IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript 10/17/2016

Guests: Molly Ball, Judith Browne Dianis, Ari Berman, Josh Barro, Liz Plank, Marie O`Meara

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 17, 2016 Guest: Molly Ball, Judith Browne Dianis, Ari Berman, Josh Barro, Liz Plank, Marie O`Meara


ANNOUNCER: Tonight on ALL IN .

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a rigged system. It`s a rigged election.

ANNOUNCER: The conspiracy theory campaign.

TRUMP: Let`s hope that our country gets a fair shake. This is a big mess.

ANNOUNCER: Donald Trump steps up his unprecedented charges that the media, Hillary Clinton, and now republican officials are stealing the election. Then, new polling shows an expanding battleground map for democrats, as they send the big guns into Arizona.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I know it`s a campaign, but this isn`t about politics. It`s about basic human decency.

ANNOUNCER: Plus, the latest on the attack on the North Carolina Republican offense. And from cordial adversary to all-out enemy.

TRUMP: She should right now be in jail.

ANNOUNCER: The dangerous uncharted waters of 2016 when ALL IN starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I have to be a patriot, I will.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump is now holding a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where earlier tonight the crowd chanted, quote, "Paul Ryan sucks." Appearing on Fox News just before the rally, Trump repeated his last, best excuse why he is tanking in the polls.


TRUMP: When I talk about the press taking people with absolutely no case whatsoever and trying to put it on front pages, that in its form, it`s a media rigging of the election. You look at certain areas of the country in terms of the voters and the booths and everything else and what`s taking place and illegal immigrants voting and people that have died 10 years ago voting.


HAYES: There`s no specific examples he cited of that, and Trump`s unprecedented insistence the presidential election is being rigged is baseless claim that there`s now a conspiracy afoot involving thousands of officials of all political stripes to defy the American people (INAUDIBLE) Trump the White House is such a massive departure of the norms of American political discourse, but a fundamental threat to the foundation of democracy, that Trump`s closest allies and advisors are trying to pretend Trump isn`t actually saying what he won`t stop saying.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: When he talks about a rigged election, he`s not talking about the fact that it`s going to be rigged at the polls. What he`s talking about is that 80 to 85 percent of the media is against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don`t think he was saying the result was illegitimate. I think he was saying that there is a bias out there that has been against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump`s major complaint about the election is not polls -- it`s not at the poll level, it`s at the news media level. This election is being rigged by the national media.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That`s where the sense of a rigged election goes here, Chuck.


HAYES: So, the line is that Trump isn`t actually questioning the integrity of the election, he`s just talking about media bias, a claim that might be more effective were not for the fact Trump keeps explicitly contradicting his own surrogates, quote, "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing crooked Hillary, but also at the many polling places, sad." In response to Trump`s rhetoric, house speaker Paul Ryan made clear this weekend, he is, quote, "Fully confident in the nation`s election systems." His spokesperson saying a statement, quote, "Our democracy relies on confidence in election results and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity."

America had to decentralized election system with elections run by the state. Something that effectively makes it impossible to put rig a national election, not to mention the fact, the secretaries of state in many swing states are republicans, who it is safe to assume are not seeking to throw the election for Hillary Clinton. One of those Republican Secretaries of State, Jon Husted of Ohio, says, "It is utterly irresponsible for Trump to push the rigged election narrative."


JON HUSTED, REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE OF OHIO: We have so many safeguards in place in our election system. It`s bipartisan, it`s transparent, and there`s just no justification for concern about widespread voter fraud.


HAYES: Some Trump surrogates trying to thread the needle by insisting Trump is talking not about widespread voter fraud, but rather voter fraud in, quote, "inner cities" where, you know, black people vote.


GIULIANI: You want me to tell me that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that. I found very few situations where republicans cheat. They don`t control the inner cities the way democrats do.


HAYES: Numerous studies have found voter fraud to be a vanishingly small and rare phenomenon, including in inner cities. Putting that aside, Giuliani is trying to contain Trump`s rhetoric to say that Trump isn`t talking about large-scale voter fraud, but just fraud in certain areas, except once again, Trump is blowing that up, quote, "Of course, there is large-scale voter fraud happening on and before Election Day. Why do republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive." Despite the entirely baseless nature of Trump`s claims, they are gaining significant traction. A new poll finds that 41 percent of voters say the election could be stolen from Trump, including 73 percent of republicans who think the election could be swiped from him. In a video posted today, Trump suggested the rigging goes beyond the nation`s election officials, the media, and the pollsters, and the many women who have come forward on the record in the last week to accuse Trump of sexual assault, all the way to the top levels of our government.


TRUMP: The Department of Justice, the State Department, and the FBI colluded, got together to make Hillary Clinton look less guilty and look a lot better.


HAYES: Trump`s rhetoric is leaving some of his supporters to conclude that legal participation in the voting system is a mug`s game, and so they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.


