Candidates make final push one day before votes are counted. America votes amid surging COVID cases. Almost 97 million Americans have already voted. NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Biden holds five-point lead overall in battlegrounds. Florida's 29 electoral votes will be key to victory. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is interviewed.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: This is Ari Melber on THE BEAT. Thank you as always for tuning in. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Okay, we are almost at the finish line, America, deep breaths. Election Day is tomorrow and polls will begin closing exactly 24 hours from this very second. It is an election unlike anything that we've ever seen before, from the historic, earth-shattering early voting numbers that are setting records all over the country to the insidious act of voter suppression and, frankly, outright thuggery that we're seeing from Trump supporters on highways and roadways and red and blue and purple states everywhere.
At the heart of this election, a pandemic that has ravaged this country, something both nominees addressed today as their campaigns come to a close.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: You can't go to church, you can't take your family to dinner, but you can let people riot down the middle of your beautiful shopping street, knocking the hell out of people, burning down your stores, like in Minneapolis, burning the hell out of the place until we sent in the National Guard.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. And, yes, we choose truth over lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Okay. Now, we at THE REIDOUT know that many of you are feeling a lot right now, excitement, trepidation and, yes, buckets of anxiety. But trust me when I tell you, family, because this is true. In real life, the only two things that matter right now are keeping yourself safe from COVID-19 and voting. That's it. If you have already voted, high-fives, and now, please, try to get others to vote. Get creative with your civic duty. Bake some cookies or walk grandma to the poll because tomorrow is it. Time to sprint to the tape.
You know what you shouldn't do is give one more second of your time and mental energy to the distraction that the Trump gangs are hurling at you, those MAGA caravans, the clashes and blockings of roadways, all of the highway stunts, the threatening displays of guns and rifles, fear tactics that, frankly, aren't working and we know they're not working because almost 97 million people have already voted and more will vote tomorrow.
Now, we're going to keep you informed on the numbers, the data and the science. We are going to have Steve Schmidt and Eric Holder weighing in on this pivotal moment in American history and we are going to spend our time telling you what's true.
But, first, the latest from key must-win battlegrounds starting with the state that could decide it all, the big P.A., Pennsylvania. MSNBC Correspondent Mike Memoli is covering the Biden campaign in Pittsburgh, where I understand there might be a Lady Gaga situation happening. Tell us what's going on, Mike.
MIKE MEMOLI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Joy. Well, the Biden campaign believes that they have many paths to 270 electoral votes tomorrow. The two main ones we've seen on display the last few days. There's what you would call the Sun Belt path, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, that's where we've seen Kamala Harris and President Obama today, really focused in the last few days.
Joe Biden has been focused exclusively and relentlessly on what you would call the blue wall state path. That's efforts to rebuild that path that Donald Trump forged on his way to the White House four years ago, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania.
And this is really a full-circle moment for Joe Biden as he ends his campaign here in Pittsburgh. He began it here last April. He started his campaign at a union hall in Pittsburgh. And he said if he's going to beat Donald Trump, it's going to be because of places like Western Pennsylvania.
Four years ago, Joy, I was with Joe Biden on election eve when he was campaigning with Tim Kaine. Tim Kaine, passing of the torch kind of moment, that was expected to see that night. Tim Kaine's focus if he expected to be elected vice president the next day.
Joe Biden though sounded on a much more cautionary note. He said, God willing, we're going to win this. But even if we do, we have to understand why so many people are voting for the other guy. We're ending what for Joe Biden has been a four-year effort to try to show that Democrats can expand the coalition but also keep those kind of working, blue collar Democrats he's always considered his base.
REID: All right, Mike Memoli out there with folks dancing and Lady Gaga, who was actually probably letting the Biden campaign actually use her music legitimately.
All right, with me now from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Trump will begin his final campaign appearances, NBC Reporter, Dasha Burns. All right, Dasha, what are you seeing there? I don't see somebody dancing behind you. What's going on?
DASHA BURNS, MSNBC REPORTER: No dancing, people are exhausted because we are at the end of a very long day for election workers here, 52,000 absentee ballots in the city of Grand Rapids that cannot be counted until tomorrow, Joy, which is a challenge.
But election workers got a bit of a head start today. They were allowed to begin preprocessing these envelopes, which means they could open the envelopes and they can take out these secrecy sleeves and begin the initial step of verification. Joy, when we started the day, every table looked like this one right over here, but now look take a look at this room, they've gone through 35,000 ballots.
