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PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 3/6/2016

Guests: Rich Galen; Yamiche Alcindor; Michael Steele; Brenda Lawrence

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: March 6, 2016 Guest: Rich Galen; Yamiche Alcindor; Michael Steele; Brenda Lawrence



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GOP civil war. The Republican campaign to dumb Donald Trump.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have beaten Donald Trump not once, not twice, but seven times.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would love to take on ted one- on-one. That would much so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who can do it? How to do it? And why it could lead to a showdown at the convention?

Also, the ABCs of the Trump U. controversy. We`ll talk to New York`s attorney general about why he`s taking Trump to court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a bait and switch game designed to get people in saying you can get rich in real estate. People who are desperate during some hard economic times. This is something he can`t bully his way out of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the politics of the Flint water crisis. Republicans defend Governor Snyder.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Accountability is important. I give the governor credit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats give their say tonight. We`ll hear from the lawmaker who`s fighting for the people of Flints.

All that, plus a special gotcha. Why the right is trying to blame President Obama for Donald Trump.

From Rockefeller center in New York, this is "Politics Nation" with Al Sharpton.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning, I`m Al Sharpton. And on the morning after super Saturday, the presidential race on both sides is anything but over. Maybe the biggest winner of this weekend, Ted Cruz. Winning two of four contests. The caucus in Kansas, and the caucus in Maine, getting almost 50 percent of the vote in both states. But Donald Trump also did well winning in Kentucky, and in Louisiana. By just four points. Now the pressure falls on Marco Rubio. Both Cruz and Trump saying, it`s time for the field to thin out.


CRUZ: As long as the field remains divided it gives Donald an advantage. So what I hope and believe will happen is that other candidates, as they compete over and over again, and are not able to win, at some point, if you`re not able to prevail, if you`re not able to amass enough delegates to have any plausible path to 1237, there comes a point where other candidates, other campaigns have to reflect, pray, or reconsider. Do I have a path going forward? Or is it time for us to come together?

TRUMP: I would like Marco to drop out from the standpoint that I think Marco now, look at how he did tonight. He`s in -- he`s in third and fourth. And somebody was nice enough to say that even when I don`t win a state, I always come in second. That`s a big thing. Marco`s come in fourth. So I think it`s time for Marco to clean the deck. I do. And I say that respectfully.


SHARPTON: The latest delegate count. Donald Trump close to 400. Cruz breaking 300. And Rubio, and Kasich, falling further behind.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders scored two caucus wins in Kansas, and in Nebraska. But the big delegate prize was in Louisiana. And it went to Hillary Clinton, with 71 percent of the vote. Today both candidates are in Michigan, where they are debating tonight ahead of Tuesday`s primary.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to congratulate senator Sanders for running a strong campaign, but now all eyes turn to Michigan.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight we won in Kansas, with a good vote, won in Nebraska with a good vote. And we think we`re going to do very well here on Tuesday, in your great state.


SHARPTON: Clinton now has almost 1100 delegates, with Sanders close to 500. Today two more contests, the democratic caucus in Maine, and the Republican primary in Puerto Rico. But, of course, we start with the GOP.

Joining me now is Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican national committee.

Michael, first of all, thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: Trump won -- he still won two states. But it was an off night for him.

STEELE: It was an off night. I think -- I think it was a little bit of a reset by conservatives. The big difference last night between what you saw there and what you have seen before was last night was a closed primary and caucus situation, where only Republicans were voting.


STEELE: So really for the first time, on a night, you had Republicans voting for Republicans. There were no independents. There were no like- minded Democrats. So you got a chance to see how conservatives have begun to rally around the idea of Ted Cruz, in these types of primaries. Now going forward the interesting test will be, can Donald Trump maintain his lead by holding on to enough of that very strong conservative vote. We saw him win over evangelicals.


STEELE: We saw him win over conservatives in South Carolina, and so forth. So, the real test going forward for Donald Trump is, is this a pattern to come? Or is this just a blip on the screen that he still has the mojo --

SHARPTON: How much of this could be the stop Trump strategy, and the attacks by people like Mitt Romney and others? Do you feel any of that has had any effect --?