DAN BOWMAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I feel like Hillary needs to be taken out. If she gets into government, I`ll do everything in my power to take her out of power, which if I have to be a patriot, I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that mean?

BOWMAN: I`ll take it any way you want to take it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that sounds like a threat.

BOWMAN: It`s like a patriot --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a physical threat?

BOWMAN: I don`t know, is it? I won`t have to myself or there`s going to be probably a movement to where we will go and take them out of power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it sounds like you`re saying that it would be acceptable to assassinate a president.

BOWMAN: If she`s corrupt, why should she be able to stay in office? Answer that question.


HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former chair of the republican national committee. I mean, that`s the fear, right, Michael that to the extent that you essentially say that the legal mechanisms by which we establish elections are essentially rigged, you do, it seems, create the space for some segment of people to say, "Well, the only thing left for us is something like revolution."

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER CHAIR OF RNC: No. No. I`m sure that gentleman is having a nice conversation with men in suits from Washington known as Secret Service agents. You know, the reality of it is, it is this kind of hyperextended conversation in this election that is feeding this kind of negative thinking. Look, our system, are there flaws? Yes. Are there problems with it? Absolutely. But it`s not -- it`s not to the point where we can`t manage and control them. And it`s certainly not something that if you lose an election, it`s because it was rigged. Well, maybe your ideas weren`t good enough, or maybe you were talking about something you shouldn`t have been talking about and wasting the public`s time, and they just weren`t interested in what you were selling.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: That seems to be really what`s animating this election more than anything else. So, I think this conversation turning on the dime of, you know, it`s rigged is just a bogus way of not dealing with the fact that you`ve actually failed to run a presidential campaign.

HAYES: And, you know, a lot of people feel that same way. Chris Christie basically saying that, Marco Rubio saying it in a debate just now in his senate debate with Patrick Murphy, that, you know, it`s not rigged, he should stop saying that. You know, it seems to me, there`s two things happening here. One is that, it seems like he`s laying down the story for should he lose, why it was. Does that strike you as part of what is happening, what`s being crafted here?

STEELE: Oh, absolutely. There`s always the Plan B, and there`s always -- you know, the art of the deal was not just about the deal that`s on the table, but the deal behind that deal, the opportunity behind that.


STEELE: And that`s really what this has turned into in some respects for a lot of -- lot of people looking at this now, that this is setting up the second act. Whether it is, you know, as you`ve heard reported and talked about, you know, some type of media empire, I don`t know, but the reality of it is we`re now stuck in this particular morass of an election, and this kind of conversation that is stimulating what we just heard from this gentleman needs to be checked. And the only way it`s going to be checked is by Donald Trump, but as we`ve seen before, he`s not going to do that because it doesn`t serve the ultimate purpose of carrying this thing out to the point where he can then move these people into a new space.

HAYES: You know, Paul Ryan did as he has sort of won`t to do, these sort of veiled kind of sub tweets at Donald Trump, you know, coming forward and saying the election is not, you know, not rigged, we have trust and integrity. I want to play this sound. This was remarkable to me. I mean, this is a rally for Donald Trump in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and this is the crowd chanting early in that event, take a listen.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Now, I need your help locally. The Wisconsin -- the Wisconsin Republican Party has set up 22, not 29 offices.

AUDIENCE: Paul Ryan sucks!

RUBIO: The Republican Party of -- All right. We said -- OK. Do -- I`ll ask you one question. Do you want to help get Trump elected? We need people to volunteer.


HAYES: I mean, in case you couldn`t hear, they`re chanting, "Paul Ryan sucks."

STEELE: Right, right.

HAYES: The guy`s the speaker of the house. He`s the most powerful republican in the country at a rally in his backyard for the presidential candidate of his own party.

STEELE: Welcome to my party. Yeah, this is where we are. But this is the thing to keep in mind, the folks that you`re -- that are in that room, remember, this guy said, "I need you to volunteer to help get Donald Trump elected." They were more interested in singing, "Paul Ryan Sucks" than they were volunteering to help get Trump elected, one. Two, Paul Ryan won with 80 percent of the vote in the -- in the last election, so -- in his primary. So, the fact that he is, you know, probably going to get close to that or better this fall, I think kind of takes care of itself. This, again, is part of feeding that narrative, that negative narrative out there about the establishment. I get it. I understand a lot of folks are ticked off at the establishment. And for many reasons that are good. But the way we`re beginning to express this is detrimental for recovery and healing after this election. We`ve got to think beyond just the moment in front of us, Chris. We`ve got to think beyond that, too. OK. What kind of Republican Party are we going to be if Donald Trump wins or if Donald Trump loses? And that, for me, is the bigger battle ahead.

HAYES: Yeah. All right. Michael Steele, as always, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

STEELE: You got it, buddy.

HAYES: Joining me now, Molly Ball, political correspondent for the Atlantic magazine. And, you know, look at -- we`re going to talk in a little bit about this sort of -- this threat of the sort of Trumped-up threat of voter fraud that has been actually a theme for a long time. But this sort of specific allegation repeated tonight, illegal immigrants are voting. I mean, this is pretty uncharted waters in the context of an American national election.