Now, this may not seem like a big step but I spoke to the Grand Rapids City clerk, who told me this saved them about ten hours of labor that they won't have to do tomorrow. Now, these ballots are being sealed away in these ballot bags. They will be locked away until tomorrow morning.
Here, we have a Republican and Democrat certifying these ballots to get ready for tomorrow. And, Joy, still Michigan is going to be one of those states we're waiting on the Grand Rapids City clerk says they probably won't have results here until Wednesday at the earliest.
And one last bit of late-breaking news out of this state on an issue we've been following very closely, guns at the polls. There has been a legal battle over this. The secretary of state issued a ban on open carry at the polls. That was struck down by two lower courts. And the Michigan Supreme Court was supposed to issue a ruling today. They did not do so which means open carry will be allowed at the polls tomorrow. Joy?
REID: Well, I hope people will be very, very, very careful out there at the polls. Dasha Burns, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Joining me now is the Host of American Voices on MSNBC, Alicia Menendez, live from my former hood, the MIA, South Florida.
All right, what you got for me? What's going on down there? And give me some specifics on what we're looking on in terms specifically of the Latino vote. Talk about what you're seeing.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: Well, Mrs. 305, as you know better than most, this state is very close every four years. This year will likely be no exception, polling showing Joe Biden with a slight edge but even those polls within the margin of error. Why? You have voters who supported Donald Trump in 2016 peeling off, white voters, women voters, seniors.
And at the same time you have this large Latino electorate, 17 percent of the electorate. You have Cuban, Cuban-American Republicans who are largely skeptical of Donald Trump in 2016, a lot of those voters have returned home. You also have Puerto Ricans, one of the largest two subgroups within the Latino electorate in the state.
Telling, Joy, that today, you had former President Obama making a pitch directly to them, talking about the president's handling of Hurricane Maria, the response there. While, of course, these are not single-issue voters that is, of course, an animating issue for them.
And, Joy, the thing I am seeing here on the ground that I didn't fully appreciate reading and watching the polls was how much fear and anxiety is really motivating this electorate, whether it is Trump supporters, the fear of socialism, the attack that has been levied against the former vice president, or whether it is supporters of Joe Biden, who are afraid of another four years of Donald Trump, afraid of what they called his autocratic tendencies, afraid that he has no plan on the economy, health care or his handling of this pandemic. Joy?
REID: Alicia Menendez in Miami, thank you very much. I appreciate all that great information.
All right, let's turn now to the man with all the numbers, MSNBC National Political Correspondent and board master, Steve Kornacki. He's at his big board.
All right, make us feel better or give us more anxiety. Choose your adventure. Go, Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's take a look here, you know, it's interesting, because this is the national polling average right now. And you see Biden's lead here over Donald Trump sitting in about 7.5 points on average on election eve. If you want to compare that to 2016 on election eve, Hillary Clinton's lead in the polling average over Donald Trump was three. So it's three then, it's about 7.5 now.
By the way, she end up winning the popular vote by in 2016, she won it by two, and that was just enough with that popular vote lead for Clinton, there were still enough room for Trump to win in the Electoral College.
Now, the talk this year, just given the nature of the Electoral College, the coalitions of both parties, is that at least, potentially, Trump could win in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote by a wider margin than last time, a wider margin than two points.
And let's take a look at the battle for the Electoral College. Here is the battleground right now. Look, the bottom line here going into it is the Trump is the one playing defense. All these states you see in the battleground here, these are Trump states. These are places Trump -- were Trump states in 2016. He won them then. He is trying to hold on to most of them now so we can hang on to at least 270 electoral votes.
What's interesting, Joy, is when you look inside these states, the margin, you know, Arizona. We had a poll there today that had it tied, 48/48. Texas, the polling there is close. Florida, it's always close in Florida. Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa. There was one over the weekend that had the president ahead by seven points in Iowa.
The best poll numbers you see in the swing states for Biden, by far, are these three, Wisconsin and Michigan, in particular, and then Pennsylvania. Our poll today, our NBC/Marist Poll put Biden's lead at five. If Biden wins these three, if he wins Michigan -- excuse me, Wisconsin, if he wins Michigan, if he wins Pennsylvania, that would put him over 270. And we wouldn't be talking about the rest of these states here.
But if Trump can put a win on the board in one of these three, and the one his campaign, of course, talks about is Pennsylvania. So, look at it this way, if Biden got Wisconsin, if Biden got Michigan and Trump got Pennsylvania, that would leave Trump alive politically for the rest of the Electoral College and he would pretty much need to sweep from that point. He needs to win Iowa and Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas. He would need to run the table in all of these states. That's a lot.
