ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: So you can see this special on Wednesday. But I also want you to know if you`re a big viewer. If you don`t know where you`ll be and whether you`re going to be near a T.V. on Wednesday, please just go and DVR THE BEAT right now in your remote. Press the homepage. Search Melber or THE BEAT with Ari Melber, and press DVR this show. You`ll get that special that`s coming up and THE BEAT every night you want to tune in.
That does it for us. Keep it right here on MSNBC.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York.
The rapidly escalating spread of the coronavirus sent markets even further downward today. This marks the second week of continued market volatility amid reports that the virus has infected more than 100,000 people now in 90 different countries. It has killed more than 3,400 people. The virus has caused the closure of religious sites, the cancellation of flights to affected areas, also sporting events throughout Europe and the Middle East. Some countries have taken the extraordinary step of burning or quarantining cash as a way to prevent the spread of the virus.
Here in the United States, at least 14 people have now died from the illness. There are now more than 300 confirmed cases in 22 states with Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado all announcing new cases just in the past 24 hours. In Washington state, which has been hit hard by the virus, the University of Washington is now canceling all in-person classes. And in Texas, the annual South by Southwest Festival in Austin has been canceled. The mayor of that city will join me live shortly.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization officials warned against false hopes that the virus will fade during the warm seasons. Trump administration officials did their best to ensure the American public the virus is contained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I would still argue to you that this is contained. It can`t be air tight.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: It is being contained. And do you know how it`s being contained?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: President Trump who earlier today signed an $8.3 billion bipartisan bill to help combat the outbreak toured the CDC a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I think we`re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down. We`ve really been very vigilant and we`ve done a tremendous job in keeping it down.
I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, how do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: For the latest, I`m joined by Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, and Dr. Joseph Fair, virologist and MSNBC Science Contributor. Thanks to both of you for being with us.
Doctor, let me start with you. The statistics here, new states announcing new cases today, the number of cases, the number of fatalities rising. What can we expect in terms of how far is this going to spread in the United States and how quickly?
DR. JOSEPH FAIR, MSNBC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s safe to assume that all 50 states and U.S. territories are going to see cases. I`m pretty confident in giving those kind of estimates just because that`s what we`ve seen and that`s without testing rolled out yet. Once we get that testing rolled out, we`ll be able to verify that information.
But everywhere where we do have testing up and running, we`re finding cases. So I think it`s very safe to assume that we`re going to see it all over the United States as well as --
KORNACKI: And when you say it will reach all 50 states, the question is how broad do you think it`s going to get within those states. Is it going to remain a thing where there`s a couple dozen cases or is it going to really explode?
FAIR: Well, to be frank, the infection rate or what we call in science the R naughts, is two to three people. So you can imagine every person that`s had this, whether they`d be symptomatic, mild to moderate or severe has spread it to another two to three people. extrapolate, have spread it to another two to three people. So it is going to get much worse before it gets better. And we can predict safely there is going to be an explosion in cases.
That being said, I don`t mean to fear monger or panic when I say that. Just because we see a dramatic rise in cases does not necessarily mean we`re going to see a dramatic rise in deaths, because, overwhelmingly, 80 percent of the population that has been infected with the virus has recovered. And when you hear numbers like 125,000 people, et cetera, most people because we`re bad at explaining science think there are currently 125,000 people in hospital beds around the world dying from the virus. More than half of those individuals have recovered and gone home and they`re fine.
KORNACKI: That included people who have cycled through?
FAIR: Exactly. And I can`t underestimate the importance though, even if you are in that low risk category and you are going to be fine yourself, you are still infectious to those that are in the high-risk category. So do not take this seriously. Take it very seriously or if you are ill. If you have the ability to do so, make sure you do self-quarantine. Not everybody is going to have that luxury to be able to do so. And in that case, we`ve got to figure out something we need to do.
KORNACKI: Richard, in terms of the reaction and the response from the government and public health officials that`s taking shape, we mentioned that $8.3 billion. What`s happening on that front?
RICHARD ENGEL, MSNBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: So you`re seeing every government around the world now starting to -- or almost every government - - starting to react one way or another, whether it is cracking down on public gatherings. While it has now been present in almost half of the countries in the world, at least one case or more has been found in roughly half the countries on the planet. It is still highly concentrated in four countries, South Korea, Italy, China and -- Dr. Fair, help me out.
ENGEL: I`ll get it back in a second. Excuse me, of course, Italy, a country I know and love.
