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PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 4/3/2016

Guests: Ben Carson; Amanda Renteria; Michael D`Antonio; Amy Holmes; Erin McPike; John Nichols; Scott Ross

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: April 3, 2016 Guest: Ben Carson; Amanda Renteria; Michael D`Antonio; Amy Holmes; Erin McPike; John Nichols; Scott Ross

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump`s worst week ever.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There has to be some form of punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he survive his abortion gaffe? And could Wisconsin be the GOP`s turning point. Our one-on-one interview with Trump supporter, Ben Carson.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: What are his policies that impressed you in the areas that would make you discount what he said that are frankly are offensive statements to many minorities?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also, too close for comfort. Bernie Sanders closing in. Is Hillary Clinton feeling the pressure?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We get answers from Clinton`s national political director.

All that, plus a big test of perhaps the worst voter I.D. law in the country.

And our gotcha, on Donald Trump`s ridiculous comment about how he stays fit.

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

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SHARPTON: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton. We are just two days away from the Wisconsin primary. Potentially, the first real setback for Donald Trump. Polls show him ten points behind Ted Cruz in the whole state of Wisconsin. And the voting will come after one of Trump`s worst weeks. His campaign manager was charged with battery. Stemming from an incident with a reporter. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz. An interview with a popular local radio host turned combative.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, before you called into my show, did you know that I`m a #neverTrump guy?

TRUMP: That I didn`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Because I thought it was interesting, and people were wondering, does Donald Trump know what Charlie Sykes has said about him in the past?

TRUMP: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And then, there was the interview with MSNBC`s Chris Matthews. Trump`s gaffe on abortion caused anger on both the right, and left. While his comments about nuclear weapons sparked fresh scrutiny of his foreign policy agenda.

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CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Do you believe in punishment for abortion? Yes or no as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form?

MATTHEWS: You might use it in Europe?

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so --

MATTHEWS: I`ve never --

TRUMP: I am not taking cards off the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The question for Trump 48 hours ahead of Wisconsin, will it be a bump on the road to the nomination, or the beginning of the end?

Joining me now is Dr. Ben Carson, former presidential candidate, and former Trump rival, who has since endorsed him for president.

Thanks for being here, Dr. Carson.

BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Always a pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Wisconsin is only a couple of days off. Is that the last chance for the establishment to stop Donald Trump?

CARSON: No. Because, I think anything can happen, you know, during the political season. So, all kinds of disasters can happen. All kinds of wonderful things can happen. And as you`ve noticed, with each one of these contests, all the pundits say, oh, well this is the big one. This will determine. And then they say that with the next one, too. I think they just want to keep the drama going.

SHARPTON: What if Donald Trump comes in to the Republican convention with the most delegates, but not enough to clinch the nomination, the number that he needs? Will you, Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson, will you support whomever is put forward as the nominee? Let`s say what if Paul Ryan, who wasn`t even among those running this year, is selected at a brokered convention. Would you support him or anyone that the convention might select?

CARSON: I would certainly hope that that doesn`t happen. Because if that does happen, the party will be so fractured that it will guarantee that the Democrats will win. And I`m hoping that cooler heads will prevail. But obviously whoever the nominee is should be supported.

SHARPTON: And you will support whoever that nominee would be?

CARSON: I would support the nominee, as opposed to, you know, whoever was running on the other side, unless they come up with somebody different than the two that we see now.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. A lot of people raised the question, how can you support Donald Trump, when he has said some things about you that are very, very troublesome to some of your supporters. Let me give you an example of some of the things he said about you, Dr. Carson.

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TRUMP: Carson is lower energy than Bush! I mean, Seventh Day Adventists I don`t know about. I just don`t know about. But it moves this way. It moves this way. It moves that way. We are going to put somebody in office who considers himself to have pathological disease.

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SHARPTON: Now, putting aside the personal stuff, is that the kind of person that has the temperament to be commander in-chief?

