Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: April 18, 2016 Guest: McKay Coppins, Nick Confessore, Tad Devine, Robby Mook, Rebecca Traister, Tera Dowdell, John Nichols
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN live from Brooklyn.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll tell you what, you`re going to have a rough July at that convention.
HAYES: Donald Trump calls for a showbiz takeover of the Republican convention, as the RNC tries to tamp down hostile rhetoric.
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: There`s no room for threatening the delegates.
HAYES: Tonight, more Republican infighting out in the open ahead of tomorrow`s vote in New York.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNEL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`m increasingly optimistic that there actually may be a second ballot.
HAYES: Then, the Dems of New York. Is the Bernie line of attack on Hillary going too far?
Plus, a look back at the last time a New York primary really mattered, and why Johnny Depp is apologizing to an entire continent.
JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: We disrespect Australian law, they will tell you fondly.
HAYES: All that when ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from beautiful Brooklyn, New York City, I`m Chris Hayes.
We take you now to the city of Buffalo, about 300 miles northwest of here, where Donald Trump is in the middle of his final rally before tomorrow`s big primary in his home state of New York. In a bit of a coup, Trump was introduced tonight by the coach of the hometown Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan. Though the Bills said in a statement that Ryan was there in a personal capacity and his presence did not constitute endorsement from the team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX RYAN, HEAD COACH, BUFFALO BILLS: There`s so much that I admire about Mr. Trump. But one thing I really admire about him is, you know what? He`ll say what`s on his mind. And so many times, you`ll see people -- a lot of people want to say the same thing. But there`s a big difference. They don`t have the courage to say it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump is hoping for a clean sweep of New York`s 95 delegates. He can definitely use them. Trump was massacred in delegate fights once more over the weekend in what is becoming something of a recurring theme.
Ted Cruz won all 14 Republican delegates up for grabs in that state. And Cruz supporters reportedly elected to at least 50 of the 90-plus delegate slots that were up for grabs at statewide conventions and caucuses around the country.
There are actually two things going on here. Both of which are good news for Cruz. In Wyoming, Cruz straight-up swept the available delegates who will be bound to him on the first ballot at the convention. It`s as if he won the state outright in a primary.
In a bunch of other states, Cruz supporters were elected to serve as delegates at the convention to be the actual people in the hall casting votes for the nominee. Now, in 2012, it didn`t much matter who the delegates personally supported since the Republican nominee was named on that first ballot.
This year, their loyalties are very important. In many states delegates are bound to a candidate on the first ballot but after that, according to existing rules, they can support whoever they want. That`s how it works in the state of Georgia which Trump won big by 14 points. And yet this weekend, Trump may have lost most of the delegates that were supposed to come with that March victory, as Cruz loyalists were elected to dozens of delegate slots. At a contested convention, after the first ballot, those delegates can simply throw their support over to Cruz.
All this is not playing well with Trump supporters. In Georgia`s seventh district weekend, a group of them grew so infuriated they walked out of the convention and took the American flag with them.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HAYES: Trump has spent the past few days railing against the nomination system and yesterday, he again warned that denying him the nomination could lead his supporters to revolt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope it doesn`t involve violence. And I don`t think it will. But I will say this -- it`s a rigged system. It`s a crooked system. It`s 100 percent crooked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A lot of Republicans do take issue with the process. A new national NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll finds 62 percent of Republican voters say the Republican with the most votes should be the nominee, even if he has not won a majority of delegates before the convention.
Yesterday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pushed back at Trump again dismissing his charge in part by noting that Trump has failed to win a majority of delegates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRIEBUS: Having a plurality of the delegates means that the field has the majority. So you have to have the majority. I mean, it`s the United States of America. That`s what we`re founded on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is officially neutral in the GOP race, didn`t sound that way in an interview over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: About 60 percent of the delegates who are bound on the first ballot will be free to do whatever they want to on the second ballot. And I`m increasingly optimistic that there actually may be a second ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, McKay Coppins, senior political writer at "BuzzFeed News", and Nick Confessore, political reporter for "The New York Times".
And if you`re someone who is a Trump supporter, or even not a Trump supporter, Trump-curious, let`s say, and you basically think the Republican Party is corrupt and feckless and nefarious, that McConnell quote certainly seems like giving away the game on the eve of the primary.
MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED NEWS: Well, sure. I mean, look, the Trump-curious crowd, they have legitimate grievances, right? Two things can be true here. One is that the Trump campaign has bungled the delegate game in these last few weeks. The other is that frankly a lot of these states choose the nominee in a very bizarre and bad way, like it should be more democratic, right?
HAYES: Yes. I mean, in fact, Trump weirdly has -- Trump has the better of the democratic argument when he rails against Wyoming, Colorado, for not holding anything that voters as voters can participate in.
COPPINS: Yes, I mean, you would think that the thing about Trump`s message here is it has a fundamental logic. People want to be able to vote and the person who gets the most votes should be able -- the ones who gets the delegate. I mean, that makes sense to people. I think that`s why you see him continually bringing it up. Although of course, he always takes the extra Trumpian step saying, you know, there might be violence, who knows, I`m not condoning it, but there might be.
