Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 10, 2016 Guest: Jeff Weaver, Neera Tanden, Celinda Lake, Maria Teresa Kumar, Molly Ball
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Just a half hour since polls closed in West Virginia.
On the Republican side, no surprise here. Donald Trump, the lone man standing, is the big winner, not that it was much of a race after his remaining competition dropped out last week, though Trump did campaign in the state.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won the day in West Virginia. His second victory in as many weeks with a total of just 37 delegates on the Democratic side up for grabs in the state, awarded on a promotional basis, it is unlikely to close his wide gap that he currently has behind Hillary Clinton.
Despite Clinton`s loss tonight, one high-ranking Democrat said he fully expects Clinton to win the nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: You bring up the next president. We`re all anxious to see --
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who she is.
I feel confident that Hillary will be the nominee, I feel confident she`ll be the next president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me from Louisville, Kentucky, where she`s covering the Clinton campaign, NBC`s Kristen Welker.
And, Kristen, my sense is the Clinton campaign strategy for West Virginia was basically to pretend like it wasn`t on the calendar and move right along.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: That`s pretty accurate, Chris, actually. Very good political analysis.
That`s right, and I just spoke with the Clinton campaign official a short time ago who said, look, they were bracing for this loss in West Virginia. But now, they`re really focusing on Kentucky and what`s interesting about that is that we`d seen this large pivot by Secretary Clinton to the general election and what we`ve seen in recent days is that to some extent she`s pivot back to this primary race, acknowledging that she really needs to win a few of these states in May.
In particular for the optics so that she heads into the convention on a strong footing and also just for the math to kind of take away that argument from Senator Sanders that he`s really gaining ground on her. So, we`ve seen her going up with ads today. And it really, the ads she released today on television at least, could play in a primary or a general. That`s kind of what`s interesting about it.
It makes the case she is the candidate who has the most experience. They`re also up with radio ads here. Based on my conversations, they`re not ruling out going up with ads in New Jersey and California. And, of course, California`s the state that has the most delegates. She`s still focused on this primary. But she`s very much focused on the general election as well, Chris.
So for the past two days, we`ve seen her focus on women voters. They`re going to be critical if Secretary Clinton wins the White House, independent women voters, Republican women voters. Today, she unveiled a new policy she says would lower the cost of child care. Of course, that`s something that appeals to women but also to working-class voters.
Right now, Chris, as you know, as you`ve been reporting on, she has a huge lead among women voters. So, they`re really going to be pivotal for her in the general -- Chris.
HAYES: All right. Kristen Welker, thanks for that.
Joining me now with more on tonight`s numbers, MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki.
And, Steve, what have we learned from the exit polling?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we`re learning something interesting happened in West Virginia on the Democratic side. Look, the headline is that Bernie Sanders won. But really you could make the case that Donald Trump is the winner of the Democratic primary in West Virginia.
Check this out. We asked Democrats in the exit poll, who are you going to vote for in November? A third said, I`m going to vote for the Democratic nominee. Twenty-seven percent of them said, I`m going to vote for Donald Trump. And thirty-six percent of them said, well, it depends. They`re not sure yet.
So, that is a very low number of Democratic support in a Democratic primary for the Democratic candidate. It`s coming -- it`s disproportionately right now favoring one candidate.
This is interesting. We asked if Clinton`s the nominee, if you`re a Clinton voter and Clinton`s the nomine this fall, who are you going to vote for? Well, overwhelmingly, Democrats said, I`m voting for Hillary Clinton. Nine percent of them said Trump.
Now, check this out. We asked Sanders voters, if it`s Sanders versus Trump this November, who are you going to vote for? More than a third of Sanders` own voters in the West Virginia Democratic primary said they`d vote for Trump over Sanders if Sanders is the candidate this fall.
So, that tells you something`s going on here. Here`s a couple possibilities. One is there is a competitive Democratic primary for governor playing out tonight in West Virginia. There`s nothing on the Republican side.
So, it may be that independent voters came into that primary to vote in the Democratic primary, while they were there, they like Trump, they don`t like Hillary, they wanted to vote against her.
There`s also a thing here where, look, West Virginia used to be a very Democratic state not long ago. There are a lot of sort of ancestral Democrats, they`re still registered Democrat, they have to vote in this primary today, maybe they like Trump, they don`t like Hillary, they use Sanders to vote against her.
However you look at it, though, a large number of Trump supporters in this Democratic primary today voted for Bernie Sanders or maybe more accurately voted against Hillary Clinton. That is part of this formula tonight for Sanders, Chris.
HAYES: And there`s some history too here, Steve. I mean, I remember in 2008, that was a huge win for Hillary Clinton. One of the high points. It was her as the sort of great avatar of the white working class in the Democratic Party at that point in the race.
