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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 2/11/2016

Guests: Jonathan Alter, David Frum, McKay Coppins, Joy Reid, James Moore, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Alter

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: February 11, 2016 Guest: Jonathan Alter, David Frum, McKay Coppins, Joy Reid, James Moore, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Alter

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: South Carolina and I would have to figure out - - I`m looking for their Mark Sanford, maybe a three-way time South Carolina.

And I would have to figure out how to support Donald Trump or maybe the voters in your party really want him to be their presidential nominee, we`re going to find out soon.

Very exciting time to be covering politics. That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for Lawrence O`Donnell`s special look at "THE YEAR OF THE OUTSIDERS".


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I`m Lawrence O`Donnell, welcome to a special edition of THE LAST WORD.

We are at a place in this historic presidential campaign that none of us saw it coming.

When this presidential campaign started last year, no one predicted that Donald Trump would be the Republican frontrunner or that Bernie Sanders would present a serious challenge to what appeared to be Hillary Clinton`s lock on the Democratic presidential nomination.

But then, none of us knew that 2016 was going to be the year of the outsiders. How is this for outsider.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination has changed his party affiliation at least five times.

From Republican to independent party to Democrat, then back to Republican then independent then back to Republican.

He`s made campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans, and he has never run for elected office before.

And how is this for an outsider. The landslide winner of the Democratic Party`s New Hampshire primary is a career politician who has lived outside the two-party system for more than 30 years.

He was elected mayor of the biggest city in Vermont as an independent. He was elected to the House of Representatives as an independent.

Then elected to the United States Senate as an independent. And through it all, Bernie Sanders has been a self proclaimed socialist, probably the single most harmful label an American politician can have.

It`s right down there at the bottom of a list of categories in a Gallup poll. In that poll, more people say they would vote for an atheist or a Muslim than would vote for a socialist for president.

And many more people in that poll say they would vote for a gay candidate for president than the number of people who would vote for a socialist candidate for president.

Nothing says outsider in American politics more strongly than the word at the bottom of that poll, socialist.

Bernie Sanders is still not a registered Democrat because voter registration in Vermont does not include a declaration of party affiliation.

Msnbc`s Kasie Hunt has been covering the Sanders campaign as it moves across the country.

And for this special edition of THE LAST WORD, Kasie asked Bernie Sanders what it`s like to be the outsider in the Democratic presidential race.


KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You certainly are an outsider in the Democratic Party.

What`s it like to run as an independent in a party that you don`t have to join because you`re in Vermont and you don`t have party registration.

But --

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Well, I made a decision nine months ago to run for the Democratic nomination to be president of the United States, and that`s what I am doing.

So, we are functioning strongly within the Democratic Party right now. It`s no secret that I`m no longer serving independent in the history of the United States Congress.

And I think that makes my candidacy even stronger. I`ll tell you why? Because this country is divided in three ways.

You got Republicans here, Democrats here and a whole lot of independents in the middle.

And what all of the polls and the election results are showing is that we are taking a lion share of those independents along with many Democrats.

That in my view is a combination for victory. I think we bring together those constituencies we`re going to win this election.

HUNT: There`s a lot of anti-establishment on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

SANDERS: Right --

HUNT: What do you think is driving that? These people coming in thousands to see you, to see Donald Trump, seemingly very angry with the system --

SANDERS: Here is the secret you don`t tell anybody. The media has missed the secret. Middle class in this country is the superior. And I know that`s not something on TV every night. That`s the reality.

People in many cases are working longer hours for low wages, they`re worried about the future for their kids, they have seen what the greed and recklessness and the legal behavior of Wall Street has done.

They can`t afford their prescription drugs, they can`t afford healthcare, they`re worried about retirement.

I know not necessarily a major media concern. That is what the American people are worried about.

And when you talk about those issues, you`re going to mind -- people say, yes, that`s right. That`s right.

It`s time maybe we stood up to the billionaire class and pray that the economy work for all of us.

HUNT: What do you think you have in common with Donald Trump? I`ve been to Donald Trump rallies, talking to people, you say hey, who else in the presidential race are you considering supporting and they say Bernie Sanders?