CARSON: I think probably as much so as anybody else. But recognize that he`s -- he knows how to play to an audience. He has a long history of showmanship. And that`s what he was doing. And he has admitted that that`s the case. Is that the way that I would conduct myself? Absolutely not. But you know, we`re all different. And what you have to ask yourself is, did it work? Did the things that he -- that he did work? They did. And I don`t know if that`s saying something about him or is that saying something about us as a society?

SHARPTON: You know you`re Dr. Ben Carson. You have a lot of respect by a lot of people that may even disagree with your views, your positions, even your candidacy for president this year. I remember when you came to the national action network convention you were respected. But -- and that was among minorities, a lot of hour conventioneers are minorities. Donald Trump has said some very troubling things about minorities. Let me give you an example.

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TRUMP: They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists.

Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

I don`t know anything about David duke. I don`t know what group you`re talking about. You wouldn`t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look.

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SHARPTON: Aren`t those kind of statement statements a disqualifier for you endorsing Donald Trump?

CARSON: Not at all. Because, he is explained himself on all of those things. Now if you just take them by themselves without his explanation, then they seem, you know, like they would condemn him. But that seems to be a problem. We like to take things in isolation without looking at the totality.

SHARPTON: Well what do you think is the totality that he offers people of color, Mexicans, Muslims? What are the policies that if we were to say those statements were just showmanship, what are the policies that make you say that you can overlook those statements?

CARSON: I don`t overlook them. But I do take them all in to consideration. I look at a person`s life. You know, Donald Trump has hired thousands of people. Has a very large network. I`ve met a lot of people. It`s very hard to find any of his employees have anything bad to say about him or his former employees. That says a lot about a person.

When he moved down to Palm Beach, you know, the private clubs, were largely excluding Jews and blacks. He became a warrior, and he fought for their inclusion. You know, these are stories that you don`t really hear about very often. I think -- and then, one of the things that impresses me the most is, you look at his children. His children are very well-mannered, as respectful, not spoiled like you see so often children who are raised in families of wealth. That says a lot about a person.

SHARPTON: But what are his policies, though? Among those minority groups that he has said these statements that you say we shouldn`t just judge him by the statements. What are the policies? He may have fought for people to be included as members of his golf clubs, but what are his policies that impressed you in the areas that would make you discount what he said that are frankly offensive statements to many minorities?

CARSON: His policies are treating everybody the same. He`s coming very rapidly to understand that that the downtrodden in our society, the minorities are largely having a difficult time because of education, lack of education, and lack of educational opportunities.

And you know, he`s going to be advocating things like voucher programs which will allow school choice, which is critical particularly in our inner cities. I know in New York City, you know, the mayor there doesn`t like the idea of school choice, but the fact of the matter is it makes the biggest difference and it doesn`t matter what your background is, if you get a good education you write your own ticket and you become part of the strength and fabric of this country. This is something that you`re going to see him advocating very strongly.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me ask this. You`ve said that President Obama was raised white. And that he -- you really questioned whether he understand the black experience of -- what would make you say something like that?

CARSON: First of all, what I said, and what many people in the media said I said are two completely different things. I said that the experience that he had being raised is not the typical black experience. He was raised by white grandparents in an affluent area of Hawaii, spent his formative years in Indonesia, raised by a white mother there. Those are not typical black experiences. No one can prove to me that that`s a typical black experience. The rest of it was stuff that you people in the media added and said, Carson said this and Carson said that. You know, that`s what you wish that I had said. But I didn`t say that.

SHARPTON: Well that`s why I`m asking you. So you`re not saying that he did understand the black experience, because you could be raised by whites and it could even show you even more of the racial imbalance, that`s very possible?

CARSON: Of course.

SHARPTON: All right.