Barack Obama only won his own primary in 2012 as the incumbent Democrat to a convicted felon who was serving time by about 60 percent to 40 percent. So you`ve got a situation in terms of the universe of registered Democrats in West Virginia that`s pretty distinct as compared to other states.
KORNACKI: What it is, it`s a swath of the country that basically extends from eastern Oklahoma up through Appalachia. This is where Hillary Clinton did best against Barack Obama in 2008. Places Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, certainly coal country, a big part of that.
In 2008, she beat Barack Obama in this primary by 41 points and the primary was in May. It was after everybody said Barack Obama`s going to be the nominee. She still won it by 41 points. She won that big victory in Kentucky.
And so now she`s certainly running, one of the stories has been how closely she`s attached herself to Barack Obama, to the Obama administration. And she is getting -- it`s the complete opposite of what we saw eight years ago. She`s essentially running or trying to run as the Obama candidate. She`s essentially getting Obama numbers here.
HAYES: All right. Steve Kornacki, thank you very much for that.
Joining me now, Jeff weaver, campaign manager for senator Bernie Sanders.
Jeff, I want to get your reaction to some of those numbers. You know, a third of the people who voted for Senator Bernie Sanders saying they would vote for Trump in the general? How do you understand that?
JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN: Well, I think how I understand it is that there are a lot of anti-establishment folks there. I think as Steve mentioned a lot of people who are traditional Democrats there who vote in the Democratic primary but who may in general elections sort of moved into the Republican camp.
You know, part of Bernie Sanders` campaigning trying to reach out to bring those people back in the Democratic party, to talk to disenfranchised, working class voters, let them know the Democratic Party stands with them against big-money interests, against corrupt campaign finance system. Bernie Sanders really epitomizes that.
But it`s going to take a lot of work to bring those people back, to convince those disenfranchised voters that the Democratic Party stands with them.
HAYES: This gets to something that has become a kind of central focal point I think for your campaign for the senator, for others about head-to- head polling matchups. On the average, Bernie Sanders is performing better than Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polling matchups. The argument --
WEAVER: In some cases by a lot.
HAYES: In some cases by a lot. The argument made is that`s essentially a cynical/fictitious expression of people that kind of want to troll Hillary Clinton or don`t like Hillary Clinton and that if Bernie Sanders were to actually become the Democratic nominee, those numbers would be very, very different.
And you`ve got to look at that exit polling. I wonder if you look at that and feel that is evidence of precisely that.
WEAVER: No Chris, look -- it`s been so consistent month after month. You could say if it was a poll here or there. But consistently, national pools, battleground polls, a battleground poll out of New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton beating Trump by very little, Bernie Sanders beating Trump by double digits.
These polls that came out at these three battleground polls, Quinnipiac polls, Hillary Clinton has higher net negatives than Donald Trump. It`s been consistent over so many months that Democratic -- particularly talking about superdelegates, we talk about the superdelegates -- you know, really have to take another look at this race. Hillary Clinton, it`s going to be a very tough uphill fight for her. There`s a lot of states going to be in contention with Donald Trump that have not been in the past.
HAYES: Let me interject an empirical point, the aggregate polling averages have Hillary Clinton up by about 6 points. It would not be accurate to characterize it as an uphill battle for her at this point, just in terms of the data that we have.
WEAVER: The Ohio poll today, down 4 points.
HAYES: That`s one poll. Our battleground poll --
WEAVER: Pennsylvania and Florida only up by 1. That`s not -- New Hampshire up by very little. A poll in Wisconsin, had Hillary Clinton up by 1.
HAYES: Like I said, the polling averages are quite different than that.
You guys also -- there was an interesting announcement from Hillary Clinton on health care in which she said she is open to allowing people to purchase into the Medicare program at an age lower than the current Medicare retirement age. Is that something that you support, that you`re encouraged by? Obviously, the senator is standing for single-payer but is that the kind of thing that the senator would support in the absence of the ability to get single-payer?
WEAVER: Well, that`s what is called the public option. When the president`s health care plan was moving through the Congress. It was something Senator Sanders strongly supported. It was something that was taken out at the very end in order to appease then-Senator Lieberman and insurance interests. But yes, certainly, that`s something Senator Sanders has always supported.
HAYES: Secretary Clinton also talking today about child care, policy proposals to reduce the total cost of child care for a family to 10 percent of the household income. Your campaign`s reaction to that proposal?
WEAVER: Well, I haven`t seen the details of it. Anything that makes child care more affordable is a positive. The question is how you do it.
But, clearly, there`s a crisis in child care in this country. Any working family knows that it`s extremely difficult to find quality, affordable child care when you`re looking to find it. People who work in the child care industry are paid far too low wages and no benefits.