SANDERS: Well, I think, you know, a lot of the people who are supporting me are angry at the status quo.

And I think Trump supporters are angry at the status quo as well. I think the solutions that we have are very different solutions.

My solution is not to call Mexicans rapists and criminals. It is not to say that Muslims should be banned from this country.

My solution and my broad idea is to put together a coalition of all of our people to stand up to the big money interest and create a government that works for all of us.

HUNT: But he does say that you -- Donald Trump does say that he has the same policy as you on trade for example.

SANDERS: That may be an area we do have. I mean, I don`t know exactly what his policies are, but I voted against NAFTA, I voted against CAFTA.

I voted against criminal trade relations with China, and I`m hoping to lead the opposition against the Trans Pacific Partnership.

I think our trade policies were written by corporate America to benefit corporate America.

The result has been since 2001, we have lost some 60,000 factories in America.

HUNT: You have said on the campaign trail that you hear some conservatives come up to you and say, hey, I`m frustrated with the system.

I`m frustrated with what`s going on. What do you say to conservatives about why you might be the candidate for them?

SANDERS: Look, because you know what? You don`t have to vote for a candidate because you agree with him a 100 percent of the time.

Eighty percent of the time, it`s pretty good as well. So, if conservatives come up to me and they say, well, I disagree with you on your belief in gay marriage for example.

Or your belief on a women`s right to choose, but you`re right on the trade issue or you`re absolutely right that the Citizens United Supreme Court decision is a disaster.

Billionaires should not be able to buy elections. And I appreciate that you don`t have a Super PAC, that`s enough.

So, I think what we have to understand in politics, not everybody does. Nobody agrees a 100 percent of the time with everybody else.

So, I would hope that people who agree with me, 75 percent, 80 percent of the time would feel comfortable coming into our ranks.

HUNT: Donald Trump says he`s not asking people for money to run his campaign. You are relying on the small donations, you have no Super PAC.

My question for you is, if you do ultimately succeed, either one of you, how do you actually change that system.

There have been so many attempts to change it and they`ve all failed.

SANDERS: Well, there haven`t been so many, and I think what is happening now, it is becoming clearer and clearer as we see in this election with the power of Super PACs with small numbers of billionaire Americans putting in the lion`s share of campaign contributions.

The American people are profoundly disgusted, and Kasie, that is across the board. That is conservative to progressive.

People do not think democracy is billionaires buying elections. The way you change the system ultimately of course is overturning Citizens United, that`s the goal.

And I have said from day one, no nominee of mine to the Supreme Court will get that position unless he or she is prepared to say publicly they will vote to overturn citizens challenge(ph).

There are incremental steps that you can take, starting tomorrow in terms of disclosure which can significantly weaken the impact of Citizens United.

HUNT: You say that you want to create a political revolution that you would be able to get things done as president of the United States.

As somebody who has covered Congress for a long time, you`ve been in Congress for a long time.

Do you expect that you could walk into that office and have Congress change overnight?


HUNT: I mean, a lot of these proposals you`re --


HUNT: Pushing forward would never --


HUNT: Pass the Congress --

SANDERS: No, they can`t. It`s never what I`ve said. It`s not that my personality is better than Barack Obama`s.

Or that Mitch McConnell will work more easily with me than with Obama, it`s never what I said.

What I have said is if we rally the American people to demand that Congress do what the American people want them to do.

Overwhelmingly, the American people want to raise the minimum wage, Congress does not. Then their job is to rally the American people to tell Congress to do what the American people want.

Pay equity for women -- overwhelmingly, the question is there is a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people.

What presidential leadership is about is closing that gap.

HUNT: And you don`t think President Obama has successfully closed that gap?

SANDERS: No, I don`t. I mean, I think he`s made the effort, but I think what we need -- when I talk about a political revolution is bringing millions and millions of people into the political process in a way that does not exist right now.

It`s tough stuff, but I think you`re already seeing in this campaign the kinds of turnouts that we`re seeing.

The kind of voter turnout that took place in New Hampshire, good turnout we had in Iowa.

HUNT: President Obama drove record turnout in 2008.

SANDERS: He did, he really did, absolutely, that`s correct.

