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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 2/26/2016

Guests: Ben Domenech

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 26, 2016 Guest: Ben Domenech


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He want add full length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren`t wet. I don`t know.

HAYES: Then --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You remember that catastrophe? He`s like this, we will, ah, ah -- I need water.

HAYES: The Republican Party is officially a dumpster fire.


HAYES: After a battle royale debate, the fight between Rubio and Trump gets ugly.

RUBIO: First, he took out like this little make up compact like right here, because he had a sweat mustache.

TRUMP: You had to see him backstage. He was putting on make up with a trowel.

HAYES: Plus, the guy who said this about Trump.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: He had no business being president of the United States.

HAYES: Has now jumped the motley crew of Trump backers.

Then, Democrats head to the polls here in South Carolina tomorrow. Rapper Killer Mike speaks to me about what you learned from selling Bernie Sanders to voters.

KILLER MIKE, RAPPER: When you say I want to talk about racial justice, that`s not the same as saying I want to do something about racial justice.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from Columbia, South Carolina, on this election eve. I am Chris Hayes.

And a Republican primary race that has for months alternated between spectacle and abomination has over the past 20th (ph) hours ignited into a raging, full-blown dumpster fire. One stoke by a group of men who hope to become the most powerful person in the world.

It began at last night`s GOP debate where Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz did their best Donald Trump impersonation. All three unleashing an unprecedented string of insults and attacks fit more for a barroom than a presidential debate stage.


TRUMP: I funded you. I funded him. Can you believe it?


CRUZ: -- the reason is -- you`re welcome to have the check back.

TRUMP: I funded this guy. I gave him a check.

CRUZ: Yes, you gave me $5,000.

RUBIO: He never funded me.

CRUZ: And by the way, let`s be clear.


Donald claims -- Donald claims to care about --

TRUMP: You know why? I didn`t want to, but he sent me his book with his autograph --


CRUZ: Donald. Donald. Donald. I understand rules are very hard for you. They`re very confusing.

TRUMP: Mr. Trump, you`re doing a great job. I have his book.


TRUMP: Thank you -- thank you for the book. Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald, you can get back on your meds now.

TRUMP: This is a lot of fun up here tonight, I have to tell you.


Thank you -- thank you for the book. I really appreciate.

CRUZ: Donald -- Donald, relax.

TRUMP: Go ahead. I`m relaxed. You`re the basket case.


Go ahead.

CRUZ: Donald --

TRUMP: Go ahead. Don`t get nervous.


HAYES: Now, that was just one small taste of last night`s utter and complete insanity. At up with point the close captioning just read, quote, "unintelligible yelling", which summed the whole night pretty well.

But what we`ve heard from the GOP candidates today, well, let`s just say it made last night`s antics look downright classy. Here is Rubio on Trump.


RUBIO: Let me tell you something, last night in the debate, during one of the breaks, two of the breaks, he went backstage. He was having a meltdown.

First, he had this little make up thing applying like make up around his mustache because he had a sweat mustache.

Then he asked for a full length mirror. I don`t know why because the podium goes up to here. He wanted a full length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren`t wet. I don`t know.


HAYES: OK. That was part of a long broad side Rubio made that included Rubio calling Trump a, quote, "con man" and mockingly reading aloud a series of Trump tweets which included a number of misspellings.


RUBIO: Here`s the first one, "Lightweight Marco Rubio was working hard last night." This is true. "The problem is he`s chalker and once a chalker, always a choker", I guess that`s what he meant to say. He spelled choker, c-h-o-k-e-r.

This was him about himself, OK? "Great honer." I think he meant to say, great honor. I don`t know how he got that wrong because the E and O are nowhere near each other on the keyboard, great honer. Just like Trump Tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.


HAYES: While Rubio was really feeling his oats today, the Donald was not about to be out-Trump, mocking Rubio merciesly (ph) throughout the day, including him for his infamous water bottle moment.


TRUMP: It`s Rubio.

Here`s a guy, he`s a nervous basket case. Here`s a guy, you had to see him -- you had to see him backstage. He was putting on make up with a trowel. I will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears. I will not say that.

No, he was just trying to cover up -- he was just trying to cover up the sweat.


HAYES: These people are just a reminder running to be president of the United States.

Now, Trump has thus far gotten endorsements from illustrious group, that includes Sarah Palin, David Duke, Dennis Rodman, racially profiling birther sheriff, Joe Arpaio, vaping Congressman Duncan Hunter, and just this afternoon, infamous Maine Governor Paul LePage who accused drug dealers with D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty of impregnating white women.

Today, those fine folks were joined by a man once seen as the future of the Republican Party, a one time darling of the donor class, New Jersey governor and failed presidential candidate, Chris Christie, who today travelled to Ft. Worth, Texas, to give his blessing to a former rival who one week ago was approvingly discussing killing Muslim terrorists with bullets smeared in pig`s blood.


