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Super Tuesday TRANSCRIPT: 3/4/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Mehdi Hasan, Cornell Belcher, Sean McElwee, Bill de Blasio, Donna Shalala, Peter Hotez



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  So, I`m here to report -- we are very much alive! 

HAYES:  A historic turnaround makes Biden a front-runner in a two-man race.


HAYES: Tonight, the impact of Bloomberg`s departure and endorsement, what we know about Elizabeth Warren`s future and the remarkable turnout fueling the Biden resurgence. Then, more cases and more deaths.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our hearts go out to those that have been infected with the disease in the Seattle area.

HAYES: Tonight, why the ongoing failure of the Trump administration`s coronavirus response is making things worse.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think treatment in many ways might be more exciting.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The race to be the Democratic presidential nominee has changed dramatically over the last three days and particularly in the last 24 hours. It is now effectively a two-person race. Only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders can feasibly earn enough delegates to win the nomination.

This was clear last night, but then two things happened today that made it even more of a two-person race. First, Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race, threw his support to Biden. And then after missing the 15 percent delegate threshold in most Super Tuesday states, Elizabeth Warren`s campaign manager sent an e-mail to staff this morning saying they are "disappointed in the results, and that Warren will be going to take time right now to think through the right way to continue this fight."

Last night was a surprising delegate victory for Joe Biden, who was expecting Bernie Sanders to win the evening and basically just wanted to survive the night with not too big of a lead for Sanders. Instead, it was Biden, who won states where he was pulling way behind just a few days ago. He won Minnesota and Maine. He won Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren`s home state where she came in third. Biden also managed to pull out a victory in Texas, which many people were not anticipating.

Exit polls show that late-deciding voters broke heavily for Joe Biden. Much of a sudden success was powered by people who decided to vote for him right before they cast their votes. And of course, that happened following the very intense concerted consolidation of a certain part of the Democratic Party behind Joe Biden.

One of the most influential figures in all of South Carolina politics, Congressman Jim Clyburn, kick it off with a key endorsement right before the South Carolina primary last weekend. Then former candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O`Rourke all endorsed Biden Monday night. Joe Biden now, according to our estimates, has a 52 delegate lead on Bernie Sanders.

Today, Sanders held a press conference where he talked up is winning California, and look forward to the upcoming primaries in states like Michigan and Washington. Now, Sanders is not out of it for sure. But the problem is, once you get behind in a delegate race with proportional allocation, it`s very hard to make up the ground, particularly when you look at who is likely to do well in those upcoming state contests.

More than anything, Biden`s Super Tuesday success is a testament way that black voters and older voters and suburban women have been looking for some kind of singular candidate, some signal from the party, some arrived at consensus of how to end the primary and move around the general election and who could best take on Trump.

And the signal that`s been sent from a lot of party elders, particularly in the last few days is clear. And if Bernie Sanders cannot find a way to appeal to a bigger percentage of Democrats outside his existing base, the nomination might quickly be out of his reach.

Joining me now for more on what we learned last night is Barbara Boxer. She`s a former Democratic senator from the state of California, now co-host of The Boxer Podcast. She has endorsed Vice President Joe Biden for president. Senator, you endorsed within the last week, right?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: Yes, I waited till after South Carolina. And as soon as I saw it, I wrote out a statement, I sent it to the Biden campaign. I said here it is, use it as you want. I`m for Joe.

HAYES: (AUDIO GAP) because clearly, that timing was the timing a lot of people felt, right? But I don`t get why folks who worked with Joe Biden, like Joe Biden, supported him as I think -- you know, I`ve had you on the program. Clearly, you feel warmly towards him. You have a lot of respect for the man. Why not do it a month ago or six weeks ago? Why didn`t everyone wait till South Carolina? What did that do to the way that you think of the race?

BOXER: That`s such a great question. I was thinking about it because it wasn`t an anomaly for people like me to wait. It also was reflective of voters, so many voters who couldn`t decide. I think we all wanted to see who could beat Donald Trump. And when we saw that South Carolina coalition come, you know, right to the fore. And it was so broad and deep, as you said. Not only African American voters, suburban women, men, you know, every age group really remarkable turnout for him.

That was the signal, and everyone just got on board. I think there`s huge momentum. And I think it took courage for Buttigieg and Klobuchar, and Bloomberg who all have the dream, you know, to set it aside for the good of the country.

HAYES: I want to give you an argument that I see people make who are less sold on Joe Biden, whether for ideological reasons or electability reasons. Let`s talk about the latter for a second, which is basically that he hasn`t been a particularly strong candidate. The reason there was reticence on many people to get behind him was because people were watching his performance and didn`t think it was particularly good, that he has not been a particularly effective communicator on the trail, and that all of those problems still linger despite the consolidation that we`ve seen the last few days. What do you say to that?