HUNT: But that at the same time led to --

SANDERS: This is --

HUNT: Gridlock.

SANDERS: But I am being what I say is, you have heard in every speech. Bernie Sanders and nobody -- no president can do it alone.

We need a revitalization of American democracy in a way that we have not seen. We need the people to be standing up and fighting for their rights in a way that does not exist now.

HUNT: If you do not ultimately win this Democratic nomination, you obviously have already made a big statement, a big impact, and you have thousands of particularly young supporters with a lot of energy.

What would you do with that energy at the convention for example if you were not the nominee?

SANDERS: It`s a hypothetical I don`t accept. We`re running to win this thing and I think we got a good shot at it.

HUNT: Would you in the event you don`t win encourage these young supporters to bring that energy to bear for Hillary Clinton?

SANDERS: What I will do in this campaign -- again, we are running to win and I think we have a good chance to win this.

And my goal from day one has been to revitalize American democracy to get working people and young people involved in the political process, so that we can address some of the major crisis that we face as a nation.

HUNT: Thank you very much for your time senator, really appreciate it. Thanks.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Kasie Hunt; Msnbc political correspondent, also with us, Jonathan Alter; an Msnbc political analyst and columnist for the "Daily Beast".

Kasie, it`s fascinating, he is I think the first presidential candidate who has relentlessly and repeatedly said I can`t do it alone.

He makes it very clear he`s not running for king that you have to get what he calls a revolution so that the house of Representatives and the Senate will go along with his agenda.

That also seems to me to mean you would have to create basically elect virtually an entire new house of Representatives in almost an entirely new Senate.

And he doesn`t seem to want to specify that. Maybe because that makes it sound like too impossible a dream.

HUNT: I tried to push him on that a little bit there, Lawrence, and you`re right. He didn`t seem to really have an explanation for how the makeup of this Congress would change.

I think fundamentally, the premise of Bernie Sanders candidacy is that we don`t have to accept things as they are.

That`s what he is arguing to the American people versus Hillary Clinton who is somebody who`s worked inside the establishment for a long time.

Who is saying, hey, I know how to do this and I`m going to give you a specific plan to get things done.

And it seems to me voters are responding to the difference in the very fundamental premise of these two campaigns.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, one of the great lost facts of modern American politics is the collapse of the parties.

Because we`ve lived in a two-party system for so long, we always talk about Democrats and Republicans and it has been lost I think to the public that those are minority parties.

We now have only 29 percent of voters saying that they are Democrats, we only have 26 percent saying they`re Republicans.

Bernie Sanders represents the great big group called independents, 44 percent.

There`s actually more people who identify politically in the basic way that Bernie Sanders does than Democrats or Republicans.

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. So that 44 percent, they`re not all left independent.

O`DONNELL: Right, sure --

ALTER: A lot of them --

O`DONNELL: Sure --

ALTER: Are right independents. So, everyday is independents day in America now, but the strange thing is that many independents, self- described independents are actually either very conservative or very liberal.

And the fact that they call themselves independents doesn`t by itself tell you anything about where they are politically except that they want to stick it to the man.

You know, and that they`re anti-establishment. And that`s pretty much the only coloration that all independents nowadays have in common.

O`DONNELL: Kasie, Bernie Sanders, I think seems to know something about socialism that most politicians don`t.

There was that 2009 cover story of "Newsweek" that was entitled we`re all socialists now and that simply described how much socialism has come into the American government, starting in 1935 with Social Security expanding to Medicare right through the Affordable Care Act.

And the other quality it seems to me, and so Bernie Sanders I think understands that people like what they`re getting out of the socialistic side of the government.

And it also strikes me that using that word and being brave enough to use that word is one of his markers of authenticity.

It`s one of the things that makes young people think, well, this guy is not trying to, you know, trick me about anything, he`s willing to admit he`s a socialist.

HUNT: I think the perception would be that most modern presidential campaigns, if all of a sudden you`re moving from that independent senator to Vermont, trying to get into the Oval office, you would look at this, your consultants would tell you, hey, you know, maybe you shouldn`t use that label anymore.

Maybe --


O`DONNELL: Right --

HUNT: You should pick a different set of words and you`re right, Bernie Sanders hasn`t done that.