And Italy -- since we`ll start there -- Italy has taken some quite extreme measures to keep people separated. They`ve issued public warnings, public health advisories that people aren`t supposed to kiss. They`ve closed all of the schools and universities for about ten days. They have imposed a lot of travel restrictions for people to come in and out, particularly in the north. So they`re taking this very seriously. And now we`re starting to see concerns going forward as Easter holiday is coming with just today the Vatican even reported it found its first case. So will there be mass at St. Peter`s Square come Easter Sunday?
So Italy is already taking it very seriously and it has been incredibly disruptive for the Italian way of life, the Italian economy and there is a great deal of fear associated with all of the actions in Italy. I speak to Italian friends all the time, and particularly in the Milan area, people are very nervous. And they`re starting to feel the bite. If you see the images of piazzas in Italy, there`s nobody there. No tourists are coming. So that has been one approach Italy has taken and it is paying a heavy economic cost for it.
Then there are other countries that might have a lot of cases but they`re not conducting much testing at all and they`re telling the public that everything is fine.
So each government, I think, is reacting in its own -- according to its own political system. We`ve seen China react, which is obviously the highest number of cases by far, documented cases, reacting in an incredibly authoritarian way, closing down cities, using drones to chase people. Every country has been responding to this slightly differently and I think in revealing ways.
KORNACKI: Doctor, I`m concerned about practical advice for people here, anticipating it reaching all 50 states, as you say. Most people, you mentioned, do survive. It seems like the elderly, for instance, are the most vulnerable population. What`s the practical advice, if you`re a family and you`ve got an elderly family member at a nursing home, they`re about to go into a nursing home, do you pull them out? Do you keep them from going in? Is that a place you should be avoiding right now?
FAIR: To be frank, elderly homes are known for their spread of microbes in general. I cannot give you medical advice just not being a medical doctor on whether you should actually pull your loved one out of a facility itself.
That being said, they are at a much higher risk. Typically, people in elderly homes automatically have those underlying conditions that we keep talking about that make you the most high-risk category. So what I can offer is advice as a public health care practitioner that elderly care homes, in general, need to be practicing more than rigorous hygiene, intensive sterilization, daily, multiple times per day, cleaning much more than they would normally, disinfecting everything they can multiple times per day to make sure that those patients are safe.
KORNACKI: Okay. Dr. Joseph Fair, Richard Engel, thank you both for joining us. I appreciate that.
And don`t miss Richard`s special report on the coronavirus outbreak. You can catch that this Sunday on MSNBC 10:00 P.M. Eastern Time.
Meanwhile, during his tour of the CDC in Atlanta today, Trump addressed the public health aspect of the outbreak as well as the political optics. He said he didn`t want the administration to take people off that cruise ship off the coast of San Francisco because it would double the numbers of those with coronavirus in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don`t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn`t our fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: He also said he was not concerned about the large groups of people who attend his rallies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Isn`t there a risk if there`s that many people all close together.
TRUMP: It doesn`t bother me at all and it doesn`t bother them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And he struck an optimistic tone throughout telling reporters they should be positive and even comparing the perfect coronavirus tests to the, quote, perfect Ukraine letter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re in good shape. The people are doing a good job. And instead of being negative, you should be positive. These scientists are doing a phenomenal job.
The tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect.
All I say is be calm. We have the greatest people in the world. Everyone is relying on us. The world is relying on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I`m joined now by Gabby Orr, Politico White House Correspondent, and Phillip Bump, Washington Post Political Reporter. Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Gabby, let me start with you. Is there tension here between the message the president is trying to send, the message and the tone that he wants to strike here and where public health officials are on this at all?
GABBY ORR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Absolutely, Steve. You don`t have to look further than the press briefings that Vice President Pence has been giving almost daily now to see the discrepancies between the way that he and the coronavirus task force are handling this and the way that the president is talking about it.
Just this afternoon, Vice President Pence said that they are continuing to take this whole of government approach to tackle this virus to make sure that the availability of test kits is improving, to continue to talk with state and local officials who are dealing with multiplying cases in their own states. And on the other hand, you had President Trump, of course, commenting on Governor Inslee in Washington State, calling him a snake and questioning whether or not the vice president should be kind to him in his own interactions.
So I do think there is quite a split screen effect happening between the president and his messaging about this virus and how he`s approaching it and the way that key officials in his administration, including infectious disease experts, are approaching this.
