Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: March 2, 2016
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Yes. Senator, I`m afraid we`re closing on the end of time, but I think once the nominee happens, we`re going to see some more pressure mount is the point.
Senator Al Franken, it was a real pleasure.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: OK.
HAYES: Thank you very much, Senator.
FRANKEN: Thank you.
HAYES: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: He knows exactly what was happening there.
HAYES: I know.
MADDOW: He is a broadcasting pro.
HAYES: What, am I being told to wrap?
MADDOW: A little something I hear right here in my ear. That was brilliant.
Well done, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Lots to get to tonight including Ben Carson sort of but not quite dropping out of the Republican race, reducing the field sort of but not kind of to four people.
Also, the biggest abortion case in 20 years heading to the Supreme Court at a time when the Supreme Court is down one justice.
Also, the White House apparently leaking a second name of a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace Antonin Scalia. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was the first name that leaked. We now have reported the name of a second person who`s supposedly being vetted by the White House for the Supreme Court.
We`ve also got some news today about something dramatic that is about to happen in the next big primary state that`s going to be super hotly contested in the race for the White House in both parties.
So, there`s a lot ahead tonight. Including a live interview tonight with the man who is now basically explaining to the Republican Party, and to the country, how Republicans might try to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination at their party`s convention even if Mr. Trump continues to win the most states and the most delegates.
So, we`ve got that live interview ahead tonight, plus much more. It`s a big show.
But before we can get to all that, we are, as you can tell, by the fact that I`m still at the election desk, we are still under the benevolent penumbra of last night`s Super Tuesday contests including the one result that came in latest of all on Super Tuesday, came in so late even I had gone to bed. Finally.
And that was the result from Alaska, where the winner of the Alaska Republican caucuses turns out to have been Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz. He won another one. He won Alaska.
Last night, there were nine primaries and two caucuses for each party. On the Democratic side, both caucus states Minnesota and Colorado went for Bernie Sanders. His campaign had expected to win both of those caucus states and they did.
On the Republican side, it was a bit of a surprise result. On a night where Donald Trump basically manhandled the rest of the Republican field all across the country, the caucuses, those two caucus states on the Republican side ended up being a bright spot for Mr. Trump`s challengers. In the Alaska caucus, it was Ted Cruz adding his third victory to his primary wins in Oklahoma, in his home state of Texas last night.
And in the Minnesota caucuses, it was Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio added a win there last night to his impressive in the beltway list of absolutely zero wins anywhere else in the country.
Such a weird story about Marco Rubio that the beltway has decided he is definitely the guy who can be elected instead of Donald Trump. He is the guy who the voters will definitely choose if you just give him a chance.
But not only has senator Marco Rubio failed to win a single primary anywhere in the country, it`s not like he`s even emerging as a clear second choice, either. Senator Rubio came in third all over the map last night. He came in third in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont -- he came in third in all of those places. And he came in third in the Alaska caucuses where Ted Cruz won and Donald Trump came in second.
I should tell you, Marco Rubio did win a congressional district in Virginia that is literally inside the Washington, D.C. beltway. That was enough to give people hope he might win the state of Virginia, but it was not enough to have him win the whole state of Virginia. The only place he won, the only place he has won all year is in the Minnesota caucuses last night. Ta-da!
And in the beltway, that undoubtedly will mean that Marco Rubio will continue to be portrayed as the mighty, mighty Trump slayer, just like all the candidates who`ve only ever won the Minnesota caucuses.
Regardless of how you feel, though, about any individual candidate, regardless of how you feel about those individual races and how those caucuses and those primaries turned out so far this year, you may have noticed in the reporting on the presidential race more broadly, it`s not just this year, happens every year, but you might have noticed when people in the media, people commenting on the race and political figures are talking about primaries and caucuses, you may have noticed that the caucuses don`t get as much respect. And usually they don`t get as much attention as the primaries do.
And that is true for a couple of reasons. First is that the caucuses are hard to poll, so you don`t get a lot of advance notice about what`s going to happen in the caucuses and that keeps anticipation down about what`s going to happen there.
Second is that the caucuses tend to be smaller events. They take longer and they`re more of a pain and they`re arcane and hard to figure out. So, not as many people tend to participate in the caucus as compared to the primaries.