HAYES: I`m not saying someone should get smashed in the face, I`m just saying that might happen. He`s at one level saying, no violence, I don`t condone violence, although he did threaten rioting.
Here`s what`s so strange to me, Nick, about covering this race right now. Here we are on the eve of voting day tomorrow, OK? And what you`ve got is this bizarre sort of two-track thing happening, where it`s like, yes, OK, they`re going to vote tomorrow, whoop de do. But increasingly, you got this situation in which like, you know, we`re all going to be wondering what the margin is and then who knows who the people are who get sent to the convention. You`ve got to weird thing, from a democratic perspective, you also have kind of drummed the force out of the people that are actually registering their opinion.
NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And even worse, right? If some of this -- if Kasich or Ted Cruz are micro-targeting carefully and can find a few voters in each of these districts in this crazy system, it could easily defeat Trump in some of these places because of delegates.
It`s a very strange system and we have the spectacle now of a race where on the one hand, he`s like, winning, winning, winning. On the other hand he`s like, losing, losing, losing -- at the same time, in the same election.
HAYES: That`s right.
And not only that, again -- geography has equal momentum so far, more or less. I think Wisconsin, there was genuinely something that happened there. But it was enabled by the demography of the state and the sort of particularities of that.
We are now, tomorrow, I think he`s going to win big. I don`t think anyone questions that, although you never know, it`s politics. But then he`s just going to the Northeast, which is absolutely his stomping ground.
COPPINS: Yes, next week, he has several races, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, that he`s almost certainly going to sweep, or come close to sweeping.
HAYES: Not New Jersey, by the way.
COPPINS: Not New Jersey. But he`s probably going to do very well.
And the problem is that the campaign for a long time has been built on these momentum narratives, right? And Trump for a long time enjoyed momentum from winning big.
HAYES: Those are gone now.
COPPINS: But it doesn`t matter anymore because even -- we`re going to see votes there but it`s funny, even inside our newsroom, I now have a calendar of when the state conventions are, where the actual -- that`s where a lot of the these things are actually going to be decided. Which delegates get elected?
HAYES: What do you make of this sort of power play that seems to be happening in the campaign where Corey Lewandowski, it seems to me, has been sidelined. Whenever anonymous blind quotes end up in any situation, you know, taking it to someone, that is someone -- that`s a speech act.
HAYES: That`s not a reflection of reality.
COPPINS: No, no, no.
HAYES: That is an attempt to shape reality.
COPPINS: That`s when the knives are out, right?
Look, this was, if you believe certain accounts, I think this is basically true, one of the very first fights they had inside the Trump campaign at the very beginning was, do we actually build a northern traditional presidential campaign organization, where we have people in all these different states laying the groundwork, which theoretically could have helped them with this delegate fight, or do we just run on earn media and let Trump be Trump?
Lewandowski was a big advocate of "let Trump be Trump" camp which worked about until recently. And now, you see him getting sidelined.
HAYES: There`s another problem there too, Nick, and this is in your wheelhouse, which is he is, quote-unquote, "self-funding", although not actually, lending himself money. He`s billing a lot of things to Trump Enterprises. People are actually donating. They`re buying make America great hats again.
The question is if he were to be the nominee, he`s either going to spend a lot of money or actually have to build up all those resources that have been neglected.
CONFESSORE: And, look, he`s famously cheap. This is not a guy who wants to spend his fortune running for president.
HAYES: He`s masterfully avoided doing that to be clear.
CONFESSORE: Look, it`s one thing running primaries and topple a bunch of candidates who are out of sync with the party in different ways. But to win a general election, in 18 or 20 states, requires money and organization. He has to build that.
I think, in fact, this power struggle in the campaign is a good tell that he`s decided he wants to actually win.
HAYES: Yes, I agree.
CONFESSORE: So, this fear he might back away, walk away -- this is a guy who wants to win now, I think.
HAYES: So, you think he`s been brought over to the Manafort folks --
COPPINS: Manafort and Wiley who actually are saying, no, we have to do it the right way, because you`re going to get the nomination, and then you`re going to try to win, right? If you want -- there`s been this theory that`s not implausible, best-case scenario is for him to have the nomination stolen from him --
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) wrote that piece.
COPPINS: I talked to somebody who spent an inordinate amount of time probing the psyche of Trump. That actually scans as possibly true. But I think that this news, $20 million budget he supposedly has authorized for the next two months, that suggests to me he`s actually trying to win.
HAYES: So, here`s my question. Let`s say he wins big tomorrow, he does very well in the northeast, he comes down the stretch in the ballpark of 1,237, falls just short. Were he to be the nominee, you know the Republican donor class fairly well from you reporting, could you imagine them opening up the checkbooks and getting fully behind him?
CONFESSORE: Absolutely, but it depends on his negative rating at that moment in time. If he`s going to tank -- if he`s going to tank the entire -- look, these people are party stalwarts. But they`re not like ideologues in the same sense as somebody at the Heritage Foundation. What they want is to win, the want the institution to win, and the down-ballot candidates.