BOXER: Joe is not a perfect candidate. I mean, he`s not slick and he has never been slick. I know him for years. He goofs up on some words. You know that he overcame have terrible stammer and stutter, and he`s been knocked down in his life. And he -- I think the metaphor from South Carolina was here he was, before that really pretty well knocked down perhaps out, the San People said, you know, it was over, and he came back. And I think because he`s imperfect in a way it makes him more the every man, you know, the every person. We are all flawed.

HAYES: The way that Donald Trump and we`re starting to get some reporting about how the Trump campaign is thinking about this, although Trump just tweeted this out. So you know, it`s not like reading the tea leaves. But, you know, the sort of recipe for the victory over Hillary Clinton sort of had three channels. One was they were the beneficiary of foreign intelligence services, helping them and engaging criminal sabotage. Two, was to paint Hillary Clinton unrelentingly as essentially corrupt insider. That she was part of the establishment, she was also corrupt, and she was self-dealing.

And the third was to try to divide the left, right? To sort of take advantage of fissures within the Democratic coalition after that long primary between Sanders and Clinton. It seems very clear they`re going to run the exact same race against Joe Biden. Why are you confident it won`t work, this time?

BOXER: I think people now know Donald Trump. They know about the 16,000 lies, they know that he has no compassion. We know that it`s all about him constantly, 24 seven. And, you know, we see what`s happening with the GOP, how they just are puppets. They see Russia helping Trump. They see Trump embracing dictators. We see and all of us see him saying that the Constitution says he can do whatever he wants.

So this hasn`t been, you know, a successful campaign by him against Hillary. By the way, she got more popular, but we won`t go there. But it`s also all the things that people have seen and are very upset about. So I think it`s very different. The last point I make is, you know, the American people are smart. They know that Trump did not want to see Joe Biden get this, and he did everything to try and stop him, including getting impeached, if I might say.

And now the people woke up and it`s the biggest turnaround I`ve ever seen. I`ve been around a long time. I`ve been in elected life for more than 40 years. I`ve never seen a comeback kid exactly like this one.

HAYES: All right, Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you so much for making some time from California tonight. I really appreciate it.

BOXER: Thanks.

HAYES: Joining me now for more on the sudden primary momentum swing, Mehdi Hasan, Columnist at the Intercept, host of the Deconstructed podcast. I know, Medhi, you have your own fears about Joe Biden`s electability, but I want to talk about Sanders for a second.

It`s always struck me that the Sanders kind of theory is a kind of a interestingly self-testing hypothesis in this way. The idea is look, we`re we know we`re running against the Democratic establishment. He says that and use as terms. We know we have -- the only way we can do that is to bring new people in, right? To make the math work.

And thus far, they have not been able to deliver on that promise of new turnout, particularly among younger voters. It`s going up a little, but on the places where we saw the biggest turnout boosts like Virginia last night, that is where Sanders got crushed. What do you make of that?

MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST, THE INTERCEPT: I think you`re spot on there, Chris. And the Sanders people I`ve spoken to today are disappointed and they don`t quite get it because there is this disconnect between the huge rallies and the enthusiasm both on the ground and online and elsewhere in terms of small-dollar donors. And yet youth turnout, which was supposed to be what powered him to the nomination and then defeat Donald Trump, as you said, on Tuesday in states that he won and that he lost, youth turnout was actually lower than it was in 2016.

So that is a problem for the Sanders campaign going forward. And they`re going to have to fix that. In Michigan, for example, next week if they`re going to pull up another victory in Michigan as they did in 2016 because that is crucial to his strategy.

HAYES: There`s a new campaign that they put out showing Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. Barack Obama embracing him, which is an entire campaign genre. I mean, Biden, and Bloomberg, and all sorts of people run ads like this.

And Ezra Klein made this point which I think relates to that. He said the work of the president requires convincing legislators in your party to support your agenda, sometimes at the cost your political or policy ambitions. If Sanders and his team don`t figure out how to do it, they could very well lose to Biden, and even if they win, they`ll be unable to govern." Meaning, how to bring more people into their coalition. Do you think that`s the main challenge for them right now?

HASAN: It`s not the main challenge was definitely a challenge. I think when Jim Clyburn says that Bernie Sanders didn`t even reach out to him before South Carolina to try and woo him. I think that`s a problem. Having said that, on the other hand, let`s be honest. Nothing Bernie Sanders could have said, would have got Amy Klobuchar to endorse for a Monday evening or Pete Buttigieg.

HAYES: Correct. Yes.

HASAN: So we`ve got to be realistic about the fact that as charming or as friendly as he be, he fundamentally has an agenda and a policy platform that`s a lot of Democrats are not going to sign up for. But yes, he should reach out more at least at a grassroots level. And I`m glad to see him, you know, today saying Elizabeth Warren, take your time very respectful because he does need Elizabeth Warren right now definitely going into Michigan into the other states.

I would just briefly, if you don`t mind, respond to Barbara Boxer earlier about Joe Biden. This argument, this is not really about Bernie Sanders now. Biden is now the front runner.