There`s also the matter that the caucuses are sometimes a mess. They`re sometimes a little sketchy in their results like in the 2012 Republican caucuses in Iowa, where three different winners were announced at three different times and at one point, the party tried to get away with saying that they had no idea who had won and we should all just decide to perceive Iowa as a tie that year.
It was the great moment we accidentally captured live on camera at the caucuses in Nevada this year when Donald Trump walked into the room during a Republican caucus just outside Las Vegas and everybody in the room just left their ballots that they were filling out, they left their ballots on their little tables and ran over to see Donald Trump in the corner of the room. And who knows whatever happened to all those ballots and all those votes.
Caucuses are weird. Caucuses are weird. They`re a little sketchy. They are not official government-run elections. They`re just events hosted by the party. And, frankly, sometimes the parties are nuts or incompetent and so sometimes the caucuses are bonkers.
I don`t want to get Iowa or Nevada or Minnesota or Colorado or Alaska, I don`t want to get you guys mad at me. Caucuses are not always bad. Even though they`re run by the parties, sometimes now the caucuses are run professionally and they really are just elections in all but name. That does sometimes happen.
But honestly, let`s be real. Sometimes the caucuses are a mess. And that comes from somewhere. Because in the not too distant past, the parties didn`t even try to make caucuses look like real elections. In the not too distant past, caucuses really were, they just were the place where party leadership chose who they wanted to be the presidential nominee, without really any regard at all for the voters` wishes.
That`s what caucuses were until not that long ago. And that ends up being really important to understanding how the success of Donald Trump is about to explode the Republican Party. Because this is not a fantasy about what might happen at some distant point in the future. This is what the Republican Party is planning on doing right now to deal with him.
And if you want to see how what they`re planning is going to work out, we can see how it works in recent history because parties have tried this sort of thing before. This is the way parties used to do it. And in the most recent history, when parties have tried to do this, it ended up in catastrophe.
And let me show you what I mean here. Take 1968. 1968 was a strange year, right? There was a Democratic president who could have run for re-election if he wanted to, but he didn`t.
President Johnson started off running for re-election. He ran in the first state that year. He ran in New Hampshire. But he won there by an unexpectedly small margin then he bugged out. He got out of the race. The spring of that election year, he said he would not run for re-election.
And so, Eugene McCarthy was going to run against LBJ. Gene McCarthy was running against him. And then once Johnson withdrew and said he wouldn`t run for re-election, Robert F. Kennedy started running against him as well, and these two anti-Vietnam War candidates started winning primaries all over the country for the Democratic nomination.
And LBJ at the time was escalating the war in Vietnam and the country was turning virulently against the war in Vietnam.
And in the primaries that year, not every state had primaries at that point, but in the states that had primaries, the Democratic voters were making very clear over and over and over again they wanted a break with LBJ, they certainly wanted a break with the war. They wanted an anti-war Democratic nominee.
And so, after scaring the daylights out of LBJ in New Hampshire and effectively chasing him out of the race, Gene McCarthy went on to win 6 of the 13 primaries that year. Of course, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated that year. He was assassinated during the campaign on the night that he won the California primary. Robert F. Kennedy won four primaries that year to Gene McCarthy`s six.
And in that bizarre, tragic year, 1968, with the incumbent Democratic president not running for re-election but still looming large over the party, as the party voted in primary after primary for Democrats who would turn the party against the war, with all of that going on, Democrats went to their convention in Chicago in 1968, in this very strange circumstance where Gene McCarthy had won six primaries and Robert F. Kennedy had won four primaries but then he`d been killed and nobody else still in the running had won more than one primary anywhere in the country.
Democrats in that bizarre year, they went to their convention with Gene McCarthy having won six primaries and Robert F. Kennedy having won four primaries. They went to their convention that year and they picked for their nominee, Hubert Humphrey.
Hubert Humphrey had won no primaries. Hubert Humphrey didn`t compete in the primaries in 1968. He was LBJ`s vice president. He was LBJ`s choice for the nomination because Hubert Humphrey wasn`t anti-war, he would continue LBJ`s policies.
And even though nobody had voted for Hubert Humphrey anywhere in the country, he put together a slate of delegates at the national convention by collecting them from the party leadership. By collecting delegates and negotiating for delegates and trading for delegates just with party leaders at the various caucuses around the country, where regular voters had nothing to do with the process, it was just a party leadership thing.