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: Yeah. I mean, it`s not uncharted waters for, say, the comments section.

HAYES: Right.

BALL: But usually, you don`t have it being echoed by the nominee. Usually, you know, what you have is a responsible political actor as the nominee of the party who sees it as his function to tamp down this paranoia and to say, "No, we have to, you know, hold hands and believe in democracy, and everybody accept the results of the election." And so, to have a nominee actively stoking this paranoid mind set, that`s what`s uncharted. And you know, I heard your conversation with Chairman Steele saying, "Oh, this is strategic. He`s laying down a marker." I don`t even think it`s that. I think it`s just Trump`s mind set.

HAYES: Right.

BALL: In his mind, he is a winner, so if people are saying he`s not winning, they must be wrong, they must be cheating. I think it is purely psychological.

HAYES: And to that -- to that end, I remember the sort of behind the scenes reporting in The Washington Post after the debate debacle in which Trump is saying to his staff, if the reporting is true, he`s citing these like click polls as real evidence to say, "Look, I -- those -- I mean, he believes that, right? Then maybe it isn`t all strategic, it isn`t all for show. It is actually his natural and fervently-held belief and conclusion that he is winning and he is being done in.

BALL: We`ve seen this before. I mean, look at what happened with Judge Curiel, he could not conceive that he -- that the law was against him.

HAYES: Right.

BALL: So, it must have been the case that the law was somehow cheating or that the judge, you know, had something personal against him. It could not possibly be true in his mind that he was doing something that violated the law.

HAYES: You know, the thing that I keep thinking about is legitimacy and how important legitimacy are to functioning democratic nations. An election really doesn`t end when the votes are counted. It basically ends when the loser concedes. I mean, you can fight, and file a million different motions and a million different courts, particularly if you have a national election. I mean, that`s really what`s at stake here, is that core legitimacy, which under the color of law, you can fight for a very long time.

BALL: Yeah. Well, I mean, look, let`s not freak out about this too much, right? The people going to Trump rallies and saying incendiary things to reporters, I go to Trump rallies, I quote Trump reporters saying sometimes questionable things. They don`t all sound like that, even at the rallies.

HAYES: Nope, agreed.

BALL: And this is not, you know, the mainstream of even the people who I think are voting for Donald Trump.

HAYES: I agree.

BALL: So, I don`t think we should automatically panic and assume that people are going to take to the streets after the election. Like, yes, this is scary; yes, he should not be stoking it. And it is alarming when you see in polls that the majority of republicans believe it, because he`s telling him that. But I don`t want to get too panicked about something that hasn`t come to pass.

HAYES: I totally agree about that, in terms of -- particularly in Trump supporters, many of whom I`ve spoken to over the 17 months of election, I agree with you, they`re not just storming, you know, Sheriff Clarke had that, sort of, notorious tweet about pitchforks and torches time, and he reiterated that again tonight. To me, the issue is more that he -- the nominee of the party has a tremendous amount of power in terms of how much legitimacy they cede to the process. And one of the things we`ve learned in the Obama era is, you know, if you just unilaterally withdraw and say, "No, this is not legitimate," you have a huge effect on a large swath of the population, because of how polarized our politics are.

BALL: That`s right. And I think the really fascinating thing we`ve learned from this Trump versus Paul Ryan fracas, right, is that with apologies to Chairman Steele, most republican voters, the rank and file, have chosen Trump`s side over Paul Ryan`s side. That when forced to choose, when Trump said, "Paul Ryan sucks," instead of saying, "No, no, we like Paul Ryan, we like him four years ago, we like him as speaker," they said, "Yeah, Trump, you`re -- and they all turned on Paul Ryan. There was a poll that came out today, nearly 70 percent of republican voters, self- identified republicans, thought that republican leaders are not supporting Trump enough.

HAYES: Right.

BALL: So, when Ryan and other leaders in the party, Mitt Romney -- you know, I spoke to a Trump supporter in Florida last week who said, I used to love the Bush family, I supported them in all their elections, and now they`re dead to me.

HAYES: And that`s --

BALL: So, they`ve chosen Trump`s side in that battle, and that`s why it`s potentially so damaging for the Republican Party.

HAYES: Exactly. And that`s the precedent there for the legitimacy of the election, right, which is that if you can turn people`s opinions around on a dime on something like Paul Ryan, right, then you can --

BALL: Right, or the Bushes.

HAYES: People`s opinion (INAUDIBLE) Molly Ball, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

BALL: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, brand-new polling showing the battleground map continuing to expand for the Democratic Party tonight. News that Michelle Obama is headed to a deep red state to try and flip it, that`s ahead, but first, while Donald Trump and republicans continue to perpetuate this myth of systematic widespread voter fraud, the actual cause for concern, this Election Day, is exactly the opposite, and I`ll explain after this two- minute break.