CARSON: Of course that`s true. And I also then say that being raised white is a bad thing. All the things that people threw on and tried to say that I said I didn`t say those things. And it`s so typical, and I wish there would be more honesty and I appreciate you clarifying that.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Dr. Ben Carson. Thank you for your time this morning.

CARSON: Always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, digging into the democratic contest with a Clinton campaign`s national political director.

And later, the fight against Wisconsin`s controversial voter ID law in place for the first time this week.

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CLINTON: I do not have -- I have money from people that -- I am so sick -- I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I`m sick of it.

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SHARPTON: Ahead of the Wisconsin primary, tensions are running high in the Democratic nomination fight. A new poll shows Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in the state 49 to 45 percent. In recent days, the candidates have sparred on several fronts. Even Donald Trump`s comments on abortion led to a skirmish between the Democrats.

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SANDERS: Any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Trump becomes the story of the week. Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America.

CLINTON: Senator Sanders agreed that Donald Trump`s comments were shameful. But then he said they were a distraction from, and I quote, "a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America." To me this is a serious issue.

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SHARPTON: Sanders responded, saying, Clinton took his comments out of context.

Joining me now is Amanda Renteria, national political director for Hillary for America. Thank you for being here.

AMANDA RENTERIA, NATIONAL POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Did you ever -- I`ve got to ask this first, do you ever feel that at this date it would still be this tense, and this close in a primary fight?

RENTERIA: I got to say, I think there`s a lot of things we`re surprised about in this election cycle, given what`s happened on the other side. But, at the end of the day, we knew that every presidential is tough and you`ve got to earn every sing the vote. And so, the way the Democratic process works, and the delegate counts work is going to be awhile. And so we`re going to keep working through it.

SHARPTON: All right. According to polls right now, Sanders is slightly ahead in Wisconsin. How do you feel about your candidate?

RENTERIA: I think my candidate is doing a fantastic job and we`re incredibly excited about what we have going forward. Wisconsin is going to be tough, though. And we know that. When you look at the demographics of Wisconsin, it`s not quite where the Democratic Party is as Democratic Party as a whole. And we`ve always from the very beginning tried to build a coalition that was really reflective of America, reflective of a Democratic Party. And so, Wisconsin a little bit tougher. But we`re going to try and win every single vote we can. And she`s there campaigning and we`re going to keep pushing until the very last vote is cast.

SHARPTON: Now, all right Wisconsin you say is going to be tough. New York is the next one.

RENTERIA: Yes.

SHARPTON: Are you confident that your candidate will win big in New York?

RENTERIA: We feel fantastic here. I mean, this is home. Our headquarters, people are back, she`s campaigning again. And right here in her home state. And I got to tell you, there`s just an incredible energy as we have kicked it off, a lot more here, she`s been here, and the president has been here. Chelsea has been here. And really kind of coming back to her roots, and all the different communities. And so it`s been good to go through the history of what she`s done for the state of New York.

SHARPTON: This week senator Sanders told my colleague Rachel Maddow that they`re working on getting some of the Superdelegates to come his way. Watch this.

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SANDERS: What I do believe is that there are a lot of Republican -- a lot of Superdelegates, who have signed on to Hillary Clinton a long, long time ago. And then you have other Superdelegates who are in states, where we have won by 20, 30, 40 points. And the people in those states are saying, you know what? We voted for Bernie Sanders by 30 or 40 points. You got to support him at the convention.

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SHARPTON: Are you worried about some of the Superdelegates changing their allegiance to Sanders if he builds momentum?

RENTERIA: I think this contest at the very beginning has been about pledge delegates. And I think what you`re going to see is a coalition around pledge delegates. And we`ve known that that`s always been the case. No convention has ever been overturned by Superdelegates and we don`t expect that to happen now. What we expect is to continue to win the pledge delegates. We`re up by 200. We`re feeling pretty good about that and we`re up by 2.5 million votes over Sanders.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that I`ve got to raise this question, if she doesn`t succeed in Wisconsin, is New York and California, Pennsylvania, must-win?

