'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, October 28th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 28, 2012
Guests: Ilyse Hogue, Avik Roy, Heather McGhee, Akhil Amar, Hendrik
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
In the crucial swing state of Iowa, "The Des Moines Register" has
endorsed Mitt Romney for president, this after the paper agreed to an off-
the-record interview with the president, then blasted the president for it
being off the record, then got the White House to give them permission to
print it on the record, and then endorsed Mitt Romney. The last time the
paper endorsed a Republican for president was 1972, when they made the wise
call to go with Richard Nixon.
Millions of Americans are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, moving north
this morning from the Caribbean, where it has left nearly 60 people dead.
Eight states have already declared a state of emergency. The National
Hurricane Center says it`s expected to bring strong winds and a significant
storm surge to the mid-Atlantic states and southern New England.
NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer has the latest look at the exact path
of the storm.
DYLAN DREYER, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Thanks, Chris. Good morning. Yes,
we are still focusing on a category one hurricane here. It is at this time
still moving to the northeast, but it`s going to take that turn to the
northwest. Right now, it`s still about almost 400 miles to the east of
Charleston, South Carolina. So it is still very far out to sea and moving
to the northeast.
But it is an expansive storm. It`s huge, stretching all the way
through the Eastern Seaboard, roughing up the surf and also producing
strong gusty winds along the coast. Look at the heavy bands of rain now
moving into Virginia Beach, up into Maryland, into Delaware and still
stretching down across eastern North Carolina. Northeastern North Carolina
is going get stuck with several inches of rain.
Now, we still have this area of high pressure to our north and east.
It`s going to shoot this storm system back to the northwest, making
landfall somewhere in New Jersey.
Now, the track has been changing a little bit. But at this point, the
storm is so huge and the wind field extends so far out from the center of
this storm, that no matter where it hits, whether it`s New Jersey, a little
further north or south, we are still looking at pretty bad conditions
Monday night into Tuesday morning especially. Rainfall about four to eight
inches, isolated 10 to 12-inch reports likely. That`s going to create
inland flooding. That storm surge of about four to five feet creates
And then the winds are still extending about 450 miles from the center
of the storm. We could end up with gusts near 80 miles per hour.
So what does this mean? We`ve got inland flooding because of the
heavy rain, coastal flooding because of the storm surge. We still have the
chance of terrible beach erosion at the Jersey shore down through any
beaches in Maryland, like Ocean City.
And we`re also going to see the leaves on the trees make it like a
sail. So when the winds are gusting and the ground is soft because of all
the rain, we will see several downed trees perhaps on the power lines, and
we could still be dealing with power outages through the weekend into next
week. That`s going to be one of the biggest concerns -- Chris.
HAYES: Thank you. That report from NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer.
Right now joining me today, we have Avik Roy, a member of Mitt
Romney`s health care advisory group, senior fellow at the Manhattan
Institute and author of "The Apothecary," the Forbes.com blog on health
care and entitlement reform. Ilyse Hogue, co-director of Friends of
Democracy, which sounds friendly, a super-PAC, a friendly kind of super-
PAC, aimed at electing candidates who champion campaign finance reform.
And also my colleague at "The Nation" magazine, where she is a
contributor, the wonderful Heather McGhee, vice president of Demos, a
progressive think tank, and Hendrik Hertzberg rejoining the table, senior
editor and staff writer at "The New Yorker" magazine, "The New Yorker," of
course, just endorsing Barack Obama. And all this talk about "The Des
Moines Register, I think people are overlooking the fact Barack Obama
bagged not just "The New York Times" but "The New Yorker" in the span of
two days, so election over.
HAYES: Hurricane Sandy has caused both President Obama and Mitt
Romney to cancel planned campaign events in Virginia today and tomorrow.
President Obama has also canceled his scheduled trip to Colorado on
Tuesday. Both of those are battleground states.
This is important because with only nine days left until election day,
the outcome comes down to two things, math and geography, the votes and the
map. And the map has now shrunk to just seven swing states. Virginia,
Iowa, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Ohio are all in play
We know that President Obama can count on 243 electoral votes from the
states that we`re pretty sure or very sure will go blue, while Mitt Romney
can count on 206, with each having to get to 270 to win. And the simple
takeaway from those two numbers is that the president`s path to victory is
For instance, polls show Barack Obama consistently ahead in both Iowa
and Wisconsin. If he holds on there -- he won both those states last time
-- he just needs to win one of Florida, Ohio or Virginia. He`s behind in
Florida and locked in a dead heat in Virginia. He seems to be consistently
ahead in Ohio.