And so, he didn`t win any primaries. The delegates that he collected that way, not through votes but just through the party`s backroom dealings, with just those delegates, the party maneuvered that year in 1968 to make Hubert Humphrey the nominee.
He`d won zero primaries. He won zero votes. He represented a continuation of Lyndon Johnson`s prosecution of the war. He was his vice president, after all.
Humphrey had won nothing. He was not what Democratic voters said they wanted that year. Whether or not you agreed with Democratic voters that year and what they wanted, he was not what they wanted.
But the party leadership wanted him. So, the party leadership installed him at that convention. Thus, giving the party`s voters a big one-fingered salute.
How did that work out at that convention that year?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is John Johnson (ph) on the floor. I`m looking down at Edward Newman in the middle of a huge bunch of security people. How this got started, we don`t know.
Your microphone is broken, Ed.
A lot of pushing. Watch it. They`re going to knock it over. The man is a delegate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just leave him in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check with our state chairman, he`s an elected delegate. What are you trying to -- he`s an elected delegate. You are. Check with the delegates. Where are the rules that say we have to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you the one they`re trying to throw out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are they trying to throw them out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I objected my behavior.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my first memory of going to convention that the police have come in on the floor armed as they were and taken out people who were disputing the checking of credentials. Can you ever remember that, Ed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t, John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First time in the United States, John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Including the eight alleged delegates arrested with Dick Gregory, there is a total of 64 persons that have been arrested tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few minutes ago, about half a dozen policemen went into the crowd. It is believed they went in to try to take control of the microphone. There`s been shoving and jostling and release of tear gas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steven Reinhart (ph), the committeeman-elect from California, says he plans a drive to eliminate the convention system as a means of nominating a presidential ticket.
Well, of course, Mr. Reinhart is not by any means the first one to make that proposal. And there may be more of them made after this convention ends and the delegates go back. There`s been all sorts of talk about it this year and reams of materials written about it.
But we were talking the other night to some of the delegates to this convention and one insisted that before going too far in eliminating the convention system, and his basis and his central argument was that a party simply has to have a convention. It just can`t get along without a convention, but it might be very helpful if each state would set up a primary for the election of delegates to the convention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You know what, they didn`t get rid of the convention after that disaster, but they did set up in each state a primary or some other way to elect delegates to that convention for the purpose of picking the party`s presidential nominee.
And that disaster in 1968, that violent disaster is how we got the modern system of caucuses and primaries so that voters in each of the states can actually pick their party`s presidential nominee, instead of what the party did to such disastrous effect in 1968 when the voters of the Democratic Party were clambering for an anti-war candidate but the party instead used the convention and the delegate process to pick LBJ`s vice president, even though he hadn`t won a single primary.
It did not go well. It did not go well inside the convention. It did not go well outside the convention.
Incidentally in the end, it didn`t go well for the party. Handpicked candidate chosen by the party leadership, demoralized, fractured the party, divorced the party, itself, from their voters, right? They went on to lose in November in the general election. That`s how we got Richard Nixon as a Republican president. No wonder.
Both parties used to have a straight-up system where the voters were basically decoration. And, yes, obviously voters matter in the general election in November, but when it comes to picking the party`s nominee, used to be that voters were just decoration. They provided a nice comment on the process.
The party leadership ultimately picked whoever the party leadership wanted to be the nominee. No matter what the voters said. We used to have a system like that in both parties. We decided to get rid of it. Not that long ago, when TV was in color, we decided to get rid of it only about a generation ago.
Now, the Republican Party is thinking about bringing back the old way, because specifically of who their voters said they like this year.
And you know what, Donald Trump is not Gene McCarthy, right? Donald Trump is not an anti-war candidate. He`s not particularly anti or pro anything in particular that is as stark and galvanizing an issue as the Vietnam War was in the Democratic Party in 1968.
But like it or not, after 15 state contests all around this country, it could not be more clear that Donald Trump is the clear choice of Republican voters. He is who the Republican electorate wants, as that party`s nominee for president this year, way more than any of the other 16 worthies who have tried to run against him, they want him.
Nobody`s anywhere near him in the delegate count. Nobody runs against him has any plan to win the nomination outright by winning enough states between now and the convention to actually lock up the nomination. The only candidate who is capable of doing that now is Donald Trump. And the only way anybody else can win other than Donald Trump is to somehow pull off some 1968 LBJ-style delegate magic at the convention to deny him the nomination.