I think there`s a movement and a point there you can make to kind of build the whole party, raise money for the whole party, get the RNC back funded again, so it can do its job in the general. But if it`s going to be a disaster for the whole party, I think they run away.
HAYES: Yes, that will be interesting.
McKay Coppins, Nick Confessore, thanks to you both.
COPPINS: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, what exactly is at stake in tomorrow night`s primary? A race that usually isn`t important at this stage in the election. We`ll take a look at the last time New York got this much attention, nearly 30 years ago.
But, first, Bernie Sanders comes one step closer to outright calling Hillary Clinton corrupt. Members of both campaigns are joining me to talk about what has become the central argument of the campaign. Just after the break, that`s only two minutes away, so do not go anywhere.
HAYES: Welcome back.
We are here in Brooklyn on the banks of the East River. Just a short ways up the river, Bernie Sanders is speaking right now. With just 24 hours until the polls close tomorrow in New York, the fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is focusing largely on questions of systemic corruption and personal integrity. The Sanders campaign increasingly edging towards outright saying that Clinton is corrupt.
Last week, a Sanders ad which the Clinton campaign called a false attack, hit the secretary for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees while not championing a $15 minimum wage at the federal level.
This weekend, Sanders supporters showered Clinton`s motorcade with dollar bills on her way to a high dollar fundraising, angering many Clinton supporters.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is test driving a new nickname for Hillary Clinton, "crooked Hillary." Earlier today, Sanders was pressed if he and the Republican front-runner are essentially making the same argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is very brilliant coming up with statement that you guys respond to. It`s an ugly statement. What I have said is that -- regarding Secretary Clinton, what I have said is we have a corrupt campaign finance system in which billionaires --
INTERVIEWER: You`ve gone further. You have -- you said -- you have said that she accepts this money from Wall Street, from big banks, from fossil fuels, and that affects her judgment.
SANDERS: Yes. Well, of course it does. Why do you think --
INTERVIEWER: Would that be crooked?
SANDERS: In that case, the entire United States government is crooked. We have a corrupt system. I`m very proud that we are doing it differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sanders won`t explicitly call Clinton crooked, he argues the whole system is corrupt and if Hillary Clinton is part of that system, well, then, the logic does seem a bit difficult to avoid.
Now, the Sanders campaign is accusing the Clinton campaign of breaking campaign finance rules, arguing in a letter to DNC Chairman Wasserman Schultz saying that serious apparent violations of campaign finance laws have taken place between the DNC and Clinton campaign.
The Clinton campaign this evening responded saying, "The Sanders campaign false attacks have gone out of hand. As Senator Sanders faces nearly insurmountable odds, he`s resorting to baseless accusations of illegal actions."
Joining me to talk about, Tad Devine, senior adviser to the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Let me ask you this question.
TAD DEVINE, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN: Yes.
HAYES: Is the Democratic Party corrupt?
DEVINE: No. The Democratic Party is not corrupt. OK?
I mean, listen, Chris. We have a corrupt system of campaign finance in America. Citizens United opened the floodgates to a waterfall of bad, dirty money into our system --
HAYES: But even before that, right?
DEVINE: And Bernie Sanders has rejected it and is running outside it.
HAYES: So, here`s my question -- are there other members of the Democratic Party that you can point to from the Sanders perspective who you think are free of that, who are not absorbed in the vortex of the muck of that system?
DEVINE: You know what? We`re running against Hillary Clinton, OK, that`s the only candidate we`re running against, and that`s who we`re addressing in the context of a corrupt system of campaign finance. She made a decision, she and her to run within the system, to have numerous super PACs. And, by the way, they`ve got a dark money super PAC. A 501c4, 25 million bucks in it, we don`t know where a dime comes from, OK? That`s what we`re talking about.
HAYES: OK. So, then, play that out. What is -- spell out what the fear is in terms of how that operates.
DEVINE: The fear is that the special interests over my shoulder on Wall Street, for example, are going to be able to exert influence on the policy of the next president. That`s why the next president won`t be able to break up the big banks, which we need done. That`s why the next president won`t be able to take on the fossil fuel industry which we need done, if you care about climate change.
Those are the issues that need to be addressed. The pharmaceutical industry, you won`t be able to take it on, because they are beholden to those interests because they fund their campaigns.
HAYES: But there are also -- I mean, there`s also the issue of the fact that Hillary Clinton is part of a whole class of people. You`re saying the whole system`s corrupt --
DEVINE: Yes. Well, I`m saying it`s a corrupt system.
HAYES: You`re saying it`s a corrupt system, right? But then you got all those Democratic members of Congress, Democratic senators, Bernie Sanders` friends and colleagues, who are also enmeshed in that corrupt system, right?
DEVINE: It`s a --
HAYES: Governors, downstate ballots, I mean, all of them are implicated in that same way.
