Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 3, 2016 Guest: Katie Packer, Philip Rucker, Molly Ball, John Noonan, Dale Ho, J.D. Vance
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The campaign is doing really well. It`s never been so well united.
HAYES: Trump pushes back after reports of an imminent intervention, and a campaign that`s falling apart.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: The candidate is in control of his campaign.
HAYES: Tonight, the waves of panic swamping the GOP.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I think some of what Trump has done is just very self-destructive.
HAYES: Plus, new fears about Trump in charge of the nuclear codes. Growing concerns about the Republican Party`s know-nothingism and questions about the fairness of the upcoming election.
TRUMP: And I`m afraid the election`s going to be rigged, I have to be honest. It`s a crooked system. It`s a rigged system.
HAYES: What`s actually getting rigged? And how the courts are fighting back.
When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Just about three months until Election Day and over 13 months since he first launched his campaign, the Republican Party has finally, it appears, reached a make or break moment with its nominee, Donald Trump. The past week has seen Trump attack the Muslim American family of a slain service member, invite the Russian government to spy on his political opponent, and kick a crying baby out of a rally among other unforced errors.
Recent polls have shown Trump slipping further and further behind Hillary Clinton, the latest from FOX News, giving her a ten-point lead. But what seems to have sent the GOP into full panic mode over the past 24 hours was Trump`s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans in their upcoming primaries.
Ryan had been slow to support Trump, of course, and has distanced himself from Trump`s many controversies, including his ugly feud with the Khan. In an interview with "The Washington Post", Trump threw some of Ryan`s own language back at him regarding his support, quote, "I`m just not quite there. I`m not quite there yet."
Now, it`s far from the first time Trump has poked and prodded at leading members of his own party. But this was apparently the final straw for RNC chairman Reince Priebus. Top Republican telling NBC`s Katy Tur, Priebus is apoplectic at Trump`s refusal to back Ryan, an old friend and fellow Wisconsinite.
Politico reports, according to one source, that Priebus lit into Trump pretty good during a phone call late yesterday, quote, "It was basically him saying, do you realize how badly you`re F-ing this up?"
In an apparent attempt at damage control, Trump`s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, publicly endorsed Ryan this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (via telephone): I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection. He`s a long time friend, he`s a strong conservative leader. I believe we need Paul Ryan in leadership in Congress in the United States. I talked to Donald Trump this morning about my support for Paul Ryan. He strongly encouraged me to endorse Paul Ryan in next Tuesday`s primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Meanwhile, according to a new report out today, over half a dozen former Trump campaign staff and volunteers are working for Ryan`s primary opponent.
It`s not just the Republican Party in crisis over Trump`s candidacy. According to multiple reports, some of his own campaign staff and close allies are in despair over the orgy of indecency and verbal incompetence on display in the past few days. A long-time ally of Paul Manafort, Trump`s campaign manager, told my colleague John Harwood, Manafort not challenging Trump anymore, mailing it in, staff suicidal.
Reacting to that report, a source inside the campaign told NBC`s Ali Vitali, "It`s all true, way worse than people realize."
Today, our own Chuck Todd and Hallie Jackson reported that some of Trump`s closest allies, including Priebus, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich are plotting an intervention to get Trump back on track.
Gingrich gave an unusually frank assessment of the nominee`s conduct in an interview earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: Trump is still behaving like as though it was the primaries and there were 17 candidates. He has not made the transition to being the potential president of the United States. I think some of what Trump has done is just very self-destructive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: According to one report, senior Republican officials are actually exploring what would happen if Donald Trump dropped out of the race.
But if you ask top campaign aides like Paul Manafort himself, there is absolutely nothing to see here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANAFORT: First of all, the candidate is in control of his campaign. That`s number one. And I`m in control of doing the things that he wants me to do in the campaign. The turmoil, this is another Clinton narrative put out there and that the media is picking up on. The campaign is focused and the campaign is moving forward in a positive way. The only need we have for an intervention is some media types who keep saying things that aren`t true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In other words, this is fine. At a campaign stop this afternoon in Florida, Donald Trump summed up the campaign turmoil as only he can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So I just want to tell you, the campaign is doing really well. It`s never been so well united. We started on June 16th. I would say right now, it`s the best in terms of being united that it`s been since we began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining me now, Katie Packer, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012 and founder of the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC.
All right, Katie, I guess my first question is, there`s a cyclical nature to this, right? I mean, how many times have we watched the Republican establishment, the party, say, this guy looks unhinged, we should do something about this, only for it to dissipate. Is this time different? There does seem to be an acuteness to the crisis this time that perhaps is different?