KORNACKI: Phillip, what did you make of the appearance today at the CDC? We showed some of those comments from the president. He was wearing the hat there with his re-election slogan on it. It would seem to indicate some political calculus there as well.
PHILLIP BUMP, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, 100 percent. I mean, everything he`s done so far essentially in responding to the coronavirus outbreak has been focused on politics. You heard the snippet of sound there where he was talking about how he wanted to keep the numbers down. There`s no reason to try and worry about what the number is instead of worrying about the actual passengers on the cruise ship beyond that he wants to project the sense that things are better than they actually are.
Now, I mean, clearly, when we saw this morning the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, he said that he thought this was contained or essentially contained. This is not contained. I mean, it`s obviously we see the City of San Jose, California, for example, is taking all sorts of measures and suggesting against big events where there are lots of people. And we saw the same with South by Southwest in Austin. This is not contained.
I mean, you think about it like you would think about a wildfire. And there is a containment that goes on the wildfire. Clearly if this is spreading across the country, it`s not contained. The number of cases are going to continue to go up.
But for some reason, President Trump insists upon trying to message the lowest possible number that he can. A week ago, he was saying there are only 15 cases, ignoring passengers from another cruise ship. It`s already 20 times that number. But for some reason, he is still focused on that metric.
KORNACKI: Well, we mentioned that disconnect between the president and public health officials that was evident today as the White House and the president provided conflicting explanations for why his trip to the CDC in Atlanta was canceled and the uncanceled. The White House attributed the cancelation to Trump not wanting to, quote, interfere with the CDC but Trump said it was because they had thought someone at the CDC, quote, had the virus, but it turned out to be negative.
Politico reports that the CDC itself had not been previously informed about the suspected case of coronavirus at the agency. The White House announced the trip was back on late this morning.
Gabby, what can you tell us about that back and forth there?
ORR: Well, there`s a lot of questions about the decision to cancel and then reschedule this trip. Just yesterday evening at around 9:00 P.M., Mike Pence was telling us that President Trump would be going to the CDC and yet they knew about that case that was potentially affecting a CDC official at the time. So that raises questions about how much the president is sort of in the loop with his own coronavirus task force as he makes his own schedule each day.
This morning, CDC officials said that the president would still be coming. The White House then reversed that and gave a number of different explanations, including during the bill signing at the White House when Secretary Azar stepped in and said that he would actually be going to the CDC in place of Trump only hours later to be corrected and told that, after all, the president would be going.
And this is just part of a string of contradictions that have come out of this administration just over the past week in terms of their messaging. Surrounding coronavirus. The president was on Fox News earlier this week talking to Sean Hannity. And during that interview, he said that Americans should be able to go to work even if they had the contracted the virus, that they will recover even if they`re going to work. And yet that is not what we`re hearing from CDC officials.
KORNACKI: And, quickly, Phillip. We heard Dr. Joseph Fair here a minute ago saying, this is coming to all 50 states, he believes at some point. Do you expect that there will be then a change in tone from the president on this?
BUMP: I mean, it`s just sort of baffling that he hasn`t embraced the fact this is going to get bigger. Instead, he`s trying to insist that it`s going to be and he`s going to be proven wrong.
KORNACKI: All right. Phillip Bump, Gabby Orr, thank you both for being with us. I appreciate that.
And coming up, more coronavirus impact. A major annual cultural event in Austin, Texas, one that attracts international visitors, the South by Southwest Festival now canceled due to the outbreak, and a local emergency canceled. I`m going to talk to the mayor of that city live.
Plus, battle ground Michigan. Bernie sanders badly in need of a win there next week after a rough Super Tuesday. Can he do it even with Elizabeth Warren refusing to make an endorsement, at least so far?
Trump as pundit. The president says he thought he would be facing Sanders in the fall but now he`s turning his attention to Biden with a playbook that`s may sound familiar.
We`ve got much more to get to. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Welcome back. Late this afternoon, the mayor of the City of Austin, Texas, declared a local disaster in the city due to the coronavirus, canceling this year`s South by Southwest Festival. That`s the popular annual tech film and music festival. It was to start next weekend. He announced his decision at a press conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-AUSTIN, TX): Based on the recommendation of our public health officer and our director of public health and after consultation with the city manager, I`ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city and associated with that have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, in 2019, the two-week event, South by Southwest, drew more than 417,000 visitors from 106 countries to Austin.