DEVINE: Chris, the system is out of control. It`s corrupt. Now, listen - -
HAYES: But you guys are saying something else, it seems to me. You`re saying something more than that -- you`re saying that she is particularly enmeshed in this system, that she`s particularly bad --
DEVINE: Well, I think that`s a fact. I mean, listen, the numerous super PACs, that they`re running, the incredible amounts of money, tens of millions that they`re raising. The fact that they have a 501c4 which has money in it which we don`t know where the money comes from. That`s particularly example egregious on the part of the Clinton campaign.
And now, we found out this joint fund-raising agreement with the Democratic Party is nothing but a mechanism to funnel millions of dollars back into their campaign. It`s outrageous.
HAYES: OK. But the joint fund-raising is a perfect example.
HAYES: Because if you go back and look at Barack Obama`s filings from the FEC from that year, Victory Fund, they had small-dollar donors coming in, the exact same thing --
DEVINE: 2008 that you`re talking about.
HAYES: Yes, the same thing you`ve identified essentially as this sort of red flag, right? This is something Hillary Clinton`s campaign says all the time. All the things you say make us corrupt that we can`t get changes are things that Barack Obama --
DEVINE: Well, I love the way you use the President Obama as a human shield, OK? That`s very effective. But let me tell you something --
HAYES: That`s also true, right?
DEVINE: Here`s what else is true. In 2010 the Supreme Court of the United States passed Citizens United case, and they changed the world in campaign finance, they opened the floodgates of dirty. That`s -- 2008 was before that.
And, by the way, I believe if President Obama was running right now, he would reject this system of campaign finance and run outside and it, and he`d do what Bernie Sanders is doing, ask millions of people to contribute to their campaign. And I don`t think it`s an accident that we`ve raised more money than the Clinton campaign in each of the last three months, because this is the future of the Democratic Party. It`s unfortunate they reject it.
HAYES: Here`s what the Clinton supporters say. They say pictures of people throwing money at the Clinton motorcade, OK? And you`ve also got a campaign that is now making the argument that lines up uncomfortably for many Democrats, not just Clinton supporters, with 30 years of attacking Hillary Clinton is essentially this Lady Macbeth figure, as essentially this feckless and untrustable human being, and that you guys are building on a narrative that people are trying to destroy progressives in the Democratic Party have built over 30 years.
DEVINE: Well, listen, I reject that. I mean, listen, people -- supporters out there throwing money, that`s not something our campaign orchestrated, OK? They decided to that.
HAYES: What do you think of that?
DEVINE: I think they`re protesting and I`m not condoning anyone. By the way, Bernie has spoken out. I`ve seen people say, oh, the protesters. You know, Bernie Sanders said, listen, people should be allowed to speak, people should be allowed to give their speeches.
We`re not interested in interfering with the political process, OK? What we are interested in is changing the political process and changing a corrupt system of campaign finance and ending it. Not rhetorically the way they do by talking about it, but by doing something about it.
HAYES: You made Hillary Clinton, Clinton people say, you`ve made her essentially the face of that corruption.
DEVINE: Well, listen, I mean, the truth is either the Democratic Party is going to embrace a corrupt system of campaign finance or they`re going to reject it. They have two choices. Hillary Clinton, embrace it. Bernie Sanders, reject it. OK, that`s the choice.
And, by the way, it`s become a voting issue. I think this is motivating voters more than any other single issue today.
HAYES: All right. Tad Devine, thank you so much for joining me.
DEVINE: OK, Chris.
HAYES: Now, as the Sanders campaign has chosen to focus increasingly on Clinton`s ties with Wall Street, the former secretary of state has once again found heard in the position of defending her decision not to release the transcripts from her speeches to banks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: What is the concern that releasing those speeches would show you praising Wall Street?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don`t have any concerns like that. I`m just concerned about it constantly changing set of standards for everybody else but me.
You know, we have certain expectations when you run for president. One of which is release all of your tax returns ever since you`ve been in public life. That`s what I`ve done. And 33 years of them are in the public domain. Eight years are on my website.
Now, all of a sudden, there`s a new standard. And I`ve said when it applies to everybody, you bet, I will meet that standard as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Moments ago speaking to a raucous crowd in New York City, Sanders responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I am prepared tonight to announce, I will release all of the transcripts of all of the speeches that I have given behind closed doors to Wall Street. Are you ready if here they are! None of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Robby Mook, he`s Hillary Clinton`s campaign manager, works a short walk from here.
It`s good to have you.
ROBBY MOOK, HILLARY CLINTON`S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes. Great to be here.
HAYES: Do you want to respond to this idea of the choice between the system that`s corrupt and the cleanness of Bernie Sanders and his smaller dollar donor fund-raising machine?
MOOK: Well, I don`t think there`s been much that`s been clean about his campaign the last few weeks. His campaign said for months, Tad Devine, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Weaver, that New York was a must-win for them. They got here. They took a harshly negative turn. It`s not looking so good for them now.
And look, their campaign faces a choice. They can either continue down this path of these personal negative attacks, or they can get back to the campaign they pledged which is to focus on issues. Why aren`t we talking about health care anymore? Why aren`t we talking about education, affording college?