And that`s why the candidates are spending so much time in that state,
the reason Nate Silver`s model Obama gives Obama a 73.6 percent chance of
winning on November 6th. It`s hard to imagine a Romney victory without
All right, so everybody`s in Ohio. And I -- we played with the --
it`s such a bizarre undertaking to go through the map, and like, everyone
now has these nice interactive things. But is that your sense of the race?
My sense of the race, as we were going through this, is that Ohio -- it`s
very hard to see it not coming down to Ohio. If we`re, like, sitting
around on election night, figuring out where the call is going to be made,
what`s going to push them over, it does looks more and more like Ohio is
going to determinative.
Ilyse, you`ve been around the country. And I`m just curious what --
what sort of the mood has been in different swing districts that you`ve
been in. I know that you guys have been active in all sorts of different
parts of the country.
ILYSE HOGUE, THENATION.COM: Yes, we`ve been active in a number of
battleground states, aid I`ve most recently been to Ohio and to New
Hampshire, which -- you know, the mood is really different depending on the
day and depending on where you go.
One of the things that I did not find to be true was the sort of myth
of momentum. You know, think that what we saw in the aftermath of the
first debate was Romney folks feeling like it was all of a sudden OK to be
proud, to actually be out as a Romney voter...
HAYES: That`s true.
HOGUE: ... which I did not see, actually, before that. But I do
think that there are a number of folks who are feeling very visceral
emotions out there. You know, I have been certainly evangelizing to my
colleagues in D.C. about the need to get out into these swing states in the
last few days of the election, few weeks of the election, because I think
some of this just comes down to raw gut.
But I don`t think the momentum is happening. I do think Ohio is going
to be key. But I mean, look, we`re seeing Mitt Romney go to Maine...
HOGUE: ... to pick up the one electoral vote that he can get from the
congressional district there. So these guys are racing all over, covering
their bases, and it`s going to be super-interesting.
HAYES: Maine and Nebraska are the two states that apportion their
electoral votes by congressional district. Barack Obama won the
congressional district in Nebraska around Omaha last time. Of course,
there are ways you can get to a 269-269 tie. Of course, our Electoral
College has an even number of votes, which, hey (INAUDIBLE) why even have
that be possible? But it is possible.
How does -- how do you think the Romney campaign sees this in terms of
the centrality of Ohio?
AVIK ROY, ROMNEY HEALTH CARE ADVISER: I think also, you have to think
about Wisconsin, right? So Wisconsin and Ohio...
HAYES: This is the big question.
ROY: Yes. So if Romney wins Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and
New Hampshire and Colorado, which are the states where he`s been leading to
tied in the relatively recent polls, then he has to -- he has to win either
Ohio or Wisconsin. So if he wins Wisconsin and loses Ohio, he can get to
270 that way. So I think both of those states are pretty important.
HAYES: Yes, if he wins -- just so people are clear, if he wins
Wisconsin -- and again, Wisconsin was won by John Kerry in 2004. It was
won comfortably by Barack Obama in 2008. So it would be -- it would be a
swing back against a sort of electoral tide for Wisconsin. But of course,
Paul Ryan is on the ticket, so there`s some thinking there that that
obviously -- and the polling has been relatively close.
But he would also have to -- if he didn`t win Ohio, he`d have to have
that run of all those swing states that we just mentioned, Colorado,
Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, et cetera.
ROY: Right. Yes, so I think Wisconsin is interesting because we`ve
sort of neglected Wisconsin and talked a lot about Iowa and Ohio, certainly
very important. But Wisconsin is a state where we had this recall election
in the past...
ROY: ... where, therefore, the ground game for the Republicans is
HAYES: Very good point.
ROY: A lot of things about Obama`s been the Obama ground game that
they`ve developed since 2008 has been so efficient. It`s there are so many
field offices, et cetera. And I think Wisconsin`s the one state where
because they had this recent recall in the other way that -- where
Republicans invested a lot in the get out the vote. But that`s -- that
could be where we see a surprise.
HEATHER MCGHEE, VICE PRES., DEMOS: Of course, the ground game is also
really strong for progressives and for organized labor in Wisconsin because
of not just the governor`s recall election, but the congressional -- I
mean, the state house recall election, which actually went the other way.
I have said from the beginning, which is a nice thing to be able to
say, no matter what happens in the news and the polls -- I`m, like --
here`s going to be my analysis of it for the rest of the election is that
it`s really all going to come down to election administration, which is
And I think, really, it`s been wonderful to see the sort of
galvanizing of, you know, right and left around how important actually the
rules are for who gets to vote, what the deadline is for registering, whose
ballot gets counted and how and when. And you know, that is really when it
comes down to it, when we`re always talking about a very small sector of
the eligible people in this country who actually are able to sort of
overcome the red tape that we surround the voting process with -- that`s
what it comes down to. And I think we`re going to come out, no matter what
happens, after this election with a renewed emphasis on, OK, let`s fix
HAYES: This is -- this is -- I think this is the key, and fascinating
(ph). Close elections focus the mind. And they focus us on the
administration of elections and the granularities of that. And we had
actually legislation passed after the disaster that 2000 called the Help
America Vote Act, which, basically, was just tossed off to sea and -- and
was sort of barely implemented, and the person who`d been appointed to
implement it left in a huff, and we actually have sound from him.