And, according to a report released by South by Southwest, it brought $356 million to the city`s economy.
I`m joined now by Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Mr. Mayor, thank you for joining us.
I note you`re declaring a local disaster. There are no reported cases of coronavirus locally in Austin yet. Is this an administrative tool to cancel -- to ensure the cancellation of the festival? Was that the reason for declaring the disaster?
ADLER: Yes, we have no present emergency, because we have no reported cases yet here in Central Texas, but it was something that was necessary in order to prepare for the storm that we feel is coming, and as well as to put us in the position to be able to effect the cancellation of South by.
KORNACKI: Was that the issue? Were you talking with organizers of South by Southwest urging them to cancel it and meeting resistance from them?
ADLER: No, not at all.
The folks with South by came to us very early in the process and told us that they would comply with whatever it was that the city and the county thought was in the best public health interest of our community.
KORNACKI: Just talk about your cumulative concerns there a little bit, because we mentioned those statistics about...
KORNACKI: ... tens of thousands of people from all over the world would be coming into your city for this festival.
I think people could probably guess here, but talk it out a little bit, if you would. What was your concern about what that might look like in terms of impact?
ADLER: Well, you know, the first and overriding concern is the public health and safety of the people that live here and would visit us. That was the focus, and it remained the focus through all the discussions.
We had an independent medical board working with our public health officer to bring the best evidence-based and data-sourced answers and solutions. But, at the end of the day, this is -- this is a hard call to make, because it does have a huge economic impact.
I`m heartbroken for the businesses in our community that really rely on this event for their income for the year. But, at the end of the day, with what was happening here most recently, with additional cases turning up of person-to-person spreading of this virus, it happening in Texas, in Houston area, there was just one real decision to make, in the interest of the safety of the people that live here.
And now we`re going to have to be as resilient as we can with that decision made.
KORNACKI: Quickly, the response you have gotten from the business community? You mentioned they depend on this for income, the economic impact of something like this in a city. What`s the reaction?
ADLER: Well, the reaction that I have gotten is really almost universally positive. I think people are pleased and proud that our city would make this decision based on public health issues.
That said, I am now joining in many voices that are calling for our city to demonstrate our resilience, to take a really hard look at what it is as a community we can do to provide a business or social safety net for businesses that are caught in this situation.
But, at the end of the day, the risk associated with canceling the event was not as great as the risk associated with letting it proceed.
KORNACKI: All right, Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, Texas, thank you for taking a few minutes. Appreciate it.
ADLER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: And coming up, the next phase of the Bernie-Biden showdown, it`s going to take place on Tuesday in six states. The candidates are ramping up their rhetoric. Is it must-win for Bernie in Michigan?
That`s next. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
With the Democratic presidential race now essentially a two-man contest, and with just four days to go now until the next round of primaries on Tuesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is stepping up his attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden.
At this hour, Sanders is in Michigan. That is the biggest single delegate prize of the six states that are going to vote on Tuesday, 125 delegates up for grabs there.
In a news conference earlier today, Sanders leveled new charges against Biden on his voting record as a senator and his support for trade deals like NAFTA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I vigorously opposed these agreements. I helped lead the opposition to these agreements. Joe Biden supported those agreements.
Whether it was Iraq, whether it`s DOMA, whether it`s don`t ask, don`t tell, those were difficult votes. I was there on the right side of history. And my friend Joe Biden was not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Meanwhile, a new Morning Consult poll conducted on Thursday after Senator Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race shows Biden opening a substantial lead over Sanders nationally.
A poll of Democratic primary voters shows Biden with 54 percent support. That is 16 points ahead of Sanders at 38 percent. And Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, the last remaining woman in the race, is at 2 percent.
For more, I`m joined by Rebecca Katz, Democratic strategist, Kathleen Gray, political reporter for "The Detroit Free Press," and Alaina Beverly, former national deputy director of African-American outreach for the 2008 Obama campaign.
Thanks to all of you for joining us.
Alaina, let me start with you on that poll, 54 to 38 percent. That`s dramatic movement. If you remember, after Iowa, after New Hampshire and Nevada, in this same poll, it was Sanders opening up a double-digit lead in a much more crowded field.
How secure should Joe Biden feel with a lead like that right now?
ALAINA BEVERLY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, if all eyes are on Michigan, Joe Biden should take nothing for granted, although that he was propelled forward nationally primarily by the African-American votes from South Carolina all the way through Super Tuesday.