They are right now working to come up with a process by which the Republican Party will tell the candidate who Republican voters chose to be their nominee that he`s not going to be the nominee. Despite what the voters said, he`s not allowed to be the nominee. And instead, the party leadership is going to pick someone else. That`s the plan. That really is the plan right now in the Republican Party.
And regardless of whether you love Donald Trump or hate Donald Trump, regardless of whether you think he is politics as usual, or absolutely terrifying, if the Republican Party tells the voters who picked him as their nominee that they don`t get him, the party`s going to pick someone else despite what the voters said, think about how that`s going to go over. What could possibly go wrong?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, as you saw, it came to this. At some point, my microphone was yanked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What are you doing later? Would you like to get together would you like to get together later? Will you be watching TV later?
Because tonight, I would like to see you later on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." I`m going to be on "The Tonight Show" tonight with Jimmy Fallon tonight. Look, I can prove it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It seems like it is irretrievably cleaving the Republican Party, and the cleave, like the two sides, are all the people in Washington, all the people in the Beltway press, all the people in the Republican establishment who are like, Trump, we can`t give our party to Trump. And then on the other side is all the voters. And so, you -- who want Donald Trump.
JIMMY FALLON, TV HOST: Hey, what are you going to say?
MADDOW: Yes, so you can split, but Trump gets all the voters and you guys get yourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" tonight. That`s going to be super fun. Please watch.
And in the meantime, the guy who can actually explain how that split is going to happen and what it`s going to mean, he is here live next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States heard its biggest and most important case on abortion rights in 20 years. The Texas anti- abortion law that has shut down dozens of clinics in the state, it was upheld -- that law was upheld by a conservative lower court while similar laws in other states were struck down by less conservative lower courts.
That`s the sort of split that the Supreme Court is supposed to settle in our country. However, the Supreme Court is, itself, likely to be split on this one because of the simple mathematical fact there are an even number of justices on our Supreme Court right now, four conservatives and four liberals. And that even split has been true ever since the death of Antonin Scalia last month.
As President Obama chooses a nominee to replace Justice Scalia, the first name that emerged from the White House vetting process was Nevada`s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. Governor Sandoval seemed briefly thrilled by the news that he was being considered for the court. Then he ultimately asked that he not be considered for the position.
Now, today, a second name has emerged as "The New York Times" was first to report that Federal Judge Jane Kelly is also being vetted as a possible nominee. Jane Kelly was confirmed to her current judgeship unanimously only three years ago in the Senate with effusive support from, in particular, the Republican senator who`s the chair of the committee that`s supposed to take up Supreme Court nominations, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
Now, whether or not Jane Kelly is ultimately President Obama`s nominee for the high court, her name being floated is clearly designed to put Chuck Grassley on the spot about his decision that he`s not going to hold hearings or even take meetings with any nominee no matter who that nominee is.
The thinking is it will become particularly hard for Senator Grassley to defend that stance about holding this vacancy open on the Supreme Court no matter who the nominee is. The thinking is that will become particularly hard for him to defend if the nominee is someone he`s on the record as praising to the high heavens, praising as qualified to be a federal judge.
And I bring this up not only because it`s news, and it`s an interesting story about what might happen on the Supreme Court, I also bring it up to show, to prove to you that there are some aspects of what`s going on in the news right now that are kind of normal. Where even on very important matters, political figures are taking interesting and explicable political action designed to elicit political responses from their political opponents and we can game out how it might work or how it might not work.
I`ve just proved to you, I`ve at least just shown you, in some aspects of our nation, politics even at the extreme end of politics where we`re, like, keeping Supreme Court vacancies open for a year, politics in some normal, understandable level proceeds in our country right now, which is easy to lose track of given the state of the presidential race, because in the presidential race, what`s about to happen there might reasonably be described as everything going haywire.
The two options that seem possible right now in Republican presidential politics are: number one, that Mr. Donald J. Trump continues steam rolling all other candidates on his way to getting the nomination of the Republican Party for president of the United States. That`s option one. Option two is that Mr. Donald J. Trump continues steam rolling all other candidates, but at the part where you might expect him to go to the Republican Party`s convention and collect the nomination of the Republican party, instead, at that convention, they`re going to figure out a way to not give it to him and to give it to somebody else instead.
Which of those options is more crazy?
