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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 7/11/2016

Guests: Eli Stokol, April Ryan, Charles Ramsey, Kellyanne Conway, Yamiche Alcindor, Tomas Regalado

Show: HARDBALL Date: July 11, 2016 Guest: Eli Stokol, April Ryan, Charles Ramsey, Kellyanne Conway, Yamiche Alcindor, Tomas Regalado

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The politics of division.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility" -- well, those are the opening words of our country`s Constitution. We know because we were taught them.

But how are our two major political parties promising to meet these goals, including ensuring domestic tranquility? We will know much of the answer to that question in the next two weeks as the Republicans and then the Democrats meet in convention, adopt platforms, nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Well, tonight, we look at the choice facing Americans, or at least how the choice is being presented by the parties themselves. Tomorrow, President Obama joins Vice President Biden and former president George W. Bush at a memorial service, of course, for the fallen officers, police officers down, in Dallas.

The president while in Europe, of course, meeting with NATO allies has spoken out about Dallas, but also about the police-involved shootings recently in Louisiana and Minnesota, four different times over the last three days.

And yesterday, he called upon those on both sides of the American debate to keep a respectful tone.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This week, people felt hurt and angry, and so some of this is just venting. But I think that the overwhelming majority of people who are involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, what they really want to see is a better relationship between the police and the community so that they can feel that it`s serving them.

And the best way to do that is to bring allies aboard. That means -- that includes, by the way, police departments that are doing the right thing, like Dallas, which has implemented the very reforms that Black Lives Matter is seeking. That`s part of why it`s so tragic that those officers were targeted.


MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump has said in the wake of last week`s attacks that the president himself is to blame for the uptick in racial violence, tweeting yesterday, "Look what is happening to our country under the weak leadership of Obama and people like crooked Hillary Clinton. We are a divided nation."

While many African-Americans agree that racial tensions are worse right now, some see it being stirred up by the partisan reaction on the right to the current occupant of the White House. As U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson told Joe Gabenson (ph) for his column today in "The Washington Post," quote, "Race relations have deteriorated greatly in the last five to eight years. It`s the reality. I can tell you what the average black American thinks. They think that because our president is African-American that the white racism has been rebirthed."

I`m joined right now by Philadelphia`s former police commissioner, Charles Ramsey, who`s a co-chair of President Obama`s task force on 21st century policing, as well as MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford, former U.S. congressman from Tennessee.

I want to start with Congressman Ford about the political situation. Is this country more polarized than five or eight years ago? Is there a racial tension in the air? Is there a vicious cycle between the police forces of the country and the people who feel victimized by them?

HAROLD FORD (D-TN), FMR. CONGRESSMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We`ve made tremendous progress in the last 10 years. We have an African-American president who`s been elected twice. We have a number of African-American men and women graduating from college, graduating from high school, more black women graduating from college than before, more African-Americans working in corporate America.

But I think a great argument can be made on the other side. When you look at some of the basic metrics, economic metrics, including income, including household wealth, you certainly can make an argument that African-Americans are not faring as well as they would like.

Now, the police violence and the brutality and some of the misconduct that we`ve seen, and obviously, the tragedy in Dallas, I separate that from some of the other things. It is hard for me to fully embrace my former colleague`s comments about this racism because, indeed, the president has been elected twice. So if the racism was as pernicious as one would suggest, he may not have won.

Now, are they a louder group, people who are more public about their views? Are incidences of racial organizations or organizations dedicated to subordinating or subjugating African-Americans, Latinos -- are they louder today? I think police data and other data suggests that it is.

But I`m hopeful that this conversation we`re having will continue in some ways, but the most important thing I hope that happens is what the chief of police down in Dallas has urged, as well as other leaders in Dallas are urging, is for not only for a calmness but a real conversation about where we are and a real appreciation on the part of every American for the bravery and the courage of law enforcement around the country and for an appreciation by all politicians.

And I was proud to see Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich say the things that they said, that indeed, African-Americans face a unique and unusual, and for that matter, a treatment that perhaps normal white Americans, as Newt Gingrich said, might not understand on a day-to-day basis.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s push that conversation. Commissioner Ramsey, let`s talk about it from a police commissioner`s point of view of a major city, in Philadelphia, for example, where you were for all those years. What puts it all together? How do you connect the dots of what it seems to be every month or so, a white police officer shoots a black person in what looks to be troubling, let`s say troubling situations without going into court on this.

Just trying to figure it out. Why would a guy shoot a fleeing guy when he seems to be no threat to the police officer? Why is there what seems to be a trigger-happy situation going on here involving white and black, blue and victim? How do you put that together with the environment which seemed to be improving, I thought, the last 10, 20 years?

CHARLES RAMSEY, FMR. PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I mean, I think, first of all, we have to have everything in context. And certainly, there have been some very questionable if not outright criminal incidents that we have seen as part of the videos that have been out there recently. But that does not reflect the hundreds of thousands of contacts that police have with citizens every day.