But Michigan is a pivotal race. It`s important both for the primary and for the general election. Remember that Michigan went from red to blue last -- I mean -- sorry -- from blue to red last go-around in 2016.
And that was in part because the African-American vote was depressed in 2016 in Michigan. Joe Biden needs to ensure that he`s able to reach all of those African-American voters and build a coalition in the state of Michigan.
KORNACKI: Rebecca, if you`re Sanders, Elizabeth Warren`s no longer in the race. You have got a clear shot at Biden. Strategically, you might like that.
But looking at that gap against Biden, you would also want Sanders supporting who, publicly endorsing you. Do you see any chance that, between now and Michigan, she were to make an endorsement in this race?
REBECCA KATZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I mean, I think Elizabeth Warren`s a little raw right now.
Honestly, many women woke up a little raw right now. So I would give her a minute. She is a progressive, but she`s also extremely logical. So she has to figure out if Bernie can win. And he needs to show that he can.
And Michigan is a great state for Bernie. It holds a special place in his heart that he won last time. And an issue like NAFTA is so important, because he can hammer home where he stood on the issue vs. Joe Biden.
Now, the problem for Bernie is that there`s no debate between now and Tuesday for him to really show off this point, because we think about the Nevada debate, and we think about how well Elizabeth Warren mopped the floor with Mike Bloomberg.
But we forget that that was also Joe Biden`s best debate. And he -- Joe Biden has been good, and he`s been bad at debates. And, for Sanders, he really wants to get that one-on-one time to really -- to really hammer home these issues.
And that`s -- he might have to wait one more week for that.
KORNACKI: Well, so, Kathleen, we were talking so much about Michigan. You`re there.
Give us a sense on the ground. The storyline four years ago there was Bernie Sanders going after Hillary Clinton on NAFTA, on trade deals, and having success, winning narrowly. But it was significantly -- it was probably his most significant sort of symbolic victory of the campaign.
Is the backdrop for this race similar, or has Michigan changed in four years?
KATHLEEN GRAY, "DETROIT FREE PRESS": Well, I think Michigan has changed a little bit in four years.
And Joe Biden is a very different candidate than Hillary Clinton. And while Bernie Sanders is talking about trade a lot -- he`s in Detroit tonight -- he`s got a big rally that`s happening right now -- Biden is hitting back with Medicare for all, and those union workers who have bargained for very, very lucrative benefits and health care packages are worried that they might lose those packages under Medicare for all.
So Biden is sitting back. He`s got Amy Klobuchar in Michigan tonight. And she talked with union members about just that.
KORNACKI: I`m curious.
You say there`s an opportunity here, Rebecca, for Biden to -- excuse me -- for Sanders to prove he can win a big state and maybe entice somebody like Warren to endorse him. What about the other side? What if he loses?
Big state he won four years ago, falls short this time. What happens then?
KATZ: I mean, we should not make any predictions. A week ago. Bernie was the presumptive nominee. Biden had a great 72 hours.
I wouldn`t say that it`s over yet. I think Bernie has a lot of chances to go to make his case. And I don`t think it just starts or stops with Tuesday. I also want to go back to that last point about union members and Medicare for all, because a lot of people said that about Nevada.
And Bernie crushed it in Nevada. So, even if you`re a union member who has good health care, you know that your friends and family don`t. And you want to make it better for them.
So I don`t see that being the only issue there.
KORNACKI: Alaina, you mentioned too earlier the African-American support that Joe Biden has. It helped him so much, especially in those states in the Southeast.
That was a problem for Bernie Sanders four years ago. He struggled with black voters. It has been a problem so far for him in this campaign. When I look ahead at the states that are going to sort of decide this Democratic nomination from this point forward, I see trouble for Sanders there in a state like Georgia, for instance, Louisiana, Mississippi, if he continues to get those numbers.
Do you see any possibility that that dynamic can change at all between here and June?
BEVERLY: Look, we`re not -- there is a segment of the African-American community that Bernie Sanders does have some inroads with.
There are more activist, younger African-American voters where he does have some sway. However, they are usually infrequent voters. They`re not the voters that are the more reliable and consistent voters, like our more seasoned saints in the African-American community.
So unless he is able to broaden -- broaden his reach, particularly to African-American women, he -- it doesn`t look very good for him. It starts off with Michigan, but it`s going -- as you said, it`s a domino effect all the way through our primaries through March.
KORNACKI: Kathleen, we talk a lot about endorsements in these races. I`m always asking and wondering how much they actually matter.