So, a lot of changes have to go on in the child care system. But it`s going to take bold vision. I haven`t seen the details of Secretary Clinton`s proposal. I hope it`s bold, because that`s what`s needed is bold action.
HAYES: All right. Jeff Weaver, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.
WEAVER: Happy to be here. Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come more coverage of tonight`s primaries.
Plus, why Ted Cruz isn`t ruling out getting back in the 2016 race.
And later, the Trump campaign is trying to distance itself from a white nationalist yet again.
Stay with us.
HAYES: If one thing is clear after tonight`s results, it`s that despite his major deficit in the delegate count, Bernie Sanders is not going anywhere and he`s continuing to draw huge crowds, raise a lot of money, and win states, long after the campaign was declared by many observers DOA.
In the meantime, the likely general election matchup between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is taking shape. And their moves on the campaign trail today make for a revealing study in contrast, a snapshot of two very different approaches to the race.
After spending the past few days accusing Clinton of benefitting from essentially gender-based affirmative action, enabling her husband`s behavior towards women, today Trump tried another attack on Clinton`s character, releasing an Instagram video charging her with lying about Benghazi, ending with a video of her laughing over images of aftermath of attack. The last clip with Clinton laughing, in context, an understandable response to a silly question at the 11-hour Benghazi question hearing last fall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You left your office and went to your home in northwest Washington. Who else was at your home, were you alone?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was alone, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole night?
CLINTON: Well, yes, the whole night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why that`s funny. Did you have any in- person briefings? I don`t find it funny at all.
CLINTON: I`m sorry. A little note of levity at 7:15.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump has wasted no time making things very personal and very ugly. Clinton is focusing mostly so far on substance of her White House agenda. Campaigning today in Kentucky which holds primaries next week, she unveiled a new proposal to ensure that families don`t spend more than 10 percent of their income on child care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You know, you`re a working mom. Snow days, what are you supposed to do? All summer, what are you supposed to do? You`ve got to have a place that is safe and hopefully educational for your children.
We don`t -- the vast majority of families, don`t have a parent staying home all summer to watch their kids. It`s time to face up to the reality of what family life is like today and to support families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: While Trump no doubt has several signature policy choices like building a wall and banning Muslims, it remains to be seen whether he will discuss other policy issues in any degree of great detail. According to one of his prominent supporters, perhaps being a little more honest, the intended, that is absolutely fine if he doesn`t.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Donald Trump has never run for office before. I think a lot of people are expecting him to be this professional at politics where he has fought through the details of every issue. He hasn`t.
You know what, as president, he doesn`t have to. He surrounds himself with people who have thought through. But his goal as president is to keep his eye on the big picture.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined here in studio by NBC`s Katy Tur who, of course, has been covering the Trump campaign. There`s a period where we got word from the Manafort regime, was going to focus on policy speeches and he did the foreign policy speech. Now it seems like that`s maybe not the focus.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I don`t know what the next policy speech is going to be. We were told there would be another one in the coming weeks. But it has been I think a couple of weeks since the last policy speech.
I`m not sure that is their focus right now, because they`ve secured the nomination. Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee. Right now, the focus is pretty much entirely on trying to figure out where they stand with the party and whether they can start working together after July.
And then, it`s also just getting the convention together. There`s a lot of planning that goes into this. Meeting with the RNC, figuring out what the basic logistics are to being the nominee for a major party. What to you do next? What sort of strategy is there in place?
Most of these folks in the Donald Trump campaign have no experience with this. I mean, Rick Wiley was a part of the RNC, but it`s been a few years since he`s been there. There are new things in place. So everybody is now trying to get on the same page and figuring out what exactly they`re going to do next.
I do think you can continue to see Donald Trump be Donald Trump.
HAYES: Yes, that has so far been the theme in this at least early part of his tenure as presumptive nominee. Katy Tur, thank you very much.
TUR: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Republican strategist and MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt. And Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and staffer of Hillary Clinton`s 2008 presidential campaign.
Steve, how long -- I guess my question to you as we watch this play out in the first four or five days of this, we saw him kind of debate and negotiate with himself on taxes a bit. A little bit on the debt. To what extent do you see him proposing some fully fleshed-out policy agenda? To what extent do you see him doing basically what he did in the primary, in the general?
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It will be interesting to see what the outcome is of this meeting on Thursday with Paul Ryan. I think that one of the things that Donald Trump could do that would to do a lot of good is to say to Speaker Ryan, look, what is the legislative agenda that you think we could pass if I`m elected that I could send up to the Hill on January 21st?
And as we look ahead to the fall, to September, to the debates, I think these are likely to be the most-watched domestic broadcasts in American history. It may be the largest global broadcast since the moon landing. And when Donald Trump is up there with Hillary Clinton for 90 minutes, he`s not going to be able to do in that antiseptic hall without an audience. He`s not going to be able to do the performance theater that we`ve seen at the rallies.