It doesn`t reflect the number of guns we take off the street from armed suspects in which no one is injured and they`re taken into custody. So I think we need to understand that there`s a lot of activity that takes place, not all of which is bad. Most of it is very, very good and positive and exactly the way you`d like to see it.

But I think when these things get out there and they get highlighted, it does give the perception that, you know, you`ve you got police that have gone wild, and nothing could be further from the truth. But we do have to hold accountable those officers who act outside of the law.

MATTHEWS: Was this going on before it got to be the headline?

RAMSEY: Well, in some instances, yes. I mean, you have almost 800,000 police officers in the United States, 18,000 police departments, and you`ve got people that just don`t do things the way you`d like to see them. Some engage in criminal behavior. Some engage in excessive force and so forth.

But name a profession where you don`t have someone who is acting outside of the ethics of that particular profession, whether you`re talking about medicine, lawyers, politicians, journalists. I mean, it goes on and on. But you can`t paint everyone with the same brush.

MATTHEWS: Well, after meeting with law enforcement leaders in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden today called for more community policing. Here`s what he told NBC`s Lester Holt.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s a great deal of anxiety and fear, fear on the part of police officers that they become targets and fear on the part of some of the communities that they are, in fact, targets of the police.

So there`s a need for there to be more community policing and interaction. And these police organizations asked for some help. They said, We need help and more money for training. We need more help in providing training on deescalation, et cetera.

So we`re sitting now on a concrete agenda of things we can do that can open up the avenues of communication between the black community primarily and the police departments. And I think they`re ready to do it and I think the community is.


MATTHEWS: Congressman Ford, this fellow down there -- I`m not going to condemn him. He`s obviously guilty of what he did. He was killed in doing it, down there shooting all those police officers.

What can a president do to quell that kind of anger that would lead a person to basically give up his life to be able to kill a lot of police officers? Apparently, based upon the digging up by the police down there, he was planning a lot more mayhem. He just went quickly ballistic, if you will, literally, at the time he heard about what happened in Minnesota and Louisiana, so he was stirred by those police incidents.

And the question is, how can a president mollify that kind of almost -- well, it`s suicidal murder? He wanted to kill himself, too. The whole thing is as horrible as it looks.

FORD: I think both President Bush and President Obama being in Dallas tomorrow is a powerful symbolic statement. I think the more the president can urge leaders of faith to come together and invite communities, invite their own communities to come together as just people, as humans.

I tell you, one of the more touching pictures in all of this, Chris, was to watch the young African-American woman, a mother of four who was shot there in Dallas by that gunman, and she explained how police officers ran to her and even as she covered her son, her 15-year-old son, there were police officers -- to Chief Ramsey`s point -- who ran to her and protected her. And she thanked the police officers.

The more we can show and the more we can share those kind of stories -- and even in my hometown of Memphis, where you had a very peaceful protest with the police and protesters working together and the chief of police marching with protesters -- I think these symbols as much as the substance right now -- and to Chief Ramsey`s substance, talking about the number of police contacts a day and the positive ones and the results that police departments around the country are achieving for communities of color and all communities, for that matter, are the kind of stories we need more of now as we try to recover from what was a horrific week last week for this United States.

MATTHEWS: Well, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said yesterday that police-involved shootings represent a small fraction of African-American deaths and said that the name of the Black Lives Matter movement was inherently racist. Let`s hear Rudy Giuliani.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: If you want to deal with this on the black side, you`ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police and you`ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police. The real danger to them, 99 of 100 times, 9,900 out of 1,000 times (sic) are other black kids who are going to kill them. That`s the way they`re going to die.

When you say black lives matter, that`s inherently racist!


GIULIANI: Black lives matter, white lives matter, Asian Lives matter, Hispanic lives matter. That`s anti-American, and it`s racist!


MATTHEWS: Commissioner Ramsey, it seems interesting, of course, (INAUDIBLE) seems to be more ironic every day in politics today, but of all people, Newt Gingrich came out and said, you know, it`s dangerous being an African-American male in this country not just because of the street violence that`s there, you know, crime, but also because of the police. (INAUDIBLE) Rudy Giuliani there was just sort of -- I don`t know what he was -- was he just stirring trouble there? I don`t know. What did you make of what he said?

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, I don`t agree with the comment he made about just that the name alone is racist. People are just trying to point out an issue, a very real issue that exists in this country, and that is that African-Americans die at a much higher rate than others, and when it comes to police officers and use of force, it does happen at a higher rate.

Now, we also have to deal with some realities, and that is crime that occurs in more of our challenged neighborhoods. Oftentimes those are communities of color. We have to deal with all these things.