CHRISTIE: You need a strong, tough leader to restore America`s greatness. This is the best person to do that.


HAYES: Trump took the opportunity to take more shots at Rubio, hailing Christie for his devastating debate assault on the Florida senator three weeks ago in New Hampshire.


TRUMP: I watched Chris do a number on him. I`ve almost never seen a meltdown like that in my life. And, you know, it`s interesting about people who choke. I`m, believe it or not, a good athlete. I`ve watched people choke over the years.

Once a choker, always a choker. It never ever changes. That was one of the epic meltdowns. He didn`t know where he was. I thought he was going - - I thought he was going to die. Good going, Chris.


HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Joan Walsh here in Columbia, South Carolina, and national affairs correspondent for "The Nation" magazine. Ben Domenech, publisher of "The Federalist", one of the most vocal anti-Trumpist voices in conservatism.

Ben, let me start with you. I honestly -- I mean, I feel divided because obviously this is spectacle. It`s entertaining. It`s not the political coalition to which I sort of feel personal affinity. It doesn`t share my values, but it`s also just mortifying.

What is happening?

BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST: Well, I think what`s happening is that you`re seeing change from existing and kind of a left right political paradigm to one that is being made into something different. Maybe an up down paradigm, or something along those lines. It`s a dramatic change. It`s a shift I think of all different in language.

You see sort of the difference in the way that Marco Rubio was talking last night in that kind of way. That kind of Trump imitating way, which is designed to connect with certain people who want to see that from their political candidates as opposed to kind of speaking in the measured tones that we`re used to from Republican politicians who are trying to become president.

There`s a certain attitude toward being presidential that is now going away and I think the other thing we`re seeing Chris is really a moment where I think Republicans are waking up to the fact that they should have been doing this a lot earlier. They should have been trying to get under Donald Trump`s skin a lot earlier.

Jeb Bush did it on his way out the door. But I think they are realizing, hey, ignoring Trump all this time was a bad idea.

HAYES: Well, that is absolutely true. Later in the show, we`ll talk a bit about what I think was discovered last night about his weaknesses.

But in terms of what Ben was saying, the most overused metaphor for this campaign is reality show, reality TV. It`s true, OK? And he`s a reality star.

I remember reading an article about this idea of borderline personality disorder, which is reality producers try the find people who are sort of flamboyantly anti-social in these certain ways, because what happens when you put them around other people is they drag everyone down to their level. I feel like I`m watching this disgraceful race to the bottom.


HAYES: Everyone is now Trump.

WALSH: Everyone is Trump.

Maybe it`s a great blow for feminism that we now have men mocking one another about their makeup. I mean, let`s -- can we enjoy that? That`s kind of great.

But, no, I mean, Rubio, he`s having fun. I`ve got to say I`ve never seen him enjoy himself out there so much. He`s found way to get under his skin. So, he`s found way to look like he`s somebody that is a force, which has hasn`t so far.

So, this -- I don`t know. Earlier today, Chris, I was saying I don`t think this changes anything. Watching it go on, maybe it will.

HAYES: Well, here`s what changes things, I think, Ben, and I want to get to the Christie endorsement in a second. But to your point and to Joan`s point, what changes things here is A, a recognition of you have to confront him. B, a recognition that the way to confront him is not to say that he`s not conservative enough because no one cares. C, a real rallying -- I mean, I`m watching people in your circle, the folks that run conservative websites and basically saying like we must stand together to defeat this menace. This is our last stand.

And, I guess my question to you is, what does that -- what does that mean?

DOMENECH: I think what it really means is a recognition that Donald Trump has the potential to take over the Republican Party and change it into something that`s very different than what it`s been in the past. I don`t just mean in terms of tone. I mean in terms of policy, I mean in terms of every respect.

I think that Christie`s endorsement is, you know, it`s a sign that -- you know, he is who we thought he was in so many different respects. He`s someone who ambition is the only thing that I think is bigger than his appetite.

And I think in this case, it`s a situation where he saw the one guy who he thinks he can maybe get a cabinet post with if he wins in Donald Trump. I think, you know, he kind of went out the door doing a number of favors in beating up Marco Rubio the way he did.

This is I think a dramatic point for conservatives. They are waking up to the fact that this guy, that Donald Trump has an ability to speak to people who they thought were theirs ideologically, people who they thought were a part of their team.

And they have woken up to the fact they weren`t part of their team and they have a capability of having the kind of message that Trump is delivering reach them on a very direct and very personal level so that they sign up. They are willing to go out there and work for him.

They`re willing to go out there and vote for him. And they`re very serious about it. This is not a joke.

HAYES: That -- I think that`s exactly right analytically.