RENTERIA: I think when you look at the delegate map you can still win without winning those contests. But we want to win big in these states. And so we are going to work really hard, and truthfully, it feels really good here on the ground. So I feel incredibly confident about what the calendar looks like, what the map looks like, especially in states where we`ve done the hard work to build the coalitions you need. Not simply for the -- not simply for the primary but really going forward.

SHARPTON: Amanda Renteria, thank you for your time. We should note "Politics Nation" reached out to the Bernie Sanders campaign for today`s show, it didn`t work out. But we look forward to having them on in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, Donald Trump`s comments on abortion raise the question, just what does he believe? One-on-one with a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who wrote the book on Trump.

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TRUMP: I want to show off. You know what a good athlete I am? You know, a lot about the world of sports, believe me. We like to win. We know how to close deals. I close. I`m a closer. Even in sports I`ve always been a closer. I win. I win club championships.

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SHARPTON: It`s Donald Trump the athlete. We have seen other political figures go public with their exercise routines. Like the first lady who gave out tips in her "let`s move" campaign. Or speaker Paul Ryan, who pumped iron on camera. But "People" magazine wanted to know what about Trump? Does he work out on the trail? He said quote "don`t have to when you`re making speeches for 25,000 people and shouting and screaming and having fun with everybody, and making America great again. You get a lot of exercise."

You get a lot of exercise by making America great again. Really? Burning calories with comments like this?

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TRUMP: They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists. Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

Get out of here! Get out of here! Look at these people.

You are a loser. You really are a loser.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This workout is as real as his plan to make Mexico pay for the wall. Nice try. But until Trump shapes up and gets over these empty calories, we gotcha.

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TRUMP: I`m very pro-choice. I am pro-choice in every respect, and as far as it goes. I am against, I am pro-life, yes.

MATTHEW: Do you believe in punishment for abortion? Yes or no as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Donald Trump on abortion, then and now. He walked back those last comments, and said, doctors, not women, should be punished if abortion were made illegal. But by then he would already sparked a backlash, drawing criticism from both Democrats, and Republicans. And reviving old questions about just where he stands on abortion, and other issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When it comes to being conservative, I happen to be conservative.

In many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat.

Liberal on healthcare. We have to take care of people that are sick.

We`re getting rid of Obamacare, by the way.

Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman. I mean I`m a little biased because I`ve known her for years. I think she does a good job. And I like her.

I told you, she`s like a snake with no energy. No, no, she`s like a snake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Michael D`Antonio. He`s author of "Never enough, Donald Trump and the pursuit of success." Thanks for being here.

MICHAEL D`ANTONIO, AUTHOR, NEVER ENOUGH: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Trump`s comments on abortion and then the quick walk-back, what do you make about that?

D`ANTONIO: Well, he says everything, doesn`t he? You know, I think sometimes he starts talking before the brain is engaged, and then he`s vamping for time. And I think Chris trapped him. It was set for him in the beginning of that sequence of questions, and he just fell right into it.

SHARPTON: Then he also defended his campaign manager was charged this week with battery. And he said that he can`t destroy a man. Are you surprised?

D`ANTONIO: You know, this is a funny thing. Donald once told me a story about Johnny Carson complaining that two workers in his building stole his coat. Now, Trump didn`t believe it. And yet he brought these two guys in, and he said you`re fired. And he told me the story as if it was, of course I fired them. A celebrity asked me to fire them.

Well, now, it`s a powerful fella, Corey Lewandowski who is running his campaign and now he`s going to worry about the fellow`s family. What about those two working-class guys who worked in his building and he fired like that?

SHARPTON: He`s also now backing off his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. Are you surprised?

D`ANTONIO: No. No. You know, I almost wonder if Trump is trying to lose it now. I think --

SHARPTON: What do you mean?