And I do think it`s something that`s resonating. Now, of course, he calls himself a Democratic socialist, which of course very different tradition than what some people have raised the specter of which Claire McCaskill has talked about.

Republicans using hammer and sickle imagery against Bernie Sanders. What Sanders believes in is quite different from -- in many ways the Soviet Union, USSR.

It`s more of what we see on display in Europe. Republicans of course talking about that in a negative way as well, but still two different things.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, thank you very much for that interview, really appreciate it, thanks for joining us tonight.

HUNT: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the outsider in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination, and later where the outsiders agree and where they disagree.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They look at me as an outsider and they look at me as somebody that`s had great success and that can turn the country around.


O`DONNELL: We`re back with more of our look at the year of the outsiders. American politics has never seen anything quite like the Donald Trump for president show.


TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best. They`re bringing drugs, they`re bringing crime, they`re rapists.


TRUMP: He`s not a war hero --

LUNTZ: He`s a war hero.

TRUMP: He is a war hero --

LUNTZ: Five and a half years --


TRUMP: He`s a war hero because --

LUNTZ: Yes --

TRUMP: He was captured.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`ve called women you don`t like, fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.

TRUMP: You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump said the following about you. "Look at that face, would anyone vote for that, can you imagine that, the face of our next president."

TRUMP: She got schlonged, she lost, I mean, she lost. If Ivanka weren`t my daughter, perhaps I`d be dating her.


You got to see this guy, oh, I don`t know what I said. Two Corinthians, right? 2 Corinthians -- throw them out, throw them out into the cold, don`t give them their coats.

How stupid are the people of Iowa? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters.

Thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.

For a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. I`d bring back a hell of a lot worse than they would have brought in.

She said he`s a -- that`s terrible.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, McKay Coppins, senior political writer for "BuzzFeed News" and the author of "The Wilderness".

Also with us, David Frum, senior editor for "The Atlantic". I want to read to you both something that Nick Kristof wrote today in the "New York Times".

He said, "so today, the leading candidate for president in the party of Lincoln is an ill-informed, inexperienced, bigoted, sexist, xenophobe and he is not a conservative at heart, just a pandering opportunist.

Donald Trump is the consequence of irresponsible politicking by Republican leaders. The culmination of decades of cultivating unrealistic expectations within the politics of resentment."

David Frum, what`s your reaction to that?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, it`s true, but backwards and inside out.


FRUM: Nicholas Kristof is suggesting that Donald Trump is somehow the logical culmination of things that Republicans have said.

You just look at -- trace it back and you will -- and he`s just saying what others have said, only more so.

But that`s not why he is so successful. If that were the case, Rush Limbaugh would be running for president.

What is distinctive about Donald Trump is the extent to which he has departed from things that Republicans have said.

Because in addition to all the inflammatory things he`s said, he also said, there has to be universal healthcare guarantee.

He`s also said you can`t touch Medicare, he`s also said we have to defend Social Security.

And I think that is as essential to his success as the genuinely inflammatory and provocative things he has also said, which have also being important.

But he is not the logical heir to the Republican Party. He is busting up a policy cartel that has prevented Republicans from addressing real concerns.

O`DONNELL: And McKay Coppins, it seems to me that nowhere is the point that David just made more telling than in his -- anything he says about the Iraq war.

He seems to have completely crushed Cheneyism in Republican politics. When is the last time we heard a peep out of Dick Cheney defending the decisions that led to the Iraq war?

Donald Trump just criticizes that every day, does it through the candidacy of Jeb Bush, attacking his brother as president, and no other Republican has ever done that.

MCKAY COPPINS, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, BUZZFEED NEWS: Yes, that`s true. The thing about Donald Trump`s brand of populism is that he has the gift or advantage of not being tethered to traditional conservatism or Republicanism.

He as you noted, I think earlier, has, you know, switched party affiliation several times over the course of his career and because of that, he never felt obliged earlier on to defend, you know, the Iraq war.

In fact, he is somebody who gets his greatest joy out of attacking the decisions made by prominent politicians and the Bushs were certainly among those.

And so he can point back to those things that -- those times that he took on Bush or the president or whatever, and say look, this is why I`m telling you the truth.