KATIE PACKER, FOUNDED OUR PRINCIPLES PAC: I do think it`s different in that the primary is over now and he is the nominee. And there was a lot of hope among some of the higher echelon that he would change and become more presidential, as he and others have said.
We haven`t seen that. And I think there`s some alarm starting to arise because these polls are not looking good. We`ve seen several polls now in the last week or so that show his support really sort of imploding. And it becomes a problem for our down-ballot candidates if the top of the ticket runs so poorly.
HAYES: Well, this is what`s so fascinating and you put your finger on it. There`s a set of never Trumpers, who I think are numerically quite small, but has outsize influence, sort of elites in the political class in the conservative movement. The real thing that seems to be driving all this, is this guy going to get destroyed in November or not? I mean, what I hear, the panic, he just spent a week attacking the family of a slain service member. He`s just did that and it`s killing his polls and he have to hit an eject button.
PACKER: Well, there`s a philosophical concern, but at this stage of the game, I mean, we`re less than a hundred days out from the election, it does become a tactical concern. And, you know, can we sort of build the sandbags and prevent the flood from taking away, you know, important candidates? And so far, candidates like Rob Portman, and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Kelly Ayotte, they seem to be holding their own. But at some point, it becomes alarming for those who are responsible for holding on Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
HAYES: Do you think there`s any way that he could be somehow cajoled into dropping out? I mean, this seems to me a fantasy along the lines of many other sort of anti-Trump fantasies I`ve seen. It`s a micro-genre of like Trump leaves us alone of fan fiction in this election. I don`t think that`s happening. But do you?
PACKER: No, and I don`t hear that among people that are opposed to Trump. Nobody actually thinks that that`s going to happen. It would require the candidate dropping out. And I don`t think the candidate thinks he`s doing poor. He seems to think he`s doing fine.
I do think he has three reasonable children that seem to have some level of influence on him, and they`re the only ones that could maybe sit down with him and say, this isn`t going well for you. You`re not only hurting yourself. You`re hurting the whole party, and you`re becoming the laughingstock. I think it`s important for us to sort of go dark for a few days and sort of reassess our situation.
He doesn`t seem capable of doing that. I do think Ivanka and Eric and Donald Jr. are the only ones who can exert that kind of influence on him.
HAYES: I thought it was interesting to see the fundraising numbers today. He`s raking in the small donations. Cash on hand, he`s up to $37 million. A lot of money in small donations, channeled through the RNC. That strikes me as a key reason he`s not going to go anywhere, because they`ve started to figure out how to get money flowing into the campaign from small dollar donors, who, let`s be clear, like what he`s doing.
PACKER: Yes, and they should focus a lot of their attention on that. Frankly, if I were the Trump campaign, I would take him off the road for a week, and focus entirely on fundraising. By all accounts, when he gets in front of donors, major donors, small donors, whatever, he does seem to sort of tamper it down a little bit and come across better. And just try to stay out of the news for a few days.
The news is not his friend right now. I think that would be the best strategy for resetting the narrative out there.
HAYES: Quickly here, Katie, obviously, your judgment on this has been good. You saw, I think, what this was from fairly early on. You lent your voice and your expertise to try to stop it from happening. Do you doubt the judgment of your peers who seem pathologically incapable of understanding the obvious nature of the individual at issue here?
PACKER: Well, you know, people have different concerns and different things that drive them. I don`t judge people who make a different choice than what I`ve made. I`ve been concerned all along that not only is Donald Trump dangerous for the country, he`s also dangerous for the Republican Party and doesn`t represent the values Republicans have espoused as long as I`ve been involved.
So, it does concern me, and I hope we have an opportunity to rebuild.
HAYES: You Republican are sounding like liberal squishes over there. No judgment.
I think you need some more judgment. You need to do more judging over there. You hold down the judging end of the political spectrum.
Katie Packer, thank you very much.
I`m joined now by Philip Rucker, national political reporter for "The Washington Post", and Molly Ball, politics writer for "The Atlantic."
And, Philip, you conducted an amazing interview with Donald Trump. Tell -- walk me through. If you read the transcript, it reads like someone who -- and I`m not saying this is a person who is on some sort of substance or amphetamines, but it reads like someone who is on something. They are sort of incapable of holding attention on a single thing for more than a sentence or two.
PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I`m not a physician, so I`m not going to make any judgment there. But, certainly, he was distracted during the interview. He routinely was looking at a television screen playing FOX News behind us.