Of course, in South Carolina, we`re looking at that endorsement that Jim Clyburn gave to Joe Biden. Certainly indications that that mattered, that helped him a great deal.
I say that because the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, has now come out and endorsed Joe Biden there. Do you think that could make a difference there at all? Or do you think that`s one of those endorsements that we end up saying, eh, it didn`t seem to do much?
GRAY: Well, it came at a time that the other presidential candidates were endorsing -- endorsing Biden as well. And I think that those endorsements certainly did a lot more for Joe Biden than perhaps Governor Whitmer, Governor Whitmer, although, won very big in 2018. And so she`s got some sway in the state.
And a lot of the congressional delegation now in Michigan has decided to back Joe Biden as well.
KORNACKI: All right, Kathleen Gray, enjoy your state`s time in the national spotlight.
Next Tuesday, we will be watching all those returns from all those counties in Michigan. Can`t wait for that one. Thank you for joining us.
And, Rebecca Katz, Alaina Beverly, thanks to you as well. Really appreciate that.
And up next, we`re going to go over to the Big Board. We`re talking about Michigan. We`re talking about Washington, about Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, and Missouri, big states coming up, big contests on Tuesday.
We`re going to give that a preview and some polling, some brand-new polling, in a Biden-Sanders race to tell you about.
That`s next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: As I have said many times, if I do not win the Democratic nomination -- and I hope and expect to win it -- I will support Joe Biden.
And Joe Biden has said that, if he does not win the Democratic nomination, he will support me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And then there were two.
It is a Biden-Sanders race right now. Remember when this Democratic field had like two gazillion candidates? Well, here we are, a little bit into March, got it down to a Biden-Sanders race.
And we`re starting to get some polling on what Democratic voters think of that matchup. So let`s show you here.
First of all, let`s go back in time. This seems like an eternity ago right now, and yet it was barely two weeks ago. Remember the Nevada caucuses? Bernie Sanders won them in a landslide. He had just won New Hampshire before that. And before New Hampshire, he had gotten the most, if you want to call them popular votes, the most first preference votes out of the Iowa caucuses.
Sanders was on a roll. And there was a theory out there that this was going to trigger the bandwagon effect, right? You win the early states. The rest of the party looks at you and say, OK, I guess that`s who it`s going to be, and they start to get on board.
We have seen that happen time and time again in Democratic and Republican primaries. Sanders looked like he was positioned for it. He led by 13 points nationally. He was on a roll.
You know what? There were some out there at the same time, though, who were saying, Sanders might have a problem here, because if you add up all the numbers underneath Sanders and put them together, then Sanders suddenly falls behind.
Now, I got to admit, full disclosure here. I didn`t think too much of that theory at that point, but check out the latest poll. Morning Consult, same pollster, here it is in a one-on-one, Biden 54, Sanders 38.
If you add them all up, if Biden got -- Biden gained 35 points, Sanders gained six. So all of this support sort of consolidating into this, Biden got 35 points of it, and Sanders got six. It didn`t all go to the anti- Sanders candidate, but most of it did.
So, Biden now leads 54 to 38 in this poll in the national head-to-head. We will see how this affects things on Tuesday. There`s also this in the poll.
Right after Nevada, when Sanders was on a roll, when there was talk he was going to be the Democratic nominee, the same poll from Morning Consult asked Democratic voters, who do you think has the best chance of knocking off Donald Trump in November? By a 2-1 margin, they were saying it was Bernie Sanders.
That`s another thing that happens when you start winning primaries. Folks start to look at you, yes, maybe this candidate can win. They were starting to say that about Sanders. They definitely weren`t saying it about Joe Biden after we got fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire, all of that.
Well, now Biden just won 10 primaries on Tuesday. So now take a look, same question. All of a sudden, 51 percent of Democrats say Biden`s got the best shot against Trump. Only 28 percent say that about Sanders. Democrats are starting to look at Biden as a winner again.
So, here we go, Tuesday, these are the states that are up. We just talked all about Michigan. Missouri is a biggie too, Mississippi, obviously, poised, certainly looks like it`s going to be a big win there for Biden, just based on everything we have been seeing, Washington switching from a caucus to a primary.
Here`s one thing to keep an eye on though, especially when we talk about Michigan. Sanders got that win there four years ago, badly wants to get another one, maybe needs to, maybe has to get another win out of Michigan.