But I mean, we`re trying to find easy solutions or come up with names or name calling and things like that. We need thoughtful people to sit down and figure out what we need to do next because right now, the police are just kind of, like, holding the bag for all of the social ills that exist in this country. And until we actually sit down and figure out what`s going on and what we need to fix it, it`s not going to change.

We need problem solvers, not you know, finger pointers or bomb throwers. I mean, we`ve got to really sit down and take this very seriously with concrete action steps.

FORD: One of the things that Rudy Giuliani could do to help this conversation would be to be quiet.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, we`re watching, by the way, gentlemen, the Black Lives Matter rally, of course, a protest event down in Chicago right now.

Want to ask you, Chief (INAUDIBLE) what is -- Commissioner Ramsey, what happens to a police officer, a regular fellow or woman, male or female, black or white or Hispanic, who`s out there on the beat right now and faces some risks in a tough neighborhood?

Do they pull back in a situation like this and say, I`m not going to stop that car with the bad light on the back of it. I`m not going in that club at night. I`m going to pull back. Is that the tendency of a police officer when they`re under fire like this?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, there may be a few may take that attitude, but the majority of officers go out there and perform every day in spite of what`s going on now.

And listen, when something happens, you know, you turn on those lights and you roll. And you go straight to it. I mean, police officers do a tremendous job every day. And sure, in some circles, they`re being vilified, but I think even that is blown a little out of proportion.

The majority of people in America still respect and like the police and appreciate what they do every day. They just want fair and impartial policing, even Black Lives Matter. They know they need police, but they want police that are going to treat them in a fair and just way.

We`ve always kind of looked at it as police as, Just get the crime numbers down. But people are looking for more than just low crime numbers. They`re looking for fairness and justice, the way in which they`re treated, the way in which they`re respected. And that`s what we have to focus on as a profession.

MATTHEWS: Well, keep -- keep teaching us, sir.

FORD: Well said, Chief.

MATTHEWS: I agree with Harold. Thank you guys so much for coming. It`s very thoughtful, Chief Ramsey, and of course, Congressman Ford.

Coming up -- so what are the Republicans offering in the way of leadership after this tumultuous week, this sort of cycle of attitude about the police and violence? I said again that guy went out to kill a lot of police knowing he would die, too. You cannot consider it anything but a sort of suicidal anger.

Anyway, Donald Trump has tried to sound more serious momentarily. What signal will he send when he picks his running mate this week? That`s coming up. That decision`s coming up in the next couple days. He says so. And he says it`s down to about four candidates.

Plus, Bernie Sanders is set to endorse Hillary Clinton tomorrow -- that`s NBC reporting, I believe, we`ll see -- 36 days after she locked up the nomination. But on policy, Bernie`s getting much of what he wanted as the Democrats are putting forth their most progressive or leftish platform in a long time.

With one week to go before the start of the Republican convention out in Cleveland, there are a lot of Republican no-shows. Catch this. That convention may be best known by who doesn`t show up. It`s Donald Trump`s coming-out party. A lot of people aren`t coming in, including some big names like Jeb Bush, and of course, Mitt Romney, and of course, the governor that state. They`re not showing. Anyway, the silence (ph) is a problem. It`s about the man who may well have a problem.

Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable will be here to tell us something about this presidential race that I don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Democrats are more optimistic about their chances of winning the U.S. Senate tonight. That`s because former senator Evan Bayh of Indiana announced today`s he`s running for the open seat, that open seat in the Hoosier state. Bayh will be running against Republican Todd Young, who had been favored to win that seat when he was facing former Democratic congressman Baron Hill, but Hill today announced he wouldn`t stand in Bayh`s way. Besides serving as senator, of course, Bayh also was a popular two-term governor of Indiana.

We`ll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We must maintain law and order at the highest level, or we will cease to have a country 100 percent. We will cease to have a country. I am the law and order candidate. Not only am I the law and order candidate, but I`m also the candidate of compassion.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. As I mentioned earlier, a deep divide has resurfaced in this country in the wake of last week`s events, and what you just heard was a more measured Donald Trump promising to bridge that divide.

The election of Barack Obama was hoped to usher in a more unified, I think, post-racial era, in fact, something the president defended again this weekend.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is sorrow. There is anger. There is confusion about next steps. But there`s unity in recognizing that this is not how we want our communities to operate. This is not who we want to be as Americans.


MATTHEWS: But Donald Trump went after Obama, tweeting that -- quote -- "If President Obama thinks the nation is not as divided as people think, he is living in a world of make-believe."

Well, the GOP front-runner has had his own issues with unifying the country because of his past comments on race. In fact, back in 2011, he made his political debut, you must admit, because he led the birther movement, questioning where Barack Obama was born and his past history, really.

In February, Trump took two days to disavow the support of David Duke, and then there was this:


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know -- oh, look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest? Do you know what I`m talking about?