But I tried to steer the conversation around to the issues that we were taking about, and I think he gave some pretty enlightening answers on a whole range of subjects, especially his disdain for leaders of the party, Paul Ryan, Senator John McCain, and Senator Kelly Ayotte, a real rising star in New Hampshire. And he`s not endorsing them at this point.
HAYES: Yes, he said he had better numbers than her, which from a favorability standpoint is not true.
Molly, here`s the problem for Reince Priebus and there are many problems. We could spend the next 15 hours talking about Reince Priebus` problems. One of them is, you know, here`s a guy who just spent a week attacking the family of a slain U.S. service member, particularly the mother in a real sort of gross and bigoted way. To then say, oh, it`s fine, it`s fine, to, he`s not going to endorse Paul Ryan in his primary. That`s the final straw? It looks pretty calculating.
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I mean, to be fair, I think a lot of Republicans have expressed concerns about both ends of that deal, right? And I think, for example, the statement that John McCain put out over the weekend was a real expression of anguish, that really seemed motivated, much more by moral concerns than by any kind of electoral calculation, although that was probably part of it as well.
I think there`s a lot of Republicans who are waking up to the fact that Donald Trump has been impeccably consistent throughout this political campaign.
HAYES: That`s right.
BALL: And cycle after cycle of this sort of Groundhog Day speculation about this mythical new Trump that was going to suddenly emerge, has never happened.
And so, for every five minutes that he remains on message and hope sort of springs eternal in the political class, that always gets demolished and it got demolished again this week. So he`s had a very bad week and it happens to be the week after both conventions when a lot of this stuff seems to get set in stone and we look toward November. So I think that realization is just setting in for a lot of people.
HAYES: Molly, do you think there`s going to be -- are there any sort of actual recriminations that could happen here? I mean, basically like you said, it`s Groundhog`s Day. This reminds me of the Judge Curiel situation, where he was obsessively attacking a judge with these racist terms, basically saying the guy`s Mexican heritage disqualified him from sitting in judgment.
And widespread condemnation. His poll numbers plummeted. Eventually, he sort of came out of it, frankly, and his poll numbers came back up. But there was never any price to pay in any tangible way. I mean, there`s no way the Republicans can divorce themselves except you have seen over the last few days, actual elected members of Congress saying they will not vote for him.
BALL: Well, I don`t think there`s a tipping point. I don`t think there`s a breaking point where the Republican Party decides en masse to abandon Donald Trump. I think it`s a steady drip, a steady slide, one after another, because it is every Republican for himself or herself.
And they`ve realized there is not going to be a signal from on high. Reince Priebus is not going to call a meeting in a smoke-filled room of the Republican establishment. Every one of them is having to make an individual decision, whether it`s Katie Packer or Sally Bradshaw, or Meg Whitman. And some of them are going to stay in the tent, and they feel that`s more important, that preserving the party has to happen from within.
So, I think we`re going to see a continued divide, a continued split. I don`t think there`s any coming back together or healing that`s going to happen before the election. Donald Trump feels that he`s leading a movement from outside the Republican Party that`s stronger and more interesting and more potent than what the Republican establishment had to offer previously.
And he firmly believes he`s going to make up in what he loses in Republican defections in what he`s adding from people outside the party.
HAYES: And, Philip, and what came across in the interview, the obvious animus he bears toward the party. I mean, he -- in some ways, if you watch his stump speech, he spends as much time going back through the primaries and talking about it. He`s not quite as nasty as he used to be about his vanquished foes, but this is as much about the Republican Party as it is about the Democrats or Hillary Clinton.
RUCKER: I mean, he`s a conqueror. And he likes to talk about his conquests, which is the Republican Party.
Look, I think Molly made a really good point. He`s the leader of this party. He thinks he`s going to bring new people in. He doesn`t think he has to abide by any rules. When he sees somebody like Paul Ryan disagree with him, for example, over the weekend on his confrontation with the Khan family, he feels that Ryan was being a traitor and Ryan needs to get in line behind Trump, and I think that`s what led to Trump saying what he said to me yesterday, about not being willing to support Ryan just yet.
HAYES: You`ve interviewed other politicians. Was the level of distraction for the norm in your conversations with politicians?
RUCKER: It was unusual. I don`t usually do an interview with a candidate with the TV playing behind me. And certainly, the interview subject isn`t always watching the television.
But that`s kind of how Trump is. He multi-tasks. He veers from subject to subject. You see it at his rallies and when he sits down for a TV interview. And it was the same way with me.
HAYES: Multitasking is one way to put it.