But the other thing to think about here when we talk about the map --
you know, Sandy is going to hit parts of the country that have high
Democratic turnout. The possibility of a split between popular vote and
electoral vote is looking more and more possible and plausible to me. And
I want to talk about why we should get rid of the Electoral College so
we`re not talking about the map, after this.
HAYES: All right, my story of the week. What if Ohio were the Bronx?
A CNN/ORC poll of Ohio likely voters taken from Tuesday through Thursday
gave President Obama a 4-point lead over Mitt Romney, and that was just one
of several Ohio polls last week. And the reason pollsters are obsessively
polling Ohio, the reason that political reporters have flooded the state
and that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have practically been living
there the last few weeks is that it is most likely to be the state that
decides the election.
Put simply, even if Mitt Romney wins a number of states Barack Obama
won last time -- Florida, Virginia and Colorado -- it`s still exceedingly
difficult for him to get to the needed 270 electoral votes without winning
Ohio. But there`s been one lone point of comfort for Obama supporters over
the last few weeks as the national polls have tightened to a tie or even a
slight lead for Mitt Romney, it`s that in Ohio, polls reliably show Mitt
Romney between 2 to 5 points behind the president.
Political observers have been spending a fair amount of time trying to
figure out why it is that Barack Obama is outperforming his national
numbers in Ohio, particularly among white men. The most obvious reason is
that the Ohio economy is outperforming the national economy.
Not only does Ohio have a lower unemployment rate than the nation at
large, but it`s also seen a faster rate of improvement. And a big reason
for that economic performance is, of course, the auto rescue initiated
under the Bush administration and remarkably well executed by the Barack
There are more than 800,000 people who have jobs in or connected to
the auto industry in Ohio, and an estimated 160,000 of them wouldn`t have
them if the government hadn`t stepped in with loans to keep GM and Chrysler
That is the reason that the Obama campaign invokes the auto rescue so
often, the reason that it comprised one half of Joe Biden`s famous two-line
campaign slogan for reelection, and it`s why Mitt Romney has spun his
wheels furiously to try to race away from the position he held at the time
of the financial crisis, which was to let the auto industry go through the
wrenching, destructive process of what is known in the business as a free-
Now, I supported the auto rescue at the time. I think it`s been well
handled, on the whole, by the Obama administration. But there`s something
more than a little bizarre about the fact that after a first term in which
the president helped double clean energy generation, ended the war in Iraq,
passed landmark financial regulatory reform and a health care bill that is
the most significant piece of social legislation in almost 50 years, a bill
that gives each American guaranteed access to health insurance for the
first time -- after all that, that the president`s reelection would come to
rest on the competent execution of an auto rescue package initiated by
George W. Bush in the last few panicked waning days of his time in office.
Imagine getting in a time machine and going back to the Mall on
inauguration day in 2009 and telling the people in that huddled (ph) crowd
of more than a million, the man about to get sworn in would see his
reelection chances hinge on the package of loans the Bush administration
had just authorized over the opposition of Congress. There is no way they
would believe you.
And the reason for this strange state of affairs is, of course, the
Electoral College, which produces a small category of swing states where
voters` priorities matter and a vast wasteland of safe states where they do
not. We`ve become so accustomed to this framework, we don`t even think
Of course, the auto bailout has played out well in the swing state of
Ohio, as it should. But 160,000 jobs in Ohio are, from the perspective of
the nation as a whole, no more important than 160,000 jobs in Alabama or
160,000 jobs in California. They`re vastly more important under our
current political system.
In fact, I like to imagine what politics would look like if there was
no Electoral College and candidates had something to gain by, say,
garnering the votes of the people that live in my home borough of the
Bronx. The Bronx has nearly 1.4 million residents, more than 11 entire
states. No presidential candidate cares about what people there think
because New York is safely blue. But if they did, they might actually do
some campaign events there and set up some field offices and they would
find an issue landscape very different from the one we`ve been talking
More than 30 percent of the borough`s residents live in poverty, so
the social safety net is not an abstraction. A 2011 poll from "The New
York Daily News" found that nearly one half of the borough`s residents
were, quote, "worried about winding up on the street." Can you imagine a
national political campaign that talked about homelessness?