He`s going to have to have some fluency on national security issues, domestic policy, and the ability to project a vision of where he wants to lead the country, what the outcomes are, and he`s going to need to be able to critique the Hillary Clinton proposals in a substantive and serious way in addition to the thematic way that we`ve typically seen him engage.
HAYES: Let me ask you on the other side, Neera. Essentially a version of the same question which was, something happened in the primary, a dynamic setting where Donald Trump would sort of throw out insults towards other people, demean them, belittle them. They would respond, I`m talking about policy and the issues that are important to Republican voters. And they got creamed.
So far in these first few days, we`ve seen Hillary Clinton take a similar attack. He says, you know, she only not to where she was talks she`s a woman, she says we should have a system that subsidizes child care for working parents.
Is that something that the Clinton campaign will be able to maintain through these long six months?
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I would say that if Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton is going to take punches like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, he`s got another think coming.
I mean, the truth of this is that Hillary`s not going to get in the gutter with him and a general election is very different from a primary. There are attacks that Donald Trump could make in a primary against other Republicans that independents in the country, moderate Republican, moderate Republican women, and Democrats, are repulsed by.
And so, I think you see that when 64 percent of women in the country are against Donald Trump. So I think, you know -- look, she`s been in races before with candidates who she ran against Rudy Giuliani, who had a similar bluster. And I think one of the things she has is she`s brought -- people have attacked her for 20 years. She`s not going to let Donald Trump get in her head. She`s going to talk about what`s more important to people`s lives than the attacks on her.
That`s what she wants to make this election about. About not her or Donald Trump, but the people she talked to today and the people she`s talked to all throughout this campaign.
HAYES: So that is -- I think you`re right, that is clearly what she wants to make it about.
Steve, my question to you is, I think if you go back in time to August of last year, you ask Democratic strategists, even people around Hillary Clinton, what is the fundamental question that will divide this election, they`ll basically say, should we continue the way we`re going or roll it back?
There was a sense that, particularly now Barack Obama has a 53 percent approval rating, the economy is adding jobs, unemployment`s 5 percent, despite the fact that there are many people who feel left out of that. Is this election going to be about this? Or is this election going to be fundamentally a referendum on Donald Trump? Because I think it very likely could end up as the latter.
SCHMIDT: Presidential campaigns are never referendums. Mitt Romney learned that the hard way four years ago. It is always a choice.
As the president said at the correspondents` dinner a week ago, steak or fish? That`s the choice. There is no third choice.
The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and we look at the states where this is going to be decided -- Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is a nontraditional, dangerous candidate, you know, for somebody like Hillary Clinton coming into this race.
But for sure, this is going to be a campaign the likes of which we have never seen in the modern history of the country. And all elections are always about change or more of the same.
SCHMIDT: And clearly Donald Trump is a change agent, because he breaks with every semblance of relation to what we understand is politics as normal -- you know, for good, for bad.
HAYES: Quickly, Neera, do you think it`s a change or more of the same? Is that fundamentally the choice here?
TANDEN: I really don`t. I think these are two candidates who are going to talk about how they`re going to -- let me say it this way.
HAYES: You can`t finish that sentence because that`s not true. You can`t say these are two candidates who are going to talk about their vision for the country and how they`re going to govern, because --
TANDEN: There`s one candidate who will talk --
SCHMIDT: One might.
TANDEN: -- about their vision for the country and another one who will talk about banning Muslims and a wall and a lot of things that will actually -- he will then tell you the next day are unlikely to happen.
HAYES: Or he might talk about raising the minimum wage to $20 for all I know by August.
TANDEN: And then take it back because he doesn`t want a federal minimum wage, he wants states to do it.
I think, look, there will be a test of the media of whether this candidate will be held accountable for the actual things he says day to day, minute to minute, hour to hour. But having said that, I think Hillary will talk about people`s lives and the changes she`s going to make and the difference we`re going to have over the next few years. It`s not one or the other.
HAYES: I love nothing more than taking tests, so we`ll see how this goes.
Steve Schmidt, Neera Tanden, thanks for joining me.
TANDEN: Good to be with you.
HAYES: Up next, could Ted Cruz get back in the race? According to the former candidate, it would depend on one thing. What he said in 80 seconds.
HAYES: It`s election night here in America, particularly in West Virginia a little later on.
Polls closed in West Virginia about an hour ago. And at the closing, our decision desk called a projected winner West Virginia on the Democratic side of Bernie Sanders with 37 delegates at stake.
On the Republican side, the lone man standing, Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee, who is likely to win all 34 of those delegates. Usually a call at the beginning means fairly significant margins. We`ll see those votes, the actual votes, start to come in over the course of the evening.