Joining us now is a veteran of some of the Republican Party`s political and legal wars who not only had a leading role in Bush V. Gore, he also had a leading role in trying to keep hold of Mitt Romney`s Republican presidential nomination in 2012 in face of a fascinating Ron Paul campaign, a stealth effort to basically run off with all the Mitt Romney delegates even though the Ron Paul campaign had lost all the primaries.
Our guest for "The Interview" tonight is an expert on this stuff. It`s a dark art but somebody needs to be the artist -- Republican attorney Ben Ginsberg.
Mr. Ginsberg, it`s really nice to see you. Thank you for being here.
BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY : Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, we talked about this last night, a little bit on TV, a little in the hallway here. I want to make sure I understand it.
Doesn`t the nominee get picked based on who wins the primaries and the caucuses that lead up to the convention?
GINSBERG: Well, sure. That`s the way the nominee gets picked. And I think two things are true, number one, if any candidate, including Mr. Trump, has more than a majority of delegates at the convention, he will receive the nomination.
The second possibility is that somebody is ahead but does not have a majority going in. And then the rules under which the convention is run, and the choices made by the delegates can send you in different places as people use the rules to their advantage which, after all, is why rules are imposed.
MADDOW: If that process was going to be used to try to get somebody who was not the person with the most delegates to be the nominee, if there was going to be an organized effort to use those rules to make, let`s say, not Donald Trump the nominee and some other individual person who was selected by some means, how would you organize it? Could you do it in a top-down way, would it have to rise up organically from the states? Could the delegates organize it themselves? How would it happen?
GINSBERG: Well, I think it would have to be very organically from the state.
What`s true about the Republican delegates selection process is that is about three quarters of the delegates are actually chosen by state party conventions or state party central committees or executive committees, and the candidate doesn`t really have a say on who those individual delegates are.
And secondly, under the rules of the Republican Party and its convention, the delegates are bound to the candidate who won their state for the first presidential ballot and in some instances more than that, but they`re bound for the presidential vote. They`re not bound for things like decisions on rules, decisions on credentials, decisions on who the vice presidential nominee is, decisions on who the permanent chair of the convention is. All of those things are actually up to the individual delegates working their will.
MADDOW: So this seems like if this is the way the nominee is going to be picked, if it`s going to happen through the delegate process after the first balloting on which nobody gets a -- nobody gets a majority and so we don`t know who the nominee is, if it`s going to get settled at the convention in Cleveland, it seems like such an organizing effort that I would expect that people are already working on organizing it. Is this effort already being organized within the party?
GINSBERG: So I believe it is such a big effort that it is being organized by campaigns as they go state to state. I mean, I know that you`ve talked about party leadership.
Honestly, Rachel, who are the leaders of the parties, either party right now, who can command a group of delegates?
In reality, the strength of the party committees has rendered them not nearly as relevant as they were in 1968 when you were showing that film. And, in fact, this will be a battle amongst the candidates and their supporters and whatever you think party leadership and party structure is, it`s going to be really tricky to define who those people are.
MADDOW: Briefly, to be clear, though, it doesn`t have to be somebody who`s currently competing for the Republican nomination who`s going to be the one who gets nominated, right? It doesn`t have to be somebody who`s already playing.
GINSBERG: When you speak of the sorcerer`s magic at the convention, that could take three different hoops of varying heights to jump through. There is a way to do it, but it would be a tricky but really fascinating maneuver.
MADDOW: Ben Ginsberg, veteran Republican attorney, NBC News, MSNBC political analyst, who`s with us at exactly the right time we need him to be with us. Ben, thank you. I really appreciate it.
GINSBERG: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: That`s invaluable. Really appreciate it.
When Ben Ginsberg says that would be increasingly difficult hoops, nothing like that has been done before, that would be really hard to do. You know what has never been done before? A presidential recount. That had never been done before. Supreme Court picked a presidency not that long ago.
Things that have never happened before have never happened before until they happen. And this year something weird`s going to happen.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was called a (EXPLETIVES DELETED) and got kicked out.
REPORTER: What`s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m Shaya (ph).
REPORTER: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got escorted out by the police, along with the people at the rally, they were pushing and shoving at me, cursing and yelling at me, called me every name in the book. They`re disgusting and dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We are to the disgusting and dangerous part of it.