This is why you can believe me. Of course, he`s switched his position several times on several issues, but people who like Donald Trump just choose to pay attention to the things about him that they like and they can forgive him for the others.

That is the huge advantage that he has in this cycle.

O`DONNELL: When I saw Sarah Palin endorse Donald Trump, I wondered, could there be a Trump candidacy if the Palin candidacy had not come first.

Let`s look back eight years to Sarah Palin for vice president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world --

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.


PALIN: I mean --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Specifically? I`m curious that you --

PALIN: All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.


O`DONNELL: David, we`ve never had a more ignorant nominee for vice president in the television age certainly.

But that is an echo which she said of Donald Trump`s answer that he gets his foreign policy by watching the shows as he put it.

Republicans became defenders of ignorance in the case of Sarah Palin`s candidacy and here they are again with Donald Trump.

FRUM: Well, true. But also remember that the reason that Sarah Palin was chosen was in 2008, she was the most popular governor in America.

And the reason she was the most popular governor in America, she was presiding over this giant oil bonanza in Alaska.

How has she responded to that? Not in a traditional Republican way. She had in effect raised taxes on oil companies, and they had a technically not exactly a tax.

What they called a severance fee, but she had raised taxes on oil companies and she used those higher taxes to distribute cash to the residents of Alaska.

And surprisingly, they liked it. But it is -- it was her very different kind of policy from that which you had seen in more orthodox Republicans.

She was successful because she was unorthodox and then she became a national figure and run into the limitations that you discern.

O`DONNELL: David Frum and McKay Coppins, thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it.

COPPINS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what the outsiders say they are angry about, that`s next.


TRUMP: I am very angry, because I hate what is happening to our country. I am angry. I am very angry.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am angry, you know. And, the American people are angry. There is anger and I share that anger.


O`DONNEL: We are back now with more on the year of the outsiders. Joining us now MSNBC National Correspondent, Joy Reid. Also with us, James Moore, the co-author of "Bush`s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential."

Joy, any discussion of motivation for supporters of these candidacies on the Trump side, I believe always begins with this very important poll, 66 percent of Trump supporters believe that President Obama is Muslim, 60 percent of them believe that President Obama is not a citizen of the United States, therefore an illegitimate president. And, surely, their anger includes anger about both of those things that are completely false.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Lawrence, I think one of the things that is definitely true when you look at sort of the profile of Trump`s supporters is that number one, they are by and large white working close voters, who have a lot of sort of predispositions in terms of what they want in social policy and what they want in economic policy that make them very hard to pinpoint as strictly conservative on things like fiscal conservatisms. But, they are very, very much steep in sort of talk radio lure. That is who talk radio, which is these A.M stations around the country really targets.

And, so, yes, they believe a lot of weird fictitious things about the president. They have just a real deep dislike and distrust for him and quite frankly for foreigners, for immigrants, for Muslims. And, so, that is a part of their profile.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, what do you see as the motivators that you are picking up on the support for Bernie Sanders for his outsider run?

REID: What is interesting is that there is a convergence right with Trump supporters in that. Bernie Sanders is also appealing to white working class voters, that these are white working class voters, who are more on the democratic sort of trending toward the liberal side. So, they will be more union household, et cetera.

But, there are also voters with needs. That is what they actually have in common in that then-diagram with Trump supporters. And, they do not trust institutions. In this case, they do not trust the democratic institution. They no longer trust that they can get ahead based on believing in institutional power.

And, then you also have a convergence with African-Americans, with non- white younger voters. I am needing a lot of younger voters. And, I am talking about younger voters under 30. I am talking under 50. People who feel that they need more. They are now steeped in a country where they have seen activism make a difference. They want to see activism in the While House.

They want to see big, big change. And, they expect it. And, so, I think that is what you got is that combination of white working class voters, who are more on the liberal side and also nonwhite younger voters who are hungry for big change.

PINSKY: Tom Turnipseed, who was George Wallace`s 1968 Presidential Campaign Manager appeared on this program. He talked about the similarities he sees between George Wallace`s campaign then and Donald Trump`s campaign now. Let us listen to that.