The home ownership rate in the borough of the Bronx as of the last
census was just under 20 percent, which means the vast majority of
residents live in rental housing and are concerned with safe, clean,
affordable rental housing, another issue vital to millions and entirely
ignored in our national political conversation.
Think about what a radical sight it would be to simply see the
residents of the Bronx, mostly black and brown, immigrants and non-native
English speakers, at a campaign rally with the president of the United
States, with the elevated subway line rumbling by and the large brick
multi-unit rental buildings dotting the backdrop.
That tableau is as American as this image of miners in coal country or
these workers at an auto plant. But it is an image you will never see as
long as we have a system in which it is rational for candidates for the
highest office in the land to ignore more than half the country.
What Barack Obama had to say about the Electoral College in 2004, up
HAYES: All right. Joining me, I have Avik Roy, a member of Mitt
Romney`s health care advisory group. Sitting at the table, Akhil Amar,
author of "America`s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles
We Live By," our favorite constitutional scholar here on UP WITH CHRIS
HAYES, Heather McGhee from Demos and Hendrik Hertzberg from "The New
There are -- I want to show some polling about the Electoral College
because I think there`s an interesting partisan aspect here, and I want to
put that on the table first. I just want to put this flag in the ground
before election day happens because I would like to remind everyone on the
right what their commitments are.
If you ask people, Should we have a national popular vote, you will
see that Democrats have a strong preference for that -- 71 percent of
Democrats expressed preference, 53 percent of Republicans. So Republicans
-- although support for it has been gaining among Republicans -- it was 41
percent in 2000, so it`s gone up about 10 points in 10 years.
But generally, the way this breaks down -- and if you look at the
states that have passed national popular vote -- is that Democrats and
people on the left like the idea of the national popular vote and people on
the right and conservatives like the idea of the Electoral College.
So I`d just like everyone to kind of know that, know where everyone`s
coming from for the day after the election should we get a Mitt Romney
Electoral College defeat and a national popular vote victory.
And Avik Roy, what are you going to say the day after, if that
ROY: I`m going to still support the Electoral College system, you
know? So I mean, I think...
HAYES: Will you really? Are you really going to?
ROY: I really will. I`ll say this on national television to you,
Chris. I will continue to support the legitimacy of the Electoral College
even if that scenario occurs.
HAYES: And why?
ROY: Well, I think, you know, one thing is conservatives, you know,
if you want to summarize conservatism in one sentence, it`s if it ain`t
broke, don`t fix it. I mean, is Electoral College the most broken element
of our system? I mean, really. And I know...
HAYES: ... long list.
ROY: Yes. That`s why -- is it the most important thing? Are we --
you know, I think if we really are concerned or we pose (ph) one man and
one vote in constitutional governance, then the Senate has to be abolished,
right? I mean, that`s the real injury.
HAYES: Oh, believe me, that`s on my sights next!
ROY: The Electoral College, only three times in our history there`s
been a discrepancy between the popular vote victory and the Electoral
College victory, right, whereas the Senate, it`s -- we deal with it every
day. So I think that if we`re really going to focus on -- if we really
think this is a problem, then we -- then that`s where the energies need to
be directed at. And I think -- I think -- you know, I think it`s OK for
small states to have over-representation.
HAYES: Yes, is there an affirmative case you want to make for it, I
mean, aside from, like, if it`s not broke, don`t fix it, but it`s actually
doing something to the way that our presidential candidates campaign that
is productive for the nation`s democratic culture?
ROY: Yes, I mean, I think -- I think the fact that small states have
over-representation is OK. I mean, I don`t have a problem with it. I
think that that was -- that was part of the debate. I know that Akhil will
talk about the history in a different way with the Electoral College
But when it comes to just generally, in the constitutional debate,
that was a big issue. It was the small states were concerned that their
power would be overtaken by the big states. And that`s why we have the
system we have, to a large degree.
And again, I don`t have a problem with that. I mean, look at us,
we`re all on this show. We all live in cities. You know, most of -- most
of our political discussion, our media, is influenced by what happens in
cities. Cities drive what happens in our culture, what drives the
political debate. So it`s OK for the small states to have some
representation in our system.
HAYES: Do you think that big -- large population centers, large metro
areas, heavy concentrations of people already have a kind of outsize
influence insofar as they...
HAYES: ... dominate things like the media and things like this, so
MCGHEE: Well, the elites of those cities, right?
MCGHEE: But obviously not the working class people in those cities.
I don`t think that they`re driving policy or the political conversation or
even the media conversation. So I would just make that little...
HAYES: Right, but then the question becomes, if we were to do away
with it, like in my little reverie there about, you know, the Bronx being
the place where every presidential candidate comes to say, you know -- you
know, This is what I will do for you, rather than...