HAYES: I think they would say it`s an issue, right? They would say, in some way, it`s the sort of uber issue, which is that their theory of the case is that it is hard to do all these things, provide free college tuition, do what you need to do in terms of regulating fossil fuel companies, because of the corrupt campaign finance system and they say Hillary Clinton is a part of that. Tat`s their argument.
MOOK: Well, there`s one candidate who said on day one of her campaign, she wanted to overturn Citizens United. That was Hillary Clinton. And you know what the Citizens United case is about, it was a video made by the Citizens United group against Hillary Clinton. No one is more passionate about overturning and changing this campaign finance system and no one has fought harder against special interests.
This is the same person who took on the health insurance companies in the `90s and kept fighting until she got health insurance for 8 million kids. Her record on this is clear. And they`ve never been able to say, where are these forces who corrupted her? Never.
HAYES: This is to me an interesting point of sort of tension here, right? There`s a moment in the debate, what`s the quid pro quo? Bernie Sanders couldn`t come up with an example.
But it seems your campaign is in a strange position of having to argue something that almost proves too much. Which is to say, yes, the system should be changed, we think big money has a distorting effect. In our particular case, it doesn`t. Like, can you sell that argument?
MOOK: No, no, no.
HAYES: That`s what you have to say, right?
MOOK: The question is a candidate`s judgment and their record. Hillary Clinton every time has taken on the special interests. Every time.
HAYES: You`re saying the money has --
MOOK: We have small dollar donors too.
HAYES: What you`re saying, fundamentally, is look, we are not -- our priorities and what we`re going to do, what Hillary Clinton would do as president, are not dependant upon and are not twisted or manipulated by whatever the donation --
MOOK: You know what they`re dependant on, Hillary Clinton has gotten 2.4 million more votes than Bernie Sanders. She is leading in the pledged delegates by more than Barack Obama was in 2008.
Look at who is propelling this campaign. It is the people. It is the popular vote. She is winning.
And the Sanders camp is getting desperate, and they are choosing a path of negative attacks. And they need to make a choice -- as that path for him narrows to the nomination, because the math is almost insurmountable to him. As that gets narrower, narrower, is he going to continue these personal attacks and aid and abet Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republicans?
HAYES: Are you saying they`re aiding and abetting now?
MOOK: I am saying what they are doing is working off the same talking points as the Republican Party and it is damaging. It is damaging the Democrats` ability to win the White House.
HAYES: Why is it damaging? What are you guys -- three blocks from here when you look at the favorability/unfavorability numbers, you see Hillary Clinton unfavorable at 16 percent, do you think Bernie Sanders is doing that?
MOOK: I think -- I think what Democrats should be talking about in this race is how we help every American get health care, how we help every family afford college. And all of a sudden, we`re talking about these false negative attacks. I mean, the attacks that Sanders made today about Hillary are false. And these -- you talked about throwing money at her car --
HAYES: The DNC stuff?
MOOK: The DNC stuff, throwing money at her car, the insulting remarks that were made at his rally where she was called a corporate whore.
This is not who we are as a party. We should be focusing on issues. And Sanders has a choice. Tad Devine, you know, said months ago that he was never going to be a spoiler, Bernie Sanders would never be a spoiler, and I hope that`s --
HAYES: You think he`s a spoiler now?
MOOK: I think it`s spoiling this election to be talking anything but the issues. That is the campaign Bernie Sanders promised. That`s the campaign we were running. It has taken a harshly negative turn and the Sanders folks have a choice to make.
HAYES: All right. Robby Mook, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
MOOK: Thanks so much. Take care.
HAYES: Still to come, something is happening here in New York for the first time since 1988. I`ll tell you what it is, ahead.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s campaign just made history. In the NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll released today, just 24 percent of voters nationally said they view Trump positively, while 65 percent have a negative view of him. That gives the Republican front runner a net favorability of negative 41 points, the lowest ever recorded for a major presidential candidate in the history of this particular poll.
While Trump`s unfavorable members are exceptional, the numbers are pretty grim for all leading candidates. For instance, nearly seven in 10 voters nationally said they couldn`t see themselves voting for Trump. But Ted Cruz didn`t fare much better, with 61 percent saying they couldn`t envision supporting him, and 58 percent saying the same of Hillary Clinton.
By contrast, Bernie Sanders and John Kasich each registered under 50 percent in that question.
Now, clearly, the primary is taking its toll on the front-runners. Now, sometimes primary battles are quickly erased in shows of unity and partisan polarization that come in the general. But sometimes, the wounds of the primary persist and end up gravely injuring the eventual nominee. An example of that right here in New York when we come back.
HAYES: It`s rare for a state like New York to get this kind of attention from presidential hopefuls considering its place on the primary calendar. Here we are on the eve of New York`s primary with candidates on both sides engaged in a battle for votes and delegates. It`s been nearly 30 years since so much focus was put on the Empire State. But you might notice familiar themes -- Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson and Al Gore were the names on the ballot, each vying for a part of the Democratic voting coalition.
HAYES: The year was 1988. And after eight years of Republican rule in the White House, the Democrats were trying to win it back. It was a crowded field of contenders with no clear front-runner coming out of Super Tuesday.