TOM TURNIPSEED, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGE WALLACE 1968 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, they both use -- there not the first ones that ever did it, the politics of fear. And, so, they are a lot alike in that. You had to play on fear, you know, fear of this group or that group. They are going to get you and so forth. You know, motivate people to vote.


PINSKY: James Moore, your analysis of the anger we hear resonating in supporters of the Bernie Sanders campaign and supporters of Donald Trump campaign?

JAMES MOORE, CO-AUTHOR OF, BUSH`S BRAIN": Well, I am kind of angry too, Lawrence. And, frankly, it is because so much of what all of the presidential candidates are saying is factious nonsense. Because if someone did not know anything about this country and they came here and they followed around the presidential candidates, they would think we have entered the last days of Rome and that America is on fire and is burning.

So, the candidates are in a sense partly responsible for bringing up a lot of this anger. But, the other part of this is, I think Americans have consistently fell for this business of vote for me, I will not raise your taxes, your services will not go away. And, what ultimately happens is distrust accrues.

People no longer believe the vote counts. They no longer believe a candidate regardless of what they say, and we end up with this ugly construct of one side yelling at the other. No compromise happens and nothing gets done to make America better. I think that is where this all comes from.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, there is an overlap on policy between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and we actually have played a loop on this show, where they each saying the same thing. Trump is usually a less articulate version of Bernie, but they agree on international trade. They do not want the newest trade deal that president Obama wants, for example, they agree in that area.

And, is that the kind of thing that you expect them to be trying to distinguish themselves on down the road? I mean if trade is really your thing, if stopping TPP is your thing, how would you choose between dump an Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders? And, do they need to figure out a way to distinguish their candidacies from each other on that?

REID: Yes. I know, it is really fascinating, because I actually have met these voters who are torn between Trump and Sanders. I met them in Iowa. I met them in New Hampshire. And, what they have in common is one word, fairness; the sense that the system is not fair.

And, trade is a big part of that, particularly for the working class voters, who said "Look, we are not getting ahead. The rich are getting ahead. Wall street got away with the great recession and robbing the bank, robbing the, you know, the piggy bank, and none of them went to jail, but I cannot get ahead.

So, yes, trade is a big issue where you do see that then-diagram overlap, distrust of authority is an issue where it over lapses. But, I think the trade issue is a huge one as well as the bailout of Wall Street. That seems to be a commonality between Trump supporters and Sanders supporters.

And, a third one would be a real support for social programs. These are voters where needs. So, they want there to be a social security. They want there to be a Medicare. They do not want to privatize any of this.

So, they do not converge on the right-hand side or on the Trump side with conservatives, who do want to do privatization and things like that. They do not want that at all. They have needs. They want government, they just do not trust it.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and James Moore, thank you both for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

MOORE: Thanks.

REID: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders also agree on a big issue and that might be another reason some voters could support either one of them. That is next.



O`DONNELL: We are back with more on "The Year of the Outsiders." And, one of the things that the outsiders have in common, they are not financing their campaigns the way the insiders are.


TRUMP: I am turning down millions and millions of dollars. I do not want it, because what happens is when you give millions of dollars, I do not say the word own in some cases that is a correct word, but I do not say the word. But, certainly, you have a lot of power over the person if he wins or she wins the election.



TRUMP: So, I am not taking all of this blood money.



TRUMP: So, I will not be influenced by the lobbies and, you know, et cetera, et cetera. But, I do not know -- I was talking to Scott about this before, I do not know that it is appreciated really by the voters.



SANDERS: We do not represent the interests of the billionaire class, Wall Street or corporate America. We do not want their money. I do not have a Super PAC and I do not want a Super PAC. Our campaign`s financial support comes from more than 1 million Americans, who have made more than 3.7 million individual contributions. And, do you know what that average contribution was? $27.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Lawrence Lessig, Professor at Harvard Law School, a former democratic candidate for president and a campaign finance reform advocate. Prof. Lessig, thanks for joining us. Your brief campaign was all about campaign finance reform and trying to get this ugly money out of politics. It is fascinating to see that the outsiders this year have done it. They have done it on their own.