D`ANTONIO: Well, think about President Obama`s performance at the nuclear security summit. Sober, serious, 50 nations gathered in Washington. He knew his stuff. Can you imagine Donald Trump handling that summit? He couldn`t.

SHARPTON: So when you say he`s trying to lose it, he`s not even trying to -- to rise up to being presidential, or --

D`ANTONIO: I don`t --

SHARPTON: Or coming off as serious?

D`ANTONIO: He may have deep in his heart, or his subconscious, a part of him that is afraid. That whoa, I might actually win this thing. And, you know, he`s not stupid. He knows what he`s capable of. This is a fellow who couldn`t manage a casino. He couldn`t manage an airline. He`s great at making deals but he`s terrible at operating complex institutions. So I think he might be panicking. It certainly --

SHARPTON: You wrote the book on him. You spent time with him, you really studied him. So you think he has a deep fear of the responsibility? He likes the magic of the media, and the run, but he may not really want to win. Is that what you`re saying?

D`ANTONIO: I think the thing that would delight him is to get to the convention, have it taken away from him, and then he can scream about it for the next ten years. He is not serious about running the United States of America. I don`t believe it.

SHARPTON: What would his reaction be if he gets to the convention and they deny him the nomination?

D`ANTONIO: He`ll go ballistic. But you know, this is part of the Donald Trump shtick. This guy is like a borscht belt comedian. He wants attention. He is delivering one liners. But is he coherent? Does he ever speak in a really well formed sentence, let alone a paragraph. He can`t.

SHARPTON: If he wins the nomination, can he tone it down for the general election?

D`ANTONIO: Well, he`ll be surrounded by the Republican establishment. They`ll try to get him to tone it down. I think he can tone it down but I`m not sure that he can get smarter. You know, this is not a guy who is going to learn all these issues that he doesn`t know in the space of a few months.

SHARPTON: Michael D`Antonio thank you for your time this morning.

D`ANTONIO: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, will Wisconsin`s primary derail Donald Trump? Our political panel weighs in.

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REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I don`t know about you but I`m ready to do my part in making sure that we together help save this country and make Barack Obama a one-term president. Are you with me?

So with that would you all please welcome governor Mitt Romney?

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Four years ago this month, Mitt Romney was wrapping up his primary campaign and holding meetings with the RNC. Four years later, Donald Trump is holding very different meetings with the RNC trying to find common ground.

On the Democratic side four years ago, President Barack Obama was gearing up for his re-election campaign. Today, it`s a drawn out fight between Clinton and Sanders, going longer than anyone expected. Now a potential pivot point for both sides. The Wisconsin primary is just two days away.

Joining me now is our panel, John Nichols from "the Nation," political reporter Erin McPike, and Amy Holmes of "the blaze." Thank you all for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you reverend.

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Let me go to you, Erin, first. Did Trump do real damage with all of the occurrences this week from his statement about women being punished for abortion, to his nuclear statement, and the arrest of his campaign manager, or the charging of his campaign manager, I should say?

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL REPORTER: The short answer is yes, absolutely he did real damage to himself. Whether or not it hurts his chances of ultimately becoming the Republican nominee, I think that`s too early to see. Of course, it looks like Ted Cruz might win Wisconsin on Tuesday. But as far as the general election is concerned, yes, he did do real damage. And you will hear plenty of Democrats, and even many Republicans, say that if Donald Trump is the nominee, that Hillary Clinton will win in a landslide. I`m not sure that that was true until potentially this week. Because I do think he did a great deal of damage to himself with women, independents, he wasn`t doing too well with them in the first place. But he turned a lot of people off in the last two weeks. There`s no question about it.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s get your perspective, Amy, as a Republican -- well you`re not a Republican.

AMY HOLMES, THE BLAZE: A conservative, yes.

SHARPTON: That is as a conservative. Has he done damage in terms of conservatives through this primary season?