HASAN: You can hate Bernie Sanders all you want, you can think he`s a crazy communist who can`t win in America. Fine. But the reality is if you turn to Joe Biden sort of he`s the safe candidate, I think you need to do a lot more soul searching, a lot more examining. This is a candidate who`s not been vetted really. In most of the debates, he`s hidden in amongst the kind of 10, 12 candidates. He`s not been asked about the bankruptcy bill. He`s never really been probed about the Iraq war and his -- and his kind of turnaround on the Iraq war.

And I just don`t get why Democrats, as you pointed out to Barbara Boxer, think that you could just rerun the 2016 playbook and not think that Donald Trump will rerun his. I mean, they tried to run a pro-Iraq war pro-Wall Street establishment Democrat with a history of dubious claims and dodgy dealings and dodgy comments about mass incarceration and super predators. Where did that end up? You know, what`s the old saying, insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

HAYES: But what do you say to people that say, look, that aside, which is both a sort of electability and I think an ideological critique sort of married together, I think it`s fair to say. To me the strongest -- you know, what do you think about the people like Kyrsten Sinema, right? So she`s Had to win a very tough race in Arizona, very tough race. She won that state sort of against the odds, right? She`s coming up for Joe Biden today.

You see Mark Kelly, who`s trying to win in Arizona. You see frontline Democrats in swing districts. Do you think those folks who are in sort of those tough kind of swing areas, are they miss understanding their own political interests and getting it wrong when they say I prefer Biden at the top of the ticket than Sanders?

HASAN: Now, that`s a great question. And I think you have to kind of -- there`s so many things in play. If you`re talking about conservative Democrats in swing states where, you know, the Doug Jones and you mentioned in a Sinema and others, of course, there are very, very specific evaluations they have to do looking at their own backyard, and I get that. Totally, I`m not going to say there`s some kind of sweeping broad it`s Bernie or Biden.

I`m saying both candidates are flawed. As Barbara Boxer said, nobody`s perfect. My worry is this idea that Biden is the guy who`s going to beat Trump because he`s got what some kind of moderate center ground appeal when that just didn`t work in 2016. He`s got so much baggage, and this idea that oh, he`s just got a stammer, that`s why he gaffes. He spent much of February falsely claiming that he got arrested in South Africa trying to go see Nelson Mandela.

You`re going to see attack ads like we`ve never seen before hitting Biden on his record. And he may still win. But I`d like the Democrats to at least hold him to account for some of that stuff now. And there`s one more debate in a couple of weeks for Bernie. He`s probably coming a little bit too late after Michigan. He needs that debate now, because I actually think Biden would suffer hugely in a one on one debate where he can`t hide behind other candidates. He flags in debates when there`s 10 people on the stage. I don`t think he can survive a two-hour debate with Bernie one on one.

HAYES: I do agree that a one on one debate would be really useful and illuminating for all concerned at this point in the campaign. Mehdi Hasan, thank you very much.

HASAN: Thank you. Joining me now is Cornell Belcher veteran Democratic strategist and pollster who until recently had been advising the now- defunct Bloomberg campaign. Well, Cornell, that didn`t really work out.

CORNELL BELCHER, FORMER ADVISOR, BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN: Well, you know, it was a long shot and some things had to happen. But picking up on that prior conversation, look, I think into Senator Boxer`s point, you know, going into South Carolina, there were a lot of Democrats worried about the viability of Vice President Biden, and a lot of Democrats unsure about what`s going to happen.

And hats off to Congressman Clyburn. You know, in a time when endorsements are increasingly meaningless, it may be one of the most consequential endorsements of modern political time because Biden have a strong showing in South Carolina and certainly Clyburn helped him do that. And I think if he comes out of South Carolina, like most of us thought he would come out of South Carolina, no limping out of South Carolina, just barely winning it. I think Super Tuesday would have been very different.

HAYES: Oh, I think there`s no question. If he barely won South Carolina, he gets drubbed on Super Tuesday and probably Bloomberg. Bloomberg, yes, the man that you were just working for probably does better. But here`s the key dynamic in this race that I keep coming back to because we tend to talk about regions and races and the Democratic Party because it`s a -- it`s a national party, and it`s also a conglomeration of different racial groups and ethnicities and such is the generational divide.

I mean, you are seeing -- I mean, I saw an exit poll last night of young Latino voters in California I think are 82 percent Sanders. You`ve seen Sanders among young people. If you just look at people say 35 and under, Sanders has put together this sort of remarkable coalition. It`s working- class, it`s educated, it`s white, it`s black, it`s Latino, but it`s just generational. And he is doing worse, the worst among the group that votes in the highest numbers, which is part of why he is where he is. But what do you make of just how stark that generational divide is in the party right now?