When asked by Pew, 58 percent of black Americans say there`s too little attention paid to racial issues in this country.

For more, I`m joined by Miami Mayor Tomas -- Tomas Regalado and Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser and pollster now for the Trump campaign.

There she is.

Mr. Mayor, let me ask you about this. What do you feel is going on when you look at this really tragic cycle, where a guy goes out and kills five police officers, tries to kill a lot more, wounds a lot more, and wanted and apparently planned to kill even more because he doesn`t like what happened in Louisiana and what happened in Minnesota and other places in the country, where you see a white police officer shooting an African- American victim?

TOMAS REGALADO (R), MAYOR OF MIAMI, FLORIDA: Well, I think -- first of all, good afternoon. And thank you.

I think that many cities should follow the model of Miami. In 2010, Chris, we had seven civilians killed by police officers, and then we took measures. We took measures. And for two years now, we have been hiring professors from FIU, a university here in South Florida, and we are teaching each and every one in the Miami Police Department -- we have 14,000 -- 1,400 officers -- of diversity and de-escalation.

And that`s important, because Miami is a very unique place. We have many Latino communities. We have a huge African-American community. We have a big, big Haitian-American community. So, they need to know about diversity and de-escalation.

What we have seen in these days recently is escalation. You know, you answer back to a police department, you have issues. The other thing that we have done is that we have established coffee with a cop. A cop is walking beat, they go and meet with the community, they have coffee, they informally talk.

But we also have done something that I think is important for the soul and for the healing in any city like Miami that had many, many race riots and even a Cuban American riot during the Elian days in 2000.

So we are expunging the record, punish it -- with the state attorney, with the public defender. We have expunged the record of more than 1,000 people. And we also have been doing for five years gun buy-backs. We have bought guns from the community with gift cards that are given to us by the private industry.

And, by the way, we have taken off the street about 700 assault rifles. That`s not going to solve the problem, but, you know, the fact that one of our major in the police department was selected as the chief of police for Ferguson, it tells you that community policing is working here in Miami.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir. Hold on there.

A former House speaker is one of Donald Trump`s top contenders, I guess in the beginning, no -- contenders, supporters, Newt Gingrich, had a surprising take on race, one that is very different from the mayor of New York. Let`s take a listen.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It took me a long time and a number of people talking to me over the years to again get a sense of this.

If you are a normal white American, the truth is, you don`t understand being black in America, and you instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.



Let me go to Kellyanne.

Your thinking about Trump`s answer. When he says, I`m the law and order candidate, a lot of people hear Spiro Agnew. They hear Nixon. That`s a divisive phrase oftentimes. And that he also says he cares about compassion. Is it all something that`s been substantiated by his past positions and statements?


And if you look at the reaction of Donald Trump just on Friday, Chris, they immediately canceled all of his campaign events and he stuck to that. He actually was supposed to be in the mayor`s Miami that day. He stuck to that and he put out a statement talking that we need leadership, love and compassion. He also said that the two shooting victims, the African- American men, and the five slain officers who we`re yet to mention tonight, the killer said that he wanted to kill white people, especially white cops.

We heard that from Chief of Police David Brown. Donald Trump said he wanted to offer prayers and support for all of those families of the seven slain, the five police officers and the two African-American men. And he also had a very measured response, where he said, we need leadership, we need love, we need compassion.

Hillary Clinton went out and gave an interview to Wolf Blitzer where she chided Jim Comey and then chided the rest of us for being insensitive. I think he outclassed her this weekend in terms of his response.

MATTHEWS: Well, what is the Republican -- or if you could give us -- I know you are new to the campaign, but what is the Trump position on dealing with this lack of harmony, putting it lightly, between the blue, the police forces, and the African-American community in this country, which is real? It seems to be almost relentlessly bad news on that front.

CONWAY: Well, I think he has talked about that.

Even today, he talked about how the police are the guardians of this great democracy and that we must all be protected. He actually said today in Virginia Beach in a speech about veterans and reforming the awful VA, he said we need law and order, we need to protect everyone. That includes everyone, regardless of gender, disability, race, sexual orientation.

That`s everyone deserves protection. And that`s his point. And, you know, Chris, I think of all the accomplishments that President Obama wants to count as his legacy, if you look at the polling, at the height of his inauguration, 65 percent of whites said that race relations in the U.S. were good. That`s down to 37 percent among blacks. It`s gone from 59 percent when he got inaugurated to 38 percent.

I don`t think he can legitimately say that improving race relations is part of his legacy.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about something that you know a lot about, Kellyanne. I think it`s down to Pence for V.P. What do you think?

CONWAY: Only Donald Trump can make that decision. But I do know Governor Pence very well.

I have been a pollster for him, and the same thing for Newt Gingrich. I think either of them would be great vice presidential running mates. But they are very different. I think, in Mike Pence, Donald Trump makes the whole Rust Belt region that was a disaster for Mitt Romney and John McCain as our nominees more competitive. He has the 12 years in Congress.