TRUMP: Remember, we`re competing in a rigged election. This is a rigged election, folks. The media is trying to rig the election by giving credence -- and this is so true -- by giving credence to false stories that have no validity and make it the front page. They even want to try to rig the election at the polling booths and believe me, there`s a lot going on. Do you ever hear of these people? They say there`s nothing going on. People that have died 10 years ago and still voting, illegal immigrants are voting. I mean, where are the street smarts of some of these politicians? They don`t have any is right. So many cities are corrupt, and voter fraud is very, very common.


HAYES: That`s not true. If this idea of unfair elections and voter fraud, being pushed almost incessantly this year by Donald Trump, which has led republican-controlled states, even before Donald Trump came on the scene, we should be clear, to pass laws making it harder for some people to register to vote. But voter fraud is practically non-existent. A professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who tracks allegations of voter fraud has found only 31 credible incidents, someone who may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, out of 1 billion votes cast since 2000, which is also the average number of people who have died from lightning strikes in the past decade in the U.S. Perhaps the real concern of this election, is not the extremely vanishingly small number of incidents of voter fraud, but the vast swath, the electorate, that has been disenfranchised by new voting restrictions.

And the decision that strike down Wisconsin`s voter I.D. lobbyist summary, U.S. district judge, wrote, quote this, "A preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities. To put it bluntly, Wisconsin`s strict version of the voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease." In addition, Wisconsin`s voter ID law, federal courts struck down voting restrictions in five other states this summer, and yet still this year, 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election.

Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, who`s Executive Director of Advancement Project and Ari Berman, Senior Contributor Writer for "The Nation" author of "Give Us the Ballot."

[20:20:04] Judy, let me start with you. I want to play this clip of John McCain, because this is important, I think, to note that this idea, which is being explicitly articulated by Trump in a new and novel way, builds on something that`s been part of the conservative movement for years. Here`s John McCain back in 2008. Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama`s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.


HAYES: I mean, that`s good old John McCain. You know, everybody celebrates as the sober alternative Trump. This has been something that republican politicians and movement -- conservative folks have been talking about for years.

JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s right. When all else fails, claim voter fraud. And then when you claim it, don`t forget to blame it on black people and people of color, especially undocumented immigrants. That`s really been -- that`s been the playbook for a long time. So Trump finally got around to it and dusted it off, and unfortunately, the courts have gone against him. I mean, we have court after court saying, if any rigging is happening, it`s republican legislatures who pass laws to make it harder for people to vote, not for fraud, but in fact because they wanted to discriminate against African- American and other voters of color.

HAYES: And we`ve got our crazy smoking gun evidence of this. In North Carolina, of course, basically as soon as the voting -- the key part of the voting rights act got struck down, the legislature says, what kind of voting tools do people use and different -- and the ones that were predominantly African-American were like, yeah, let`s restrict those.

ARI BERMAN, SENIOR CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NATION: Absolutely. Well, in North Carolina, for example, where Trump just claimed illegal immigrants were voting, falsely he claimed, we saw a month after the Supreme Court got into voting rights act. North Carolina didn`t just pass voter I.D., but they cut early voting, they eliminated the same day voter registration, they eliminated at a precinct voting, they eliminated (INAUDIBLE) for 16 and 17-year-olds. The fourth circuit court of appeals found that this targeted black voters with, quote, "Almost surgical precision." As you mentioned, some of the evidence was as close to a smoking gun as in modern times, like for example North Carolina limited voting on the Sunday before election, when black church has hold (INAUDIBLE) polls voter mobilization drives. And the court asked North Carolina, why did you cut early voting, and North Carolina said, "Well, some counties were using it more than others." And the court said, "Well, which counties?" and the state of North Carolina said, "Well, counties that had a larger African-American population intended to vote for democrats." and the fourth circuit said, "You just admitted to us in court that you did this to disenfranchise people based on their race and their political affiliation."

HAYES: And Judy, we now got this crazy situation in which all these states, the voting rights act section four which is a sort of define which areas got preclearance was gutted key section, a bunch of states have moved forward on new voting restrictions under republican stewardship. Many of those have been hung up in court, and we`ve got this crazy legal terrain in which court after court has said these are not legitimate, and yet they`re basically still intact or somewhat still intact. What kind of playing field are we competing on here?

DIANIS: Yeah, it`s been -- it`s been a mixed bag. I mean, you know, we have to say as voting rights advocates that we`ve had a lot of good wins. North Carolina and Texas, where voter I.D. was struck down, Wisconsin, you know, not so good. And so, this is a mixed bag, but at the end of the day, you know, we should not have these laws that are being passed to make it harder to vote for some Americans. You know, I think these courts are starting to understand that this actually is not about voter fraud. In fact, it`s not even just about partisan manipulation, but it is about race. There are particular groups of people that they want to go after to make it harder to vote. I mean, you know, Trump`s call around voter fraud and now really amping up his base to go into communities and be anti-democracy vigilantes, to come into communities of color to watch people vote, you know, one of the things that those people don`t know is that it`s actually against the law to intimidate people, and while they are trying to vote. And so, you know, we`re going to continue to see this, but I think we`ve been -- we`ve been winning, and we`ve been winning because they have been lying about why they`re doing it, and they are the ones who have been rigging the elections.