David Roberts, who is a writer at Vox who I like, had a line about, you know, the voter -- your voters weren`t locked in the room with you, Republican establishment. You were locked in the room with them.


HAYES: Yes, exactly. And to Ben`s point about Christie, I felt a little, if I can indulge for moment, like gloating a little bit today, because to me it was, this guy is who he said he was from a character perspective. The knock on Christie was always the I guy that he was -- I felt inordinately talented politician, a smart and in some ways very capable human being, with a personality given toward authoritarianism and bullying and ethical corner-cutting.

WALSH: Right. Remember when this -- he was a centrist, he was going to be the centrist savior, he`s establishment?

HAYES: He almost won Hispanics in New Jersey.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: He was the guy that was going to be --

WALSH: He was going to save the party from a figure like Trump. He was going to save the party. That didn`t happen. And now, he`s with Trump.

What does that mean? I mean, watching this today, it`s like the worst buddy movie you`ve never wanted to see, right?

These two guys kinds find each other. They love each other. They were playing let`s spend the night together when I turned the TV in the hotel today. I was like oh, my goodness.

But it`s like the worst buddy movie. They degrade women. They steal candy from orphans. They mock the disabled. They pick on teachers. It`s frightening to watch.

HAYES: Here`s Chris Christie talking about Donald Trump during the primary. Take a listen.


CHRISTIE: I think he`s generally a good person, but you know what? He had no business being president of the United States. If I thought he did, I wouldn`t be running. I`d be helping him.


HAYES: So, there you have it.

Ben, this idea of the sort of voters that Republicans thought they had that they didn`t have, I`ve seen all this tussling about what is Trump ideologically and Jim Carney said he`s a liberal and people saying, look, he`s winning moderates. Chris Christie is an example of this.

I mean, to me, what the issue here is, you get rid of all the conservative orthodoxy about capital gains, marginal tax rate, supply side economics, you just throw all that out the window, limited government and you just embrace the sheer and raw politics of resentment that have been bubbling the whole time and that`s what you get. You get Donald Trump.

DOMENECH: Well, I think it`s, you know, a message of economic nationalism. It`s obviously one that has bubbled up before in certain pockets, but it`s never been the sort of powerful phenomenon that it is today.

You know, there`s also just this element of language getting back to that for a second. I think you hear the difference of, you know, there`s the concept of covert prestige and overt prestige. You know, the idea that when you hear someone speaking in your language, you trust them more. And I think this is a moment where Donald Trump recognized the Republican establishment was much weaker, the party leaders were much weaker than they thought they were in terms of being able to dictate any outcomes.

And he came along and spoke in a language that speaks directly to a portion of the Republican base with what they want to hear. I don`t think that he actually has a very significant ideology. I think he`s a pragmatic sort of populist and who tell people anything in any moment that he wants them to hear, if he thinks that it`s going to be to his advantage, that everything is going to reset in the general election, assuming that he is the nominee, and I think it will be interesting to watch how many people feel betrayed or conned with the game he played with the Republican Party at this point.

HAYES: That`s one of many fascinating stories. Before we get there, I felt like something was discovered by Rubio and Cruz last night. You are going to see it`s too late, possibly but you`ll see some sort and this question of what these next two weeks look like.

WALSH: Well, I think one thing they did discover aside from the mocking, mocking works. But also, they have discovered this thing that we`ve been talking about in the left, which is his business practices, that he`s got no ethics when it comes to business and can they turn this story line, talk to his white working class base and say, he`s hired illegal immigrants. He doesn`t look out for you. He`s taking your kids money at Trump University and he is being accused of fraud.

I think they found something that may not work in the Republican primary but it will be something Democrats turn to in November.

HAYES: That is a perfect tease for our next segment, because we`re talking about just that. Joan Walsh, and Ben Domenech, thank you so much.

Coming up, a refresher on Trump University, the now defunct institution that triggered lawsuits by people that said they were defrauded.

Plus, the anti-Trump talking points that Marco Rubio and Democrats can agree on.

And later, my interview with rapper, activist and Bernie Sanders surrogate, Killer Mike.



RUBIO: There are people that borrow $36,000 to go to Trump University, and they are suing him now. Thirty-six thousand dollars to go a university, that`s a fake school.

TRUMP: And by the way --

RUBIO: And you know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout.

CRUZ: Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It`s fraud case. I want you think about if this man is the nominee, having the Republican nominee on the stand in court being cross examined about whether he committed fraud. You don`t think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?


HAYES: Last night, we saw Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz opened up a new line of attack on Donald Trump, targeting his involvement in Trump University, a for-profit, non-licensed now defunct institution which triggered lawsuits from individuals who claimed they were defrauded by him, as well as a suit alleging fraud from New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

It`s something we covered on this show two and a half years ago. And now, it`s front and center in this presidential campaign. And let me tell you something, it`s going to stick around for a while.

As Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reports, recent court filings for one of the suits showed that lawyers from both sides named Trump on their witness list, making it all but certain the Republican front-runner will take the stand in federal court in the coming months. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and while no trial date has been set, the judge overseeing the case indicated his interest of moving the case forward.

The allegations are getting the political ad treatment. "The New York Times" reports, the American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit group, is preparing what a spokesman said is a multi-million dollar ad campaign highlighting people who say they were ripped off by Mr. Trump`s enterprise.

Here is part of those ads.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spent about $30,000 in Trump University, and basically, all it did was ruin my credit and ruin my life.

Trump University, they promised everything from start to finish -- their expertise, their knowledge, their input, the financing. They didn`t deliver on anything.

You`ve got to remember, there`s 5,000 victims in this. Trump is just fraud, a misrepresentation, a BS artist.

America, don`t make the same mistake I made with Donald Trump.


HAYES: Trump University is just one of the many lines of attack that were opened up last night, giving a preview of what`s to come in the general if Trump is indeed the Republican nominee. More on that, ahead.


HAYES: Last night, we got the clearest picture of Donald Trump`s weaknesses and liabilities in a general election. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally gave up on trying to convince Republican primary voters that Trump is not a real conservative, attacks that have failed to resonate.

Instead, Rubio, in particular, focused on something far more elemental. Trump`s character and record as a businessman, and in the process perhaps added a few chapters to the Democrat`s play book against Trump.


RUBIO: he says five things: everyone`s dumb, he`s going to make America great again, we`re going to win, win, win. He`s winning in the polls.

MODERATOR: Senator Rubio, please.

TRUMP: It`s all true.

RUBIO: And the lines around the states.

So, your only thing is to get rid of the lines around the states. What else is part of your health care plan?

Your ties and the clothes you make is made in Mexico and in China. So, you`re going to start a trade war against your own ties and your own suits.

TRUMP: But you wouldn`t know anything about it because you`re a lousy --

RUBIO: Well, I don`t know anything about bankrupting four companies.

Here`s a guy that inherited $200 million.

If he hadn`t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now? Selling watches in Manhattan.

If he builds the wall the way he builds Trump Towers, he`ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it.

You`re the only person on the stage that`s ever fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally.


HAYES: It`s also entirely possible, even probable, that this is just a taste of what`s to come. According to "Huffington Post", one Democratic opposition research firm said they spent the past eight months compiling material on Trump as he`s risen on the ranks. And that research estimated that if the all material compiled, court and property records, newspaper clips and video, approximately 80 percent of it has yet to surface in this election cycle.

Joining me now, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid.

Let`s start first on this point which is them finally, last night, giving up the ghost on he`s not conservative, because he attacked for ever was that Ted Cruz in Iowa saying I`m have pro-choice. It went nowhere.


HAYES: Last night, it was a whole new thing.

REID: I mean, they finally figured out that the base that Donald Trump is speaking to are not that conservative, at least not the way conservatives have defined themselves. It took them eight months to figure that out.

And if you want to really sort of quantify the dereliction of the Republican establishment, those two facts are the most important two facts. One, that they didn`t even understand the base of their own party, white working class voters who you know what, don`t care about tax cuts for the rich, really aren`t interested in the things that the elite part of their party want, including immigration reform. And number two, they spent eight months avoiding finding opposition research to use against the guy who was becoming the front-runner in their party that they don`t want.

HAYES: I mean, we covered Trump University on this show two and a half years ago and, in fact, invited a classic Donald Trump angry tweeted us back when he was a clownish side show.

REID: These are not unknowns. But people understand who Donald Trump is. There was a lawsuit against him for housing discrimination, racial discrimination against African-Americans that`s been in "The New York Times". Decades ago with "The New York Times".

HAYES: The first time he was mentioned in "The New York Times" was in the context of a racial discriminatory housing lawsuit.

REID: And if you live in New York, you understand that everything from calling for the Central Park five who were later acquitted and found to be not guilty, or innocent of the crime, calling for them to be executed in the state of New York, his long history of bloviations, there`s so much there to mind. How are they not going this research? Why does the media have to do it and belatedly the dying campaigns of Rubio and Cruz had to do it?

HAYES: Well, that`s one of the things I think that`s interesting. One of the things you`ll see as conservatives work through these five stages of grief about Trump is trying to blame the media for not vetting him.

REID: That`s right.

HAYES: And I like to point out all the time that "The Times" has run countless pieces. We run pieces here about what he did to little old ladies in Scotland when he was trying to build the golf course.

REID: That`s right.

HAYES: That stuff that`s out there, it doesn`t go anywhere in the campaign. The way the campaigns work is, stories don`t go anywhere unless campaigns pick them up, run them, and so far, no one has.