STEELE: That`s a good question. I think it`s less that, and actually more -- I`ll be very honest. I think what really pulled the trigger for a lot of voters was the KKK. I think rank and file Republicans, no matter what their walk of life or what their experience, just found that repugnant. And they really -- it really brought a question in their mind about the leading candidate. And so they --

SHARPTON: A question of what? Of whether he is biased or whether he is --

STEELE: This is something they didn`t want to be associated with. They didn`t want to be associated with the remarks. They didn`t want to be associated with the ideology. None of it. So I think they started looking around and they settled back where they probably ordinarily would have been if Trump hadn`t been in this race and that`s with Cruz.

SHARPTON: What happens to Rubio? Rubio is not seeming to gain from any of this. You would think that Rubio, who became at least by -- the anointed one of the Republican leadership.

STEELE: The savior.

SHARPTON: He seems to have not benefited by any of the KKK, or the problem with Trump, or anything else. It seems like Cruz has benefited more.

STEELE: The problem Marco has, when you look at it just looking at it from 300 feet, observing the whole field right now is he has no constituency. Who is it that is backing him? I mean, who is it that`s going to carry him to the win in a state? Yes, he won in Minnesota. That`s fine. But going forward, where do you have a constituency? And the tale there is looking at Florida. He`s trialing in his home state. He`s the favorite son, and he`s behind.

SHARPTON: Now, he`s putting pay good face on it, though. Listen to how he talks about it.


RUBIO: These states have a certain profile that other candidates do better in. We recognize that. This map only gets better for us as we move forward in some of the other states. We`re soon going to be in the winner take all process in larger states like Florida and in other places like that, and that`s when we feel very confident as we move forward.


SHARPTON: I mean, do you think he believes that or is he just trying to keep his supporters --

STEELE: I think he believes it, and "b," I think he`s trying to keep his supporters engaged. But the reality is it`s very simple. The math is the math. There`s no way Marco catches Trump, let alone Cruz at this point. Number two, if he does not win Florida, it`s done. Stick a fork in it, it`s over. And even if he wins Florida, he still has the problem of winning beyond Florida. Again I go back to the first point, who`s his constituency? You win Florida because you`re the native son, they know you.


STEELE: But since they do know you and you`re trailing that should be a very troubling sign for them.

SHARPTON: Michael, stay with me. Let`s get reaction now from the campaign trail itself. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez is live in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gabe, publicly the Rubio campaign is saying all the right things. But what`s the mood behind the scenes?

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Al. Well, listen, yes, the Rubio campaign is trying to put a brave face on this. They typically do that after disappointing finishes. You remember it after New Hampshire.

There is an acknowledgment, as Michael was talking about, that Florida, where we are right now, Marco Rubio`s home state, it is absolutely crucial, and they know it. Right now they`re trying to pick up delegates here and there. They`re hoping to pick up a few in Puerto Rico. But again that`s not exactly the cornerstone of a winning presidential campaign. And they`re heading to Idaho later today to try to pick up a few delegates.

But they`re really looking for some type of huge momentum shift. And really the only way that happens right now is if Marco Rubio is able to come from behind in Florida, and pick up those 99 delegates here. It`s going to be a steep climb, as you mentioned he`s down by double digits in the poll. And the question right now is somebody like Jeb Bush, perhaps, you know, his mentor, will he endorse Marco Rubio --

SHARPTON: What are you hearing? Will Jeb Bush weigh in on this? Have you heard any --?

GUTIERREZ: Really, that`s the open question right now. There are some people in Florida who feel, yes, that he will eventually, before the Florida primary on March 15th, and they feel that yes, you know, they have such a long history together that to not do so would be a really low blow.

On the other hand, some peoples are -- the tension between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio on the campaign trail was significant.


GUTIERREZ: Of course Rubio now saying that he`s spoke with Jeb Bush and that he`s --

SHARPTON: What do you think, Michael? Will Jeb weigh in?

STEELE: I`m of the school that I don`t think he will. I think when you go back and you trace the arc of Jeb, despite his own problems in the campaign, Rubio`s attacks on him were stinging. The Rubio supported, you know, 527s, the super PACs, really were brutal towards Jeb. So I think that while there may be a long history there, I think the memory of what happened in this short period will last a little bit longer.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you a question. You chaired the Republican Party. Will this be a brokered convention? Let me put it in context. I`m looking at a poll that just came out, brand-new, where Kasich has now pulled ahead of Trump in Michigan, I mean, 33 to 31 and this is the first time we`ve seen Kasich ahead in a poll. If these things start going up and down as they started yesterday --


SHARPTON: Are we looking more realistically at a brokered convention?