HOLMES: Most certainly. And leading in to his town hall this week, and then the remarks about women needing to be punished if they, you know, acquired an abortion, Donald Trump already had half of Republican women in a poll by this very network, NBC, half of Republican women saying that they could never imagine voting for Donald Trump. This week certainly hurt him in that group, as well. And you saw a lot of conservatives after, particularly the abortion comment, a lot of pro-life conservatives saying that has never been our position. And in fact hurts the pro-life movement, and you`ve seen the Democrats and liberals really jumping on it, and you know, using this to bash the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: John, if you go to the new polling, it shows that Trump`s unfavorable ratings above 50 percent among everyone, from white men, to conservatives, to young voters, African-Americans, and Hispanics. That`s not a good sign if he is, in fact, the nominee.

NICHOLS: No, it is not a good sign, Reverend. And it`s especially not a good sign in Wisconsin, where he`ll be facing the voters in two days.

SHARPTON: Give me your perspective from about Trump in Wisconsin. Because they don`t seem to be warming up to him.

NICHOLS: They are not. It`s a very interesting dynamic. Trump always under polled in Wisconsin. There`s evidence that he`s always under polled in quite a bit of the upper Midwest, in places like Minnesota, as well. And I don`t want to try and psycho analyze too much but I think there is a little something to that notion of Midwestern nice.

You and I have walked around the streets of downtown Madison in the past, and I think everybody`s pretty nice. And the fact of the matter is, Trump`s style was never a good fit with Wisconsin. It has also been hit very, very hard by the developments of the last week, which our friends here on the panel have well commented on.

And there`s another element, as well. In Wisconsin, the Republican establishment is very large. It includes talk radio. It includes a lot of legislators. Obviously it includes Governor Scott Walker. And that whole Republican establishment, in a much more coordinated way than in other states, is quite united against Trump. So, I think he faces his biggest test.

HOLMES: Well, to both of those points, Reverend, you saw, of course, Scott Walker the governor of Wisconsin endorsing Donald Trump`s primary rival Ted Cruz. And in the town hall this week, Wisconsin voter who said that she was actually supporter of Trump, but asked him why can`t you be more like your son? Why can`t you be more presidential? Calm. And I think more down-to-earth.

SHARPTON: It`s not presidential. Help me out with this, Amy, since you`re our conservative this morning. What is his policies, what is he trying to present? I asked Dr. Ben Carson earlier in the show which of the policies that he, for example, spoke to minority voters, since he said things that I and others have said are offensive. Let me show you what Carson said.

HOLMES: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: He`s going to be advocating things like voucher programs which will allow school choice, which is critical, particular in our inner cities. Now it doesn`t matter what your background is. If you get a good education, you write your own ticket, and you become part of the strength and fabric of this country. This is something that you`re going to see him advocating very strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So if we are talking about how we deal with joblessness, and African-American community double to that of whites, if we`re talking about the need to deal with gun violence. If we`re talking about dealing with criminal justice, mass incarceration, police -- vouchers is the program that Mr. Trump is offering minorities, Mexicans, vouchers, Muslims, he`s offended, vouchers?

HOLMES: Well, I agree with Dr. Carson that I believe education is a civil rights issue of the 21st century.

SHARPTON: There`s no doubt about that.

HOLMES: And I do actually happen to agree with school choice to allow parents to send their kids to succeeding schools to get them out of failing schools. But I`m not sure if Donald Trump is really speaking to that. I think that`s a lot of wishful thinking. And if you listen to his answers just this last week about what is the role of federal government. First he said security, security, security. A lot of Americans, whatever their ideological stripe, would agree with that.

But then he went on and he elaborated to say that the federal government top priority should be education, and then communities, and so forth. That a lot of conservatives would say, hey, wait a minute, don`t you believe in the federal versus -- federal versus state responsibility?

SHARPTON: He took the opposite --

HOLMES: A local responsibility? He clearly has not study conservatism.