You know, Mike Pence -- you know Mike Pence.

MATTHEWS: I know Mike Pence. I think he`s going to pick him.

CONWAY: He was in Washington before he ever became of Washington.

MATTHEWS: I think he`s picking him. And let me tell you why, because he said so the other -- today, in fact.

Donald Trump said that he looked for somebody not another anti- establishment candidate. He`s enough of that. He knows that. He`s looking for somebody who has appeal to the establishment, someone who has served in office.

CONWAY: And not only -- I`m from the East Coast. Unlike all of us on the East Coast, or at least me, I think Mike Pence is one of these guys who takes a deep breath first and talks second, which I sort of appreciate. He`s a very measured person.


MATTHEWS: It`s novel anyway. I`m not going to buy into it completely, though, Kellyanne.

Let me ask you, Mayor Regalado, do you have any thoughts about the V.P., what kind of person that Donald Trump should name?

REGALADO: Well, I think it doesn`t matter to me because I`m not supporting Trump.

And the reason I`m not supporting is because I don`t think he`s a candidate of compassion.


REGALADO: A person with compassion do not call people that don`t look like him murderers and drug dealers and rapists.


REGALADO: And, also, I don`t think he has a project for law and order.

I have seen in my office since we have -- we started all these conversations about the presidential elections, for the first time, Chris, in 20 years of being elected first as the commissioner and six years as a mayor, I have been getting e-mails of people telling me, go back to your country. This has never happened to me.

CONWAY: Do you think it was compassionate to cut benefits for the police, Mayor?

REGALADO: I was raised -- I was raised in this country.

I`m sorry?

CONWAY: That doesn`t sound very compassionate.

A couple years ago, you cut benefits for the police. That didn`t sound very compassionate. I appreciate you trying to have a political infomercial here, but be fair.


MATTHEWS: OK. Kellyanne...

REGALADO: No, no, no, no.


REGALADO: Don`t tell me about -- don`t tell me -- the Police Department of the city of Miami is now one of the most well-paid. We did cut everyone`s salary, beginning mine, me.

I cut my salary 60 percent because we are going to be in bankrupt. But now we support the police.

CONWAY: I think Hillary is waiting for Trump`s V.P. to pick him.


MATTHEWS: Let him finish the thought, please.

REGALADO: Actually, this budget that I introduced last week has $23 million more for the police department than last year`s budget.

The police department just approved a contract, the union; 95 percent of the members approved a contract for three years, when we are giving them not only raises, but also equipment. So we are taking care of the police department. We are taking care of public safety.

That is the main goal of my administration. And we support the police. And they know that we do.

CONWAY: And we support the police, too.

MATTHEWS: Mayor, Mayor, thank you so much. You`re a very impressive fellow to come on this show. And thank you for all the information, Mayor Tomas Regalado of Miami.

Kellyanne, thank you for coming on. And thank you for bringing a grenade with you.

Up next -- just kidding -- up next: It took more than a month, but Bernie Sanders is finally ready to endorse Hillary Clinton, I think. We will know when it happens. What finally did it for Bernie or will do it? That`s coming up next.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GIGI STONE WOODS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Gigi Stone Woods. Here`s what`s happening.

Two bailiffs are dead after a shooting earlier today at a Michigan courthouse. Authorities say an inmate being transferred was able to access an officer`s gun and opened fire. A sheriff`s deputy and civilian were also injured. The gunman was then fatally shot by two other bailiffs who rushed to the scene.

And Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering an additional 560 U.S. troops to Iraq. They will deploy within the next few weeks. Carter made the announcement during an unannounced trip to Baghdad -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and the Democratic presumed nominee, heads to the swing state of New Hampshire. She is going to be joined there on stage by her former rival for the Democratic nomination Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Well, Sanders dealt Clinton a big defeat in that state`s primary back in February, but that`s a long way back. The joint appearance follows this past weekend`s meeting of the Democratic platform committee down in Orlando, where Democrats advanced what one Clinton adviser, Clinton adviser called -- quote -- "the most progressive platform in the history of our party" -- close quote.

Well, the document of party issue positions had one Sanders adviser claiming they got 80 percent of what they wanted changed in the platform. Sanders supporters claimed a number of victories, including -- catch these -- $15 an hour for federal minimum wage. That`s a commitment. Expansion of Social Security. That means people who have moderate means when they retire get a lot more than they were getting.

Setting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, and opposition to the death penalty, which we will talk about what that means. But Sanders lost the fight over one of his top campaign priorities, language opposing the Trans- Pacific Partnership trade deal. Didn`t get the language. The draft still needs to be ratified by the entire Democratic Convention when they meet in Philadelphia later this month.