Philip Rucker and Molly Ball, thank you both.
BALL: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, can Donald Trump`s core base of supporters be dissuaded by literally anything he says or does? Why it seems unlikely.
But first, growing concern about Donald Trump having access to the nuclear codes. I`ll talk with someone with first hand knowledge on the topic. That interview comes to you in just two minutes.
HAYES: During this presidential year, we`ve heard quite a bit of talk about Donald Trump, quote, "having access to the nuclear codes." It`s invoked often as a kind of abstraction, a symbol of just how high the stakes are.
But it`s also a very real thing. It`s not hyperbole to say that if Donald Trump becomes president, he will have the ability to more or less annihilate all life on this planet, which puts into context this comment from MSNBC`s Joe Scarborough on his show today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, if we have them, why can`t we use them?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, this comment has gotten a lot of attention. We should say, it`s unclear what that meeting was and whether that`s exactly the way it went down.
This afternoon, Trump`s campaign manager Paul Manafort responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANAFORT: The idea that he`s looking to use nuclear weapons, it didn`t happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nevertheless, Scarborough`s comment this morning prompted a tweet storm from someone who used to advise Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush on national security during their campaigns and who also happens to be someone who used to be on the switches to launch a nuclear weapon, John Noonan, who went into a remarkable tweet storm writing in part, "Buckle the hell up. And nuclear deterrence is about balance. Trump is an elephant jumping up and down on one side of the scale. So damn dangerous."
And John Noonan joins me now.
Mr. Noonan, can you start a little bit by telling -- you write about what it`s like to sit, I think, a hundred feet underground as part of the nuclear command structure. What was your experience personally?
JOHN NOONAN, FORMER NUCLEAR WEAPONS OFFICER, U.S. AIR FORCE: Well, thank you, Chris. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Look, it`s an awesome responsibility. There`s no question about it. You said it best yourself. The power to take life with these weapons is almost incomprehensible. We are blessed in that we have some of the finest men and women on the planet who are volunteering to do this duty, and they do it well.
Right now, there are about 90 young Air Force officers out on nuclear alert right now, hundreds of feet under the Wyoming soil, under the North Dakota soil, under the Montana soil, quietly doing a job that is really the gravest of responsibility that you can ask of a young military member.
And to see Donald Trump play so loose and so fast and so callously with such an important, important responsibility, it`s hard to watch.
HAYES: We should note that, independent of what Joe had said this morning, there`s other times when he`s invoked nuclear weapons somewhat carelessly. He talked with my colleague, Chris Matthews, not taking a nuke of Europe off the table.
You write about the sort of structure here, and I want to be very clear about this, I`ve been reading about this. It is somewhat surprising. The president really does sort of unilaterally have the power to launch nuclear weapons, right?
NOONAN: Yes, that`s right. There are checks in the chain of command, but the buck stops with the president.
And, look, Chris, we have a very robust nuclear infrastructure. It`s secure. It`s safe. We`ve never had one go off on accident, knock on wood. We`ve never had one stolen.
HAYES: We have come surprisingly close, I would note just as a historical side note.
NOONAN: Look, there`s no question we`ve lost materials. But the fact of the matter is, it`s a robust structure, it`s supported the peace for many decades.
But it pivots -- in fact, it rests on having a strong, stable, rational, commander in chief. And for the first time, that could be called into question.
HAYES: You wrote this. I could sit a hundred feet underground on alert knowing that POTUS would not make me do my duty not unless it was last resort. But imagine having to turn launch keys not knowing if we were under attack, or because a foreign leaders said a mean thing on Twitter.
Does is that`s the kind tail risk scenario that has run through a lot of people`s minds. Hillary Clinton has mentioned it. But it just something that you hear come up, Celinda Lake talked about a focused group. I mean, even if it`s infinitesimal small of a chance, it is -- does it stop you, does it keep you up at night?
NOONAN: Frankly, it does. Frankly, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency keeps me up at night, regardless of our strategic forces.
I have several friends in the military still that are like family to me. And the thought of him as commander in chief is disconcerting. They`ll be looking to him for leadership. They deserve the best leadership in the world. And I don`t think they`re going to get it with Donald Trump.
You add nuclear forces, strategic forces to that equation and it gets ugly very fast. One of the things that I think folks should understand about the entirety of the deterrence principle around the nuclear arsenal, which is its own kind of long discussion and debate about whether that`s the best thing we should have for long time. But the idea behind the triad, which Trump notoriously didn`t know, it`s essentially assured destruction, right, assured destruction of anyone that would attempt to do something, right? That we would respond with overwhelming force and that essentially acts as a deterrent, but it`s key that no one contemplates us using it as a first strike capability.