HAYES: You know, the -- what Judy just talked about, I mean, Trump has been telling folks, you know, after you vote, go to another precinct to watch it. You know, there`s obviously a really nasty history there about how that`s played out in the past.

BERMAN: A very long history. I mean, that`s why restricting voting is so dangerous because we`ve done it already in this country. We had things like poll taxes and literacy tests and cops patrolling black neighborhoods and preventing people from voting. We`ve been all -- we`ve been through this before, so we don`t want to go down this road again. And if Trump wanted to talk about the real voter fraud, the real election rigging, he would talk about the fact that this is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the voting rights act.

[20:25:04] He would talk about the fact this is the first election since the Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act. But since those are things that republicans did to try to benefit republicans, you don`t hear about that being the leading threat to American democracy.

HAYES: Yeah, I don`t want to be careful about this word, "rigging," right? Because it has a very specific meaning, right, this sort of like intentional behind the scenes manipulation of outcomes. What we`re seeing is a series of hurdles that have been put in place in front of certain populations. And finally, Judy, it strikes me that part of this also just make expression of the sense that conservatives and republicans, I think a lot of them really do believe that they`re the majority in this country and the way they square electoral defeat on a national scope is that there has to be something untoward happening.

DIANIS: That`s right. I mean, they conjure up the bogeyman, you know, it`s like if there`s UFO`s and bogeyman and the loch ness monster, everything but the fact that maybe your candidate didn`t appeal to people.

HAYES: Right.

DIANIS: You know, and I just have to take, you know, a little exception to, Chris, what you said. This is rigging that is happening by republican legislatures actually is intentional, and it is meant to make certain people not be able to vote.

HAYES: Yeah, I just want to be clear about like the difference between pre and post, right, because I think people have the sense that the valence of the word, "rigging," is that like there`s someone in the machines or behind the scenes. These are a series of intentional steps that have been taken to stop certain people from even getting to essentially to the ballot box.

BERMAN: Yeah. And they`ve been very clear about what the intent is here. I mean, republicans in Wisconsin said the voter ID was going to help them win. They`re behind closed doors, they said they were giddy about disenfranchising students and people of color. So, if there`s any kind of rigging, this was pre-emptively going on.

HAYES: Judith Browne Dianis and Ari Berman, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

DIANIS: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, in a campaign marked by unprecedented personal attacks, a look at what to expect on the third and final debate this week, more on that ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people are about to weigh in on who`s going to be the president, and that`s the person, whoever that may be, who ought to be making this appointment. We`re not giving lifetime appointments to this president on the way out the door to change the Supreme Court for the next 25 or 30 years.


HAYES: After the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, senate republicans apparently discovered a new rule to justify their refusal to even consider or hold hearings for President Obama`s pick for a replacement, Judge Merrick Garland. No nominations during a president`s final year in office. Conveniently, it also gave them an argument to use on never Trump conservatives. There`s an open seat on the Supreme Court, so you better get a republican elected president to nominate the replacement. But if they can invent a rule banning Supreme Court nominations in the last year or presidents term, what`s to stop them from discovering a rule to ban them in the first year or ever? Today, John McCain called into a Pennsylvania radio station to his fellow -- to campaign for his fellow senate republican Pat Toomey, who is locked in a very tough re-election battle there. He said out loud with many have assumed republicans are thinking.


MCCAIN: I promise you that we will --we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. And I promise you, this is -- this is -- this is where we need the majority, and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the senate as anyone that I have encountered.


HAYES: We will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton would put up. So who knows? Maybe we`ll have eight justices from here on out. McCain later tried to walk back his comment according to A.P. Reporter Erica Werner, spokesperson saying he`ll vote for against, an individual nominee based on their qualifications, which is not at all what he said in the interview.

The Arizona senator is currently facing a re-election battle of his own. And while he`s favored to win, the state that he calls home is trending in a very troubling direction for Republicans. So much so the Clinton campaign is expanding its efforts in Arizona this week, pouring another $2 million into television, digital and direct mail advertising and sending one of its best surrogates, Michelle Obama, to campaign in Phoenix on Thursday.

Going back to 1948, Arizona has voted for a Democrat for president just once, and it`s one of a handful of red states now moving into the toss-up column. That`s next.


HAYES: Some breaking news from Brooklyn tonight: President Obama is headed to Nevada this weekend to campaign for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, in the red state column, Arizona is just one of a few pretty solidly red states where the Clinton campaign is devoting its resources as of this week.