There`s another state voting tonight. That`s Nebraska, voting on just the GOP side. Those polls will close at the bottom of the hour. We will, of course, keep you posted with that.
As you may have noticed, politicians don`t end their campaigns, they suspend them. What is suspended can be unsuspended.
Today, Ted Cruz suggested he for one isn`t slamming any doors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you leaving the door open, if Nebraska were to somehow --
GLENN BECK, THE BLAZE: That`s not going to happen --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- miraculously choose you tonight --
BECK: Pat`s going for the Hail Mary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- is there, I mean, if that happens, would you consider getting back in the race?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, I am not holding my breath. My assumption is that will not happen.
But listen, let`s be very clear -- if there is a path to victory, we launched this campaign intending to win. The reason we suspended the race last week is with Indiana`s loss, I didn`t see a viable path to victory. If that changes, we will certainly respond accordingly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Huh. This afternoon Cruz was asked to elaborate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: We`ve withdrawn from the campaign. And it`s in the hands of the voters. If circumstances change, we will always assess changed circumstances. But I appreciate the eagerness and excitement of all the folks in the media to see me back in the ring. But you may have to wait a little bit longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cruz`s comments came during his post-campaign return to Capitol Hill this afternoon where the Texas senator was immediately asked if he would be endorsing Donald Trump. His answer to that question right after this.
HAYES: All right, today marked Ted Cruz`s first day back on Capitol Hill since suspending his presidential campaign.
The Texas senator was met this afternoon by a crush of reporters who of course immediately asked if he`ll be endorsing Donald Trump. That is,l if you`re keeping track, the same man Cruz called a pathological liar and narcissist, among other things, just one week ago.
Cruz basically dodged the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED: ...Donald Trump eventually, or do you rule that out entirely?
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: You know, we suspended our campaign one week ago today. There are two and a half months until the republican convention, six months until the general election. There will be plenty of time for voters to make the determination who they`re going to support.
What I am interested in supporting are free market principles and the constitutional liberties of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Marco Rubio, who you`ll recall deemed Trump a con artist during the campaign, today said he plans to give that con artist his support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: I`ve signed a pledge that said I`d support the Republican nominee and I intend to continue to do that.
But look, here`s the situation that we`re in. On the one hand, I don`t want Hillary Clinton to be the president of the United States. I don`t want her to win this election. On the other hand, as i said, I have well-defined differences with the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yeah, Rubio said he did not plan to highlight those differences going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: I don`t view myself as a guy who`s going to sit here for the next six months taking shots at him. People know where I stand, they know how I feel, they know what our differences are.
He`s the nominee of the Republican Party, or the presumptive nominee via the voters. I respect that and accept it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just yesterday Rubio posted a Facebook message taking himself out of contention to be Trump`s VP in what was widely viewed as a response to Rubio and others, who have ruled out being Trump`s number two. Trump today tweeted, quote, "it is only the people that were never asked to be VP that tell the press they will not take the position."
Trump is set to meet with congressional Republican leaders on Thursday. And there are signs the establishment opposition to him may be softening, at least in some quarters. A group of top GOP senators are now urging unity around Trump arguing, hey, at least he`s not Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems to me that the campaign is evolving in a little different way. So, what I`ve been saying to people who so quickly say negative things is, look, let`s chill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Molly Ball, staff writer for The Atlantic" magazine.
I can`t quite get this. The Paul Ryans and the Charlie Dents and the others who -- or even Marco Rubio saying I`ll support him, but putting distance between themselves and Trump, is this the opening of a negotiation process? Do they think this is a tenable position for them to hold for six months?
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, look, I think it`s every man for himself in the Republican Party right now. And they`re all making different calculations. And they`re all calculating a variety of things, whether it`s, you know, am I on the ballot this year? Do I have to worry about appealing to Trump voters, whether it`s about this is the party I`ve made my political career in, is it still going to be my home?
Whether they`re searching their very souls for how they feel about Trump. And I think it comes down to, can you bring yourself to see Trump as essentially a normal candidate that you just happen to have differences with, or do you see him as this apocalyptic extinction figure for the party and everything it stands for?
And if you see it that way, then where do you want to be when the meteor hits and the dinosaurs all die?
HAYES: Well, that`s a good way of putting it.
My hunch has been, as we`ve gone into this, is that fundamentally the structural foundations of this election will be more normal than people are anticipating, which is to say, the Democratic nominee will get the "normal" amount of supports from Democrats, the Republican nominee with end up with a "normal" amount of support from Republicans, and that the final state map won`t look that differently.
But if it is a loss for Donald Trump, that to me is part of the calculation as well, because people can tolerate this for six months. Can they tolerate it for four years and six months?