HAYES: There`s lots of poor areas in Cleveland, and no one`s going
there, either, right, even though that`s in a swing state. So maybe this
is -- do you think that we would see larger emphasis on those kinds of
underrepresented groups particularly, I think, working class folks and poor
folks in cities?
MCGHEE: I think we have to see a couple of different things. I don`t
think the national popular vote -- which I do think is a good idea. I
don`t think that`s going to be sort of the magic wand. I think we need to
see universal registration. I mean, even still.
So this is the thing about -- actually, after Bush v. Gore, I wasn`t
upset that Gore`s votes that were counted were more of the national popular
vote. I was upset about the votes that weren`t counted, right? So I
actually don`t think -- because, again, there are 51 million people in this
country who aren`t registered to vote, who are eligible voters.
MCGHEE: I actually don`t think the popular vote tally is
representative of the will of the people anyway, right? As long as we`re
still cavetting (ph) the electorate unnecessarily...
MCGHEE: ... I actually don`t...
HAYES: You`re putting the system on trial.
MCGHEE: I`m putting the system on trial!
HAYES: That`s interesting. So even without the Electoral College,
the voter registration system itself introduces an undemocratic element.
Akhil, give us a little historical grounding here about why do we have
the Electoral College and what were the original rationales for it.
AKHIL AMAR, PROF., YALE LAW SCHOOL: Not really for some of the
reasons that Mrs. McGillicuddy taught you in 3rd grade.
AMAR: So it`s an advantage for the small states. Well, not really.
We`ve had three small state presidents in all of American history, Bill
Clinton, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce. The big states always win. For
32 of the first 36 years, it`s a slave-holding Virginian, which is the
For the other four, it`s Massachusetts, which is (INAUDIBLE) state
number two or three, depending how you count. And then the next four
years, again a Massachusetts guy. So you know, two Adamses from
Massachusetts, the biggest Northern state, and -- and -- and Virginians,
the biggest Southern state. So it`s not big state/small state.
And we never actually have a breakdown in American history between big
states and small states. That`s actually not the lineup. The lineup is
actually more geographic. It`s North against South. It`s coast against
So it actually -- in fact -- and conservatives should know this -- we
have it more for reasons having to do with slavery because if you had a
national popular vote, the South would have lost every time because it
doesn`t let its slave population vote. But with the Electoral College,
because of the three fifths clause...
AMAR: ... they got extra credit for their states. Pennsylvania in
1800 has more free people than Virginia, way more voters than Virginia, way
fewer electoral votes.
It connects to today because if you want universal registration, if
you want people to participate, the Electoral College dampens
participation. Ohio gets the same number of electoral votes whether a lot
of Ohioans turn out or few Ohioans turn out. But if you have direct
election, you create incentives for governments to make it easier for
people to vote, to turn out.
Let`s take -- go back 100 years ago. Women would have gotten the vote
way earlier in a direct election system because any state that gave the
women the vote, say, in 1900 would have doubled its (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: Fascinating. So you create these incentives. Right now, it`s
essentially a ceiling on how representative -- how much force you have.
This is Thomas Jefferson talking about the Electoral College. He said it
was a blot on the Constitution. "I have ever considered the constitutional
mode of election ultimately by the legislature voting by states as the most
dangerous blot in our Constitution, and one that some unlucky chance will
someday hit, and give us a pope and anti-pope."
I don`t know what he means, but...
HAYES: ... but he was not big on the papists.
Rick Hertzberg, you`ve devoted a lot of time and energy to thinking
about this, and I want to hear why that is right after we take this break.
HAYES: All right, Rick Hertzberg, you have spent a lot of time
thinking about this issue. You`re a real national popular vote guy. And
I`m just curious, I mean, it seems like kind of an arcane prophecy (ph)
issue. So I guess my question is, why would you -- why do you feel so
passionately about it?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG, NEWYORKER.COM: Well, because it`s an unbelievable
outrage that we`re having a presidential election right now that`s
occurring in nine states at most. And what about the rest of us? What is
wrong with the idea of each vote counting the same? Why is that such a
If the Electoral College as it`s now constituted is such a great idea,
why do we not hear any of the defenders of the Electoral College calling
for bringing the wisdom of this wonderful system to state elections?
HERTZBERG: A state like California for governors -- a state like
California or Texas and New York is several times bigger than the entire
country was when the Constitution was written. But you don`t hear anybody
saying, Oh, we should have a system where each county gets one vote and the
votes of all the voters in that county are subsumed into this one
And what about individualism, conservatives? Why -- why take all --
all -- why take all the voters and put them in this collective in a state
and then give everything to the one that wins that collective?