They're all competitive, especially when you get outside Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania but Trump would -- they all need to land on Trump's side. He couldn't win some of them. He would have to win all of them. So that's two big orders of business. Try to pick off Pennsylvania, that's what Trump has got to do. Our poll has him down five, and then not win some but win all of everything that's left elsewhere.
So that's why he's down, we show, 7.5 points nationally. That's what it looks like when you're down 7.5 points nationally. He needs a lot of things to go right for him in the Electoral College to pull it out there. And there are all sorts of points here, where Biden just puts up a win in Florida or North Carolina or Georgia, that could pretty much end it.
REID: Yes. I need a one-word answer from you, Steve. What state are you going to be the most interested in watching tomorrow night?
REID: There you go. It's always Florida, Florida, Florida. Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
KORNACKI: You got it.
REID: Okay, let's bring in Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Adviser for the Biden campaign and Chief of Staff to Vice President Nominee Kamala Harris. And you heard Steve, Florida. And that's how you pronounce it, for those of you who aren't from Florida.
Okay, let's talk about Florida, Karine, because I obsess over it. I text with Florida folks every day, all day. It is a state that gives me a lot of anxiety, even when I was working in a very low level on the Obama campaign in '08. Where does the campaign feel they are in Florida? Because I -- to be honest, I'm skeptical when I see Biden up by four in that state.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Look, Joy, as you know, Florida is going to be close. It is always close. It's going to be very, very close. We saw President Barack Obama there today making that final case to voters in Florida to go out and vote. Let's not be complacent. We need you. We need you to get out there. And so that is just the case in Florida.
But here is the thing. You know, the thing that we are -- that we see and even listening to Steve, is that our campaign has multiple paths to victory. And so we have to work very hard to gain every vote and fight, fight through the tape, like fight through all of those paths, because that's the way we're going to win this thing.
Yes, we are leading with early vote in all of the battleground states right now but tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow, many people are going to go out and vote on Election Day, and this is what we're doing. This is why you see all of the candidates -- all of the principals, I should say, out today in Pennsylvania. They have fanned out through the state. You have Joe Biden, you have Kamala Harris, you have Doug Emhoff, you have Dr. Jill Biden in the state making sure that they're making their case as to why we need change in this White House.
So that is what we're doing, and we're going to continue to do that, Joy, until the very last vote.
REID: Let's talk about the blue wall states. These are the states that shocked everyone, went to Trump very narrowly, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. Let's zero in on Pennsylvania. Is the campaign prepared for a lengthy court battle out of Pennsylvania, or is there a sense that you all might be able to just win Pennsylvania straight out?
JEAN-PIERRE: Look, in order to -- in order to win this thing and not have Donald Trump declare himself the winner tomorrow, which, by the way, breaking news for him, you cannot declare yourself the winner. The people declares the winner. They decide who is going to be the next president of the United States, not Donald Trump. It would be good for us to win in a resounding way to send a loud message to Donald Trump and his allies, right? That is the goal.
But we are ready, Joy, for anything. We ready for anything that happens post-election and we're going to have our lawyers out there. We have been -- we have put together one of the most impressive voter protection operation for our campaign where we have hotlines in all of those 17 battleground states. 17 battleground states we're playing in for this election just to make sure that all of the obstacles that Donald Trump and his allies have put in front of voters, that voters understand how to get through them and what they need to do, so that their voices can be heard, you know, so their sacred right to vote could be heard.
REID: Yes. Karine Jean-Pierre, my friend, stay warm. I see you're all bundled up.
JEAN-PIERRE: I know, it's cold. I'm out here for you, Joy.
REID: Oh, I have a big coat. It's for you to decide you can't see it. Okay, stay warm. Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you very much, always, I love to have you on.
JEAN-PIERRE: Good to see you, sis.
REID: All right. And cheers. And Donald Trump is said now to be worried, not just about losing to Joe Biden but all of the investigations that would no longer be -- he would no longer be immune from, starting around about noon on January 20th. I will talk with Steve Schmidt.
Plus, Attorney General Eric Holder is here. He will join me on Republican efforts to suppress the vote. You don't want to miss it.
Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. America will start winning again, winning like never before.
No school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Easter, no Christmas, no Fourth of July, and no future for America's youth. Other than that, it's fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He's really got little hands. When he does, you realize, they're really tiny.
