for this. It`s advise and consent. And in the letter sent by the committee, it was they intend to withhold their consent.
This is constitutional even if it`s highly abnormal.
WHITEHOUSE: Well, barely. For one thing, they`re telling the president not to appoint somebody, and the president is clearly instructed by the Constitution to appoint somebody.
Once that somebody is appointed, then their advice and consent kicks in as to a named nominee.
Nobody has ever read the Constitution to say that the Senate majority leader, Senate Republicans have to consent to the president having the power to appoint somebody in the first place.
They get to review the appointee. And, you know, I think Americans have a pretty basic sense of fair play when you`re saying, you`re a lousy appointee, we`re going to vote against you before we even know who you are, that`s not a very convincing argument.
HAYES: So, if I have to place a bet right now on whether the president`s nominee will be confirmed to the Supreme Court before he exits his term in January 2017, convince me that you, Senate Democrats and the minority in the White House have leverage on this and they`re just not going to stonewall.
What is your leverage?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, it will be up to the public, Mitch McConnell more than anything else wants to stay as majority leader which means more than anything else, he wants to keep a majority of Republicans in the Senate and if this aberrational approach to the Supreme Court starts to hurt all of his senators who are up in close, close races in this cycle, he`ll back away from it like away from a hot potato. HAYES: Let me ask you a personal question.
I do this every day. I cover the news and politics. I have my own biases and beliefs and some stories get me worked up and some we cover a little more dispassionately.
This one to me seems so black and white, it`s such a sort of hobsy in bit of pure power politics.
Are you angry? Does this personally frustrate and anger you when you have to talk to your colleagues on the committee that they are doing this?
WHITEHOUSE: If you really believe in the American system of government and the Constitution, when you start departing from it, that creates a sense of unease in me as well as in the public.
This is -- we`re in weird territory that we shouldn`t be in. We should be following the Constitution. And by the way, imagine if this president had another constitutional duty that he was not doing.
The entire Republican Senate would be on Fox News jumping up and down, hollering and screaming about this president not doing his constitutional duty.
So there`s something also very backwards and ironic about their desire to have the president fail to perform a clear directed constitutional duty.
HAYES: You know, the final thing here is I don`t see a limiting principle on this.
You have a 4-4 court, they say let`s wait for the next president. If that next president were to be a Democrat, I don`t understand why they wouldn`t do everything in their power to fillibuster that president`s nominee. The struggle is for control of the court, any reference to high-mighted principle here seems a little beside the point.
WHITEHOUSE: Once you`re in for a dime, you might as well be in for a dollar if you`re trying to protect the court. If you look at the record of what that five-man block delivered for the Republicans, it`s an astounding record of helping them win elections, helping their cooperate backers, helping the conservative agenda.
Those five people have done more for the Republican base than all the Republicans in Congress combined.
And so they watch the court turning into something they don`t control any longer with a real sense of panic.
HAYES: All right. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Thanks for your time tonight. I appreciate it.
WHITEHOUSE: Yep. Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening.
Now, important news. Tomorrow night we`re on a little earlier, catch us here at 7:00 p.m. eastern instead of 8:00, because at t 8:00, Chris Matthews, my colleague, will host a special Hardball college tour with the one and only Bernie Sanders.
So remember, tomorrow night, All In, one hour earlier. Set that alarm on your iPhone right now.
The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now in its regular hour.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END