STEELE: Yes. The trend line is in that direction, particularly given what happened last night. The strength of Cruz if he`s able to sustain that and grow it will help. A Marco Rubio going back to that point. If he pulls off a win in Florida, absolutely you`re on the trajectory then because then the numbers just don`t work for anybody. And particularly if, on the heels of Florida, Kasich wins Ohio.

The fact that he`s leading in Michigan and Michigan now becomes a very, very important state between the Donald Trump camp and the Kasich camp. As well as Cruz a little bit. But the fact that Kasich has made that kind of move, if he pops on Tuesday in Michigan, it`s almost a reset in many respects when you look at the totality leading into the convention. It`s a real opportunity come could Cleveland, bring your popcorn because it`s going to be a lot to look at.

SHARPTON: I`ll sit with you if I come.

Michael Steele and Gabe Gutierrez, thank you both for being with me this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, one-on-one with New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. He`s suing Donald Trump.

Also, the politics of Flint. That crisis now a focus in the 2016 race and the setting for tonight`s Democratic debate.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, Donald Trump brings his years of experience to the world of business education, with the launch of Trump University.

TRUMP: If you`re going to achieve anything, you have to take action. And action is what Trump University is all about, but action is just a small part of Trump University. Trump University is about knowledge, about a lot of different things.


SHARPTON: Donald Trump selling potential students on his Trump University. It closed down in 2011, but in 2016, it`s opening a rash of legal and political issues. This past week, an appeals court ruled that a $40 million lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, can go forward. The suit alleges the operation was an unlicensed educational institution, and engaged in, quote, "numerous deceptive practices. Luring People in to paying as much as $35,000 each." Now political opponents are using Trump University as a major argument against his candidacy.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony. A fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.


SHARPTON: There`s also a super PAC running ads featuring former Trump University students.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Gerry and aim a single mom. Based on the fact that it was Donald Trump, signed up. I made a huge mistake trusting him. Pay $35,000, actually more than $35,000. Was all supposedly supervised by Donald Trump, run by Donald Trump. All of it was just a fake. America, do not make the same mistake that I did with Donald Trump.


SHARPTON: On the trail, Trump has defended Trump University saying those claiming they were conned just want a payout.


TRUMP: We had about 98 percent of the people that took the courses approve the courses, they thought it was great, they signed report cards and they said it was great. Those people are suing to get their money back because a law firm said, hey listen if I could get your money back what would you say? They said oh, great, get my money back. That`s great. But they signed these documents saying they rated the course. Ninety-eight percent approval rating at high marks.


SHARPTON: I recently caught up with New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman who filed that lawsuit and I asked whether Trump University was a college or university at all.


ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: No. In fact, it started up in 2005, the New York state education department started writing to them, and Mr. Trump concedes that they got the letters, saying you can`t hold yourself out as a university. There are pretty strict requirements in New York for a university, and it never was. People got what appeared to be a diploma, but it was worthless.

SHARPTON: Now describe what a Trump University seminar was like. What happened?

SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, we`ve gotten the transcripts of the seminars. We`ve gotten the playbook, which are the scripts for the instructors, and essentially it was a bait and switch scheme. Mr. Trump`s role was just as the pitchman. He was involved in the advertising. The instructors, he claimed that they were hand-picked instructors who were experts. In fact the president of the university testified in the deposition that Mr. Trump never picked the instructors. The instructors, some of them, had worked in fast food, some in retail, and their playbook told them simply to lead people to believe that they could learn everything in a three-day seminar, that cost $1500, and then the scripts for the three-day seminar made it clear the instructors were told, convince the students that they can`t possibly learn anything in three days, they have to pay for the elite programs, which are what got them up to as high as $35,000 or in some cases more than $35,000.

They didn`t really learn any real else state secrets. The advertisements said they were going to be Trump`s personal secrets and tips and things like that. He had nothing to do with the curriculum rum and that`s been acknowledged by the former university president. So it was a bait and switch scheme designed to get people in, saying you could get rich in real estate. People desperate during hard economic times, believed Mr. Trump was a successful entrepreneur and they were going to learn his secrets. It was all a sham.

SHARPTON: What kind of people were enrolling and paying this kind of money? Were these wealthy people?

SCHNEIDERMAN: No. No. Very -- most of these people were people of modest means trying to supplement their income. It was a very strong set of advertisements and newspapers on TV. By Mr. Trump explaining that they had great opportunities to really to take advantage of the foreclosure crisis in many cases. And do foreclosure investing. They were trying to find work.