BELCHER: I think -- I think it`s a divide that you`re going to continue to see unfold and play out as. And I think it started for quite frankly by Barack Obama. I mean, Barack Obama was a new kind of candidate, and he was a different sort of generational candidate. And you saw 11 percent of the electorate in 2008 were newer voters, and they were -- and they were younger voters.

And I think when you see our elections moving forward, it is like the younger voters are trying to take control of our country from the older voters. And particularly in midterms, the older voters have their -- have their say, and presidential years, the younger voters have more of the saying. But I will tell you this. I think the most stark thing that happened on Tuesday was there was -- there`s a revolution, Chris, going on in our country, but it`s not the kind that Sanders thinks. It`s a revolution by the bourgeoisie.

What`s happening in the suburbs from 2008 to right now with what you seeing a surge in suburban voters and their -- and their changing their voting patterns, and how they vote right now, and sort of -- and to a certain state, I think Biden`s power is he`s a safe place for the angst of those suburban voters.

HAYES: Right. Now -- so here`s the question for you and it sort of picks off what Mehdi talked about. I think everyone was very clear about look, Bernie Sanders right now if he became the nominee, he`s going to get a billion dollars of negative as dropped in his head about Fidel Castro and Ortega and socialism, etcetera, right? And I think -- I think that was true. And I think there were some real downside risks are there and there are still downright risk.

My question to you is for those suburban voters, like how confident are you that after a billion dollars of negative advertising, Joe Biden doesn`t walk into Election Day with essentially Hillary Clinton`s favorability rating?

BELCHER: He -- that`s completely fair. I think this is the difference. If you look at what`s happening with suburban voters, look, those districts that flip from red -- from red to blue, this is about their angst with Donald Trump.

HAYES: Right.

BELCHER: And they`re looking for a safe vehicle to land on that right now. And I got to tell you, in that comparison, who`s the safest vehicle for these suburban voters to land and put their angst on? Is it -- is it Bernie Sanders or is it Joe Biden? I think it`s -- I think is Joe Biden. I think he`ll carry over in the -- in the general election will I think Democrats will do better in the suburbs in 2020 than we did in 2016.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, the data in terms of the primary electorate bears that out, if you look at the kinds of places where Biden really excelled, particularly among non-African American voters. The places where he excelled are kind of some of these sort of trending blue suburban areas and like in Harris County, where he -- where he cleaned up and in in Northern Virginia, etcetera. How much do you think this lead matters right now going forward that Biden has accumulated?

BELCHER: It`s tough because it`s such -- it`s such a pitch battle. And here`s -- and here`s the fundamental difference between now and I think past election cycles. Bernie Sanders has a lot of money. He keeps raising money, and you typically see a night like what would Joe just had, and you will see sort of the money momentum change.

I don`t think you`re going to see the money momentum change for Bernie Sanders. I think he`s got a pool of people who are going to continue to keep giving and feeding his machine. So this could very well go well into May.

HAYES: All right, well, Mike Bloomberg`s losses are again. Good to have you back on with us analyzing the race. Cornell Belcher, thank you very much.

BELCHER: Thank you.

HAYES: The President of the United States does not seem to understand what a vaccine is. And the failure of the administration`s response to coronavirus is making things worse, next.


HAYES: It is now been a week since the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first community transmission of coronavirus in the United States. That`s someone getting ill without some known association with the traveler and the affected area. Now, here`s this CDC web page on coronavirus. I go to it every day. It is updating once a day and it is wrong. It`s wrong.

It says there are nine total deaths from the virus. In fact, there are now 11 confirmed deaths. We got two more today. The CDC also says there at total cases in the U.S. The case number is almost certainly higher. In fact, Johns Hopkins, private university that`s been moderating the global pandemic has compiled data showing that there are at least 153 cases in the U.S. NBC News is counting 158 including from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Why does this matter? It matters because transparent communication about the scope of the situation is one of the key lessons we have learned from the other places that have experienced the pandemic. We here in the U.S. are getting this rather late. We have the benefit of learning from the mistakes of the many countries that came before us and the trajectory of this virus. And there are two things that we have learned or should have learned.

One, you have to be clear, honest and transparent about the scope of the virus and infection. And you need to test to do so. We are failing to do that miserably right now. Yesterday, finally, nearly a week into his tenure overseeing the response to coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. plans to send out 2,500 testing kits by the end of the week to test up to 1.25 million people.

That`s a start, but it is still going to take too long to get that testing capacity up and running nationwide. And when the tests do deploy, case numbers in this country will spike which will freak people out. They should be. The whole point is that we do not know how many cases there are. Because inexplicably, we have not been testing nearly enough now for at least a week and probably longer.

As the Atlantic put it, the official coronavirus numbers are wrong and everyone knows it. And that is true. Every expert I have talked to, doctors, to epidemiologist, to public health experts, they are tearing their hair out of the fact that we do not know how many cases there are.