Are you tired of winning yet, huh? Donald Trump's closing argument after four years, scaremongering about a Biden lockdown, which is actually just one massive self-own, because all of that is already happening, because of him and his surrender on the coronavirus.
But he told his super fans today he is making America great again, again, and fighting for them. Not so much for super fans he left stranded at three rallies in three different states, Nebraska, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, in just the last week.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is running a new digital ad in battleground states with a very different message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to revive the spirit of being able to work with one another. And it starts with how we treat one another, how we talk with one another, how we respect one another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I'm joined now about Steve Schmidt, former Republican strategist and co-founder of The Lincoln Project.
All right, Steve, you're a veteran of lots of campaigns, at least one of which I have been on the other side of you -- side from you. So, I trust when you say you know when your side is going to win and when your side is going to lose.
Give me where you are at. As you look at this race soberly, if you had to zoom out from the outside looking in, how strong is Biden in those Rust Belt states where he needs to win, in Florida, and in those Sunbelt states? And where do you see it going?
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think Joe Biden will be elected president of the United States.
And I think, Joy, we will know tomorrow that Biden has been elected. It may be late into the night, but before the sun comes up on Wednesday morning would be my prediction. I think that Biden is going to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
I think he's going to win one out of Georgia, Texas, Arizona. He may win all three. When you look at the size of the early vote, and you look at the dimensions of the vice president's lead, it's the biggest, it's the broadest of the modern era. It's bigger than the Obama lead against McCain. And I knew for sure that McCain was going down the next day.
SCHMIDT: Look, the reality here is, is this, is that, when you look at all of the evidence, when you look at all of the body language, you look at Donald Trump, you look at the things that are coming out of his mouth, it reeks of a losing campaign.
REID: Well, he's -- you have got "The New York Times" writing that he's ruminating sort of about maybe facing prosecutorial scrutiny. Like, that doesn't sound like a winner.
But you're right. You have got stuff like -- today, I asked my producers to pull up a thing that -- to produce a little element for this. You have got Friendly's closing. You have these two big mall companies closing.
You have got just this sort of feeling of decay, sort of -- and, meanwhile, he's going around doing all this happy talk on the virus. I have never seen anything like it. He's sort of pretending that the decay isn't happening.
But then "The Wall Street Journal" comes out and says, oh, by the way, all these stores are closing. I don't understand he's even at 40.
SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think, like, at the end of the day, Joy, we have a sociological problem in the country, that we have 30 percent of the country that's fully involved in a cult of personality.
We have a majority of the Republican Party believes in the basic tenets of the QAnon theory. We have a conspiracy theory in this -- problem in this country. We have a radicalization problem. This is an extreme movement.
The Stanford University study estimates 30,000 people have been infected by Trump's campaign events. Nearly 700 are killed. When we look at those events, we shake our heads, but I think it's important, to remember to keep some perspective, it's an infinitesimally small slice of the American population that you're seeing there cheering this insanity and delusional pabulum and being as reckless as they are.
SCHMIDT: It's a very, very small slice of the country.
And so, when you step back and you look at the totality of everything, I'm calm tonight. I think it's going to be a big victory.
And I will also say this. I'm with James Carville on this. At the end, I know there's a lot of nervousness, because so many people understand what the stakes of the election are. I think it's the most important election since the election of 1864 for the country.
But I believe in the country. I believe in America. And that point of view instructs me about what I think is going to happen.
REID: Yes. Yes.
SCHMIDT: And what I believe is going to happen is, the American people are going to repudiate and thus humiliate the worst president this country has ever had in our history.
And I say that with no hyperbole. He's the most deadliest president, through incompetence and malfeasance, the country's like to ever have, a failure at a titanic level.
REID: You know, it -- the way that you can tell that a campaign is sort of running sort of kind of buoyantly, right, is that there's a joyfulness to it.
When you see Kamala Harris out there, when you see Barack Obama out there shooting baskets, and there's an upbeat nature to it.
On the other side, you have got these caravans. They were even in my neighborhood. There's -- my -- where I live, it's very blue, and it's a blue area.
They're driving these caravans through. They're intimidating people. They're trying to run people off the road. People are putting up sort of signs showing their flags and, like, gangs of ISIS cars going down the street in Syria and comparing it.
They look like warlords. I -- that is another thing I have never seen, other than the Brooks Brothers riot, but even that wasn't this. What is this?
SCHMIDT: This is a marker of a fascistic enterprise, an authoritarianish movement that has taken root in American soil, like a noxious weed and an invasive species.