SHARPTON: I think that my point, Erin, is that he doesn`t seem to really have policies not only for minorities, but clearly I think Dr. Carson was bringing up something that even Trump hasn`t. That`s not at all a broad program for minorities. Is it the real issue that there is no real issue that Trump has really trumpeted as far as many people that are looking to say, OK, don`t judge him by the sound bites, when you don`t have much else to judge by.

MCPIKE: Well, that`s right. And he sticks to very absolutist policies. He is talking about building a wall, when it comes to immigration. When it comes to trade, he just wants to, by and large, shut down free trade. It`s a lot of very blanket statements that makes it hard to understand the nuances of policy that he believes, if there are any nuances there at all. And I`m not sure that there are. We`re seeing that if he does these editorial board meetings, as he did with "the Washington Post" on foreign policy a week or two ago, and really didn`t show a whole lot of depth there. So these really blanket statements are going to have to change in the next couple of months.

SHARPTON: John, on the Democratic side, what -- how is the feeling, what are you feeling on the ground in Wisconsin on the race between Secretary Clinton and senator Sanders?

NICHOLS: It`s very interesting race. I have covered a lot of politics in Wisconsin going back for many decades. And rarely have I seen a race where people generally like both the candidates. There`s a lot of good feeling for Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.

Right now, Bernie Sanders has according to the polls a little bit of a lead. And that`s not overly surprising. Both he and Hillary Clinton have spent a lot of time in the state over the years. They have a lot of friends. Both of them have attracted a lot of important endorsements.

On Monday, I saw Hillary Clinton give what I thought was one of the best speeches of her campaign, a fabulous speech on the Supreme Court at the University of Wisconsin. And also, at several points over the last few days, I have seen Bernie Sanders give some of the best stump speeches of his campaign. So it`s been a really good race, very, very strong.

My sense is that at this point Sanders has got a bit of an advantage, but, you know, it`s not -- I wouldn`t suggest to you that it`s one of those situations where anybody`s a sure bet. I do think Sanders probably a little ahead.

SHARPTON: John Nichols, Erin McPike and Amy Holmes thank you for your time this morning. Have a great Sunday.

HOLMES: Thank you.

MCPIKE: Thanks, you, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still to come, Wisconsin`s controversial voter I.D. law in place for the first time this week. The man fighting back with the high profile lawsuit next.

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SHARPTON: The Wisconsin primary will be the first big test of the state`s controversial voter I.D. law. And Governor Scott Walker was out defending the law this past week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We make it easy to vote but we make it hard to cheat. In our state you need a driver`s license. You can get a state-issued I.D. card for free at our DMV offices. You can vote same day as voter registration. You just have to have that voter I.D. along with. But we also make it hard to cheat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the truth is voter I.D. makes it harder to vote. And now, activists have filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the law stops legal voters from getting the I.D. they need. One woman was unable to sign the paperwork because he lost the use of her hands. She had given her daughter power of attorney to sign on her behalf. But the DMV didn`t allow it.

The DMV also turned away a senior citizen who was born in a German concentration camp, and didn`t have a birth certificate. The fight for voting rights is well under way. Last month, voters in Arizona primary faced endless lines, after the state cut polling places, allegedly to save money.

Joining me now is Scott Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now. One of the groups behind that lawsuit. Thanks for being here, Scott.

SCOTT ROSS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ONE WISCONSIN NOW: Thank you, Reverend, Al.

SHARPTON: What`s the response to these examples that you`ve brought forward in your lawsuit?

ROSS: Well, I mean, I just get a chill up my spine when I heard you retelling them. Because what Governor Walker and the Republicans have done is they have taken the sacred right of the franchise, and they have attempted to manipulate the process for political gains, so that they can gain partisan advantage. It is despicable, and it is disgraceful. What they have done to voter rights in the state of Wisconsin. Everything from the voter I.D. law, which we have 300,000 people that don`t have the necessary I.D. They have all but eviscerated early voting hours, including ending soles to the polls by ending and banning weekend early voting. It`s been terrible here in the state of Wisconsin.