BALL: Yeah, well, I mean, the problem for the party is that even if Donald Trump loses, it`s hard to see how they go forward. There`s still going to be the old circular firing squad, there`s going to be finger pointing. And you`re going to have the Trump people insisting that the establishment sold them out and that`s why they lost. You`re going to have the Cruz wing of the party saying we didn`t nominate a true conservative and that`s why we lost. And you`re going to have the establishment saying that, no we need to do more outreach to women and minorities like they`ve been saying for years and years.
So, you know -- and then if Trump wins that`s a whole other issue for the party, which as you alluded to, would be performing a personality transplant on the party for the long-term.
HAYES: Let`s be clear, the Trump winning is the most important part of this Pascal`s wager. That`s the one that has the sort of boundless effect, because that to me is a calculation, right. I mean, all of this is low stakes if you think the guy`s going to lose. It`s a question of do you want to associate yourself with him and how closely are you on the ballot?
The guy wins, then it`s his party and then the Republican Party really is just a different creation.
BALL: Yeah, well, I mean, what I`m saying is I think it`s going to be a different creation afterwards anyway, because of this debate.
But yeah, if he wins, then that`s a real decision for a lot of people, and the polls that we`re starting to see come out were, as you say, we do see a somewhat normal coalescing around the Republican nominee, among Republican voters, even if a lot of elites aren`t there.
That is going to I think have a bandwagon effect. I think there`s going to be a lot of people who look at that and say, oh okay, it is acceptable to get behind this person, he isn`t this terrible, terrible event for -- that`s going to shatter of our lives the way some people have been talking about it.
And so then you do start to see those normal lines of the election and the normal cleavages along partisan lines and the question is what do the people in the middle do?
HAYES: All right, Molly Ball, thanks for your time tonight.
BALL: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, Donald Trump releases his list of California delegates. This is by far my favorite story of the day. On that list is a particularly troubling name and I will explain next.
HAYES: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan says he`s not ready to throw his support behind the party`s presumptive nominee. The House majority leader has indicated he is all-in. Kevin McCarthy of California has signed up to be a delegate for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.
McCarthy was just one in a long list of names submitted by the Trump campaign to represent California ahead of the state`s Republican primary in June. The Los Angeles Times explains how it works -- campaigns submit a list of pledged delegates, three from each of the state`s 53 congressional districts plus 10 statewide representatives before the election.
The list the Trump campaign submitted also includes Pew Teal (ph), he`s a billionaire tech venture capitalist, one of the biggest financiers of Ron Paul`s super PAC in 2012. Teal (ph) once told the Daily Caller that Trump was, quote, "sort of symptomatic of everything that is wrong with New York City."
Now, he`s now signed up as a Trump delegate in House minority leader Nancy Pelosi`s San Francisco district.
Trump`s delegate list also includes Congressman Darrell Issa, representing California`s 49th congressional district, Congressman Duncan Hunter, representing the 50th. In fact as The L.A. Times notes, Trump`s list of California delegates reads like a who`s who of state GOP politics, which apparently also includes this guy. I`ll give you 60 seconds to figure out exactly who he represents.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s campaign just submitted its list of California delegates, which include bold-faced names such as House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy and Silicon Valley investor Peter Teal -- and William Daniel Johnson. Johnson, for those unfamiliar with his resume, is the leader of the American Freedom Party, a white nationalist organization.
As Mother Jones reports, Johnson says that in his application to be a GOP delegate for Trump he disclosed multiple details about his background and activism.
In fact, Johnson has been a big Trump booster in the past. You may recall his earlier freelance work in the primary season in which he voiced robocalls telling voters, don`t vote for a Cuban, vote for Donald Trump.
Well, now the Trump campaign says a glitch was responsible for Johnson`s admittance on that California delegate list. A campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks tells The Washington Post a database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign`s list in February 2016.
But as Mother Jones reports, the campaign actually corresponded with the white nationalist Johnson. Less than 24 hours ago, Trump`s delegate coordinator sent Johnson a congratulatory email on Monday. And when he asked for clarification how to send his completed pledge form back to the campaign she replied.
Johnson told NBC News he wrote to the Trump campaign to withdraw his delegate bid and tonight the Trump campaign tonight says his name was not on the final list submitted for certification.
HAYES: Right. Polls closed an hour and 15 minutes ago in West Virginia, and Bernie Sanders is the big winner there in West Virginia, his second victory in as many weeks 37 delegates awarded -- again, on a proportional basis like all the Democratic contests -- it is unlikely to close what is already quite a wide gap between Sanders and the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Joining me from Louisville, Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton just wrapped up a rally, Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post and MSNBC political analyst. And Howard, Hillary Clinton choosing to engage in Kentucky in a way she didn`t really in West Virginia except for a little a bit.