NOONAN: No, that`s -- look, most presidents retain the option of a first strike use to keep other nations in check. It`s not a bad policy.
What throws a wrench in the equation, the deterrence equation that you capably described, is the fact that you no longer have a rational person talking about that policy. Donald Trump has backtracked on multiple statements having to do with national security. You don`t really know where he stands.
And look, uncertainty in this business is a dangerous thing. It`s fundamentally dangerous. So, look, yes, I`m concerned. Yes, every American who is contemplating pulling a lever for this guy in November should be concerned.
HAYES: All right. John Noonan, thank you very much for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.
NOONAN: Thanks for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Up next, you`ve been clamoring for it. We`ve heard your pleas. So, tonight, an update to the infamous ALL IN 2016 fantasy candidate draft, where the stakes have never been higher. Don`t go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I have our number five, it should be Hillary Clinton, according to my rankings.
HAYES: This is a big moment. Dude, if this is actually -- we are going to call for an investigation. Number five. Oh, my God!
ANNOUNCER: Jackpot! She`s the Democrat to beat in this race. And the consensus number one pick in this ridiculous draft.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What difference, at this point, does it make?
ANNOUNCER: Former first lady, former New York senator and former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, we were just talking about access to the nuclear codes, but perhaps the most important topic on viewers` minds is, who will win the ALL IN 2016 fantasy candidate draft?
For the uninitiated, back in January 2015, before anyone had even declared their candidacy, we held a fantasy draft, picked five presidential hopefuls, in hopes of winning a mini speedboat. Points given for every milestone a candidate reached. Eighteen months later, both parties have nominated their tickets, giving 750 points each to the two draft contestants left standing.
Sam Seder with Hillary Clinton, as you just saw, and Jess McIntosh with Donald Trump.
Now, I should note that when our show first aired, a mere 552 days ago, Sam Seder seemed like the person to beat. But with all the draft picks like Clinton, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, even good old Lindsey Graham.
It was Sam`s game to lose. Now it`s my duty to report to you, Sam Seder has lost. Even if Hillary Clinton attends all three debates and is elected president, our scoring system means Sam would still not get enough points to beat our ALL IN 2016 fantasy candidate draft winner Jess McIntosh and Donald Trump and 29,500 points.
A cruel irony, because Sam gave away his Donald Trump whammy pick to Jess. He had him on the board as a joke, which seemed like the same thing to do at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You got Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. You know, Sam Seder, everyone was joking about his numerology, but it`s pretty darn good right now.
JESS MCINTOSH: Not that it`s been a lost of Jeb. It`s like being with Trump.
HAYES: That`s right. You have Trump now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the moment where it all happened. Let`s hope all that comes out of Trump`s candidacy is that Jess McIntosh wins a mini speedboat -- 97 more days to go, people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump can do no wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump can do no wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So are you someone who would call yourself a Republican or are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not a Republican that likes the elite Republicans, that`s what attracts me to Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So in that thread, Trump right now is in a hot water with the people who of the Republican Party because he doesn`t know that he wants...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are the elite Republican Party that he`s in trouble with, not the regular Republican Party like me, the mainstream, blue collar, white collar type people that are with Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of Donald Trump`s remarkable feats is that he has successfully cast himself as the anti-elite champion of the working man despite his private planes and his gold-plated Manhattan penthouse.
And one of the most surprising things about Trump`s campaign, particularly in this current cycle, where the candidate seems to be locked in a mode of self-destruction, it`s how high the floor of his support is. For Trump`s base, it doesn`t seem to matter what he says or does, they have found the guy who gets them, who speaks for them.
For example, after the Republican National Convention, polling found that white women, college educated whites, independents, and young voters were less likely to vote for Trump, that`s after the convention.
The only groups who told Gallup they were more likely to vote for Trump after the convention, 52 percent of white men, and 52 percent of white non- college graduates. Neoconservative Max Boot lamenting in the New York Times in an op-ed titled how the stupid party created Donald Trump, even if we could avoid the calamity of a Trump presidency, the GOP still has a lot of soul-searching to do.
Mr. Trump is as much a symptom as a cause as the party`s anti-intellectual drift. The party needs to rethink its growing anti-intellectual bias, its reflexive aversion to elites, catering to populist anger with extremist proposals that are certain to fail is not a viable strategy for political success.
Joining me now is J.D. Vance. His incredible new book, "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis", documents firsthand how a portion of America feels abandoned and alienated. It`s a portion he comes from.