But the document reflects the influence, clearly, Sanders holds in the Democratic Party, at least on the platform writing, and his determination to move the party to the left, despite losing the nomination.

Sam Stein is senior politics editor of The Huffington Post. And Yamiche Alcindor is a reporter for "The New York Times."

In that order, Sam and Yamiche, what does it mean in reality when you do things saying like -- let`s just start with one that was hardly ever debated at all in the campaign. Simply saying we are against the death penalty -- well, Hillary Clinton`s for the death penalty. The United States Congress recently supported all kinds of legislation affecting the death penalty in terrorism cases.

Does this have any meaning whatever? And also calling it cruel and unusual, well, it`s not unusual, historically, certainly. We used to have drawing and quartering in history. So the idea that there`s never been anything like capital punishment is not true.

What does it mean? Just start with that one. Capital punishment, we debate it in high school. We are going to always debate capital punishment, whether it makes any sense as a deterrent. Does it mean anything that the party came out against it this week?

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I think, in the abstract, it does.

The country, if you look at any public opinion polls, is sort of souring on the death penalty. You have seen conservative states actually sour on the death penalty.

But it also puts Hillary Clinton in a bit of a bind. We reported at The Huffington Post that she supported the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter, putting her directly at odds with Bernie Sanders. And now she has a platform that rebukes her on the death penalty.

So, in those practical terms, yes, I think it does matter. In terms of actual legislative terms, it matters very little. It`s not like within the first year, whatever, of Clinton`s presidency, should she win the White House, that she`s going to get a moratorium or even an end of the federal death penalty. It`s just not going to happen.


MATTHEWS: So, if we picked up Hitler in a raid or something, or someone as evil that`s possible to conceive, he gets three squares a day until he dies of natural causes? That`s what the Democratic Party is committed to now? No capital punishment in any circumstance?

STEIN: If we are arguing the merits of the death penalty, there`s plenty of argument to say that it should be eliminated. It`s costly.


MATTHEWS: I know. I know all the arguments.

But, in principle -- but are you against it in principle is interesting to me.

Yamiche, what are your thoughts about whether there was a real debate or not? Was there a real debate on the death penalty, with both sides having -- making their case, Hillary Clinton`s case, for example, to keep it?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, there was a debate there, but, in some ways -- you kind of pointed it out -- the idea that Hillary Clinton has come out in support of the death penalty tells you that even if they adopted this, and even if there was this big debate, they`re not -- basically, their nominee, their presumptive nominee, soon to be nominee is against this.

And I once asked Senator Sanders, why do you care so much about the platform? It`s nonbinding. And he said, well, you know, reporters are always try to politicize things.

But, in reality, he never really gave me a straight answer. And part of that answer is, he -- I think him and his supporters don`t really understand or really know -- or, I should say, really don`t know whether or not this platform is really going to mean anything long-term.

Even if Hillary Clinton becomes the president of the United States, she might be facing a Congress full of Republicans who are going to fight her on all these different things. You kind of listed this idea of $15 minimum wage, a tax on carbon, these different things.

And, of course, Bernie Sanders, he is known as someone who has really kind of talked about a lot of things. He`s really set out a lot of things that a lot of people always agree with. But the issue is always, can you follow through and how can you follow through?

And being out on the campaign trail with him for months, that was one of the number one issues that even his supporters asked him. They would ask him all the time at town meetings or in rallies, how are you going to actually get this stuff done? I agree with you, but how are you actually going to do this?

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about one of them, the TPP.

Sam, I thought it was fascinating that they did -- Hillary`s people did not buckle on that. They said we`re not going to condemn it, per se, because we all know that within the last year or so, Hillary is for it. She called it the gold standard. I was there in Japan, in Tokyo, when Bill Clinton called it fabulous.

They have always been suspect. Are they anti-free trade? I don`t believe so.


MATTHEWS: Are they anti-TPP? I don`t believe so.


MATTHEWS: So, this sort of shows that, when it came to the crunch, her peeps on the platform committee fought to oppose condemnation of that trade deal.

STEIN: Well, two little reporting nuggets here.

Yes, you`re right. She has never been a total cynic or skeptic of free trade, although I will say, in the Clinton White House in the `90s, she was a bit more skeptical about NAFTA than some of Bill`s advisers.

That said, the people who actually pushed to keep the TPP valid in the platform were not necessarily Clinton`s people. They were Obama`s people.


STEIN: Keep in mind, this is President Obama`s party, still.


STEIN: He`s the sitting president. He will be until January. And he still supports the TPP. And there are people in the White House...

MATTHEWS: So does Biden.

STEIN: ... who want -- yes. There are people in the White House who have a vision -- it`s a very long shot, naturally -- that, somehow, in the lame duck period, maybe this thing will get resuscitated. I don`t know if it happens but it certainly wouldn`t have if the Democratic platform said no to TPP.