It is the same with the militia groups that you see storming state capitols and the president -- presence of long rifles now as mainstays at political rallies.
We are in an era of extremism. I make a direct linkage, for example, between the kid who sat in the front row of the Trump rally, and then the day after the McCloskeys were on television for the only possible reason being that they pointed weapons at black people who were peacefully protesting.
And then a kid drove from Illinois to Wisconsin, shot three people with his AR-15, driven by his mom, killed two of them, right? There's a direct line on all of this.
And the genie is out of the bottle, as they say, on this.
SCHMIDT: So, I saw this in Utah over the weekend. It's all over the country.
It is menacing. The Trump rallies have teamed with menace and violence on the fringes and at their core for four years. Someone smarter than me has to explain to me the difference between the armed militia people...
SCHMIDT: ... and Hitler's S.A. circa 1928-1929.
SCHMIDT: There's armed, politicized movement in this country that is faithful to Donald Trump. And we know that because they have been quite explicit about it.
REID: Yes. And you know what they're not doing? Getting a single vote, that they're not -- that's not how you do politics and campaigns.
That's why it just -- it's all very odd. As we say, it's a distraction.
Steve Schmidt, thank you very much, my friend. And we will see you after the election.
And still ahead: former Attorney General Eric Holder on the ongoing efforts to keep your votes from being counted.
Plus: keeping expectations in check on when we will know the final results of this election.
And a couple of important reminders. If you haven't returned your mail-in ballot, don't go near that mailbox. You can still vote in person tomorrow. And if you're still not registered to vote, you actually can register and vote tomorrow in the states listed on your screen, including Michigan and Wisconsin. They have got same-day registration.
So, vote, vote, vote.
Don't go anywhere.
REID: OK, there's plenty of anxiety out there about what to expect tomorrow and beyond.
Well, let's try and calm some nerves and walk you through what to expect tomorrow night and how NBC News goes about making those election calls.
I'm joined now by John Lapinski, director of the Elections Unit at NBC News. He's the guy responsible for projecting races.
I'm very excited to have you here. I nerd out on this stuff, and I'm glad that you're here to sort of explain it to us.
So, my first question is sort of basic. How does NBC News decide when to call a state? Like, what data do you need to be able to do that?
JOHN LAPINSKI, NBC NEWS DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS: So, thanks for having me, Joy.
There's a couple of things. For the most part, in competitive races, what we actually rely on are -- is actual vote data. And we need enough data that we can actually make essentially statistical projections that we're 99.5 percent, at a minimum, confident in calling a race.
And so it's a combination of getting enough data to be able to have models that tell us we're statistically significant, but then also using my team, which is, like, literally over a dozen people that are the best people in the country that sort of are Ph.D.s in the data sciences, political science, election administration, where we also agree on the interpretation of the data.
REID: So, here's the question.
OK, so I saw the secretary of state was on doing some TV today. And he was saying 94 percent of our number -- data is going to be in by the time the polls close. Is that enough? Let's say you have 94 percent of the data in. You know about 6 percent is still out there.
Is there a model that says, well, this 6 percent won't change it, so we are going to go ahead and call this for Biden or Trump?
LAPINSKI: We actually -- so, there's basically three things. It used to be two things, but it's three things that we look at now carefully when we call races: How much vote do we have? What's the spread? And, in this cycle, what type of vote is it?
Because we know that there's going to be such differences between early vote and Election Day vote. And so we absolutely make sort of a projection on the remaining vote or what the expected vote that is to be counted still on how we expect that to go.
LAPINSKI: And we have a lot of data to look at. And we know how to do that.
REID: Let me show -- I'm going to put for the audience the states that are going to -- the states that are going to close at 7:00 is New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida, Georgia. North Carolina then is at 7:30.
Ohio is at 7:30. Then they start closing late, and they go down to Nevada. So, that's what we're looking at as far as that night.
Do you expect to have enough data tomorrow night to tell which of these two candidates has 270 Electoral College votes?
LAPINSKI: So, I think that, right now, like, if you really were to press me, I think it's really sort of a jump ball.
I think it's 50/50 if we're going to actually be able to sort of put a check mark in for the race overall.
LAPINSKI: But, that said, I think we're going to know a lot on election night.
LAPINSKI: There are a lot of states that count up almost all of their vote.
And so even if we're not able to get to 270, I think you're going to -- our viewers, I think we're going to able to give them a very good sense of where the race stands.