SHARPTON: Now you say you brought it as a law enforcement officer. But, Mr. Trump says it was politically motivated. Listen to this.

TRUMP: All of a sudden, the attorney general, his name is Eric Schneiderman. Not respected in New York. Doing a terrible job. Probably is not electable in New York. But who knows. All of a sudden, he meets with Obama in, I believe Syracuse, and the following day or two he brings a lawsuit against me.

SHARPTON: Was politics or the president involved in any way with this, Mr. Schneiderman?

SCHNEIDERMAN: No. President Obama was in Syracuse a week or so before I filed the suit, giving a speech about education. He and I spoke for maybe 90 seconds. We had much more important things to talk about than Mr. Trump. I realize he thinks the universe revolves around him, but President Obama had nothing to do with this case. This was not about politics. This was about fraud. And you can look at the complaint, you can look at the evidence. It`s already in the public record. And see that there were thousands of people taken for millions of dollars. They couldn`t afford. Through a phony university scheme that was never registered. The teachers were never certified and Mr. Trump pocketed a significant amount of the money himself. So this is a fraud case. It`s not a political case. We pursue cases against Democrats, Republicans, we don`t care if you`re powerful or well connected. This is something he can`t bully his way out of.

SHARPTON: I was told that they were also promised they would meet Mr. Trump. Did you find that to be the case?

SCHNEIDERMAN: Yes. Many of them believed that they would. There was a lot of emphasis placed in the pitch on how being associated with Mr. Trump would be very important to their careers. And having a Trump University diploma and a picture taken with Mr. Trump would be a very big plus. In fact, as demonstrated by a lot of the affidavits we`ve gotten, they got their pictures taken with a cardboard cutout of Mr. Trump. So even that representation turned out to just be flat-out false.

SHARPTON: New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, thank you for your time this morning.

SCHNEIDERMAN: Thank you, Rev.


SHARPTON: We reached out to Trump`s attorney, but didn`t get a response. Donald Trump has denied wrongdoing, and his attorney says he plans to appeal the latest ruling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we continue, a live interview with a lawmaker tackling the Flint water crisis on the ground.

Plus, why the right is so wrong about President Obama and Donald Trump.



CLINTON: I will make Flint a separate issue in this campaign. I will make Michigan`s comeback a story of resilience and success.

SANDERS: Tell me how come we do not have enough money to prevent children in Flint, Michigan, from being poisoned?


SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this weekend, talking about the water crisis in Flint ahead of Tuesday`s Michigan primary. A new poll shows Hillary Clinton with a 25-point lead there over Bernie Sanders as the two prepare for a debate tonight in Flint. The crisis there making national headlines. Construction crews are finally beginning to remove the city`s lead pipes. And a major effort to recall Governor Rick Snyder is under way. But some on the right are actually giving Snyder praise.


RUBIO: I will say I give the governor credit. He took responsibility for what happened. And he`s talked about people being held accountable, and the need to change as Governor Snyder.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Democrat from Michigan.

Thank you for being here, congresswoman.

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me, Reverend Al. It`s a pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, will tonight`s Democratic debate help people understand just how dire the situation is in Flint?

LAWRENCE: Well are tonight, as we know, the Democrats have led the discussion, and the awareness of this horrific crime that was committed. These residents, these citizens of the United States that live in the city of Flint, by no choice of their own, were poisoned. Because of a decision of a governor, and his administration, to cut costs. This is what drove this horrific event.

Let me tell you how important this issue is to Democrats. This last couple days, after Congress ended, 26 members of Congress true in to Flint to talk to the people, to have a closed-door meeting so that we could hear what`s going on including Nancy Pelosi who led in the congressional black caucus and the congressional progressive caucus. That`s how important it is.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at how the significance of that, and then you look at Ted Cruz, who had a big political weekend, listen to what Ted Cruz said about the question of Flint and Thursday night`s debate. Listen to what he had to say.


CRUZ: For 50 years, left wing Democrats have pursued destructive tax policies, weak crime policies, and have driven the citizens out. I will pull back the federal regulators, the EPA and all the regulators that are killing small businesses and manufacturing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he was talking about Detroit, but certainly Flint and Detroit falls in the same kind of view. I mean how much does deregulation and all play into this, congresswoman?