One infectious disease expert writes that after more testing, he expects Seattle to look like Wuhan, China around January 1st when they are reporting the first cluster of patients with unexplained viral pneumonia. Wuhan, does that sound familiar? Because that was the epicenter of the outbreak. This is a serious thing. It`s not World War Z. It`s not everyone is going to die. It`s a serious thing that needs to be dealt with seriously. And right now, the federal government is failing. They`re failing to do that. And they appear to be failing for a reason.

And the reason is the person at the top of the federal government does not want to deal with the problem. He very clearly wants it to go away. He said cases are going to go down to zero. He says he`s hoping for a miracle, or maybe it will go away seasonally. He spent the last week talking about a vaccine, which is not the point. The vaccine is going to take a year to 18 months, which the President cannot accept.

Take a second and listen to this exchange and note that the President United States does not even understand what a vaccine is, let alone how long it takes to develop on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it realistic to think, really, that a vaccine could be ready in three or four months?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we have the greatest companies in the world sitting around the table. I mean, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer and all of these (INAUDIBLE). We got all of these great companies and that`s what they`re saying. So I think that --

ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: Would you -- would you make sure you get the President the information that a vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that`s deployable. So he`s asking the question "When is it going to be deployable?" And that is going to be at the earliest, a year to a year and a half no matter fast you go.

ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY, HHS: And as you said, Mr. President, treatment has got to be available before the vaccines, so that`s where you --

TRUMP: I think in many ways (INAUDIBLE).


HAYES: You see what happened there? Anthony Fauci had to intervene in the middle of the meeting to get the pharmaceutical executives to explain back to the president who wants a vaccine or a month or two that that`s not happening. That`s going to be 18 months. Fauci have to speak up to make sure that they communicate it accurately.

Treatment might be more exciting. The President concludes. The government, our government, the government led by that man is failing right now. And there is nothing to point the cameras at. There`s no Hurricane Katrina moment with people outside the convention center desperately begging for water. There is just an invisible virus making its way through communities without adequate preparation or information.

We need truth. We need the facts. We need testing and we need them now. We needed them a week ago. And Donald Trump should take the next month off and golf while someone else handles it.


HAYES: As coronavirus has spread, every nation has faced policies along a spectrum from containment to mitigation. And containment aims to identify and isolate the virus to stop and spread when it first appears in a country with the hope that maybe you can just kind of snuff it out.

Eventually, though, what`s happened in country after country is that the virus gets out among the population, and then governments are forced to move to mitigation approaches. The problem is that mitigation is just incredibly disruptive, both socially and economically.

Just last week, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control deck Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned that as the virus spreads, which was inevitable, mitigation efforts are going to be implemented. The, quote, disruption to every day life might be severe.

But here`s the thing, these met mitigation efforts are necessarily disruptive. You have to start doing these big societal things such as means of slowing transmission. Tonight, I wanted to talk to three people who know how to deal with this kind of thing or are thinking about how to do with it now. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, currently trying to contain the Coronavirus in the city; Congressman Donna Shalala of Florida, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton; and Dr. Peter Hotez back on the program, professor and dean at Baylor College of Medicine`s National School of Tropical Medicine.

Mr. Mayor, let me begin with you. We know that there have been some cases in the New York area. There`s reports of a New York City teacher who traveled to Italy who may be showing symptoms. How are you thinking about what steps you`re taking at the city level?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D) NEW YORK CITY:  Containment exactly is the strategy.

Look, we...

HAYES:  So, you`re still think of contain containment now?

DE BLASIO:  Oh, absolutely, Chris. The sad reality that`s going to be the history of this is that if the United States government had focused on decentralizing the approach and getting testing out early we would be in an entirely different reality. That could be done weeks ago but here we are.

The fact that New York City now finally has independent testing capacity as of Monday means we can aggressively go out, identify potential cases. We`re ruling out the vast majority when we test. The ones that we find, we are able to take them and contain them, meaning isolate them, and stay at least for now ahead of this situation.

So, I think if you take a muscular approach and we have a huge public health apparatus, and we now in New York City guarantee people health care regardless of the ability to pay, regardless of documentation status, we`ve got a very open environment. We`re inviting people into care, that gives us the best chance we actually might stay ahead of this for a period of time.

HAYES:  Congresswoman, you ran HHS and we`re starting to see sort of early signs, but part of the problem policymakers have faced is that taking these kind of big mitigation efforts is disruptive, right? You cancel conferences, or get rid of corporate travel, or you ask people to work from home. Today, we saw in the State of Washington they`re asking for that. And policymakers are reticent to do that because it disrupts people`s lives. How should we be thinking about that balance in trade-off?

REP. DONNA SHALALA, (D-FL) FORMER SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:  Well, that is a balance and it`s a judgment call. But first of all, we have to have our testing apparatus in place. Look, we have world class physician scientists at the CDC, at the FDA, at the NIH, that are working on this. In addition, with the vice president in charge, we were briefed today, I have some hope that the government is starting to come together now.