HAYES: Conservatives will say because we`re a federal system, right,
that that -- that this is -- this the last -- that we keep knocking off the
-- the structures that made federalism a real thing in our system, that we
don`t -- you know, we ignore the 10th Amendment, the commerce clause has
run roughshod over everything. And this is one last acknowledgement that
we are this -- we are a set of states that are knit together into this
AMAR: And (INAUDIBLE) only federalism can really explain why we do
governors differently because if it`s cities, you know, that`s true in
California, the cities of San Francisco and San Jose and Los Angeles.
But as for federalism, not that if you do have a national popular vote
system, you actually create incentives for states to race to the top,
rather than the bottom. We`re going to make it easier for people to vote.
AMAR: And one state will have same-day registration. Another state
will have early voting. Another state might actually make election day a
paid holiday or something.
AMAR: And we`ll see different models competing, state laboratories of
experimentation, you know, "Romney care" as a precursor to "Obama care."
That`s what conservatives believe in, states racing to the top.
HAYES: One of the other aspects of this -- I mean, I`m complaining
about, you know -- you know, California gets ignored, Alabama gets ignored.
But of course, the opposite of this is that you are in a swing state, you
are totally buried and inundated.
This is -- Jed Lewison, who`s a senior policy editor at DailyKos, did
this hilarious thing. He was in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, live tweeting
the ads. And he saw -- to wrap up, in Columbus, Ohio, during the 5:00 and
6:00 PM local newscasts, 45 of 45 ads were political ads, right?
At a certain point, the amount of media markets and voters is fixed
and limited. And the amount of money is essentially unlimited. And so
it`s all being poured into the same place! And my question for you, Rick,
is, what would -- when you brainstorm about a national popular vote
election would look like, how it would be different, what do you -- what
would it be like?
HERTZBERG: Well, one of the things that would -- one of the things
that would be different is that the power of money, the relative power of
money would be greatly diminished. There`s essentially no limit -- there`s
a limit to how much money you can raise. It`s a finite amount. And you
don`t see any campaign saying, Oh, we`ve raised enough money, let`s stop.
HERTZBERG: No, there`s only so much money you can raise. And maybe
more would be raised under a national popular vote, but it would have to be
spread out through the whole country. As it is now, it`s just funneled --
it`s funneled crushingly into these -- into these eight or nine states.
Now, what there`s no limit on is volunteerism, is grass roots
politics, and grass roots politics is what is disadvantaged by this system.
You live in New York, forget about it. There`s no point in having your
neighbors over and having a coffee klatch or leafleting your neighborhood.
Oh, yes, maybe you can go to Ohio and do it.
But it kills politics. It kills grass roots politics.
ROY: Boy, I`d make the opposite point...
ROY: I mean, if you have a national popular vote for the presidency,
then you`re going to see a lot more money in politics because you`re going
to need to invest a lot more campaign money...
HERTZBERG: And where`s the money going to come from?
ROY: ... in New York, in California and Texas and places like that.
People will pay -- I mean, look...
ROY: I think you`re going to see a lot more money in politics.
There`s going to be -- a campaign would be driven more by base issues,
rather than the swing voters. So I think if you -- if you want...
HAYES: Talk about that. Why would that be the case?
ROY: So if -- if you have a national popular vote election, then a
lot of your results or your success is going to be turning out your base,
as opposed to persuading...
HAYES: In base states.
ROY: In base states.
HERTZBERG: Why should -- why should base...
HERTZBERG: Why should you have less influence, why should your vote
count for less just because you have strong convictions?
AMAR: The deep idea is...
HAYES: It`s a good point!
AMAR: The deep idea is this one person, one vote idea. And you know,
here`s a way of actually spending -- I mean, let`s -- let`s just get rid of
elections, you know, and let`s get rid of having educated citizens, you
know, who are educated every two years and four years and say just, Well,
wouldn`t it be so much easier if we have no money in politics, if we have
no politics, no elections, no vote counting.
HAYES: No, come on! Wait a second! But Avik -- Avik`s point here,
though, I think is actually...
AMAR: Of course, that was (INAUDIBLE)
HAYES: No, no, I know (INAUDIBLE) But I`m just saying I don`t think
the point that it would make -- if we`re worried about the expensive
campaigns and the amount of money in elections, I think -- I think running
a national popular vote election would be more expensive. It`s hard to see
how that`s not...
MCGHEE: ... democracy reforms, as well, right? I mean, that`s why
the people who are really pushing are also saying, Yes, and we also need
money out and people in. We need a full-bore democracy agenda in this
country. I think this could be one part of it. But I don`t think it`s
HERTZBERG: But how is -- how is making every vote count going to
cause more money to be raised?
MCGHEE: It`s just going to be...