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: We saw a toss-up among the Democrats tonight. We want to show you what`s going on there now.
HAYES: By mid-April, there were three candidates left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The size and the timing of the New York primary could determine who the Democratic candidate will be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the campaigns agree that Dukakis is leading here, although not generating much excitement. Gore so far isn`t generating much support. And Jackson is pulling in big, enthusiastic crowds.
HAYES: Jackson was drawing crowds in parts of New York City that often felt ignored by the political class.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Watching the candidate, even after a debate in this city, is like watching a rock star after a concert. No other campaign looks like Jackson`s or sounds like it.
The south Bronx and other economically devastated sections of the city are targets for Jackson`s campaign of hope and pride.
JESSE JACKSON, FRM. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was born to a teenaged mother. I understand. I was born in the slum. But the slum is not born in me and it`s not born in you. And you can rise above it. And I challenge you to rise above it.
HAYES; But if jackson was adored by some New Yorkers, he was polarizing to others.
BROKAW: Jesse Jackson today tackled headon his toughest issue in the New York presidential primary, one of the headlines have reduced to "Jackson and the Jews."
Four years ago Jackson had to apologize for calling New York City Hymie town. Today, New York`s Mayor Ed Koch says Jews would be crazy to vote for Jackson.
HAYES: When the Jewish mayor of New York threw support behind Al Gore, political battle lines were drawn.
ED KOCH, FRM. MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Supporters of Israel, Jews and Christians alike, will know that as president, Al Gore will be like a rock.
HAYES: But it was not enough to shake up the race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: when Mayor Koch visits queens, he`s asked about crack and crime and cops, not about the Middle East. How much will the mayor`s endorsement of Al Gore mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very little. I guess it gives Senator Gore at least one vote and that`s Ed Koch`s vote.
HAYES: Dominating discussion in New York and in cities across America was drugs and crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is deep fear about drugs among New York families. The spread of crack, gang violence, drugs on the schoolyards.
HAYES: And it was in that broader context of crime that Al Gore found a new line of attack on Michael Dukakis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gore accused Dukakis of being soft on crime because as governor, Dukakis let first-degree murderers out of prison on weekend passes.
AL GORE, FRM. VICE PRESIENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two of them committed other murders while they were on their passes. If you were elected president, would you advocate a similar program for federal penitentiaries?
MICHAEL DUKAKIS, FRM. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Al, the difference between you and me is that I have to run a criminal justice system, you never have.
HAYES: It was not enough to damage Dukakis then. He won the New York primary and went on to become the Democratic nominee.
But Gore`s attack line found its way into the general election, and was used against Dukakis months later.
ANNOUNCER: Dukakis not only opposes the death penalty, he allowed first- degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison. One was Willie Horton. Weekend prison passes, Dukakis on crime.
HAYES: That infamous Willie Horton ad put out by an independent group supporting George H.W. Bush played a major part, many think, in Dukakis` loss in general election in 1988.
2016 New York is its own kind of rough. More on that live from Brooklyn, don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: Today, actor Johnny Depp and his wife actress Amber Heard were freed from captivity -- not literally, but close, and we`ll explain in a minute. It`s connected to an incident last year when Depp and Heard got into a pickle with the Australian government over their Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo (ph) while Depp was filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean filmed down under.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Christopher Depp, aka Jack Sparrow, and he`s decided to bring to our nation two dogs without actually getting the proper certification, basically looks like he snuck then in.
We start letting movie stars, even though they`ve been the sexiest the man alive twice, to come into our nation, then swhy don`t we break the laws for everybody?
So, it`s time that Pistol and Boo (ph) buggered off back to the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s loved his moment in the spot, hasn`t he?
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HAYES: That agriculture minister announced that the dogs had better leave the country or they would be euthanized. It caused an international sensation. The media mocking it as Australia`s war on terriers. And an Australian radio host in an interview telling the agricultural minister this.
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KYLE SANDILANDS, KISS FM, AUSTRALIA: You sound like an absolute clown telling the guy to bugger off back to Hollywood or we`ll kill his dogs. You sound like an idiot. You`re a government minister, not some idiot off the street mouthing off to a news camera. Have some decency.
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HAYES: But then it looked like the CRISIS was over when the offending animals were flown out of the country.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His two terriers back home after flying them apparently into Australia illegally. That country`s government threatened to put the pooches put down fearing that they carried disease.
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HAYES: But it was not over. And the agricultural minister got the last laugh. I`ll tell you why in 60 seconds.
HAYES: We thought we`d heard the story`s happy ending -- Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard flew their non-compliant Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo (ph), out of Australia under threat of euthanasia for the dogs. But today Depp Heard went to court. Heard plead guilty to providing a false immigration document for basically smuggling in those two dogs last year. Prosecutors dropped more serious charges that carried a sentence of up to 10 years, instead Heard received a one-month good behavior bond, which means if she breaks a law in Australia over the next month, she will have to pay a fine of about $767.