What was she like on the stump tonight?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINTGON POST: She was really going after Donald Trump I think more specifically and something that I think prefigures what`s going to happen later down the road.
She`s sort of going after Donald Trump from the right if you define right and left in terms of international involvement and isolationism. She basically called Donald Trump an irresponsible isolationist who will allow -- wants to allow four other countries to get nuclear weapons and will allow Iran to run roughshod over the region and so forth.
I think that was by far the most specific she`s been on that. And that`s going to be one of the interesting things to watch as this campaign goes along. But I have to say it was a nice rally here. She was feisty. This is Louisville Slugger Field I`m speaking to you from, the grandstands of the baseball park and she had her bat in hand.
But at the same time, she got clobbered in West Virginia, in coal country there. And she`s going to get clobbered in coal country here in Kentucky next week.
HAYES: Did she use the word isolationist?
FINEMAN: No. She didn`t say that per se. I`m just saying that that`s sort of where she was coming from.
FINEMAN: She was saying that Donald Trump is irresponsibly shrinking from the world. He wants to let other countries get nuclear weapons. He doesn`t want to be involved in the Middle East where we have a big stake. He`s going to allow other countries to run roughshod.
And I`ll tell you, this is something to watch, Chris.
HAYES: Yeah, definitely.
FINEMAN: She is trying to pose as the strong commander-in-chief. This is a woman who is going to say, I`m the one with strength as commander-in- chief, against that pretty boy from Manhattan. That`s sort of the way that part of the campaign is going to come down if she has her way.
HAYES: They`re in Louisville tonight. I think they`re going to go with ads in Kentucky. They`ll obviously be containing -- campaigning in California. But my sense is that despite the fact that they are campaigning in primary states, she`s not talking much about Bernie Sanders.
FINEMAN: No, she didn`t mention Bernie Tonight at all. She now has her expanded laundry list of proposals, many of which are sort of taken in whole or part from Bernie. She`s incorporated all of those into the rubric of we`re going to take care of everybody, children to the aged. And in that sense she keeps amping up and increasing I think her appeal among women.
Where she`s going to go after the men it seems to me, strange as it may sound, is going to be on foreign policy. She is going to be -- and I hate to make a crazy comparison here, the sort of Golda Meir of the Democratic Party in 2016. She`s going to be the tough commander-in-chief, a woman that you don`t mess with. And her biggest applause line is when she says the Republican right wing has been coming after me for 25 years and I`m still standing.
FINEMAN: So it`s a strength argument. It will be interesting to see if she can pull it off.
HAYES: Howard Fineman, thank you very much for that.
Coming up, could Donald Trump really challenge Hillary Clinton in battleground states? New polling says maybe, but depends on turning out a certain voting group. Who that is right after this break.
HAYES: It`s another election night in America. And back with me to break down the latest exit polling out of West Virginia is MSNbC Steve Kornacki - - Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Well, Chris, one topic we looked at here in the Democratic side is the role of coal. Obviously, Clinton, Hillary Clinton had made those controversial comments about the future or maybe as she sees it the lack of future for the coal industry in West Virginia. Well, take a look at this coal miner households, 30 percent of the voters in today`s Ddemocratic primary in West Virginia are from coal mining households. How did they vote? By a more than 2-1 margin they voted for Bernie Sanders, 63 to 30 over Clinton. Maybe the most interesting thing, though, is this, of all those coal miners voting in the Democratic primary today, how are they going to vote come November? 45 percent of them, nearly half said, they`re going to be with Donald Trump, only 21 percent of them said they`re sure they`re going to be with the Democrat, the rest of them say it depends.
So really it`s not a Clinton constituency we`re seeing, not really a Sanders constituency, more of a Trump constituency.
HAYES: All right, Steve Kornacki, thanks so much.
Today, Quinnipiac University released three pretty surprising general election battleground polls showing a razor-close contest between Clinton and Trump in lorida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with a 3 percent margin of error, Florida and Pennsylvania are a statistical tie with Trump leading in Ohio.
Those polls diverge significantly from the NBC News battleground polls which showed Clinton with strong leads in all three of those states.
Now, these NBC/Marist polls were taken in March and April, which might explain the discrepancy. But another theory, a big part of the divergence, could be simply this. The percentage of the white voters sampled in those close Quinnipiac polls is greater than the percentage of the white electorate from those states in the last presidential election.
Quinnipiac`s Florida sample is 69 percent white compared to 67 percent white electorate in the 2012 election. In Ohio, Quinnipiac samples 83 percent, compared to 79 percent in that election, which is similar to the discrepancy in Pennsylvania.
So, white electorate seems to be overstated by those Quinnipiac polls.