REID: And by the way, for all of those who are watching, just understand that the race is not over until all the votes, including the absentee and military absentee, are counted.
Just because you don't get an election -- a number tomorrow night and you don't get a definitive answer does not mean that we're counting after the election. The election is over when all the votes are counted, right?
I'm accurate about that, right?
No, I mean, it takes states -- I mean, this cycle in particular, it's going to...
LAPINSKI: I mean, the results are going to be counted correctly, but it might take a little time to get them all in.
REID: And it's OK for it to take time. That's important for everybody to know.
LAPINSKI: It's absolutely OK for it to take time.
John Lapinski, thank you for spending some time with us.
OK, up next, former Attorney General Eric Holder will be here.
Don't go anywhere.
REID: OK, we are looking at historic levels of voter turnout and that is sure to have Donald Trump worried because the more people who vote, the bigger the chances that are he loses the election. So the Trump campaign is doing everything they can to keep you from having your voice heard at the ballot box.
Trump supporters are using caravans to disrupt and intimidate voters like this scene on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway and by driving through predominantly minority neighborhoods like Ft. Worth, Texas, while escorted by police, and blocking access to voting sites like in Riverside County, California.
These efforts are not scaring Democrats, it's pissing them off and making them more determined to vote.
Joining me now is Eric Holder, former attorney general in the Obama administration.
And, Attorney Holder, let me start by asking you, isn't that illegal to intimidate voters in that way?
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yeah. I mean, they are -- you have to come up with, you know, proof of people doing things with necessary intent, but preventing somebody from getting to the polls, trying to intimidate somebody from casting a ballot is violative not only of federal law, but I'm sure of state laws as well.
REID: Let's talk about some of the things that are happening in specific states. You had a good ruling in Texas that's going to allow those drive-thru ballots to go through. And it went through a court that is the scene of a pretty hostile court.
What's the significance of these multiple court rulings in favor of more voting?
HOLDER: Well, at least to date, the court rulings have all been good ones. I mean, what we saw from the judge in Texas today was one that really, in a lot of ways, was a no-brainer.
Now, I understand that the plaintiffs there are going to appeal the case, Trump people will appeal the case to try to get another court to say it's okay to take away the right that people have to vote and to take votes that have already been cast and not counted.
I mean, you got to understand something. This is not a question of doing something theoretical here. These are votes about 110,000, 120,000 votes that have already been cast that they somehow want to not count. And at least one judge has said that is not -- that's not acceptable, and hopefully, as they -- it winds its way through the court system, other judges will say the same thing.
REID: There's also this case in North Carolina, it's a really strange case where you had people marching to the polls. They did a Black Lives Matter march and they march to the polls.
The secretary -- the attorney general I think of that state was on, doing some TV earlier today saying that people allegedly maybe were prevented from voting by the pepper spraying that what police did might have also prevented people from having the right.
If somebody let's say said, if I was going to vote that day, I didn't vote because pepper spray was flying, could they have some sort of legal recourse or is the recourse just to vote tomorrow?
HOLDER: Well, I think the best thing is to go and vote tomorrow, make sure that your ballot is actually cast. You don't want to fool around with trying to get into a legal case trying to prove somebody acted with, you know, criminal intent and all of those kinds of things.
The thing that we can control, that every individual can control, is making sure -- now, forget about the mails.
HOLDER: This is not -- this is not about the mail anymore. This is showing up in person and casting -- casting a vote.
REID: Let me you play -- let me let you listen to Donald Trump. And this is something that he keeps on saying that we know isn't true but since you've got expertise, I want to give you a chance to explain it.
This is about counting ballots and he says after the election.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it's a terrible thing when people are -- when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, can you just explain to our viewers, there is no after the election because if ballots haven't been counted, there --
HOLDER: The election is not over.
REID: -- we're not after the election? Right, exactly, exactly.
HOLDER: And he's saying, well, you know, they shouldn't be counted after Election Day. Well, does that mean he's telling our sons and daughters who are serving overseas in the military -- and their votes will be coming in after election day -- you're not going to count them? These are the people who put their lives on the line to defend this nation. Is that what Donald Trump is trying to say?
You know, he's scared of the people who he says he wants to represent. But here's the deal: it's not just Donald Trump. You know, it's the Republican Party writ large that has made a determination that they are going to be a minority party that's going to try to have majority power by putting in place what I have come to call almost a political apartheid system. They're going to try to use the system, abuse the system to keep people away from the polls and then make sure that they don't count the votes that are there.