HAYES: Hold that thought because I think that the -- you can think
about this, the -- the -- you can think about the way that it will impact
the policy positions the candidates take in a way that I think Avik is
right about, and I think that might be interesting.
We`ll be back with more right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARAK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR: I think that 2000 and
potentially 2004 indicate that we may be seeing a significant breakdown in
how well the electoral (ph) functions in this modern United States for a
couple reasons. It`s not just that they`re close elections. I don`t think
that in and of itself would be enough of a reason to change it.
But what I`m concerned about is the fact that elections for the
presidency are essentially now run in 11 or 12 states. You know, blue --
states that are predominantly Republican, like Alabama, and states that are
predominantly Democratic, like California, basically don`t get a
And I think that over time, that`s eroding people`s interest and stake
in the election. And I`m not sure that, given the national nature of most
of the issues being debated at the presidential level, that we still need
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a young state senator named Barack Obama in 2004
talking -- making exactly the critique I think of the Electoral College
that folks like myself and others that favor a national popular vote have
I want to talk about how -- actually, the very clever way, Akhil, that
you thought of to create a national popular vote without a constitutional
But first I just, Rick, want to make this argument. I mean, so we --
imagine what this national popular election -- if right now, we were
running an election based on a national popular vote -- I mean, one thing
you could say is you don`t have -- the South has essentially been removed
from national politics, right? So New York and California are removed, but
also the deep South, Alabama and Mississippi and places like that.
You can make an argument -- and I got nothing but love for the South,
but you can make an argument that a Republican candidate who needed to
juice turnout in Alabama and Mississippi would be barnstorming through the
South saying -- you know, would have incentives to say things and take
positions that are far to the right of the median voter or far to the right
of even where the party is now. We see that the South is the most
conservative part of the country. It is in terms of the House caucus. It
has been for a while.
So would -- can`t you imagine a situation in which, in an era of
partisanship, going to these vote-rich states that are now being ignored
but also are rich in partisans would just increase this partisanship?
HERTZBERG: No, I don`t think so. I think it would -- it would -- you
go after votes everywhere, everywhere there`s a vote. And you have to stop
thinking in terms of states and geography. States would be an important
category only insofar as they`re important to people.
HERTZBERG: You know, I know that my identity -- I`m a New Yorker, but
there are a whole lot of things that are higher on my list of what`s
important about myself...
HAYES: A bearded man, for instance.
HERTZBERG: That`s a fairly recent development.
HERTZBERG: So I don`t think it would do that any more than it does at
the state level. You`ve got to look at this that way. We have these
laboratories where we`ve experimented...
HAYES: Where we`ve run these elections this way, right.
HERTZBERG: In New York, for example, you don`t see Republican
candidates only going to rural counties that are strongly Republican.
There`s campaigning in New York City. They`re campaigning in Buffalo. And
Hillary Clinton did most of her campaigning upstate.
HAYES: And in fact, it becomes -- it becomes a point of pride for
candidates for statewide office to -- on their Web site, you know, 50
county listings, you know, going to every county and promising that they`re
going to hit every part of the state.
AMAR: And Rick can correct me if I`m wrong, but I -- I think, Rick,
your deepest view and my deepest idea -- it`s very simple. It`s just one
person, one vote. That`s what we -- you know, even if that had arguably
unfavorable -- we believe that for governors, you know?
AMAR: We believe that for U.S. Senators. We just believe in equality
of all American voters. That`s the deep idea.
ROY: Chris, you made -- you know, you made the point in your intro
about what would happen if -- how could we imagine how the policy debate
HAYES: Right. Right.
ROY: It`s very easy to imagine. All we have to do is look at the
House of Representatives.
ROY: Right? Because what do we see in the House of Representatives?
We see two very polar ideological parties. There`s not a lot of -- a lot
of centrist compromise...
ROY: But I think a presidential campaign that was driven by a popular
vote would be similarly polarized. It`d be just like the House of
HERTZBERG: No, because...
HERTZBERG: In the House of Representatives, you have...
HAYES: It`s gerrymandered.
HERTZBERG: Not just gerrymandered. You`ve got a huge number of one-
HERTZBERG: ... where if you`re a Republican in a...
HERTZBERG: ... Republican district, the only thing you have to fear
is coming from your right...
HERTZBERG: ... is getting tea partied.
HAYES: You`re always going to have to get elected by everybody.
Here`s one objection that makes sense to me, and then I want to -- Akhil, I
want you to tell us how we can get there in the time we have left.
The recount issue, OK? I -- this actually is fairly persuasive. And
I still support a national popular vote. But when we kind of cabin (ph)
things off in one state, right -- so if Ohio is really contested, we`re
going to have all sorts of litigation and recounts, but at least it`ll just
be in Ohio.