The incident that that young woman is talking about actually happened at a presidential campaign rally and it is part of a larger story that`s turning out to be more and more important with each passing day, and that`s next.
MADDOW: With the exception of Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton owed her great big night last night to Southern states and specifically to pulling in a huge portion of the African-American vote in the South using it to roll up tons of primary victories.
Bernie Sanders did get a win in Oklahoma last night, but otherwise, it was Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. Also Texas, where Secretary Clinton nearly doubled up Senator Sanders` tally at the end of the night. She won all across Texas with few exceptions.
But one of the places where Senator Sanders beat Hillary Clinton last night in Texas was in Travis County. Travis County is a blue dot in red Texas. Travis County contains the capital city of Austin, which is a very liberal place. They got some of the world`s best barbecue, they`ve got lots of tech jobs, they got the South by Southwest Festival and solar power and bicycles and public freaking transportation and people playing hacky sack.
Austin is a great place, a liberal place. Keep Austin weird, right?
And that`s part of why I think it was a shock today in Austin, and maybe even in the rest of Travis County, Texas, when they woke up this morning and realized who Travis County Republicans had just elected as their new party chair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come over here. I`ll show you my JFK collection. Here`s my library on the JFK assassination also known as the 1963 coup d`etat. In my opinion, Lyndon Johnson and his Texas old men used their CIA-military connections to murder John Kennedy for many reasons, both personal and political.
REPORTER: Why so interested in this kind of stuff?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a truth seeker and a truth teller, even if it`s the ugly truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the new head of the Republican Party in Travis County, Texas, who was just elected last night. And he spent his election night promoting his book with a series of tweets that are not necessarily showable on basic cable. I`m going to try. You may want to hide the children and also forgive me.
This one started with the Bush family deserving prison and ended, quote, "Rick Perry is, was, a rampaging bisexual adulterer."
This one I`m still trying to decide whether I can read this one about Hillary Clinton. Yes. I can`t read that.
OK. This next one, this one`s about presidential timber by which I do not mean lumber.
This is a guy who will now be in charge of the Republican Party in the part of Texas where the governor lives in the state capital. And local Republicans are not just seeing this as, you know, doing their part to keep Austin weird. Local Republicans are sort of losing their minds over what has just happened.
Quote, "We have someone who ran here who absolutely has no intention of serving the Republican Party with leadership and faithfulness. He is a total disaster."
Quote, "I will not rest until we remove him as chairman. He`s going to be an absolute embarrassment to the party."
Yes, sometimes that happens in politics, right? The establishment of a particular party wants a particular person and instead you get some fringe guy selling his conspiracy theories book and tweeting about presidential timber, right? It happens. Sometimes.
Sometimes, an unexpected political rise comes with a bunch of other stuff the party would prefer not to have tagging along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to tell it so strong, Hillary Clinton does not have -- oh, get out of here. Get out of here. Look at these people. Get out of here. Get out. Out! Out! Out! Get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This was a Donald Trump for president rally in Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday, and you can see here, just watch what happens in the crowd here.
You see a young woman, young protester being forced out of that rally actually getting physically shoved, getting pushed aggressively by a number of people attending that rally. At least one of the Trump supporters shoving that young woman and screaming at her.
He has taken credit for what he did there. He`s a well-known white nationalist figure who today is admitting and bragging that he helped physically shove this woman out of Trump rally yesterday. He said today, quote, "It won`t be me next time but white Americans are getting fed up and they`re learning they must either push back or be pushed down."
That particular white supremacist says you will not be seeing him personally at anymore Donald Trump campaign events. He says he personally does not want to become a distraction to the Trump campaign which he supports.
So, this is what`s going on at Donald Trump rallies now. I mean, this is - - this is hard to watch, right? Just like it was hard to watch that man getting tackled and kicked at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, a couple months ago.
Just like it`s been hard to listen to the vote Trump robocalls sent out to voters in four states by avowed white voter groups.
And, of course, Mr. Trump is not asking for their support and disavowing them when asked about these groups supporting him.
But the degree to which white nationalists, white supremacists and the white power movement have latched on to Donald Trump`s campaign, it`s starting to become an un-ignorable problem for his campaign.
And then today came the reports that Donald Trump`s son who`s an active part of his father`s campaign, he allegedly gave an interview to a white supremacist radio host, a radio host who spent three hours on Saturday broadcasting his white power radio show from inside a Donald Trump event in Memphis.