LAWRENCE: You know, it just bothers me that a Republican can say to the people of Flint, who are looking at their children, who have been poisoned by lead, they are saying that these are policies of administration. Poisoning of our children do not allow anyone to take away the horrific crime that happened based on a government`s decision. Regulation, they`re now saying EPA, why didn`t you do your job? And then the next minute they want to defund, they want to demolish EPA.

We must have a government agency that is looking at the -- our water in America. Clean, safe, affordable water. It`s not a luxury in life. It`s a human need. And so now you`re going to say, we don`t want anyone who control and monitor and make sure that the water that we drink in America is not safe for our bodies?

SHARPTON: Well, let me --

LAWRENCE: Is that safe for our children? That`s unacceptable.

SHARPTON: Let me present this one to you. There`s a proposal, a bill really, to give Flint $250 million, and it`s being held up by a GOP Senator Mike Lee. And he`s released this statement saying, quote, "Federal aid is not needed at this time. The state of Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year, and a large rainy-day fund. Totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding." How do you respond to that, congresswoman?

LAWRENCE: I will tell you that this was a manmade disaster. And the state of Michigan, the governor of this state, Rick Snyder, reported at his state of the union that we had a surplus. Quote/unquote "a rainy-day fund." It is a tsunami in Flint. And yes, the state of Michigan must step up to the plate to address these issues, and these concerns. But the federal government, we do have some responsibility. I can say that we voted to expand Medicare so that the children and the adults in Flint will get health care. We`ve expanded head start to these children who have been poisoned with lead will have the ability to start stimulating their brains early so that we can help fight the damage that has been made by this lead poisoning.

But we cannot sit there and say that we don`t have a responsibility. This is not a decision of a democratic administration. The city of Flint was totally under the control of an emergency manager, political system in Michigan that took away all the power from quote/unquote the Democrats --

SHARPTON: Appointed by -- appointed by the Republican governor Snyder.

LAWRENCE: Absolutely. And accountable only to the Republican governor, who made the decision to switch the water and not treat it, and poison these children.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, thank you for your time this morning.

LAWRENCE: Thank you. Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up next, some Republicans are blaming President Obama for the rise of Donald Trump. Not so fast. It`s our gotcha.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot of naval gazing going on in the Republican Party about what has led to the Donald Trump phenomenon. And criticism of the party, the party leaders aren`t responding and so forth. But how much of it is also the presidency of Barack Obama and the frustration that people maybe of both parties are feeling?


SHARPTON: Is President Obama to blame for Donald Trump`s rise? This past week failed 2016 candidate Bobby Jindal said President Obama created Donald Trump. A top conservative radio host said Trump`s rise is the president`s political legacy. And a conservative writer at the "New York Times" drew a straight line from Obama to Trump. Before he dropped out, Jeb Bush also blaming President Obama.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would argue that Donald Trump is, in effect, a creature of Barack Obama. But for Barack Obama, Donald Trump`s effect would not be nearly as -- as strong as it is. We`re living in a divided country right now, and we need political leaders, rather than continuing to divide us, as both President Obama and Donald Trump do, to unite us.


SHARPTON: Sew now, I get it, President Obama created Donald Trump. But I`m wondering, was that before or after the president created over 11 million jobs. Was it before or after he created Obamacare, covering an additional 20 million Americans? Or was it before or after the GOP`s 2012 nominee sought out the birther king for his endorsement? Did right wingers really think their Trumped up new theory would fly? Nice try. But you can`t blame president Obama for this one. Because we gotcha.



TRUMP: I would love to take on Ted one-on-one. That would be so much fun. Because Ted can`t win New York. He can`t win New Jersey. He can`t win Pennsylvania. He can`t win California. I want ted one-on-one, OK.

CRUZ: I believe this process will continue naturally, that we will continue to unify and come together. And I welcome the supporters for every other candidate. If you want to beat Donald Trump, we`re the only candidate that is doing that consistently. And you are more than welcome aboard with that.


So is the Republican campaign turning into a two-man race? The delegate math is looking pretty rough. For Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. Let`s bring in our political panel to talk about the Republican and the democratic race. Republican strategist Rich Galen, MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar, and Yamiche Alcindor from "The New York Times."

Rich, did Cruz make his case for being the Trump alternative last night?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think so. But you know, let me just say something before we get into the prediction business. Everybody has been wrong about everything that has gone on in this cycle on both sides. So don`t ask my crystal ball has cataracts. I mean, I can`t see a thing.