But here`s the key thing, if the Trump campaign could generate an increase in the percentage of white voters in the general election, those Quinnipiac polls might wind up being accurate and predictive. In fact, what we`ve seen is the impact of variations in the demographic makeup of the electorate in the Obama era.
While, Obama won handily in presidential election years when non-white turn out was high, mid-term election years where the white electorate made up a greater percentage, Democrats suffered heavy losses.
Joining me now, Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and strategist, and MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar president and CEO of Volta Latino.
Celinda, let me start with you, it sort of striking to me just how determinative the demographic composition of any given electorate is in American politics in the 21st Century. If you tell me what the makeup is, I can basically tell you the result.
CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: That`s right.
And the other variables you can add are race, but also age, gender, and marital status, because unmarried voters voting overwhelmingly Democratic, young people voting Democratic, and women voting very much against Donald Trump.
So, yeah, you tell me who shows up to vote, I will tell you who wins.
HAYES: Teresa, here`s where Pew has been looking at sort of the changing composition of the American electorate. And here is how things are going to look. The change since the last presidential election -- 2 percent more white voters, 6 percent more black voters, 17 percent more Hispanic voters, 16 percent more Asian voters. That is a lot of relatively high growth of nonwhite voters.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT & CEO VOLTA LATINO: Right, well, this is actually going to be one of the most diverse electorate that we`ve seen since 2012. And I know that that`s what we said in 2012, but what we`re seeing is this completely chang in demographics.
This year, we`re going to have roughly 10 million new voters. Of those 10 million, two-thirds of them are people of color. Let`s actually start drilling down what`s happening right now in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, you have roughly 9 percent of the electorate is Latino and Asian. You have in Ohio, roughly 4 percent of it is Latino and Asian. That was the margin of victory that President Obama went off and won against Romney.
And, Chris, this is a very different election, because it`s not just bread and butter issues, it`s not just trying to make sure that you`re making ends meet. But for folks in the Latino community, for folks in the the Asian community, the Muslim-American community, and for women, this is very much issues of personal safety.
Do i feel safe in my local community because of what Trump has basically unleashed saying that it`s OK to racially profile someone, it`s OK to question whether someone is American or not. And the mobilization that we`ve been seeing not only in the Latino community but also in the Muslim- American community is pretty fierce.
HAYES: Yeah, we`ve been seeing some statistics to suggest there`s been a real push for naturalization among folks who are eligible, particularly Latinos who are eligible for that, who have yet to apply.
The other question I have, Celinda, is 2014 I think proved pretty definitively to Democrats that they cannot just rest on demographic composition.
HAYES: That that electorate looks wildly different than just two years earlier and produced wildly different outcomes.
KUMAR: But Chris, can I jump in there? I mean, 2014 was also the very first time that we did not have a voting rights act. And this is going to be the very first time that the voting rights act that has been severely limited in a presidential.
So, yes, it was the first time that we had the lowest turnout across the board in a 72-year history, since World War II, but it was also because we didn`t have the same protections that we had even in the previous year.
HAYES: Celinda, what -- around what number would you -- would Donald Trump have to get among white voters to win a national election?
LAKE: Well, it depends a lot on what the turnout is. And the turnout is being pushed to record levels both by the mobilization of Democrats, Democrats are mobilizing record numbers of Latino, African-American, Asian- American, young, and unmarried voters.
But Donald Trump is mobilizing record numbers of voters as well. So it depends a lot on -- we should also note that Donald Trump is having trouble with white women and married women. He`s got lower support among white women and married women than Mitt Romney had.
So a lot depends on the turnout of the different groups. But basically it looks like, if you have the record turnout that Democrats are expecting, you`d have to get almost two-thirds of white men and that`s just not going to happen.
HAYES: Two-thirds of white men. And of course Mitt Romney won married women in that presidential election and lost the election. Donald Trump right now polling behind with married women. That`s a sort of...
LAKE: That`s right.
KUMAR: And he literally has unfavorable among Republican women at 66 percent, that`s almost unheard of for a Republican candidate at this point.
HAYES: Yeah, those -- there`s also this question about what those -- the favorables/unfavorables will translate to. We`ve been talking so much about favorables and unfavorables and what sort of history-setting benchmark we`ve hit in terms of favorables and unfavorables.
But I`ve also seen candidates with relatively high unfavorables, George W. Bush in 2004, for instance managing to win.
LAKE: It`s a choice, right? And right now you have both candidates who need to be reintroduced to the general election public. But I think Hillary Clinton is reintroducing herself as someone with strong economic policies, strong foreign policy. Donald Trump is being reintroduced as a crazy person.
HAYES: Celinda Lake and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both.
That does it for us. MSNBC`s primary night coverage continues with Rachel Maddow, as the polls close in Nebraska.
Good evening, Rachel.
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