But that`s not all, an apology video was made and presented in court and posted by none other than agricultural minister Barnaby Joyce (ph) on his Facebook page.
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AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people.
JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: It has to be protected.
HEARD: Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world. That is why Australia has to have such strong bio security laws.
DEPP: And Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly.
HEARD: I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.
DEPP: Declare everything when you enter Australia. Thanks.
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HAYES: In about nine hours, voters here in New York will begin heading to the polls to cast their vote for president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both with deep ties to the state, hold significant leads.
But even if on the Republican side a Trump win is all but foreordained there is still plenty of suspense, and that`s because there are 95 Republican delegates up for grabs, 14 delegates based on the statewide results and another 81 delegates that will be given out by congressional district.
If Trump wants to clinch the nomination before the GOP convention, he may need to win every single one of them. New York`s delegate allocation rules make that a fairly tall order, because to sweep the delegates, Trump will need more than 50 percent of the state-wide vote, and then he will also need to clear 50 percent in each congressional district, anything less he`ll have to share some of those delegates with either Ted Cruz or John Kasich making it tougher for Trump to reach that magic number of 1,237 delegates prior to the convention.
And as RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer told our Andrea Mitchell today, this isn`t a game of how close you can get to the target.
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SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST: A majority of delegates will decide the nominee, a majority of delegates will decide the rules, they`ll decide the platform. That`s how it works. It`s not horseshoes. You don`t get to get close, you have to have to get a majority, you have to get 1,237 to become the nominee of our party.
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HAYES: Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign seems to be hoping that a win tomorrow not only clip the recent string of Bernie Sanders victories -- Wyoming marked his eighth in the past nine contests -- but also kick off a new phase of the campaign, the geography of which seems to favor her with primaries next week in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
Joining me now, Rebecca Traister, writer-at-large for New York Magazine, author of "All the Single Ladies;" Tera Dowdell, political consultant, former contestant on the Apprentice; John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for my magazine The Nation. It`s great to have you here.
I want to go back to the thing that we were arguing about earlier in the show, the money being thrown at the motorcade, if we can just show that real quick.
The Sanders protesters, they throw money at this motorcade of Secretary of State Clinton as it sort of goes to a fund-raiser. A lot of very strong reactions to that. Some people thought it was real offensive. Some people said, look, this is obviously about money in politic and the fact she`s on her way to a campaign, Joy Reid my colleague said she thought it reminded her of the way people treat strippers, or -- what was -- you`re biting your tongue.
REBECCA TRAISTER, AUTHOR: No, I`m not. I`m just trying -- there are some things that are complex and nuanced about this.
So, you can have a legitimate economic critique. And I think there`s been a legitimate economic critique made the way that money and politics is working, the way money in the presidential campaign is working. Bernie Sanders and his campaign and his supporters are making a very legitimate critique.
And -- but sometimes the expressions of what is a legitimate critique can merge with other kinds of expressions. And I think that the symbolism of throwing dollar bills at a woman has resonance outside or alongside with the economic critique.
And yeah, it`s -- throwing dollar bills at a woman means something even if it simultaneously means something real, it also means something misogynist. And that -- both things can be simultaneously true.
HAYES: Are you agreeing with that, Tera?
TERA DOWDELL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, I think what`s interesting is that of course we need to get the money out of politics. I don`t think there`s anyone who doesn`t fully understand that, maybe -- particularly on the Democratic side.
But let me say this, Bernie Sanders is raising money too. It`s not as if Hillary Clinton is the only person in the race raising money. And while he has a lot of individual donors, a lot of his donors are big-money people, particularly from the tech industry contributes to his campaign. And so -- and they`re not doing that out of the kindness of their heart.
The bottom line is the process needs to be changed, but it needs to be changed for everyone.
HAYES: I want to get to you on this job -- I would say this. I mean, I think the Sanders people will point out that they`re not using big money super PACs and they are sort of setting all sorts of records for the average donation. So, they`re -- largely its` been small-dollar donors. There are some people who have maxed out.
But the deeper thing to me, John, here is when we get to this question about the role this is playing, how corrupt people are, there`s this democracy spring that`s been happening in Washington, D.C, 1,400 people arrested, Ben and Jerry today. I mean, this is a -- it just seems to me there`s sort of two kinds of Democratic primary voters. There`s voters for whom this is front of mind. Like the whole thing`s corrupt and until you fix that you get nothing else downstream and those are the folks that are on the Capitol protesting.
There are folks whose intellectual analysis I find fairly compelling actually. But then there are folks on the other side who say, yes, that`s a problem, and there`s all these other problems, and we`re not going to fix it tomorrow so you do what you can within the system.
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: You know what I was struck by in this whole thing? George Clooney, the guy who held the fund-raiser, and who said, look, I`m uncomfortable with all this money in politics.
HAYES: Right and I`m hosting this fund raiser.
NICHOLS: Yeah. And I genuinely think -- and I`m not trying to talk up George Clooney here, but I genuinely think he hit the mark there, that within this Democratic Party there is a pretty unified critique of big money.
NICHOLS: The overwhelming majority of U.S. Democratic Senators voted for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. So it`s real. It`s just a question of how aggressively you go at it.