This is anti-democratic. It's anti-American and needs to be called out as such.
REID: You are not bad essentially calling that out. You talked about sort of, you know, what it might look like if we have four more years of this.
What's your biggest fear if Donald Trump gets another four years?
HOLDER: We don't have enough time in this -- in this segment, Joy.
You know, I worry about the interaction of the United States with its allies overseas, how are we going to look to those adversarial nations? What will a Justice Department look like under Donald Trump? What will happen with regard to the climate, EPA?
I mean, there's a whole range of things that are on the ballot tomorrow. People need to understand, this isn't just about Donald Trump the individual, this is also about an administration that has done things that are inconsistent not only with our values but that will harm the nation over the long term.
REID: You have had -- served as attorney general. Do you think that Donald Trump -- he's now said to be according to "The New York Times" worried he might face prosecution. Do you think that he has done anything to be prosecuted for, and do you think he should face prosecution?
HOLDER: Well, he's got to be nervous. I mean, you know, in the Michael Cohen case, he's individual number one. So, at this point, we know that he's at best indicted, unnamed, I guess, but we know who it is, a co-conspirator of Michael Cohen. So, at least with regard to that one matter, that has to be resolved.
Does the next attorney general, U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, are they actually going to bring that case? So, he's got to be nervous about that.
You got the New York state attorney general bringing -- looking into matters. You've got the Manhattan D.A. looking into matters.
So, yeah, I understand his anxiety and why he is concerned about what his future's going to look like.
REID: I have to play one fun sound bite. This is -- this is your good friend, former president of the United States, doing a little something-something. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walk-off!
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: That's what I do. That's what I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Is the buoyancy that you're seeing at the close of the Biden campaign indicates that you that they feel confident that they're going to win?
HOLDER: I'm not sure they feel confident but I'm feel -- I think they feel confident in their effort that they've done all that they can. I think the polls are all good. You know, when Trump says he's concerned about the election being stolen -- I mean, that's inconsistent with all of the empirical evidence that shows that if there's going to be any theft that's going to occur, it's going to be done by, you know, Donald Trump and his allies.
HOLDER: So, no, I think -- I think we're all feeling good but we're not feeling overconfident and we have to have a good turnout tomorrow.
REID: Everybody, vote, everybody, vote.
Eric Holder, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here. Thanks for your time.
HOLDER: All right. Good to be here (ph).
REID: And up next -- thank you.
And the October surprise that came as no surprise with anyone familiar with the modus operandi of one Donald J. Trump.
We'll be right back.
REID: In 2016, the election was upended when at the last minute, the FBI reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. But this year, the real October surprise has been Trump's utter surrender to the pandemic. That has caused more than 232,000 -- cost 232,000 American lives.
Cases are higher than they have ever been. And nearly every state is currently seeing increases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the country could not possibly be positioned more poorly heading into the winter. And yet, this is the message that Donald Trump has been sending his voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right?
(CROWD CHANTING "FIRE FAUCI")
TRUMP: Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little after the election please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I'm joined now by Michael Steele, former RNC chairman and senior adviser to the Lincoln Project, James Carville, Democratic strategist and co-host of the "Politics War Room" podcast, and Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino.
Michael, I can't think of a worst closing argument than fire Fauci, who is the only person anywhere near the administration that people trust on COVID.
But just give me your assessment of the closing round of the Trump argument.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: So, Joy, I'm not surprised by the closing argument because when you have not made a case to the American people for your re-election, what else do you say?
When you -- when you have not talked about the economy in any shape or form, either what -- how good it was before, what you tried to do to recover it from COVID-19, or what you will do in the future, since that's your mainstay as the businessman, what else do you have to say?
There is nothing left to say except goad the crowd into chants of "fire Fauci", goad the crowd into getting in their cars and creating these hazardous caravans across the country. So, there is no closing argument here. The American people by the tune of 93 million have spoken.
I agree with my buddy James Carville. Tomorrow, you know, could be a pretty damn good day because the American people have had enough. And they're just a teeny bit tired of crazy.
REID: You know --
STEELE: And they're tired enough to move beyond what we're doing right now.
REID: You know, Jim Carville, you coined the term, it's the economy stupid, it feels like it's COVID stupid. People are dying and that seems to be the thing people want to vote about. And Trump is mocking it.
Well, assess that if you would like, and also, assess the closing argument by Joe Biden, how you think he is closing his campaign.
JIM CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the simple matter of truth is Trump is an idiot. He's at 43 percent approval. Dr. Fauci is at a 70 percent approval.