One thing that powered him in Michigan, in all the Democratic primaries four years ago, was support from blue-collar white voters against Hillary Clinton, white voters without a college degree. Sanders did well among them four years ago.
In Missouri four years ago, among whites without a college degree, Sanders won by five. In Michigan, he won by 15, big reason he was able to squeak out that victory in Michigan. About a third of the electorate in both states, non-college white, there was Sanders winning non-college whites by 15.
Well, guess what? In the primaries so far, Sanders has not been performing as well with that demographic. You can see, this is a compilation of all the exit polls so far that we have taken in the 2020 race. And you see among, non-college whites, it`s actually Biden who`s a point ahead of Sanders.
And even more worrisome for Sanders, when you look at some of those states this past Tuesday, where you got that Biden surge, Minnesota, for instance, Biden led Sanders double digits among non-college white voters in Minnesota.
So Sanders wants to do what he did four years ago in Michigan. He may have to do what he did four years ago in Michigan this coming Tuesday. But one of the ingredients, a key and essential ingredient for Sanders, was strong double-digit support among non-college whites.
He may be lagging there. Let`s see if that continues on Tuesday.
When I`m at this board Tuesday night, that`s one of the first things I`m going to be showing you when we get those exit polls from Michigan and when we start looking at the results.
The Sanders coalition four years ago, did he revive it? Did he put it back in place? If not, could be in trouble. We`re going to find out.
Up next: As Republicans ramp up their attacks on Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, President Trump says he knows how to bring people together and restore civility to the political discourse.
But there`s a catch.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
The president is already foreshadowing his and his campaign`s attacks on Joe Biden, should Biden become the Democratic nominee.
At a town hall last, night Trump was also asked about the country`s deep political divide, and whether it can be healed. Trump`s opponents, of course, say he is the driving force behind that divide.
The president, for his part, lays the blame on those opponents and says their attitude toward him will change if he wins reelection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have family members who do not speak to me, and recently was told, if you support Trump, you are no longer part of my life.
How are you going to bring us together?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a division. There`s no question about it.
Politicians have to be able to be civil. If they`re not, you have to fight back.
I really believe we`re going to win this next election. And when we do, the other side`s going to say, OK, that`s it, let`s get along. I really believe that.
TRUMP: But we have to win the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I`m joined now by Christine Quinn, vice chair of the New York State Democratic Committee, and Noah Rothman, associate editor of "Commentary" magazine.
There`s a bit of a message for the base there: Reelect me and the other side will get along.
Of course, you could say, President Obama, I remember in 2012, saying, reelect me, and the Republican fever will break.
So, I`m curious, though. Let`s try to handicap what a Trump-Biden contest would look like.
I will start with you, Christine.
Let me look at Trump. What do you think his greatest strength is and his greatest weakness in that matchup?
CHRISTINE QUINN (D), FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: Well, they`re the same.
The man is a full-blown liar. He will say whatever he has to say. It doesn`t have to bear any resemblance to the truth. That is very easy to attack and really bring somebody down.
But since he will make anything up, that`s his greatest strength as well. He has kind of no real policy to tout. He does have policy to criticize, but I think he`s a liar. And it cuts both ways for him, unfortunately.
KORNACKI: Noah, how do you look at that?
NOAH ROTHMAN, "COMMENTARY": So, I thought that clip was especially revealing, not just the president`s answer, because it was reflective of his desire for an interest in political combat.
But the questioner, she prefaced that question by saying, look, I`m on the Trump train. I have been since day one. I wear my Trump pin every day.
That, to me, is reflective of an identity that is folded into politics, that is inseparable from your political beliefs. And if that is your identity, then you`re going to get into a lot of political fights about the mundanities...
ROTHMAN: ... that typify daily activity in Congress.
It`s not especially healthy, and it demonstrates why there is such a big market for the kind of political combat that Donald Trump engages in. He didn`t invent this. He`s a participant in it. Joe Biden`s bet is different.
Joe Biden says, there`s a bigger market for normalcy, not necessarily civility, but normalcy. It`s a big bet. And I`m not sure that he can maintain that, when he`s confronted with Donald Trump-style political combat.
QUINN: Well, I think that`s true.
Look, I think Biden is going to have to -- our great former first lady said, when they go low, we go high. Biden is not going to be able to go high all the time if he`s running against Donald Trump. That`s a fact.