According to campaign manager Robby Mook, they`re directing a million dollars to Indiana and Missouri, two states Donald Trump is expected to win handily. But they`re doing it to help Democratic candidates down the ballot, specifically in hotly contested senate races.

And in Texas, which hasn`t voted for a Democrat for president since 1976, the Clinton campaign just took out a one week ad buy highlighting an endorsement from the staunchly conservative Dallas Morning News.


ANNOUNCER: The Dallas Morning News has recommended Hillary Clinton for president. This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation`s highest office since before World War II.

Trump plays on fear and exhibits a dangerous lack of judgment.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic pollster Margie O`Meara. She`s creator and co-host of the podcast The Pollsters.

Margie, let`s start with Arizona, which has been one of these stretch, reach states, one of these sort of idle daydreams of Democrats. If you look at the demographic breakdown, maybe if we perform, we can get that into competitive territory. It`s really starting to look like it is. I mean, clearly the campaign. Are you buying it?

MARGIE O`MEARA, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Yeah, I mean, look, they would not mobilize not just the financial resources, but also the personnel resources and having Bernie Sanders go speak, Chelsea Clinton`s going to speak. I mean they really feel that there`s an opportunity here. You have a high Latino population that -- there was a new poll out today that showed Clinton nationwide with a 50-point lead among Latinos.

So there`s a lot of reasons to think that Arizona could be in play. There`s a really, you know, enthusiastic senate race. Ann Kirkpatrick is a great recruit, great candidate on the Democratic side.

So there`s lots of reasons to think it could be in play.

HAYES: You know, on the senate side -- so there`s the sort of predictions have gone back and forth. One really interesting bit of polling is out of Nevada, which is where Barack Obama will be headed. And when he goes to these states, tends to sort of combine presidential senate races.

Catherine Cortez Mastro who is the Democrat running against Joe Heck, she had been behind -- that`s Harry Reid`s retiring seat. It was one of the places Republicans looked most likely for a pickup. Harry Reid the whole has been saying, trust me, I got this. Don`t worry about it. We know what we`re doing here. And in the last two polls, she is now up. What do you think of that race?

O`MEARA: Well, the thing with Nevada, it`s important -- it`s such a battleground state. There are so many different factors in play that make polling particularly tricky. That it`s important to recognize that also has a...

HAYES: Why is that? Why are Nevada polls always so weird and flukey?

O`MEARA: So if you want the real pollster answer, there`s a variety of things. One, people work at all kinds of crazy hours. So the sort of usual polling time frame is a little bit different there.

You have a lot of movement. It`s a state that`s had a lot of population incoming and outgoing, so you have people are not on the voter rolls as easily, or they`re more likely to have cell phones. You have a high Latino population there, too. Not all polls have a Spanish language option in Nevada the way they might, say, in Florida or in Texas.

And then you also have a high Mormon population in Nevada. And if, you know, McMuffinmentum (ph) as they call themselves now, takes off, and you know you could actually see that change the race in Nevada too.

HAYES: OK, so there are two other states that are states that you think there`s no way that these states are going to be won by Hillary Clinton or anyone other than the Republican nominee -- Utah and Alaska. We`ve got a poll out of Alaska showing it a one-point race. This is by the sort of blue ribbon pollster there who called the Begich (ph) race and 100 percent of races.

And some polls out of Utah showing with Evan McMullin in sort of a three- way tie. Do those seem plausible to you?

O`MEARA: I mean, look, Donald Trump has put lots of states in play. There was a theory several months ago that, OK, well, maybe Trump would do badly in states like Florida, but then he would have some advantages in states like Michigan or Wisconsin or maybe New York and Pennsylvania. And that has not been borne out.

The same factors that make him endangered nationally and make the polls consistently show him behind nationally are the same factors that make all these red-leaning states now in play and the blue states not in play for him at all.

HAYES: All right, Margie O`Meara thank you very much. Appreciate it.

O`MEARA: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, the latest on the fire bombing of a GOP office in North Carolina and the responses from the two candidates. But first, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this break.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, amidst all the irresponsible talk of a supposedly rigged election, the Drudge Report picked up this alarming headline: "Postal worker brags online about destroying Trump ballots."

Drudge linked to it for hours, tweeted out, worth repeating, postal worker brags about destroying Trump ballots.

Rush Limbaugh was on it making the necessary point of how outraged the authorities would be if Hillary Clinton were the target of such unfair election fraud. If a postal worker was bragging about destroying Hillary absentee ballots, do you think they`d be trying to hunt this guy down and put him in jail? They wouldn`t be stopping. They`d find this guy. They`d hunt him down.

Even Scott Baio got in on the action. Yes, the actor Scott Baio, Chachi, Charles in Charge, the one who spoke in support of Donald Trump at the RNC convention, that Scott Baio tweeted, cheating and corruption is their way @realdonaldtrump. And he linked to the story.

Baio also tweeted at the postal worker, I hope you get fired. Cheating is the only way she`ll win, @realdonaldtrump.