J.D., thanks for joining. I really, really, really like the book.
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR: Yeah, thank you for having me.
HAYES: So, you write about growing up in southeastern Ohio, and part of Appalachia. You write about your firsthand experience with a subsection of the white working class, we should be clear, a geographically, in some ways ethnically bound, Scots-Irisish part of that white working class. But I think it`s fair to say that the part that has been the most fervent Trump support both in the primaries and in both demographically. How do you understand this connection between the folks that you came from and that support for Trump?
So I think it`s a couple things. So, I think first as a matter of tone. It`s really important to note that Trump doesn`t just say certain things, but he conducts himself in a certain way, right? So, he`s not afraid to shoot from the hip, to be offensive, to say what`s on his mind. And I think for folks who see in the elites and in people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, someone who`s just not relatable. They`re not like we are, they don`t talk or think like we do. Donald Trump is very refreshing in that way.
The other side, I think, is that for many years, the Republican elites, the part of the party that really drives policy has pushed a combination of tax cuts, deregulation, free trade, those policies, whatever their merit as matters of good government, have not addressed, I think, a very real social crisis that`s going on in the white working class.
So if you think about rising opioid addiction rates, the lowering of the life expectancy, declining jobs and so forth, I think there`s a sense that the Republican policy platform is just really not addressing the concerns of the people who are voting Republican.
HAYES: That, I think, is the most significant, substantive thing to come out of this.
I want to go back to something you said, though, before we talk about. You talk about relatability and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And, you know, a lot of people are going to say this is about race fundamentally. We`re talking about folks that are white. We`re talking about folks who in poll after poll show higher levels of racial animus, when you ask them a bunch of questions about prejudice or do blacks face worse discrimination than whites?
How much is it in your view about race, about seeing the Democratic coalition as fundamentally being a non-white coalition?
VANCE: Well, I think it`s important to note that definitely some of it is about race. I don`t think you can be honest and deny that some of it is.
But I don`t think most of it`s about race.
And so there`s this interesting question about when you poll people and they express higher levels of racial animosity or a variety of views that might be described as if not as racist at least as expressing some sort of racial resentment, what I see in those polls is frankly that they`re following Donald Trump, not that Donald Trump is following them.
I think this is a really important, and frankly a very unfortunate part of the Donald Trump phenomenon. It`s not just that he`s found a way into these voters` hearts and into their political preferences, he`s actually I think leading people in a certain way, and he`s leading our political discourse to a very negative place.
So, I think that`s an important part to recognize. I really don`t think that this is significantly he`s just appealing to a bunch of racist Republicans, I think it`s more that he`s dragged the conversation downward a little bit.
HAYES: That is a very interesting idea. And it opens up a possibility of, could you imagine someone who could find a way to give voice to these folks that was explicitly anti-racist, or was promoting a socialist agenda, or something that was completely out of the box of essentially conservative or Republican, or nationalist sentiment. Is that a possibility in your mind?
VANCE: I think it`s a possibility. I think over the short-term, I don`t expect much to happen with the Democratic Party on that front. I think the cultural disconnect is just a bit too great.
If you remember a few weeks ago, where Hillary Clinton I think was worried about climate change, but she made a comment about putting coal miners and coal businesses out of work. At the end of the day, that just seems tone deaf to a lot of people. And I think that ultimately while I think that a politician like that could come along, I think that the modern the party in this 2016 election cycle has probably gone a little bit too far and is not really going to be able to peel a big part of Trump`s support away.
HAYES: That I would agree with. I mean, those coalitions are pretty set. The book is called "Hillbilly Elegy." I`m about halfway through it. It`s a really fantastic read, it`s really eye-opening. IT`s a great piece of work. You should check it out. J.D. Vance, thank you very much.
VANCE: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Still ahead, Donald Trump`s latest complaint of a, quote, rigged system, warning of voter fraud stealing the election. Well, it`s time for a fact check, and that`s just ahead.
HAYES: Thing one tonight, is there any Republican having a better (inaudible) remember John Boehner resignation last fall singing "Zippity Do Da" after making an announcement he would be leaving congress and stepping down as speaker of the House?
Well, he`s largely been a private citizen. Every once in awhile he`ll pop up again like this tweet of him mowing his immaculate lawn in March days before the Ohio primary where his hilarious appearance alongside President Obama during a video for the president`s final White House correspondence dinner.
Last night, a new picture of the elusive former speaker emerged. Take a look.