I don`t think it`s useful for us to just beat up the government. You know, fear is a virus, and we have to be careful in this process. The president was totally undisciplined. They tried to set him straight on the vaccines, but he is undisciplined so we have to move beyond that.

And the first line of defense are state and local governments. Luckily, New York City has a world class public health system, which has had a lot of experience dealing with AIDS and TB and other infectious diseases, and Washington State, which is the epicenter now also has a very good health system. We`ve got to fund them appropriately.

The problem here is that we have never funded this country for readiness in public health. We`ve never put the kind of resources together, so we don`t have to ad hoc it every time we see a disease and see a new virus And frankly, there`s another virus coming along, I don`t know what it`s name is, but in the next year or two we`re going to see it, and unless we`re ready for it it`s going to just be another ad hoc process.

HAYES:  Dr. Hotez, where do you -- given the sort of limited testing we`ve been doing, and now we`re getting more mass deployment, how is you -- what is your understanding of where we are right now in the U.S.?


You know, what we`re seeing now is the beginning of evidence of community spread and it`s really taking off now in the Seattle area and Washington D.C. And based on that we`ve already seen what we can expect and it`s not great. For instance, in the nursing home in Kirkland, we`ve already seen seven deaths and there may be more to follow.

So, what that`s telling us is we know from the studies in Wuhan that the mortality rates, the death rate, among older people over 70 is 10, 15 percent. So, you`re seeing strange messages, this is just a flu or the mild virus. Certainly if you`re over the age of 70, that`s not the case. This virus has ripped through that nursing home like the angel of death. And we have to recognize now that every nursing home in the country is potentially vulnerable, including because of our guests tonight, Miami and New York City, and we have to get ready for that. So, we have got to now strategically place our testing in such a way that we`re going to protect those individuals.

But we`ve seen it with other populations as well. Our health care works are highly vulnerable. Again, we saw this in Wuhan. We knew this was coming. So we know our health care workers. And if they start to go down ,the whole system falls apart. And there are others among taxi drivers, Uber drivers highly at risk.

So, I think the message is as we increase the number of kits, and I hope that happens very soon, we`re going to have to be very strategic, at least in the beginning, how we use them and focus all of our energy on protecting those highly vulnerable populations right now.

HAYES:  You know, it`s -- Dr. Hotez just said something important that I think is sort of important to stress here, right, because people are worried about the virus and there`s a difference between the personal -- Mike Pence said the risk is low right now, and he`s right. I mean even Italy, Italy has got 60 million people, it`s got 5,000 cases, right, that`s a tiny fraction of the Italian population, right, like you compare it car accidents, flu, that`s -- the individual risk to you watching this right now is relatively low. That changes if you`re immunocompromised.

It`s the systemic risk, right. I mean, the capacity of public health hospitals in New York City, the number of ventilators you have. I mean, is that how you are thinking about it as mayor?

DE BLASIO:  Yeah. I mean, look, when you`re responsible for people`s health and safety you actually start with the individual, to be fair. So for those older folks, for those folks who are compromised, our job is to try and see if we can get to them in time to help them, right, to identify or protect them in whatever way we can.

But your bigger point is exactly right. The irony here is -- I mean, for the vast majority of people, even if they contract it, it`s not going to be a seismic experience. It is the dislocation of the whole society of the economy the way it knocks out our ability to do a lot of other things we need to do.

Look, the best defense is a good offense, in this case I think, which is to again, as much as humanly possible contain it. I understand there are limits to that, ultimately, but as much as humanly possible test, contain, get the measures out there to try and help people in need.

The shocking thing here, I think, Chris, is this is the harbinger of things to come. In a globalized world, new strains, bacteria resistant strains, new diseases are emerging and a health care system that`s antiquated. We`re going to see more of this.

If ever there was an advertisement for Medicare for all we`re seeing it right now with the coronavirus. And look, we`ve done -- as I said, we`re guaranteeing health care right now in New York City. We`re saying whoever you are, regardless of your ability to pay, you get a permanent care doctor, we have a way to help you with our public hospitals and clinics.

This has to be our future or these kind of things will run wild.

HAYES:  You talked, congresswoman, about sort of some of the holes in the public health system in the U.S. Are you concerned about the ways in which, say, lack of public -- lack of sick days or people`s fears about a test -- there was a Miami man, I think, who tested and got a huge bill, might impact the way that we can comprehensively deal with this?

SHALALA:  Yeah, he got a huge bill because he had a junk health care plan, which all of us have objected to over the last few months.

We`ve just passed a bill a few hours ago for $8 billion. That`s a down payment on putting together the systems that we need to deal with this virus. And that`s just a down payment. We know that we have to glue the health care system together and make deep investments in state and local health systems and give everyone access. If a doctor says you ought to go get a test, you ought to be able to get that test.