But I think Ted Cruz did make that -- did make that case. Not just because he won two states. But the states that he won were Republican-only voters. And you can`t win the presidency with that, obviously, but you can come a lot closer to the nomination. Whether he can get past Trump is hard to see. Trump is still doing quite well among Republicans, and for I think good reason. The same reason that Bernie Sanders is doing better than anybody would have expected around Democrats. But I think that Cruz is correct, it is a two-person race. With -- and we`ll see what happens in Ohio, whether Kasich can win that and stay in. But he has said that if he loses Ohio, he`ll go back to the governor`s mansion.

SHARPTON: Now, Maria, we are seeing Cruz now being put out there as possibly the best alternative for Trump`s rise. But Cruz is to the right of Trump on many things. I mean --


SHARPTON: Is that something that is better or worse in the general election to mainstream voters?

KUMAR: It`s -- in my opinion, it is worse. And I think the Republican Party knows that it`s worse. I think that`s one of the reasons why they want Rubio to hold on, and they`re hoping that perhaps Kasich leaves, because that way if Kasich steps down, then all of a sudden Rubio can actually solidify a lot of the base.

But let me go back a little bit with what Rich was saying. When Trump is in the middle of an erection where you can actually go after both democratic and Republican voters, he`s incredibly appealing increasingly to southern Democrats. And I think that that is actually something that Cruz will never be able to maintain. So once you get into a general election, he is going to have a really difficult time actually making that pathway.

I actually have always thought that Cruz, what he wants to do is that he doesn`t really believe that he can be president but he wants to be basically that establishment. He wants to be a very prominent figure within the Republican Party and this is one of the best ways for him to do so.

SHARPTON: Yamiche, you know, one of the things that was front and center this week was vulgarity. I mean, I`m going to just say it that way from both Rubio and Trump. Watch this.


RUBIO: The podium goes up to here but he wanted a full length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren`t wet. I don`t know.

TRUMP: He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, Mitt, drop to your knees. He would have dropped to his knees.

RUBIO: You know what they say about men with small hands.

TRUMP: He referred to my hands, if they`re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there`s no problem. I guarantee.


SHARPTON: I mean for candidates when we`re dealing with such issues from terrorism to lead poisoning of whole cities, to be talking about the size of their hands and inferring other things, is outrageous to me and on a presidential platform is unthinkable. I mean if I had done that when I was running for president they would have put me off the stage right then.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think the interesting thing here is that this race is so different than anything we`ve ever seen before. And part of it is that Trump appeal. It almost matter -- it almost doesn`t matter what Trump says in some ways his supporters stick with him and kind of dig in deeper when people call in to question kind of his vulgarity or whether or not he`s too brash.

So I think one of the interesting things is "The New York Times" talked to people about the kind of anti-Trump movement in the Republican base and kind of asking people what do you think about this? What do you think about Mitt Romney? And people were very offended by Mitt Romney telling them who to vote for. So even after --.

SHARPTON: But they weren`t offended by the hand size, and the what it alluded to?

ALCINDOR: No, they were saying, you know what, this is the type of politician we want. This is not -- he`s kind of thrown political correctness outside of the door. So I think that people are really kind of still feeling Trump and still understanding that they really like this style.

SHARPTON: Rich, you know, let me -- let me show you this about GOP attacks on Trump, based on -- let me go there after what Yamiche just said.


RUBIO: Donald Trump is a con artist.

ROMNEY: Donald Trump is a phony. A fraud.

CRUZ: He will betray us on everything he`s campaigning on.

RUBIO: Every business that he`s ever run that`s gone bankrupt. I mean this guy bankrupted a casino. How do you bankrupt a casino?

CRUZ: Donald Trump has written checks to Hillary Clinton, not once, not twice, not three times it, ten times.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: My party is going bat (bleep) crazy.


SHARPTON: But, Yamiche is telling us a lot of his supporters doesn`t affect them at all. But is that an attack ad waiting to happen for Hillary Clinton in the fall that might affect and impact voters?

GALEN: Sure. If you and I were as smart as we think we are, Reverend Al, then you and I should start a PAC today and just take those clips and run them and raise money and run against Trump. But here`s the thing about Trump. He says things that real people say. We may not like it. We may not think it is up to the standards that we in the New York and Washington axis think that people ought to say and act like. But people watch Trump and go, yes, that`s what I said. And so, there is --

SHARPTON: But do real people say that on the presidential debate stage?

GALEN: Well, no --

SHARPTON: Say vote for me --

GALEN: Most people don`t get on a presidential --

SHARPTON: That`s the point.