SHARPTON: So you say that they could potentially disenfranchise 300,000 voters over this law in Wisconsin?

ROSS: Absolutely. And the thing is, the people who don`t have photo I.D. are predominantly younger African-American and Latino voters and senior citizens. So they are trying to deny both ends of the age spectrum, essentially. And certainly they`re trying to deny access for people of color.

And there was a -- there was an analysis done of a lot of the people who tried to get those free I.D.s that governor Walker talked about that are apparently so easy to get. And 84 percent of the respondents for those were African-Americans, Latinos, and only one of them was able to get the free I.D. Consequently, the 16 percent of whites were all able to get the I.D.

SHARPTON: So, the racial difference in terms of who are the ones that are denied, is also an aspect of what is being raised by you and other activists, and activist groups in Wisconsin?

ROSS: Without a doubt. But let me just say that the governor Walker is a -- in his discrimination against voters he is all-encompassing. I mean, if you`re a student who wants to use their I.D. you are subjected to laws, and requirements that are unlike any other voting registration here in the state of Wisconsin.

It`s just, you know, they are -- they are relentless. Governor Walker thinks that certain people shouldn`t be able to vote in the state of Wisconsin. Most likely because Governor Walker`s party has been unable to win Wisconsin`s elector el college vote since 1984. And Governor Walker is trying to deliver the state of Wisconsin to his Republican allies.

But the thing is, we`ve already seen, even though they put these restrictions on early voting that the amount of people who have already early voted in the state of Wisconsin, is double the number of people who early voted in the 2012 presidential primaries.

SHARPTON: How do you explain that? Is it that people are saying I`m not going to be robbed of my right to vote? I`m not going to be denied my right to vote? Is that energized people to come out and vote in the early voting, as you say, double and may even backfire at the polls?

ROSS: I think that`s exactly what it is Reverend Al. The people are rising up because they are saying enough is enough when it comes to this unprecedented attack on voter rights. That are top to bottom since governor Walker oozed into the governor`s office January 4th, 2009 -- 2011.

SHARPTON: Is there any way that this can impact this Tuesday`s election, or is the concern the general election?

ROSS: Well, I think what`s going to happen is, is that our case will be in court in May. And so we`ll see what, you know, what the judge determines in such. But we will be continuing to be vigilant. We have people on the streets who will be taking information about who is denied their ability to get their I.D. card, to be able to vote on Election Day. And we`ll be getting those cases and putting that, again, more in to the case to make our case even stronger when it comes to going into court to try and end this systematic attack on the right to vote here in the state of Wisconsin.

SHARPTON: Because one of the troubling things is with all of the theatrics that we`re seeing around the presidential primaries, this is a central issue that should concern all Americans, and that is the right to vote and any impediments that would in any way hinder legitimate voters from being able to exercise their rights.

ROSS: Well, absolutely. And here in the state of Wisconsin, I mean, we care about it so much that it`s actually written in to the right to the franchise is written in article 3, section 1, of the Wisconsin constitution, that is how strongly the state of Wisconsin believes. And we`re number two in turnout for presidential elections. Governor Walker is trying to stop that. He wants to derail it. But it`s very clear the people are rising up. The people are going out and they`re going to exercise their right to vote.

I just say, you know, one example that you didn`t bring up that we`ve found was that there was a woman who Walker`s department of health services says is dead. She showed up at the polls and they said no, you`re dead. The Social Security administration says she`s alive.

SHARPTON: That`s un-bleachable. But we`re going to sky on this. Scott Ross, thank you for your time.

ROSS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: That does it for me. Thanks for watching.

And a quick note, my group the National Action Network is holding our annual convention later this month from April 13th through the 16th here in New York. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be speaking. For more information, go to the Web site nationalactionnetwork.net.

I`ll see you back here next Sunday.

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END