The commercial testing system has now been employed so that we don`t have to depend just on the academic health centers and the state testing systems. We`re going to use the commercial systems and they`re already gearing up to make sure that we have tests available for those that need those tests, but targeting the populations that are vulnerable is going to be critical in the days and weeks ahead.

HAYES:  Doctor Hotez, you have talked about some of the lessons we learned from Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. And what I want you to talk about how to make evaluations, how governments make evaluations, on big policy decisions like closing schools for a month as Japan did. Italy announced today it`s closing schools. Iraqi Kurdistan is closing Friday prayers in mosque. How -- what`s the tipping point? How do you make that decision from an epidemiological standpoint?

HOTEZ:  Well, I think it`s going to depend on the level of transmission in the community. We may not be far from that in the Seattle area, and we`ll have to see how this moves forward in the coming weeks.

Remember how this works -- and we saw it with Zika in 2016, you know, you`ve got tremendous health department -- New York City health department, as the mayor points out, is one of the finest in the world. It`s outstanding in Miami. Houston in Harris County, outstanding health departments. That`s the gold standard.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of health departments in this country that don`t meet that gold standard. We saw this in Zika. There are some, especially in some of the smaller towns, rural areas, there`s almost zero capacity to manage this and handle this.

I`m hoping that a good chunk of that, whatever the number is, 7, 8 billion dollars, will go to build that capacity. As the congresswoman points out, we should have been ready for this before, because the next virus is going to come along.

We just have vast variability heterogeneity in the ability of our local public health departments to respond.

HAYES:  Great point. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congresswoman Donna Shalala, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you all so much.

Ahead, there`s a lot of good news about the turnout on Super Tuesday, but this potentially presidential race runs headlong into the Coronavirus, how that could affect the outcome. Stay with us.



SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS:  Do you think the president is rooting for Sanders?

BIDEN:  Look, I think the one thing the president doesn`t want to do from the very beginning is face me, because I will beat him. Period. Period. He has done everything in his power and he`s even risked his presidency, because he doesn`t want to face me.


HAYES:  Not wrong.

The former Vice President Joe Biden just gave his first interview as the post Super Tuesday Democratic front-runner with Savannah Guthrie. You can see much more of that interview on Today, tomorrow morning. And make sure to stick around right after this show, my colleague Rachel Maddow will be live from Vermont with an exclusive interview with Senator Bernie Sanders. That`s right here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Don`t miss it.

And on one final programming note, I, Chris Hayes, will be on the late show with Steven Colbert tonight. That was a really, really fun conversation we had. Check it out.

Up next, we`ll look at some pretty impressive turnout numbers from Super Tuesday voting and why the threat of Coronavirus might already be affecting behavior at the polls. A record-breaking number from Super Tuesday next.


HAYES:  There`s a lot of good news on turnout from last night`s primaries and really in the whole contest we`ve up to this moment so far. Turnout was up from 2016 in all but one of the 14 states that voted yesterday. The vote is still too early to tell in California, because they are still counting the votes.

Turnout was up for the previous four contests by varying degrees -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. But last night we saw record- breaking numbers in Virginia. Turnout was nearly double what it was in 2016 and even surpassed 2088.

South Carolina and New Hampshire also beat the previous two cycles, though we should note there`s population growth for all those states as well.

And part of the turnout surge is due to reforms in the Democratic Party. Four states switched over from holding caucuses to primaries this year, and so they saw, not surprisingly, their turnout explode. In Colorado, participation seven times higher than in 2016.

The Washington Post writes that part of this spike could be tracked to, quote, antipathy towards President Trump that continues to galvanize suburban moderates to get engaged in Democratic politics.

The Washington Post model suggests that Biden won nearly 60 percent of voters who sat out the 2016 primary, but voted yesterday and that Biden possibly received nearly 90 percent of Hillary Clinton`s 2016 voters.

But this race, of course, is far from over. We`ll talk about the landscape for the rest of what is still a very, very active contest next.


HAYES:  While we still don`t know the extent to which the coronavirus is going to affect the healthy American people, we do now it is affecting how people think about who is leading the response.

In five states covered by NBC News exit polls, at least half the primary voters said that the coronavirus was an important factor in their vote. This coming Tuesday, March 10, Democrats will got out and vote in another six states, among them Washington State, which today reported its 10 death linked to coronavirus and where official asking voters not to lick the envelopes used for mail-in ballots in the state.

To talk about the growing concern over the coronavirus and the effect on the body politic and where we are in this race, Maya Wiley, university professor at The New School; and Sean McElwee, co-founder, executive director of Data for Progress, a progressive think thank that`s been doing a lot of polling.

I do think, you know, you hope that people don`t like get scared about being in group areas or whatever, but it does seem to me THAT the biggest thing to me is that increases the salience of health care as like a central issue?

MAYA WILEY, THE NEW SCHOOL:  Absolutely. And first of all, if we see so many people, we know there`s so many Americans who don`t even have health insurance, number one, and people are being told to stay home, right if they either have symptoms or maybe they`re here. We have New York Law School has closed in New York, and Yeshiva University.