REID: And the reality is Trump is just better at this game than they are. Blaming the media may be a convenient foil, but the reality is, he`s played the free media game better than they have. He has used the personal attack meme against them and literally created memes about them. They need to figure out how to play this game.

HAYES: I think a lot of Democrats I know, who will vote in the Democratic primary and vote for the Democratic nominee and later general, they go back and forth between two feelings. One is oh, my God, I`m terrified. Maybe this guy will be formidable in a general.

REID: Right.

HAYES: And then, the other is, are you kidding? Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not going to be president of the United States.

REID: Right.

HAYES: Last night was a bit of a window. You see a lot of fear among Republicans. Oh, man, this guy has a lot of vulnerabilities and weaknesses that`s not been tested at all yet.

REID: That`s right. I think in theory, Donald Trump could be a formidable candidate, right? The theory of him is, if he ignites working class white voters, he can put Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, states like Ohio in play for the Republicans.

HAYES: If he can boost Mitt Romney`s performance five points among white folks, he could have a shot.

REID: And make up for the fact he`s going to get wiped out among voters, right?

But the other theory is because he`s not been vetted and no attacks on him have really been tested by Republicans, that is an unknown. He might be a paper tiger if somebody would only go after him.

HAYES: That`s what`s going to be terrifying is he`s going into untested.

REID: That`s right.

HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) I`ve got to get a shoutout to, who`s the "BuzzFeed" reporter, he`s amazing at finding stuff. You have Donald Trump talking about his experiences having casual sex as his own personal Vietnam, avoiding an STD, like no one --

REID: It`s out there.

HAYES: That is an ad that writes itself. That is nowhere. The guy from "BuzzFeed" had to find that.

REID: Aside from the simple absurdity sort of the whole sort of carnival act that Donald Trump has put on display. It`s there. Republicans haven`t used it.

HAYES: We`re going to see in the next week and next two weeks right after.

Joy Reid, always a pleasure.

REID: Thank you, my friend.

HAYES: Great to have you down here in South Carolina.

Coming up, how Trump is giving the media a taste of its own medicine. That`s ahead.


TRUMP: Help me, I need water. Help.



HAYES: We are live here in Columbia, South Carolina at the Liberty Tap and Grill. We are joined, as we have been quite a bit, by one of the regulars here at Liberty Tap and Grill, a man the regulars call The Colonel, who is enjoying a drink there at the bar.

There`s a lot more still to come tonight. Still ahead, one of the most effective and most unnerving devices of Trump`s campaign. Stay with us.



TRUMP: I`ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I`ve ever met.

I think The New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I`ve ever seen in my life. The worst. The worst. The absolute worse. They have an agenda that you wouldn`t believe.


HAYES: Moments like that one today become a standard part of Donald Trump`s stump speech. Trump points to the cameras and reporters assembled at the back of the event hall and invites the audience to cast their scorn at them, turn around and boo them.

It`s both one of the most effective and one of the most unnerving devices of his campaign. It comes straight out of a conservative media playbook that goes back decades.

For years, right wing outlets like outlets like Fox News and talk radio have been telling their audience day after day that any information coming from outside of conservative media is not to be trusted.

It has been an ingeniously effective way to consolidate their own influence and inflate themselves from any external criticism. Not only has Trump adopted that tactic attacking usual suspects like The New York Times and The Washington Post, but he`s turning it back on the conservative media who invented it in the first place.

After starting a blood feud with Fox News, something no Republican presidential candidate has dared to do before, Trump seems to have successfully undermine the network in the eyes of its core audience with perception of the Fox News brand among Republican adults hitting its lowest point in three years according to a new YouGov survey.

And after being asked about his tax returns at last night`s debate, Trump initially dodged the question by insulting moderator Hugh Hewitt using Fox News`s favorite method of taunting, ratings.

HUGH HEWITT, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO SHOW HOST: A year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio in the transcript are out there on YouTube, that you would release your tax returns.

TRUMP: True.

HEWITT: Are you going back on your commitment?

TRUMP: First of all, very few people listen to your radio show, that`s the good news. Let me just tell you. Which happens to be true. Check out the ratings.


HAYES: Joining me now, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik. And David, you`ve covered Roger Ailes, who has run Fox News since its inception. You had to have the same reaction I did watching that, that that was just pure Roger Ailes.

No substantive response, just no one watches you. Your ratings are terrible. Stick your fingers in your ear.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, NPR: Well, you would say the student becomes the master, but Donald Trump has been mastering the media for quite a long time. I mean, I think that that absolutely out of the playbook you got to go back to Nixon and Roger Ailes was there during the 1968 first presidential run for Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew. And I think that he`s using it against the press very effectively indeed. He`s saying these guys are against us. And it`s, you know, not for nothing that Trump, who himself has had some high unfavorable ratings, distrusted by a significant amount of the population and even a significant amount of the Republican voting electorate is more trusted than the media right now.