MATTHEWS: That`s exactly -- Sam, great reporting. That`s exactly what I think. That`s my hunch. Just a hunch, yours is reporting. I think they want to try to squeeze it through and they want to get it done because it`s part of the legacy.

Thank you, Sam. Part of the whole idea of free trade and everything else, and Guantanamo -- well, I wouldn`t put Guantanamo on the list. Let`s talk about some other things are on that list, certainly, Cuba. The island itself is on the list of legacies.

Anyway, Yamiche, thank you so much. Yamiche Alcindor of "The Times", and Sam Stein. Up next -- of Huffington.

Up next, one week to go before the Republican convention kicks off in Cleveland. That`s next Monday, believe it or not. The Republicans meet in Cleveland next Monday. And there`s still a lot of big name no-shows, including Jeb Bush, ain`t showing and speaking out about Donald Trump today on MSNBC. That`s coming up tonight.

And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I accept your nomination for president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I proudly accept your nomination.



Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was a look back at the Republican conventions from 1980, jumping up to 2000.

Donald Trump was promising, actually he promised an exciting star-studded production for this year`s convention but things could look a little different as the party`s deeply divided over their presumptive nominee, I love that phrase, presumptive nominee. That will be gone soon.

With the Cleveland convention just one week away, the list of those not showing up continues to grow. Of the 54 Republican senators, for example, 16 have said they`re not going to Cleveland. Six more have yet to make a decision, whether they will attend at all.

Also, among those staying away, formidable lineup of past presidents and former nominee, including both Bushes and Mitt Romney. By the way, all three Bushes counting the father.

In an exclusive interview by MSNBC analyst Nicolle Wallace spoke to one of Trump`s former rivals, Jeb Bush, who said Trump has been smart when it comes to exploiting opportunities but he said Trump`s ideas will only hurt the country.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s a master at understanding how the media works. More than anybody I have ever seen in politics. Kudos for him for kind of creating the environment and then manipulating the environment to his effect.

The tragedy of this, though, is that there isn`t going to be a wall built, and Mexico`s not going to pay for it. And there`s not going to be a ban on Muslims. None of that is -- this is all like an alternative universe that he created.

The reality is that`s not going to happen. And people are going to be deeply frustrated and the divides will grow in our country and this extraordinary country still, the greatest country on the face of the earth, will continue to stagger instead of soar. And that`s the heartbreaking part of this is I think people are going to really feel betrayed.


MATTHEWS: Joining me for tonight`s roundtable, Eli Stokol is national political reporter for "Politico", April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, and Howard Fineman, MSNBC political analyst and global editorial director for "The Huffington Post".

Jump in here, the way. This is the roundtable. You know, I don`t know -- I don`t think it`s going to be less exciting because Jeb doesn`t show up, Eli. I think Jeb would make it boring.

I think Trump beat the boring candidates. I think -- whatever you think of the politics of the thing, it`s a pretty boring cut of people. They are not locked out, they won`t show up because they got beaten. That`s why they`re not showing up. If they have won, they would have been there.

ELI STOKOL, POLITICO" NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, they`re embarrassed by the result. They`re embarrassed by Donald Trump. The party with Donald Trump as the figurehead no longer reflects their idea of what the Republican Party has always been. So, no surprise that the Bushes and Romneys are staying away.


MATTHEWS: Who won the ideas argument in the Republican Party this year? Who won the ideas argument? The outsider raising hell about everything or the people preserving the commandments of the old conservative values system or principles, you might call them.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Here`s the difference. You said to jump in so I will.

The difference is in every convention I have covered, and I`m both proud and a little embarrassed to say this will be my 19th, the losers show up to argue their case even in their loss. For example, all the way back to when I didn`t cover, which is 1964, yes, Barry Goldwater and his troops took over the Republican party, but the losers were there to make their case. Nelson Rockefeller, very famously stood on the podium and stared them down.

That`s not what`s happening. There`s one party in Cleveland and another party that`s nowhere near Cleveland. It`s as though none of these people want to exist, want to admit that the party of Donald Trump exists. It`s extraordinary. It never happened before.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Let me jump in here. Let`s be real about this and put it in perspective. I don`t think it`s about the ideas versus the fact that Donald Trump took out all the air in the room and, you know, Jeb Bush was talking about how he`s never seen anyone like this before, learning how to work the media.

Donald Trump has it to his advantage that he knows he`s a news maker, he`s a celebrity and any time he picks up the phone to call into any network, someone will listen. Any idea whether it`s build a wall or do whatever, talk foreign policy, is on the table. So, it`s not about ideas, it`s about whatever Donald Trump called into that morning to say and especially when he doesn`t use a teleprompter. That`s the idea of the day.

FINEMAN: My point is there isn`t a party anymore. There isn`t really a functioning party.

RYAN: There`s a party.


FINEMAN: There`s no functioning Republican party.