Now, there could be a lot of reasons John Boehner is smiling cupping his red wine, especially given what his successor Paul Ryan is going through right now. But that glass of wine is meant for something else, that`s thing two. I`ll tell you what that is for in just 60 seconds.
HAYES: So why was John Boehner toasting with that glass of red wine last night? Well, New York Times chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse tweeted out that picture with a caption, turns out Speaker Boehner is, indeed, joining Kansas primary night, "just received this (inaudible).
Why would John Boehner be interested in following the primaries in Kansas? (inaudible) Tea Party (inaudible) was on the primary ballot. (inaudible) in that big Tea Party wave, a member of the House (inaudible). Huelskamp alienated members of the House, frustrated Republican leaders, and was quite a vocal clinic of one John Boehner. And last night Huelskamp got his butt kicked, losing his race by 13 points to Roger Marshall, political newcomer, and OBGYN. Ah, 2016. It`s a good year.
But it wasn`t just Huelskamp that was voted out last night. You may remember this show went to Kansas for an All In America special report about conservative governor Sam Brownback using the state as a laboratory for right-wing policy and governance, which by every metric has been, well, an unmitigated disaster.
As the Kansas City Star editorial board noted, in order to balance the budget, the state had to withhold $260 million from public schools until July, grab every sales tax dollar it could find from the highway fund and took money from the children`s initiatives fund and department of corrections.
But yesterday was a kind of referendum on Brownback`s governance and Kansas moderates showed they`re not dead yet, because along with Congressman Huelskamp, last night`s primaries unseated at least 11 conservative state lawmakers, including many allied with Republican Governor Sam Brownback.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s a crooked system. It`s a rigged system. We`re running against a rigged system.
And I`m afraid the election`s gonna be rigged, I have to be honest.
The whole thing with voter ID, identification, I think, is real. I mean, people are going to walk in, they`re going to vote ten times, maybe. Who knows?
When we run, we have to make sure that you don`t have people voting ten times, because as you know, there`s a big difference now from what there was before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Donald Trump is laying the groundwork for conspiracy theories about the election being stolen from him, calling the system rigged and crooked and warning, completely baselessly about irresponsibly, about widespread voter fraud. It`s a tactic championed by his former adviser and confidante Roger Stone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FRM. ADVISER: The first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly. If there`s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate. The election of the winner will be illegitimate. We will have a constitutional crisis. We`ll have widespread civil disobedience and the government will no longer be the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Actual incidents of voter fraud are astonishingly rare. According to this chart from Fox, there have been 35 credible incidents of in-person voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 compared to more than 834 million ballots cast in national, general elections.
That hasn`t stopped a widespread belief in voter fraud among Republicans. For example, get this, in 2009, a majority of Republicans polled believe that ACORN, the community group falsely accused of massive voter fraud, stole the presidential election for Barack Obama.
And unfounded fears of rampant voter fraud have been cited across the country as Republican state house after Republican state house passed laws restricting voters.
By 2015, voters in 17 states face new restrictions that hadn`t existed back in 2012. From photo ID requirements to cutbacks in early voting and same- day registration, the new laws disproportionately targeted poor and communities of color.
But just recently, courts have started to push back in a series of decision that could have huge impacts on the election. We will tell you what they`ve done right after this break.
HAYES: So in just the past two weeks, courts struck down restrictions on voters in five different states. Today in Texas, the state reached a deal to weaken its voter ID law after the election this November, after a federal appeals court ruled that the drafters of the bill knew it would disproportionately affect minorities.
Writing for the majority, one judge wrote that it would be untenable to permit a law with a discriminatory effect to remain in operation. Then in North Dakota, a federal judge blocked the state`s voter ID law on Monday, writing the record is replete with concrete evidence of significant burdens imposed on Native American voters.
And last Friday, similar rulings loosening voter restrictions were handed down to Kansas, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
The court noting in a latter case, the law had specific provisions to, quote, target African Americans with almost surgical precision.
Joining me now, Dale Ho, director of ACLU`s voting rights project, and Zachary Roth, MSNBC national report and author of the new book which is out this week "The Great Suppression," which you should defnitely pick up.
Dale, let me start with you, the legal lay of the land.
So, you have got the Supreme Court basically guts the Voting Rights Act, right, takes away this key provision which gets rid of pre-clearance, right. So states can do what they want.
A whole bunch of states immediately, like we`re talking like 12 hours later.