Hey, John Kasich, is this OK with you?

Even the Ohio secretary of state, whose job is to administer elections in the state said, I`ve contacted USPS about posts alleging destruction of absentee ballots. We`ll get the hashtag #facts, and if true, hold anyone guilty accountable.

What a story. An Ohio postal worker bragging online about throwing out Trump ballots. IKf true, it would really be a smoking gun. Wonder what the sourcing on that story is? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYse: Postal worker brags about destroying Trump ballots, at least that`s what the headline says. There right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit seems to have caught someone red-handed.

There is a story behind that headline. The Gateway Pundit is basing its report on the Twitter account of the culprit himself, quote, "I love working at the post office in Columbus, Ohio and ripping up absentee ballots that vote for Trump," twees Randy.

Wow, what a confession.

And yet by merely clicking onto Randy`s profile, you would see Randy is located in California and not Ohio. Randy also happens to describe himself as the cool and chill guy of online.

There`s more as noted by Betsy Woodruff, the Daily Beast, Randy has also tweeted things like I`m a black man for Trump. That`s right, libs, we do exist.

And a case, if we`re not making this perfectly clear, Randy also recently tweeted this: Frank Luntz, can I be in your next focus group? I`m also a huge idiot.

It was all just a joke. It`s a joke. Randy makes jokes online, not a postal worker.

The Daily Beast asked @Randygdubs whether or not he actually works in an Ohio post office.

LOL, no, he replied. U.S. postal-service even put out a statement reading in part, the postal service has completed an initial investigation of the mentioned tweets and does not believe these tweets were made by a postal employee, however, the postal service will continue to monitor this situation, which I think means they`re now following Randy.

I think we can all rest easy knowing the situation will be monitored by the likes of Drudge, and Limbaugh, and of course Scott Baio.


HAYES: It`s being called an attack on our democracy. Over the weekend, someone fire-bombed the Republican Party headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina. The office was empty. No one was injured, thank goodness. But the damage was substantial. Images show a burned couch and warped campaign signs, A swastika and the words Nazi Republicans leave town or else where spray-painted on an adjacent building.

Local and federal authorities are investigating the incident. No suspects have yet been identified.

A group of Democrats organized a GoFundMe campaign, raising money for the local GOP to reopen the headquarters.

Hillary Clinton strongly condemned the act of violence, tweeting, the attack on the Orange County HQ and GOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful everyone is safe.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump chose to blame the incident on his opponent and her supporters. Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just fire bombed our office in Orange County because we are winning, NCGOP.

The fire bomb attacks comes just three days after three militia members in Kansas were charged with domestic terrorism for plotting to bomb Somali immigrants. According to federal investigators, the men stockpiled firearms, ammunition and explosive components, reportedly believe the attack planned for November 9, the day after the election would, quote, wake people up.

This as the Republican nominee for president shows no signs of letting up the rigged election talk and telling supporters his opponent should be in jail.

Yet amid a real sense of unease and legitimate fear, the threat of possible violence, the rituals of a normal election grind on, like the much anticipated third presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Wednesday. Former Obama strategist David Axelrod suggesting Clinton shouldn`t even attend after Trump recommended she take a drug test beforehand.

The day after the debate comes another end of the campaign custom, the Al Smith dinner. Longstanding tradition, the nominees from both parties attend, sit at the same table, not only to pay tribute to the late governor of New York and first Catholic presidential nominee, but also to put aside partisan differences for a few hours and give speeches that are equal parts self deprecation and gentle ribbing of their opponent.

Well, how do you gently rib the person who has been lobbying to put you in prison? I`ll ponder that question with our panel next.



OBAMA: It is an honor to be here with Al Smith. I obviously never knew your great grandfather, but from everything that`s Senator McCain has told me, the two of them had a great time together before prohibitions so.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: After all, it began so long ago with a heralded arrival of a man known to Oprah Winfrey as the one. Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him that one.

He doesn`t mind at all. In fact, he even has a pet name for me: George Bush.

MITT ROMNEY, FRM. GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: Let`s just say that some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline, polls show Obama leading from behind. And I have already seen early reports from tonight`s dinner. Headline: Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people.

OABAMA: Ultimately, though, tonight is not about the disagreements Governor Romney and I may have, it`s what we have in common beginning with our unusual names. Actually, Mitt is his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name.


HAYES: That`s the kind of self-deprecating humor good-natured ribbing that is expected of the two presidential nominees this Thursday at the Al Smith Dinner.

Joining me now, MSNBC contributor and senior editor for Business Insider Josh Barro and Liz Plank, the senior correspondent for Vox.

So, we`re -- so we`re looking at these old Al Smith footage, right. and someone said yesterday, we were like -- when is this -- like, oh it`s the day after the debate. Like, how are these two -- I mean, they couldn`t shake hands at the last debate. They`re going to have -- I imagine a terribly gross debate on Wednesday night.

Like, do you just get on...

JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: I think it`s going to be very awkward for Cardinal Dolan. He`s going to have to sit there in between the two of them for the whole thing.

I sort of wonder -- I mean, I wonder what -- how this works for the Archdiocese. Do they really want a nasty scene at their like giant gala fundraiser for charities for children between these two candidates? Like who knows what Donald Trump might say after being ribbed in -- you know, with good humor or if Hillary Clinton wants to provoke him, maybe not such good humor. It could be uglier than the debate.

HAYES: How do you think, Liz, about sort of her -- the sort of strategy going into this debate, right. So, the last debate was like, he shows up with the women who have accused Bill Clinton and there`s no handshake in the beginning. And the whole thing had this very like dark almost traumatic vibe around it.

how do you see her sort of forging through this debate on Wednesday?

LIZ PLANK, VOX: Well, I think it was, as you say, really uncomfortable to watch, not just if you`re a woman, but for anyone watching the last debate, and hopefully this will be a little less terrifying. But I mean lie the bar was pretty low. Donald Trump just had to like not appear to be a predator after the tape came out before even now we have nine women, eight women who are saying that he is in fact a predator, and he lurked behind Hillary Clinton. I mean, we have all these shots that made anyone watching uncomfortable.

So, this time around, I`m really curious to see what he`s going to do. If he`s going to take that one step further. I mean, in the last week he`s commented on Hillary Clinton`s behind. He`s ranked how sexually assaultable women are. I mean, he`s just gone off the rails. So, I have no idea what to expect.

HAYES: There`s also this deep tension here right between like these norms. These norms of like we are adversaries not enemies, you know, like we will respect each other after the election. And sometimes I find that backslapping bon ami like really annoying. But I weirdly come to appreciate it from an institutional perspective, because of how Apocalyptic this election has come to feel.

BARRO: Yeah, that`s a sign of a healthy democracy, that these people can treat each other as adversaries rather than enemies. They can go there and poke fun at each other and themsleves not get angry about it.

I think -- to think about how Donald Trump might handle this, it`s actually worth looking back at there has been a roast of Donald Trump. So we know what it is like for Donald Trump to sit on a stage for a few hours and listen to jokes about himself. And he got through that Comedy Central roast. I think he liked the attention of it.

So he kind of likes it when people talk about him even if they`re saying negative things. But we also know that when -- at the end of the roast you go and respond to people. And there was this whole joke writing process with him that -- it was Politico I think did an inside what this looked like. And he was rejecting a lot of the jokes that were written for him. And one of them -- the joke was, you know, what`s the difference between Donald Trump`s hair and a wet raccoon and the answer was like a wet raccoon doesn`t have $2 billion. And Donald Trump crossed that out and put $7 billion.

So, even when he`s being self-deprecating, it has to be all about building himself up. So I think he`s going to have great difficulty with that.

HAYES: Well, and this -- and this I think gets to Clinton on Wednesday and at the dinner, right, which is the degree I think a lot of people felt like she so successfully baited him the first debate. Then the second it was this more and more rope a dope strategy that some people said she`s rattled by all the craziness ahead of time.

Like, at some level, right, her best bet is to just not make news.

PLANK: right, exactly. That`s what she`s been doing for the last seven days. I mean, she hasn`t been out there. And she`s been preparing for the debate arguably. And she`ll be more prepared than he is for sure.

But there was that levity to the first debate, right, the shimmy and she was like OK, Donald. Like, let me talk now.

Hopefully we can go back to that Hillary Clinton and I think that Hillary Clinton shows that she is -- Hillary Clinton is funny, like she has a really good sense of humor. And I think we saw that in the first debate, and that makes her relatable, that makes her all the stuff that makes her so unfavorables so high. Hopefully she can breakthrough.

HAYES: Also, the levity is a great point because there was no levity in the second debate. I mean, it was so dark, it was so desolate. It was so airless. It was so -- it just felt so ominous all of it that you want there to be something in there that doesn`t feel quite so ominous, although maybe that`s impossible to be provided given the context of him saying I`m going to put you in prison and maybe our supporters will revolt.

BARRO: I think other reason there`s no levity is that there is a sense not just from Hillary Clinton and even Donald Trump at this point, but also from the voters that it`s just time for this to be over. There`s no need to learn anything more.

I mean, it`s sort of silly looking at these debates, because it`s supposed to be 90 minutes of talking about policy. The important question in this debate isn`t where there candidates stand on policy issues, it`s about whether Donald Trump is a dangerously unfit person to be president. So it feels on some levels pointless to delve into his Syria policy, and so I think given that everybody just wants this thing to be over, the exercise of going and talking for 90 minutes about this stuff feels a little silly.

And I think that`s going to make the Al Smith dinner feel especially silly., because normally reporters and people who are political junkies like the month of October in an election year. It`s exciting. It`s interesting. Nobody is having fun right now. So, I think even for the audience trouble to get into it at the dinner.

HAYES: Josh Barro, Liz Plank, thank you both. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.