And is trusted even as the media can show all kinds of unfavorable things to present to the public based on public interviews and public record.

I had crazy experience when I was talking to voters at the Nevada caucus the other night in Vegas. Voter after voter after voter, these are Republican primary voters, caucus goers, saying I don`t listen to Fox anymore. I can`t trust Fox anymore. I`m over them. And these were all Trump supporters who he had successfully sort of pried their trust away from the thing they have been trusting for years. And now when Megyn Kelly says something about him they just dismiss it, because it`s not -- it`s all considered the source. It`s not evaluating the information on its own. It`s just consider the source.

FOLKENFLIK: Well, think about this, based in to the Fox success and the Fox formula from the outset, from the very beginning, was the idea that we`re fair and balanced and the implication was and nobody else is. And that the establishment is out to get us and we, at Fox, are identifying with you, the people who are upset with the media and the elites and the establishment.

Fox has effectively become the establishment. Fox has -- you know, during non-election years, really tended to out flank the Republican Party in many ways in its conservatism and yet sort of lists back a little towards the, let`s say right-center establishment type figures in part because Rupert Murdock, whose Ailes`s ultimate boss over at 21st Century Fox, is a bit more pragmatic and centrist than Ailes himself.

But also that Ailes is ultimately a pragmatist who wants people elected. Let`s not forget, 2012 Roger Ailes, you know, desperately tried to get who into the race? Chris Christie, a somewhat moderate if tough talking from a purple state. They were very interested this David Petraeus, a figure who served in the Obama administration as CIA chief.

You know, this is not the ravings of a guy who is only on the right. Ailes is very conservative, but very pragmatic.

Well, what Trump has done, even though he is not the most conservative figure in this race, is he`s turned the play book against conservative thought leaders who are opposed to him. And if that means Fox News is in his way, even though he has a rapport with Ailes, then he is going to go after some of Fox`s figures if they`re not treating him sympathetically.

And he`s very attuned to individuals. If they`re coming after him in that moment, he`s going to go to go after them hard. If they happen to be praise worthy, or gentle or giving him the time that he needs, the breathing space he wants, the air time he desires, why he`s going to be very laudatory and complimentary.

I mean, he`s very fickle about this sort of thing. This is real housewives territory, right?

HAYES: All right, David Folkenflik, thank you very much.


HAYES: Still to come, the fight is on. We have a pretty good idea about what`s going to happen here in South Carolina tomorrow, but you never know.

And what happens on Super Tuesday and beyond is really at this point anyone`s guess. Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate Killer Mike and Clinton spokesperson Karen Finney will be here to talk strategy, ahead.


HAYES: The idea of a celebrity endorsing a presidential candidate is nothing new, but the full-throated endorsement for Senator Bernie Sanders from one of the country`s biggest hip hop stars had surprised some political observers. Coming up, I have a conversation with critically acclaimed rap artist Killer Mike. And we talk to him of the prospects for a political revolution.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: We`re just about 11 hours from polling sites opening here in South Carolina, and four days before Super Tuesday. Sanders campaign has all but acknowledged that Hillary Clinton has a big advantage going into South Carolina. The polls show her leading Sanders by a pretty wide margin here.

Perhaps the best measure of campaign expectation is where the candidates will be on primary night.

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be here in South Carolina tomorrow night, while Bernie Sanders is scheduled to be in Minnesota laying the groundwork for Super Tuesday.

Which sets up the next question, how will Sanders perform on Super Tuesday? As he rightly noted in a recent press conference, no one knows what will happen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a number of people right now who say the math just doesn`t add up for you looking forward. How do you think you can win this nomination?

SANDERS: By getting more -- you ready for this one? The answer is by getting more delegates than my opponent. Now, I`m pretty good in a arithmetic and I can add. On Super Tuesday there will be about 1,080 we`ll win a lot of them.


SANDERS: Well, I think we`re going to win 398 -- how do I know? That`s what -- you see this is -- let me get back. You know, sometimes I have been known to be critical of the media, once or twice. Here we are talking about children in South Carolina and in America in the wealthiest country in the world. You`re asking me to predict to you how many votes I`m going to get in 12 states. You know what, I don`t know. Nor do you, nor do anybody else.

I`ll tell you the answer to that on Wednesday. How`s that?


HAYES: Wait till Wednesday.

I got a chance to speak to Bernie Sanders surrogate Killer Mike, one-half of the excellent rap group Run the Jewels. And I began by asking him how he decided to back Bernie Sanders.


MICHAEL "KILLER MIKE" RENDER, RAPPER: I`ve never been a passive political supporter. My grandmother, Betty Kleitz (ph), god bless her soul, was from Tuskegee, Alabama, took parts in the civil rights movement and after that became of course like a lot of blacks in the South a staunch Democrat.