The Donald Trump campaign has condemned the radio host`s white nationalist views. The campaign initially said that so far as they knew, the interview with Donald Trump Jr. didn`t even happen. Then Donald Trump Jr. said tonight that had he known who that host was, he wouldn`t have done the interview but he did do the interview, so too late. The white power radio guy says this interview with Donald Trump Jr. is going to air on his radio show this Saturday.
This Saturday, for what it`s worth, Saturday happens to be the day when the presidential primary is going to take place in David Duke-istan, in Louisiana. In Louisiana. Where the former KKK grand wizard was a duly elected member of the Louisiana state legislature not that long ago and where David Duke was the Republican Party`s nominee for governor of Louisiana in 1991.
More recently, David Duke has come out in support of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. He`s told his followers they should volunteer for the Donald Trump campaign. David Duke is now saying his white supremacist radio show that for white people, not voting for Donald Trump would be a betrayal of the white race.
So, that`s where we are, heading into this next race in Louisiana. Is this going to keep getting worse? Or is there any reason to believe it will start to get better?
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TRUMP: Get out.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think Duke is a Nazi. He doesn`t look like one. He doesn`t act like one. He doesn`t talk like one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the working white class of people has been kind of forgotten about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man say yes, you`re going to vote for David Duke, oh, you`re a racist. That`s not the fact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just listen to what he says, it`s common sense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is saying what all of us have been feeling for a long time.
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MADDOW: 1991, former KKK leader and white supremacist, David Duke, ran as the Republican nominee for governor of Louisiana. He got more than 60 percent of the white vote, 60 percent of the white vote. It wasn`t enough to win, but it was enough to get him into the runoff.
Now that Donald -- excuse me, David Duke, same David Duke, endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, Donald Trump supporters are now wrestling, or not, with whether it bothers them to be on the same side of this particular aisle with somebody like David Duke and the Klan.
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REPORTER: Are you planning on voting for Mr. Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
REPORTER: Is there anything he can say that might make you change your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all.
REPORTER: And recently, in the news, there have been some white supremacist groups that have come out in support of him, David Duke, former head master of the KKK. Does it bother you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all. We`re the same age.
REPORTER: What did you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re the same age. I grew up in the `60s.
REPORTER: It doesn`t bother you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t. It doesn`t matter to me at all. I`m for him totally.
REPORTER: OK. But none of those other --
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MADDOW: Joining us now is MSNBC national correspondent, Joy Reid.
Joy, thank you so much for being here.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for inviting me.
MADDOW: You`ve just flown in. Boy, are your arms tired?
REID: Very tired.
MADDOW: You`ve just come from Arkansas. You were in South Carolina before that.
REID: That`s right.
MADDOW: You are an experienced reporter and you have reported all over the country. You`ve seen a lot of campaigns.
Is this par for the course and we`re got used to looking at it this closely, or is this Southern iteration of the Trump campaign getting more scary as time goes on?
REID: Yes, it`s par for the course but what you talked an at the top of the show. 1968, right, when I watched those Trump rallies, you know, you and I sort of talk this -- I see the 1968 George Wallace rallies. Remember, that was the year Hubert Humphrey was going to be the nominee. You had Richard Nixon.
But George Wallace essentially taught Richard Nixon and the Republican Party how to win across the South. He used the same flamboyance, the same communicating to the working class blue collar white voter, the Schlitz Malt Liquor voter, saying, "I understand your grievances". He had sort of a sense of humor about it. But they also were quite menacing to black and Jewish protesters.
And so, the interesting thing that we see now is that Trump reinvigorated the George Wallace style and David Duke, who one of his first brushes with the law was some chicanery around his fund-raising for George Wallace in 1972, the innovation that David Duke is sort of credited with in white nationalism is marrying Klanism, which is essentially anti-black, with Nazism, and dressing it all up in a suit and tie and taking off the hood, and marrying anti-Jewish, you know, really Nazism, with anti-black racism.
So, now, with a Jewish man running and a woman running prominently, and with a woman running very prominently, and with Donald Trump really winking and nodding at this kind of hatred really --
REID: -- it is really a throwback.