GALEN: No. The point is that there are only four people, they each get one vote, too. So the people that actually are voting in Missouri, in Kansas, in Louisiana, in South Carolina, wherever it is, those people, the -- and the blue collar Democrats in the south, that is the way they speak, and I`m not -- I`m not denigrating that. That`s just the way normal peek speak every day.

SHARPTON: I think there`s a double standard. I think those very same people would not accept that from other people. But, everybody thanks. Much more ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, minority report. What Black and Latino voters are really thinking about the messages from Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton?


SHARPTON: Bernie Sanders took two contests last night in Kansas and Nebraska. But Hillary Clinton scored a big win in Louisiana continuing to run the table in southern states carried by her popularity with African- American voters. Tonight`s Democratic debate will be in Flint, Michigan. A city that`s become a symbol of the challenges facing African-Americans. Will the Sanders message resonate there?

Back with me, Maria Teresa Kumar and Yamiche Alcindor.

Let me ask you when you look at the fact that senator Sanders, so far, Yamiche and Maria, has not been able to really get a sizable, or even respectable in some areas black vote. I remember I spoke with him when he met with me in Harlem about his strategy on getting black votes. Watch this.


SANDERS: We`re talking about the real issues facing the American people. What`s on the minds of the people. The African-American community, real unemployment for high school graduates, 51 percent.


SANDERS: I mean that`s insane. That`s a disgrace. In America today we still have 29 million people who don`t have any health insurance. Those are the issues resonating with everybody.


SHARPTON: But Yamiche, it does not seem, so far, that he`s been able to get that to resonate with black voters, because when you look at the exit polls, Clinton`s strong showing with blacks in the south, 80 percent of the black vote in Tennessee and in Georgia, 86 percent in South Carolina, 90 percent in Arkansas and Alabama. Even young black millennials have voted for Hillary in many of these states over senator Sanders. How do you explain it?

ALCINDOR: I think I explain it by saying that African-Americans are still very loyal to Hillary Clinton, and while Bernie Sanders is talking about issues that are important in African-Americans, unemployment, health care, education, those are still things that his message somehow isn`t resonating with them. And I think it`s because that name recognition issue was in the past in terms like people didn`t know who Bernie Sanders is.

Now people know who he is. And I think a lot of people that I interview ask where was he? They`re questioning his civil rights record. They are also questioning who economic translates into racial justice. While he is very articulate in talking about kind of how he plans to help African- American communities, he does it in this broad umbrella of economic inequality, and most African-Americans that I talk to say I want to hear a lot more about -- and I want to hear more pointed issues about our communities. I want to hear exactly what policies you`re going to put in place for that and I think Hillary Clinton has got this big speech on race before she was even really running against Bernie Sanders. So people really see Hillary Clinton as having a plan for African-Americans.

SHARPTON: Maria, you are you seeing the same with Latino voters? And do you agree with her assessment of African-American voters?

KUMAR: I think that absolutely, I think that one is that Hillary, the Clintons just have such long brand recognition in relationships with the African-American voters that you do not see with Bernie Sanders and he`s starting to make inroads. But is it enough or is it too late? I think it might be too late.

With Latinos, what is interesting is that you`re actually seeing a generational divide where older Latinos are going very much in the seed of the African-American voter. They have a long relationship with Hillary Clinton. They understand her policies. They remember her husband. Where basically it was the best economic times for Latinos and African-Americans under his leadership. So they stronghold.

What you`re not seeing, though, is necessarily the second generation, the children following in line. And a lot of them are actually breaking for Bernie Sanders. But then you have Bernie -- when you start digging a little deeper and you hear Bernie Sanders say things like the political revolution. That is the last thing that Latino voters want to hear. Why? Because most of them fled revolutions. They want to stay clear of that. So when you start digging into his policies, that`s while it sounds nice, there`s a lot of, you know, it`s a lot of suspicion of whether you could actually implement this idea of free education for all.

SHARPTON: And this becomes important, I`m running out of time, because the percentage of eligible black voters who show up to vote is steadily increasing. Up to 13 points since 1996, white voters percentages barely change, and are now declining.

Maria Teresa Kumar and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you for your time this morning.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Well, that does it for me. Thanks for watching. And to keep the conversation going, like us at And follow us on twitter @politicsnation.

I`ll see you back here next Sunday. Joy Reid is up next, live from Detroit.