LAWRENCE LESSIG, (D) FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is exactly right. And, the really important thing is that they are talking about the kind of need to change this system to make it, so people have a reason to believe in government again. This is the deep frustration that I think both sides are tapping, that people do not believe the government cares about the people, they believe they care about the funders of campaigns.

O`DONNELL: Now, Donald Trump likes to say he is self-financing, but in fact, a good half of his campaign money so far has come from donations. He has raised over $6 million on his website. He is not actively going out there and running fundraisers, but he absolutely does accept the money.

And, professor, there is a fascinating situation with Donald Trump. He is in terms of government an utter ignoramus. He demonstrates that every day. In current law, a billionaire, who is self-aware enough to know that he or she does not know enough about government to be a good president is not allowed to take the money they would spend on a self-financed presidential campaign and spend it on someone, who they think is worthy. If they found some political science professor and in fact they thought that would be a great candidate for president, you cannot take that money and give it to that candidate.

PROF. LESSIG: Well, you cannot give it to that candidate. You could set up a Super PAC to support that candidate, you are right. But, the really important thing to recognize is, though, Donald Trump has identified the problem and rallied millions to the fact that we have a serious, serious problem, his only solution is that we elect billionaires.


PROF. LESSIG: And, of course, that is what we fought a revolution about that we would not have a government just of the very rich, that we would have a government that was representative of everybody.

O`DONNELL: Now, Bernie Sanders says that he will not nominate any Supreme Court Justice, who does not specifically say that when on the court, he will vote that justice, he or she will vote to overturn citizens united. Do you think that kind of litmus test for a Supreme Court Justice is legitimate?

PROF. LESSIG: Well, I do not favor litmus tests, but I think the more important thing is to recognize that even if we overturn citizens united, it is not as if the day before citizens united was decided, America had a beautiful democracy. Everything was humming along perfectly, right?

We know that it is going to take much more than just fixing the mistakes the Supreme Court has made. And, so, what is really important both for Trump and Sanders, I think, is to begin to talk to the American people about the kind of changes that would really make a difference.

And, there are changes that, in fact, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have endorsed; small dollar public funding systems like a government by the people act, which would change the way congressional candidates raise their funds. And, that is the place we need real change to happen.

O`DONNELL: Larence Lessig, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

LESSIG: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next, being an outsider is nothing new to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.




TRUMP: The republicans are just too crazy right. I mean just what is going on is just nuts. And, I am seeing the democrats as far too and they are so liberal it is just too liberal for me.


O`DONNELL: Welcome back to our special edition of the "Last Word" on the year of the outsiders. In 1999, Donald Trump told Tim Russer that Donald Trump was considering leaving the Republican Party to run for president on the third-party ticket and some of the things that Donald Trump said back then sound a lot like Donald Trump today.


TRUMP: I am certainly controversial, but I also am a great businessman. I would make the greatest treaties and this country had seen a long time. The country would not be ripping a saw like what they are doing. When you look at what Japan has been doing to us for so many years and decades.



TRUMP: On ABC, I am their star and on Newsweek, they put me on their cover last week. And, you know, I saw some poll where, I guess -- polls are very interesting. I could put out a poll, would you vote for the brilliant entrepreneur Donald Trump?

And, everyone is going to say yes, or I could put out a poll, would you vote for this terrible human being named, Donald Trump? And, they are going to say, no. So, polls are sort of -- the Gallup poll recently came out and said I am the number one candidate of any independent.


O`DONNELL: And, much of what you hear Bernie Sanders say today, he has been saying for decades.


SANDERS: Mr. Speaker, there are only two nations in the entire industrialized world, South Africa and the United States that do not in one form or another have a national health care system, which finally says that all citizens are entitled to their health care needs with virtually no out of pocket expense.

Mr. Speaker, it is sometime that this body stood up to the insurance companies, the drug companies, the AMA and say that health care is a right of all people and that we must move forward to a national health care system just as the rest of the civilized world has.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, what the history of outsiders in presidential campaigning tells us about this year of the outsiders.




PRES. BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: No. We are not doing that. Not only because of constitution, but because more importantly Michelle would kill me.