DALE HO, ACLU: The same day the decision is announced, Texas announces that it`s voter ID law, which had previously been blocked under the Voting Rights Act, they`re just going to put it right into place. North Carolina, the bill that you were referring to, that was a bill which before the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, had a wide range of IDs that were acceptable and then after the Supreme Court gutted the VRA, every form of ID that was disproportionately held by African-Americans was taken out of the bill and they retained only forms of ID that were disproportionately held by whites. And they had that data. They had requested it.
HAYES: This is the best part of that -- the judge`s decision, basically tracing them, being like -- yeah, could you get us some data on what voting methods black people use the most? And then like the bill comes back it and it`s like all those are the ones we`re going to restrict.
HAYES: And the judge is just like, you`re caught.
HO: And they actually also got data on absentee voting in addition to those other forms of voting. And that was the one form of voting that was disproportionately used by whites and which they left intact.
HAYES: So these are courts, these are courts finding constitutional filings here or Voting Rights Act violations even without pre-clearance. Like, the courts are basically saying, you can`t do this.
HO: Right. And they`re finding -- these rulings are happening under a variety of different provisions. Some of them are under the voting rights act, some of them are under the United States constitution. But the common thread here, and which I think is really remarkable, it`s judges who have been appointed by Democrats and judges who have been appointed by Republican presidents, are just saying, enough is enough.
HAYES: Zach, your book is about sort of big picture conservative fear of animus towards essentially majoritarian Democracy and that being a longstanding tradition ideologically that has intensified in the era of the Obama coalition.
ZACHARY ROTH, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That`s exactly right. And the argument I make is that there has been this sort of deep-rooted skepticism about democracy going back to the founders, through the 19th Century you see in conservative rhetoric up into the 20th Century. It seemed to go away, perhaps, after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. But Obama`s ability to mobilize minorities and other marginalized voters has sort of resurfaced these fears.
You showed that Donald Trump clip about talking about rigged elections. I mean, we all agree that`s inflammatory and irresponsible and false. But the thing about it is, look at 2008, the presidential debate, McCain said a very similar thing. He said ACORN is on the verge of perpetrating the greatest fraud in history. 2004, President Bush`s campaign said there`s rampant voter fraud that is going to steal this election.
So this stuff is kind of built into the fabric of conservative rhetoric.
HAYES: Yeah, that Trump quote, which has been I think sold as one of these like, oh, here goes Trump saying something crazy again is actually like perfectly in line with -- in continuity about these -- and this has been -- and this has been one of the things the courts have done, I think, pretty well in terms of the fact finding, right?
Is in case after case saying, show us the evidence, show us the data. Show us the data. Show us the data. No one can come up with anything, which is part of why they keep losing these cases.
ROTH: That`s exactly why they losing these cases in state after state. North Carolina can`t point to a single instance of in person voter impersonation. Not one. Wisconsin, same story.
HAYES: Let`s just be clear, a team of lawyers, they are paid to go through the record and come up with one so they can justify this law, and they came up with zero?
And in Wisconsin, here`s what they came up with someone who voted 14 times for Scott Walker, right.
HO: Voter ID wouldn`t have even stopped that, right.
ROTH: Right, exactly, because I`m pretty sure he looked the same every time.
HAYES: Right. That`s the point.
Where do you see this going? I mean, because you talk about sort of this idea of conservatives wanting to push more money into the system as another sort of counterveiling force on majorities, restrict the franchise. And yet, in some ways, we`re seeing the kind of inverse of this in Trump, right. This sort of like weirdly kind of populist revolt against anyone trying to tamp down these -- our people from controlling things.
ROTH: Right. I`m pretty hopeful about the larger battle, because in the last few years, what`s changed is that the Democratic Party and progressives generally and voting rights groups, and pro-democracy advocates have kind of joined this fight. And it`s now an equal fight. And we`re seeing these great victories. And not only in the courts, but we`re seeing expansive voting laws being proposed in states, far more expansive laws, in fact, than restrictive laws that we`re seeing today, about 25 states proposing universal voter registration that would automatically register you, expanding early voting, all this stuff.
So I think it`s actually, in the long run, people like Democracy, and Democracy is going to win out.
HAYES: Are you confident about how things will go this fall?
HO: Well, I don`t want to jinx anything, but we`re I think very optimistic about things this time around. The rulings that we`ve gotten are really strong.
I mean, the one in Texas, in the voter ID case, from the full fifth circuit, you have three judges appointed by George W. Bush and one appointed by Reagan, who sided with the plaintiffs in that case. I think we`ve penetrated the consciousness here of even moderate conservatives.
HAYES: Yeah, they could have even -- the decision could have just read we see you.
Dale Ho, Zachary Roth, thanks for joining us.
This is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END