So, there was a politician that she liked around city government, we campaigned for him -- Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, you know, city council members of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin Leiter (ph), even current mayor Kasim Reed. She taught me, you believe in a politician, you get out there and work for them. So, that`s what I`ve been doing.

So, when Sanders came along, and I liked his tweets and I read more about him, researched him more, I decided I like him and his policy, even more than just I like another guy in the Democratic Party, I really believed in it. And when you believe in something, you get out and work for it.

HAYES: But then there`s the difference between you`re a hip hop artist. You live by your words and you live by your words in a very different context than the political context.

RENDER: We tell the truth.

HAYES: What does that experience been like?

RENDER: Well, I`m lucky in that in my character in hip hop is me. I`m Michael Render. My character is Killer Mike. But the truth that I sing in my raps align themselves with the policy of Bernie Sanders.

You know, if you listen to a record like Burn from me.

You`re hearing me complain about police harassment, you`re hearing me complain about wealth inequality, you`re hearing me complain about these things over a rhythmic beat that you like, but it matches up with this candidate.

So, I would challenge more hip hop artists that are rapping about what it`s like to be real and the social ills that we face, if you aren`t backing Sanders, I have to question your credibility in terms of do you mean the songs you`re writing.

HAYES: So, here`s my question for you. There ahs been so much press, it was like we got through Iowa, New Hampshire particularly and then Nevada. And it`s like now we`re in South Carolina, now the black vote matters. And all the press suddenly was like where`s -- who`s going to win the black vote?

Sanders has had a real uphill battle there. How do you understand that uphill battle? Like when you`re out talking to people, what`s your read on why he is having a more difficult time among that set of folks?

RENDER: Well, I don`t agree with that notion that he`s having a more difficult time. What I agree with is that the press has not done a fair job of exposing his policy. He has not had the television time that he deserves or that Clinton has. He has not had the ability to connect with black people in the mass way.

But what he has done a great job of, social media black kids know about him. Young black people progressives know about him. Through barbershops and barbershop tour that we have been on, we hit three barbershops a day. People know about him. And on the college campuses in South Carolina State, Benedict, kids know about him.

So, what I would say is that kids know about him and they`re off the radar.

In the same way kids knew about Twitter before their parents did.

HAYES: So, your thing is this is largely an exposure issue. Like here is a senator from Vermont. Here is one of the most famous people in the world in Secretary Clinton.

RENDER: Based on name, absolutely.

HAYES: You think that`s the obstacle?

RENDER: Absolutely.

I think that`s the obstacle, because once black people hear his policy, it`s almost instantaneous they switch. Hillary is good enough, but the policy of enough is enough that we`re going to radically change thinks really seizes with people.

HAYES: But let me ask you -- push back a little on that, right.

RENDER: That`s fine.

HAYES: Politics is more than policy, right. Like, one thing that has occurred to me is Bernie Sanders is clearly a very adept and able politician, right. But he spent 30 years being a very adept and able politician in an almost entirely white state.

RENDER: He did.

HAYES: And it`s like politics is stand up comedy, you go to different rooms and you find out where you get the laughs. And he hasn`t worked these rooms.

RENDER: That`s not true. That`s not true. Je`s in here today at black college speaking.

HAYES: No, I`m not saying now, I`m saying...

RENDER: Not fundraising.

HAYES: The duration of the campaign, right. I mean, those constituents he`s talking to are people that have a different -- are coming from a different place than the folks in a barbershop in South Carolina.

RENDER: What I seen him is, is more of a unifier. I would rather have a candidate that`s cohesive in bringing people together from different ethnic backgrounds but around the same policy than I would a politician that jumps and stumps in different rooms and has a different story every time...

HAYES: OK, so that`s interesting, right, because one of knocks on Bernie Sanders is that he`s -- that Hillary Clinton has said and I think somewhat effectively that it`s a one note campaign, it`s a one issue candidacy.

RENDER: Absolutely.

HAYES: And she`s saying, look, I want to talk about racial justice, gender justice, all these different things. He just wants to talk about the millionaires and billionaires. And you`re saying that consistency -- you like that consistency?

RENDER: Yeah, I like his consistency, because his talk -- it boils down to the American people. His one thing is the American people.

When you say you want to talk about racial justice, that`s not the same as I want to do something about racial justice. Saying I want to hold police accountable is doing something. Saying that I want to take money out of politics, big money, is doing something.

Saying I want to pay women a fair wage is doing something and saying young black people deserve not to be called super predators but to be engaged from an economic standpoint that gives them an equal opportunity says doing something.

I`m tired of talking.

51 years ago, when Hillary Clinton was working on the Goldwater campaign, he was getting locked up for my rights. 50 years later he`s talking about doing something and not talking.


HAYES: When we come back, my conversation with Clinton campaign spokespoerson Karen Finney right here in South Carolina. Stay with us.



SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: Have you seen Bernie Sanders rallies? I haven`t seen that many white voters since the Oscars. You know -- oh, we have some Hollywood fans here.


HAYES: That`s Hillary Clinton surrogate, Senator Barbara Boxer in an event in Washington, D.C. last night poking fun at his difficulty of winning over non-white voters.

Today, Clinton was at a get out the vote rally at historic black South Carolina State University. And I had chance to speak with Karen Finney, senior advisor and spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign. I began by asking her what it`s been like here on the ground this week inside the Clinton bubble.


KAREN FINNEY, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: It`s been great actually. And that`s part of why I wanted to be in South Carolina, because when you`re on the ground you get a different perspective and so I was kind of been in the bubble and been able to step out of the bubble and actually get a feel for what`s going on here on the ground. And it`s been great.

And the energy has been really great. Just the crowd sizes are -- have been increasing. The energy of the crowd. We had an amazing event earlier this week with Sabrina Fulton and Gwen Carr (ph), and Gabby Giffords. And it was -- this is -- you know, very powerful event and conversation about, you know, gun violence and gun safety and police violence actually.

So, it`s been amazing. It`s really been -- and...

HAYES: what`s changed? I mean, look, there were two ways that people came out of Iowa and New Hampshire talking about Iowa and New Hampshire. One was, this campaign has a problem. They don`t have a message. It`s not sticking. It`s not working. The other was, look, these are unrepresentative states. These are states that played to Bernie Sanders strengths.

What`s you`re understanding?

FINNEY: Well, look, a couple of things. I think number one, I think we always knew it was really going to come -- it wasn`t going to be Iowa and New Hampshire, important states, no doubt, but Nevada, South Carolina and then Super Tuesday, very important. But in terms of the number of delegates that you need to secure the nomination, you have to take the long view.

Getting here to South Carolina, I think -- you know, Hillary`s message and her story and her record -- I mean, she has a long relationship with the black community starting here in South Carolina when she was just out of law school and worked on juvenile justice issues.

So, for her -- you know, she knows these issues well. She knows the people well. I think there is -- you know, also talking about breaking down barriers and talking about that, whether we`re talking about that in economic terms. I mean, she`s the only person who has been out there talking about white privilege and talking about sort of the intersectionality of some of these issues.

HAYES: I can`t believe that term -- I mean, OK, but Karen Finney you`ve worked in Democratic politics a long time. As a person, not as a Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate if you can for a moment, express to me what it means to be saying our candidate for the nomination to be president is talking about white privilege. Like that was unthinkable 20 years ago.

FINNEY: It was unthinkable 20 years. It was unthinkable ten years ago, 15 years ago. Absolutely.

But I think the way the country has changed in part because of the presidency of Barack Obama, I think in part because of what we`ve -- the violence that we have seen on our cell phones and our TV sets over the last couple of years. I think Black Lives Matter has helped to force these issues. Women like Sabrina Fulton. We`re having a different conversation in this country right now about race and what it means to really understand your experience is and my experience is.

HAYES: So, here is the concern that people have and I think some of the concern is people who are Sanders supporters and think Hillary Clinton is just saying this, and some of these are Hillary Clinton supporters who think, OK, we`re going to get in this general and then there`s going to be people saying, well, you have got to win white working class voters in Ohio, particularly if it`s Donald Trump wailing against -- and all of a sudden all this white privilege, intersectionality, criminal justice reform talk, it`s like where did that go?

FINNEY: You have to keep talking about it. And she has made a commitment that she is going to keep talking about it. And she really means that. And, you know, it`s interesting also on these issues. I mean, she talks the same whether it`s a white audience, a black audience, a mixed audience. I mean, when you`re talking about -- particularly breaking down barriers. And when you`re talking about investing in communities that have been left behind, that is a conversation that is applicable all across this country.

And so -- because we all have different barriers and challenges that we face. And certainly on criminal justice reform, I think one of the things we have seen -- and it has become more of a 2016 issue. I think it will be an issue in the general election actually.

HAYES: I think it`s going to very interesting, because I think there is all this noise made about bipartisan criminal justice reform. If I did that, Republicans are going to attack way right on that issue in the general. So, that`s where the...

FINNEY: And what we think -- I think the other piece of this is, I think the record matters. I think one of the things being here in South Carolina that has been different is, again, people know this woman and her record. They know that she`s fought for social justice. They know that she is someone who fought for child care, for health care, for -- you know, she`s actually in the Senate fought for things like ending racial profiling, changing the crack cocaine and powder cocaine disparities. This is someone who has fought for these issues.

HAYES: All right. Senior spokesperson, adviser to Hillary Clinton Karen Finney, it`s great to have you.

FINNEY: Great to be with you.


HAYES: And that is All In for this evening.