O`DONNELL: We are back with more of our look at the year of the outsiders. What you hear Donald Trump saying about how he is financing his campaign is actually something we first heard from the first bored billionaire to run for president. Ross Perot in 1992.


ROSS PEROT, FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN 1992: I am spending my money on this campaign. The two parties are spending your money, taxpayer money. I put my wallet on the table for you and your children. Over $60 million at least will go into this campaign to lead the American dream to you and your children to get this country straightened out, because if anybody owes it to you, I do. I have lived the American dream. I like that your children to be able to live it too.


O`DONNELL: Ross Perot, running as an independent outsider surged to first place in the polls ahead of incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton. In the end, Bill Clinton won the presidency with 43 percent of the vote. Thanks to a three-way split of the vote created by Ross Perot.

Jonathan Alter is back with us. Jonathan, the Perot campaign has a couple of models here on policy. He talked an awful lot about he was opposed to NAFTA. He did not want to see it go through, just like Donald Trump says now. And, also that I am the billionaire, I can pay for my own campaign.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is very appealing. Wealthy candidates have done well over the years because people feel they cannot be bought. And, also, Perot would sometimes say things that were politically incorrect, that is also appealing to lot of people who feel they have been constrained from saying what they really feel by, you know, new manors in society.

But, there are couple of other comparisons. He reminds a little bit of Pat Buchannan, who won the New Hampshire primary in 1996, but did not do so well later on, because he ran out of money, which is not a problem for Donald Trump, if he is not too much of a cheapskate, which he might be, by the way.

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

ALTER: But, you know, Buchannan was sounding some of these same themes on trade.

O`DONNELL: The anti-trade thing.

ALTER: A trade thing, very, very big.

O`DONNELL: That we heard from Bernie Sanders. We get from Donald Trump.

ALTER: Right.

O`DONNELL: And, you heard from Ross Perto.

ALTER: Yes. And, then also I think there are some notes from George Wallace who ran in 1968, 1972 before he was shot and, then again, in 1976. And, he was finally sidelined by another outsider Jimmy Carter, who went on to be president.

But it is important to remember that, really, we have no history in this country of any populist president, except one, Andrew Jackson. And, you know, you have to go back an awfully long way to find the last time this country actually elected a populist president.

O`DONNELL: So, in the modern age, the outsider of the kind we are talking about might get a nomination, but will not get all the way.

ALTER: That is the history. I mean these rules are always made to be broken, but even getting the nomination has been pretty hard.

O`DONNELL: We then get into this tricky question of what is an outsider and what is an underdog. Was Barack Obama an outsider or was he simply an underdog?

ALTER: He was not really an outsider. He was just a very inexperienced U.S. Senator. He actually got more endorsements from other senators than Hillary Clinton got in 2008. So, there are a lot of people including Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid insiders in the Democratic Party, who wanted Obama for president at a pretty early point.

Ronald Reagan was a little bit of an outsider. He ran as an outsider. He had not served in Washington, but he was an insider compared to Trump, because he had been governor for eight years, but he also had that sort of show business appeal like, "I am not really coming from politics, I am coming from a different field."

And, then there have been generals, who have been outsiders who you are never quite sure what party they were in like Dwight Eisenhower. It was not clear until 1952 whether he was a democrat or a republican. And, you have seen some other people who have not held elective office before whose party affiliation was a little unclear. Herbert Hoover would be an example for that.

But, usually we elect people who have at least some experience, so this idea of being a total outsider like Donald Trump is really very new. Bernie Sanders is in a more familiar place, which is being an insurgent, very left wing candidate inside the Democratic Party.

O`DONNEL: He never lived -- but McGovern, lifelong democrat within the party.

ALTER: Right. Right. That is a big difference.

O`DONNELL: What made him different was simply the degree of his liberalism.


O`DONNELL: But he worked in a classical way within the party.


O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders lived outside of this party his whole political career.

ALTER: So, he is more like Ralph Nader.


ALTER: I am sure Ralph Nader is kicking himself now. "Why did not I ran on the Democratic Primaries?" He might have done better than as an independent.

O`DONNELL: We will have to leave it there. Jonathan Alter gets the "Last Word" on the outsiders. Stay with MSNBC for continuing coverage of this historic presidential campaign.