Now the bottom line on this is I sympathize with a lot of what Rebecca just said and Tara as well. And I think that we`re getting it now into this moment where -- probably -- these folks are going to have to start talking to each other a little bit.
And as they start talking to each other a little bit, it will be necessary to up that respect level. I`m serious. And again, I think that what Clooney said, the way he responded to it, instead of being very defensive, he`s saying, look, I did this because I do believe in much of what`s been said. We need to -- this need to raise money, but I also think there`s something very wrong with this.
I think there`s something in there, not putting him up for keynote speaker.
HAYES: Well, I think -- I think I want to -- one of the things I want to talk about that is part of this primary is sort of this question of unfavorability, electability. The new numbers we have out today are paint a sort of fascinating picture of where things stand. And I want to talk about that after a quick break.
HAYES: Still with me Rebecca Traister, Tera Dowdell and John Nichols. Taht`s a beautiful shot. We have a really nice HD screen behind us here. Don`t believe it for a second that`s actually our shot behind us.
So we got the new NBC/Wall Street Journal polling. I find the unfavorable fascinating. And I can`t tell like -- I guess I can`t tell how much is this a unique moment in politics or how much it is that the campaign`s gone on so long and it`s been so sustained, the attention.
But those are -- that`s wrong, that should be flipped around. Hillary Clinton is at minus 24, and Donald Trump is minus 41.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s correct.
But you`ve got a situation in which, you know, you have -- first let`s talk about Trump. And even when you go down from Trump to Cruz, these people are so far under water, if you were brought in to consult any of these people you would say, don`t run for president.
TRAISTER: Right. Right, no you would. But in fact, they`re winning.
But first of all, I think it speaks to how sort of -- electrified, and there`s so much passion, and so much of it is anger and hate. I think we`re seeing it on both sides of the aisle, but it`s especially true on the Republican side. There`s so much anger.
And so to me it`s kind of -- it makes sense that there would also be such high negatives for a lot of the candidates. People are angry at each other. I mean, of course, Hillary has 20-plus years of earning those negatives.
HAYES: Take me through a quick guided tour of her favorables, becuase they`ve -- you`ve made this point before. That the further she gets from power or attempting to achieve power...
TRAISTER: The further she gets from forward motion, the more popular she is. When she`s in a job, people tend to love her.
HAYES: First lady, secretary of state.
TRAISTER: Right, senator. Where she was expected to be unpopular in lots of these positions, and instead she had huge favorable ratings. As soon as she starts a competitive move forward -- now the question is, is it that she`s trying for something new, that she has challengers to back as an alternative, is it that she`s challenging men? Who knows what it is. But at that point when she enters a contest and starts to be in motion, her negatives soar and her popularity declines.
DOWDELL: A couple of dynamic issues for a secretary of state, where the Republicans tried to use her as a foil against President Obama, so they attacked President Obama and then they tried to elevate her as a way to hurt President Obama.
HAYES: I remember there was this period, there was also this period of tremendous bad faith. And you see a little bit right now with Bernie Sanders, a period of tremendous bad faith that`s actually around this point in 2008, when Clinton was losing to Obama, Republicans thought Obama was going to win and they wanted to damage him.
All of a sudden they were like, that Hillary Clinton, she`s pretty good. I remember that.
DOWDELL: Forget what we said about her, yeah.
NICHOLS: The one thing -- I hate to rain on this parade of negativity. But the fact of the matter is that in primary campaigns, for a variety of reasons, candidates can run their negatives up. And then when you pivot into the general election you`d be surprised at how it shifts.
And I want to come off something that Rebecca just said, and Tara referencing it as well. And that is, you say she`s -- when she`s in a job people tend to like her? Well, here`s an interesting thing, being the nominee of your party is a job. And you might be very surprised at that pivot.
TRAISTER: I`ve been saying that for some time, that we`ve never -- so far we`ve seen Hillary Clinton run in this dramatic race in 2008, and now again another dramatic race. And we`ve seen her lose once and come really close to losing this time.
And so we`ve also seen her, if you`re on the left, running against nice opponents whose politics we like where we don`t want her to go after them. I think we`re going to see -- we don`t know what it`s like to have a lot of the left behind Hillary and cheering her on as an attacker.
HAYES: The other question on the other side Tara, quickly, is do you think the same thing applies on the Republican side, where those negatives of Donald Trump are going to go down, he`ll get more popular as people consolidate, no matter what noise they make about never Trumping?
DOWDELL: Well, I think that there will be a segment of the Republican Party that will unite behind him. But I think there`s a segment of the Republican Party who he has so disgusted, that I think that particularly women, the soccer mom Republican women I think -- the ones in Virginia, certain key states, I don`t see them voting for him. I really don`t.
HAYES: This is a question, like, I think you should keep a list of all the never Trumpers, because I`m somewhat relishing like crossing them off the list one by one as got up there like hand wringing endorsements of Donald Trump.
Rebecca Traister, Tera Dowdell, John Nichols, thanks so much for joining us.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END