MADDOW: And the relationship of Donald Trump personally as an individual candidate to this stuff, it`s happening at the couple of different levels. Obviously, there`s the issue of disavowing or not disavowing, whether he ever elaborates and explains why he`s disavowing, whether he ever makes a case to white supremacist sympathizers that he wouldn`t be there guy and he doesn`t agree with them, that`s one level.
The other level at which I`m interested in happening is what`s happening with these protesters, protesters because we are seeing an effort to disrupt almost every Donald Trump rally in some way or another.
MADDOW: What do we know about that effort and what do you see about how his crowds handle that?
REID: Well, first of all, if you look at the Trump rallies, but he comes on stage, there are typically announcements telling people how to handle it if a protester erupts, or a protest erupts. And they say to sort of surround the person and start yelling "Trump, Trump, Trump", and they orchestrate the shouting down of protesters. There`s also the physical interaction really scary and menacing in which protesters are manhandled and thrown out the door.
MADDOW: And he encourages that from the dais. He encourages that from the podium.
REID: Which George Wallace did. George Wallace essentially said, if a protester lies down in front of one of our vehicles, it will be the last vehicle they lay down in front of. He encouraged the crowd from the dais to throw out black protesters.
And that is why it is so -- Donald Trump, he may not be as brilliant as he claims he is, but he`s not stupid. He understands who he is attracting. He`s going to now be competing in Louisiana, which you talked about David Duke, nearly 60 percent of the white vote, you know, Barack Obama got 14 percent of the white vote in 2008, it was the third worst performance among white voters, the only worst ones were Mississippi and Alabama.
So, this Friday when Marco Rubio was supposed to be in Louisiana they cancelled their event, Donald Trump will be there in Louisiana and competing for what he knows it is. If you look at that map of the old slave states of the Union, that was the Democratic Party`s old south stronghold that converted now to Republicanism and that`s now turned off by that party.
REID: And he is appealing to those voters. Whether he`s doing it or not, he`s whistling at them and they`re hearing it.
MADDOW: Yes, and it`s working for him electorally and the -- the supposed blow back it is something he doesn`t feel at all.
Joy Reid, thank you so much. That was actually the best interview segment I have had with anybody on this show in a very long. You`re so smart.
REID: Well, thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
REID: Thank you.
MADDOW: Joy Reid, we`re very lucky to have her.
All right. Much more ahead on the campaign and other news. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Michigan, you were so busy today. Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio both had Michigan rallies today. John Kasich had three Michigan events today. All the Republican candidates are going to be in Detroit for a debate tomorrow night. Donald Trump will be in Michigan Friday, and then the Democratic candidates will be in Flint on Sunday.
It`s a super busy few days in Michigan right now, leading up to the Michigan primary that`s going to happen on Tuesday.
Michigan is the first big delegate prize post-Super Tuesday. Michigan, Tuesday next week.
And we have learned something else is going to be happening on presidential primary day on Tuesday next week. Starting that day, as everybody turns out in Michigan to go vote for who they want to be the nominee for president in each of the parties, starting that day, Michigan activists are going to start their effort to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder because of Flint, because of the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan, that happened because of the actions taken by the Snyder administration.
On Tuesday next week, recall supporters plan to be at polling sites all across the state, recruiting volunteers for their signature gathering effort, and then on Easter Sunday, they`re going to be collecting signatures in earnest. They`re going to be organizing that effort again starting Easter Sunday. It`s mostly going to be organized through Michigan churches.
In order to get the Governor Snyder recall on the ballot, they`re going to have to turn in almost 800,000 signatures collected in just a 60-day period. That is a very, very heavy lift. But it is starting on primary day in Michigan.
And we`re going to have some other news over the next couples of days on this show about what else is going on that state that is going to affect the future of that governor, it could shape the presidential contest there, too, on Tuesday. We`re working on that report now. We`re going to have it for you over the two days.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The Republican field of presidential candidates started with 17 people running for the nomination. It`s now down to -- poof -- five. We spent the day thinking that the field would be shrinking with the departure of Dr. Ben Carson.
But despite admitting that there is no path to the nomination for their candidate, the Carson campaign now says Ben Carson will technically stay in the race and not suspend his campaign for a couple of more days.
So, Dr. Carson is not going to participate in the Republican debate tomorrow night, but he does want to still give a speech as a candidate the day after that on Friday.
So, that means even though we will be able to poof him soon, we cannot poof him yet for some inexplicable Ben Carson reason. Hold tight though, he`ll go soon.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END