RYAN: It`s fractured but there`s a party.

FINEMAN: Donald Trump has taken over and everybody else has taken their ball and go home. It`s extraordinary.

RYAN: There is a party with an overarching theme, but it`s fractured. It`s in different places. You have the Donald Trump party or Donald Trump group, then you have the conservative group, then you have the religious right, then you have the Tea Party, then you have those who are dealing with the military. You have all of this all on the table and Donald Trump, the umbrella of it all.

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s John Kasich. This is interesting, though, because none of the Bush family who are the Republican establishment, I would say, just the family itself, father and the two sons, they are the party, take out Mitt Romney, who was the nominee last time around, four years ago, he was nominee for president. He`s not showing up. And the host governor`s not showing up.

Kasich finds himself in a peculiar position these days. "The Washington Post" reports today, quote, "He`s responsible for helping to safeguard a Republican convention he will not speak at, a nominee he will not support and an arena he will probably not even step foot into."

Let me -- let`s have some fun here, guys. I want to start with Eli. You have been very calm here, Eli. Stop being calm. Just jump in here.

I want to know who the Republican nominee for vice president is going to be. I say it`s Mike Pence. Challenge me, offer an alternative -- Eli.

STOKOL: Well, I think Pence makes the most sense, although I think the other best option is probably Newt Gingrich, just because he`s been vetted and when you think about Donald Trump`s going to say something crazy pretty much every day until Election Day. Newt Gingrich is better than anybody else on that list at going out and arguing and defending Donald Trump.

He spent more time in front of a camera. He`s been vetted and so, I think Pence helps him in the Rust Belt, but Trump is already strong in the Rust Belt. I think Gingrich is the best defender.

MATTHEWS: So, you`re not worried about the six wives club?

RYAN: Whoo.

STOKOL: I mean, he`s already gotten the Republican nomination.

MATTHEWS: Eli, you`re not worried about the six wives club?


MATTHEWS: It doesn`t bother you they have six wives between them?

STOKOL: At this point in the election, why do you think that would mean anything?


MATTHEWS: Well, the religious right, the aforementioned there.

Go ahead. You laugh, so go for it -- April.

RYAN: It means a lot, because one, if you have both of these people together on a presidential ticket they can`t really go after what Donald Trump has been saying he wanted to go after, Bill Clinton. Newt Gingrich has had some of the same issues in front of him. He had to leave Congress because of some of his issues. And then also, with Newt Gingrich, he is one who can bring policy and politics and also he knows a bit about foreign policy.

But one thing I`m hearing is the optics. You have two older gentlemen together that might not look so good when it comes to the optics.

MATTHEWS: Yes, Howard, your thoughts about Mike Pence.

FINEMAN: Let me offer some reporting here from inside the Trump camp, which is the conservatives both philosophically and strategically want Mike Pence, no doubt about it. Donald Trump himself wants some sizzle and he`s not sure that Mike Pence is the guy to offer that sizzle. Don`t forget that`s what Donald Trump is, a salesman.

MATTHEWS: Yes, the sizzle is a guy like him as normal as he is would actually say yes. That`s the sizzle. Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. Howard is doing a good job. This is fascinating stuff. Stay with us.


MATTHEWS: Back in a minute with the HARDBALL roundtable. They`re going to tell me something I don`t know. Be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Eli, tell me something I don`t know.

STOKOL: Well, Chris, we`ve been Cleveland today. You`ve seen the platform committee already up meeting and completely upending the Republican platform to make the party principles look just like Donald Trump. It`s crazy. TPP out of the platform. The "America first" language, in the platform. The constitutional amendment defining same sex marriage as between a man and a woman that the Republicans have had in the platform for years, it`s out. That`s Donald Trump`s Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: It`s not a conservative party anymore, is it?


RYAN: It`s not just about the RNC convention next week, it`s about the NAACP convention next week. Monday, Hillary Clinton addresses the NAACP conventioneers and we`re hearing rumbling still the NAACP is anticipating possibly Wednesday, Donald Trump speaking at the NAACP convention. We`re waiting to hear Donald Trump`s decision.

MATTHEWS: On Wednesday, and then, Thursday, accepts the nomination in Cleveland. Big week for him.


FINEMAN: Yes, Chris, you mentioned Evan Bayh earlier jumping back into politics in Indiana. He was a little hesitant because that`s going to be a tough race. There`s a good Republican candidate and even though Evan Bayh has a lot of money saved up from earlier races, his last 10 years working for hedge funds and so forth is going to be controversial out in Indiana.

MATTHEWS: Wow, I think it`s all part of winning the Senate back --

FINEMAN: Yes, that`s the idea.

MATTHEWS: -- and perhaps really putting Indiana into play.

Anyway, Eli Stokol, April Ryan and Howard Fineman.

We`ll be right back after this.


MATTHEWS: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.