So whether or not those people have resources to support themselves, sometimes that means paid sick leave. That`s a huge national issue, and some states have taken it on and extended it, some have not, and it`s a huge in particular for voters of color who are much less likely to be in low wage jobs that do not have those health benefits.

HAYES:  There`s pretty strong polling, also, on like the basic belief people have that you should get tested for free and a vaccine should be free and things like that.

SEAN MCELWEE, DATA FOR PROGRESS:  Absolutely. We`ve already been testing this. And in our polling, voters overwhelmingly believe that the coronavirus vaccine should be made available at an affordable price.

This is an issue where Democrats can really gain the upper-hand on an issue in which they have overwhelming support of the American public, and it`ll be a devastating general election issue for Trump for sure.

HAYES:  So, as we look at the next bunch of states, Mississippi is one of them next week, Michigan as well, you know the big story to me last night, there were a bunch of big stories, but the big story is like once it went down to effectively a two-person race, or something like that, that Sanders support among African-American voters wasn`t that much better than it was in 2016, in the 20, 25 percent range, and you could do that if you`re running against five people, but if you`re running against one person and that`s the level support among black Democratic voters, you`re essentially toast?

WILEY:  I think you`re toast. You`re also toast when you see the percentages that you`ve seen for Joe Biden because it`s not even close, right? 50 percentage points in South Carolina, 60 percent of the black population in Texas, black voters in Texas. That doesn`t mean that Bernie Sanders doesn`t have an opportunity.

And I think, you know, one thing I said it before the South Carolina primary when everyone was saying, oh, it`s Bernie all the way and Biden can`t win , and I was like, you know what, this is not like any other presidential race, and black voters are going to show up for Biden. But in the same token, I would say not clear moving forward that Bernie can`t.

The question is will he? And how does he do that because he`s done it with Latinos by having a very aggressive long-term ground game with Latino voters.

MCELWEE:  There`s also now the question, Sean, of Elizabeth Warren`s future. There is the statement that her campaign put out saying she`s reassessing. There`s reporting that she`s been talking to the Sanders camp, also possibly to the Biden camp. What is your sense of what the polling that Data for Progress has done, which has been quite accurate, says about the degree to which her exit from the race would benefit Sanders?

Yeah, so our polling has 60 percent of Warren supporters going to Sanders as their second choice. That`s a strong number. It`s a little higher than what we`ve seen in the other national polling, but our polls are of likely voters, so they`re more high engagement and they`re much more attuned to the sort of lanes.

HAYES:  So basically what`s that saying is your data suggests that like the intuitive take on this, which is like Warren getting out of the race would be a net benefit to Bernie Sanders is the correct one.

MCELWEE:  Absolutely, and I think an endorsement would be important. The fact is, is that Bernie Sanders is having trouble with black voters, but he`s also having trouble with college educated women. And if he wants to sort of respond to Biden`s margins in states like Mississippi and Louisiana and Florida, he`s going to need to do strong among college educated voters in states like Washington. Right now we`re seeing in California, he`s not getting the margins that he needs in those states among those voters.

HAYES:  There`s also the fact that there`s this generational divide. We talked about it earlier, that it`s so intense in the party right now. And I do wonder, like, if you know, you look at the Democratic Party leadership, and it`s a lot of people...

WILEY:  Not looking like the Democratic Party?

HAYES:  Well, it`s just -- even just the ages of people, like generationally, it`s like there is a real gap age wise between the sort of leadership class of the Democratic Party and, you know, the average age of say a Californian.

WILEY:  Yeah, and think about it. If you`re young today, and young let`s say you`re 20, 22 coming out of college, you`re looking at a world in which climate change is changing everything for you. You no longer feel confident that you can have a job because you went to college and graduated. If you were lucky enough to be able to afford it.

The level of insecurity is so, so, so very much higher that there`s no question there`s a generational divide because let`s face it, my generation, your generation, we were more secure.

HAYES:  Yes. There was a generational experience. It was not just their like young...

WILEY:  So this is not theoretical.

So, I thought Cornell said it well earlier when he talked about that.

HAYES:  Final question for you, the Supreme Court has heard an abortion case today in which they might vastly restrict abortion access, essentially overturning something from three years ago, and they`re also going to hear striking down Obamacare. Do you think that connects with voters? Is that an opportunity for Democrats?

MCELWEE:  Absolutely. I think that having a referendum on the Affordable Care Act and expanding health care would be a very bad thing for Donald Trump.

HAYES:  Yeah, it is amazing to me that they are marching into that, but that is essentially -- whoever the nominee can focus the lens on that I think that will be...

WILEY:  20 million Americans.

HAYES:  ...that would be massively advantageous for the Democratic nominee.

Maya Wiley, Sean McElwee, thank you very much for joining me.

That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.