So, the guy at 43 attacks the guy at 70. And we're supposed to think he's some kind of a political genius? He's an idiot. And it's just plain and simple.
I used the word advisedly. I mean, at least politically, I don't know what his IQ is, but politically, he has no IQ. I mean, today, I did Andrea Mitchell's show, and Trump is talking about the polls and he wanted to fire some pollster at Fox News and Vice President Biden was talking about the pandemic that we have.
I mean, what do you think people are really concerned about right now? You know, getting sick or some pollster at Fox News?
I mean, it's just -- it's so bizarre and idiotic, it really defies commentary. Usually, you try to think of something clever to say. It's just -- the man is just, he's just a blooming idiot.
I mean, he really is. Ugly makes no sense, there's no strategy, there's no nothing here. It's just sheer stupidity, it really is.
REID: You know, Maria Theresa, and yet, there are some sort of weird blips in the data. And one of them is that Trump seems to be doing surprisingly slightly better, not a lot better, but slightly better with both Latino voters and some black male voters. I think that's a bit overrated, but on the Latino voters, he isn't cratering, which I think surprises a lot of people.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO PRESIDENT & CEO: So I actually think that what his strategy is trying to basically take back the election by red mirage. He's encouraging people to not vote until tomorrow so that there could be this swell of Republicans. And that will include some male Latino voters and that will include some male African-American voters. And I think a lot has to do with how long you have been in this country.
Interestingly enough, though, Joy, we at Voto Latino, we have targeted 3.7 million low propensity voters, people who sat it out in the last election, and they're showing up. And when you look at who is actually out voting and out performing in Florida and in Texas and North Carolina, and Arizona, it's the young voter. And that young voter is not aligned with Donald Trump.
And I think that when the president says that we need to round the corner, the only way and this level with everyone, the only way we round the corner is to insure he doesn't have a second term in office. That's how we round the corner.
The fact that we have 93,000 people dead, we have 9 -- I'm sorry, over 230,000 people dead, 9.7 million of us who have had the coronavirus. This is outrageous, and all he knows is to divide us, all he knows is how to create scare tactics, and unless we're very clear on what the stakes are, the people that are voting right now, the 93 million strong that Michael Steele was referring to, they're individuals that are exposing and going and voting despite the pandemic, because they're sick and tired of putting their own lives on the line, and the stakes could not be hiring.
REID: We're going to show some of the Real Clear Politics averages and just throw those numbers up so that people can see them.
I want you to go through one at a time and tell us what state you think will be the most interesting tomorrow night and who do you think will control the Senate after this election.
Michael Steele, I'll start with you.
STEELE: Georgia, Democrats.
REID: OK. James Carville?
CARVILLE: Texas, Democrat.
REID: OK. Texas meaning you think Biden will win Texas?
CARVILLE: You know, the most interesting state. I think he's going to win Georgia pretty good. I think Georgia -- I will count Georgia as almost leans blue.
REID: Interesting, OK.
CARVILLE: I think Texas, the vote total, and by the way, the young Latino vote in Texas is going to surprise people.
CARVILLE: First-time Latino voters in Texas are going to surprise people.
KUMAR: I'm going to split the baby between both of the folks, James and Michael. These -- one of the two of the states that's going to turn blue is either going to be Georgia or Texas. For the progressive movement, you want it to be Texas only because we're talking about the redistricting that will take place in that statehouse --
KUMAR: -- and the ushering of the progressive movement forward.
But James is right. The amount of young Latinos that have already outpaced individuals and the amount of Asian-Americans in Texas have outpaced the performance is huge. So, I think we're going to see a Democratic Senate and the two states to watch that I find interesting are Georgia and Texas.
Who will go first? I'm betting on Texas.
REID: Very quickly, Michael Steele, is Texas the new California? Should Republicans be worried about losing it?
STEELE: I have been saying for 20 years, Joy, in my work in the party that Texas has always been our bright blue wall staring us right in the face that we just ignored.
STEELE: Texas, I thought, would fall in 2004. It could potentially fall tomorrow to some great degree.
REID: What an incredible year.
Mike Steele, James Carville, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both very much.
That is tonight's REIDOUT.
But before you go, tomorrow is your last chance to vote. So, please get out there and vote.
And thank you to all of my voting MVPs who sent us so many beautiful, amazing pictures. Your commitment and determination have given us so much life.
I'll be back here tomorrow night for election night coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern with Rachel, with Nicolle. It's going to be amazing.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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