But still, at the core of who Vice President Biden is, the way he lives, his life, the way he conducts himself, all he`s been through, he`s clearly a person who can bring people to gather and move things forward, as opposed to there`s no evidence of that for Donald Trump at all.
KORNACKI: I`m curious, both of you, on this. What is Biden`s -- when you look at a Biden-Trump matchup, I think the case for Biden and just the case for why he would potentially defeat Trump is what you were talking about.
Anybody who looks at the sort of the atmosphere of the last few years and says, this is too much for me, let me go back to some -- the vice president under Obama, that sort of thing, OK.
What is the weakness, though, in that matchup? Trump`s going to try to play up Ukraine. We will certainly see that. There are folks out there who said Biden`s performance on the campaign trail doesn`t exactly inspire con -- where do you see the weaknesses in the matchup?
ROTHMAN: Well, there is a weakness in the corruption angle. That`s something that we began to see polls reflect, not just Republicans and independents, but Democrats say, wow, maybe there is a little something to this, not just the sordid appearance of nepotism, but maybe something deeper there.
I don`t think that`s the biggest weakness. I think going back to what we were talking about before is getting Joe Biden off his game. His identity, now his political pitch is that I am the restoration of the status quo ante and all that means. And if he begins to appear Trumpian, that message falls apart.
QUINN: He has a hard -- I mean, he has a much more narrow line to walk, Biden. It`s absolutely true, because you can`t let Donald Trump roll over you.
You know what I mean? You can`t let him full circle behind you unnoticed, like Hillary did, literally. But you can`t be a bully either. And that`s a hard balance, as opposed to the president now just being the bullier in chief.
KORNACKI: Here`s another question. Who are the undecided voters out there right now, right?
QUINN: Right? I know.
KORNACKI: I mean, are there -- there`s two theories. I have heard the theory that they`re just -- there are none left. But I have seen some evidence there are some folks out -- how do you view who the undecided voters are?
QUINN: I can`t wrap my mind around it.
In South Carolina, there was a significant number of people when they were polled, who said they didn`t decide who they were voting for until after the Clyburn endorsement. I thought the Clyburn endorsement was so late, it would have made no difference.
So I think they`re real people, normal people, not like the three of us, who don`t spend 24 hours thinking about this and watch other things on television aside from MSNBC.
KORNACKI: It becomes a question of, OK, so -- but what are the things that matter to those undecided voters? Is the profile somebody in the suburbs thinking of pocketbook issues, thinking of the performance of the economy, at least until the stock market over the last few days?
Is it somebody in those sort of Obama-Trump states who`s focused on maybe on culture? How do you view the undecided voter? What`s your sense of this?
ROTHMAN: Probably -- I think all that.
ROTHMAN: And maybe undecided is the wrong way to look at it. Maybe persuadable is a...
ROTHMAN: Yes, the swing voter, sure, right, right.
ROTHMAN: And they`re less ideological than us.
They vote on presentation and affect and personality and, yes, pocketbook issues as well, but they certainly don`t go down the list of policy proposals and make a checklist and weigh, balance like that.
It`s much more -- very much closer to a day-of election decision, and very much emotional.
KORNACKI: Well, we will see.
We have got primaries next Tuesday. There is still one Biden-Sanders debate, at least, that`s going to happen on the 15th. And we will see if there`s polls here that show Biden or Sanders jumping out to some kind of advantage on Trump, and if that affects this Democratic race going forward.
But, Christine Quinn, Noah Rothman, appreciate you both joining us and previewing something we might, might be talking about some months to come.
QUINN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: We will see.
Up next: There is a new documentary series. It reveals how former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton felt about his affair in the 1990s.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: A new documentary series titled "Hillary" was released today on Hulu.
In it, former President Bill Clinton reflects on his affair with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which, of course, led to his impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky`s life was defined by it, unfairly, I think.
Over the years, I have watched her trying to get a normal life back again. But you got to decide how to define normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Clinton blame the affair on the anxieties in his life at the time.
Hillary Clinton also opens up about her husband`s affair in the series.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I defended and stood by him because I thought the impeachment process was wrong, but that wasn`t the necessary answer to what I would do with my marriage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton says that she was devastated by the affair and that she struggled with the decision of whether to save her marriage.
The Clintons ended up having what she described as painful conversations with a counselor.
The four-part series highlights the former secretary of state`s political career and her 2016 campaign against Donald Trump, also includes an interview with former President Barack Obama.
That is it for tonight. Thank you for being with us.
And don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END