But if you had a national popular vote that was in a very small, small
margin, running a 50-state recount seems like that would really be chaotic
AMAR: And when we step back, it would oblige us to invest more in
HAYES: That`s a good point. That`s a good point.
AMAR: And you know, in California, which is a big place, here`s how
we elect our governor.
AMAR: Everyone votes, and if it`s close, we...
HAYES: We do a recount and...
HAYES: OK, and finally, though...
AMAR: And we should do that everywhere and we should have national
supervision of that process because the Help American Vote Act, which you
mentioned earlier, was kind of toothless. And we -- you know, Bush versus
Gore should have been a wake-up call, and it wasn`t. And -- and when Obama
or some other Democrats wins the Electoral College while losing the popular
HAYES: We`re going to see...
AMAR: ... it will...
AMAR: ... nonpartisan.
HAYES: We may see that very soon.
Very quickly, national popular vote, you don`t need a constitutional
amendment. Akhil Amar, this is your idea. Basically, states can
independently pass laws because they under the Constitution have the power
to award their electors.
They can pledge to award their electors to the winner of the national
popular vote if and only if there are states with a total of 270 electoral
votes who have made the same pledge, so you`re not going to be a sucker and
go first and give your votes away when everyone else isn`t, but you
actually create a compact. Eight states have done that, I believe, and the
District of Columbia, if I`m not mistaken.
So this is possible. We don`t need a constitutional amendment?
MCGHEE: It is. And it wasn`t just my idea. Robert Bennett (ph) at
Northwestern came up with it, my brother, Vikamar (ph) would want co-
HAYES: The American brothers! All right...
MCGHEE: ... for this idea. But we can talk about -- but so far, the
states that have gone for it have been Democrat states.
HAYES: Of course. Akhil Amar, professor at Yale Law School, thanks
for being here. Really appreciate it.
AMAR: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, the second term agenda for Barack Obama. That`s
HAYES: This week, the president released his plan for a second term.
Not surprisingly, the plan doesn`t actually tell us anything new about the
president`s agenda if he`s reelected -- expand manufacturing, protest
Social Security, raise taxes on the wealthy, and so forth.
But Republicans have been complaining for months that the president
hasn`t put forward a vision for the next four years. So in case you missed
his nationally televised address at the Democratic national convention, all
three of the presidential debates or really any of his stump speeches in
the last six months, the president has taken his campaign platform and
boiled it down to a PowerPoint presentation for you.
Here`s how he describes the plan in an ad airing in swing states
starting this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Here`s my plan for the next four years -- making education and
training a national priority, building on our manufacturing base (ph),
boosting American-made energy, reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting
where we can and asking the wealthy to pay a little more, and ending the
war in Afghanistan so we can do some nation-building here at home.
That`s the right path. So read my plan, compare it to Governor
Romney`s and decide which is better for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now the ad and the plan, called a New Economic Patriotism,
allied (ph) a crucial fact about a prospective second term for President
Obama. Almost immediately after the election, the president will be
confronted with yet another political crisis, the so-called "fiscal cliff,"
the expiration of the Bush tax cuts combined with the implementation of
$1.2 trillion in sequestration cuts mandated by last year`s debt ceiling
The president`s plan doesn`t tell us very much about how he`ll
navigate that political terrain, but the president was much more
forthcoming in an interview with the editorial board of "The Des Moines
Register" -- the aforementioned "Des Moines Register" in Iowa. We`ll talk
about that in a sec.
Right now, Ilyse Hogue, co-director of Friends of Democracy super-PAC
is back with us at the table.
So I think this is -- first of all, this plan thing -- the word "plan"
always polls very well, really, like when -- particularly with undecided
voters. If you ask undecided votes, like, What do you want, they said, I
want a plan.
Like, Mitt Romney`s got a plan. Like, Mitt Romney has -- Mitt
Romney`s been talking about what he`s going to do, but I think he`s been
very loose on details. But he`s been talking about broadly what he`s going
to do and what his commitments are for long time.
Barack Obama has a four-year record and also has been talking about
what his commitments are. Keeping the Affordable Care Act intact is a big,
substantive thing. You may think it`s a terrible piece of legislation, but
you can`t say it`s -- there`s just nothing to it, right?
Like, either it`s this huge, you know, tyrannical imposition on the
American populace, or it`s not. But it`s just not (INAUDIBLE) oh, big
deal, you`re going to keep this piece of legislation.
So I think this whole, Oh, he doesn`t have a plan, thing is
overstated. That said, part of the weirdness of this campaign, frankly, is
this huge forcing mechanism that is going to happen the day after the
election. It`s bizarre, right? It`s going to be -- it`s going to happen
in the lame duck session.
And it`s also impossible in some ways, I think, to be too specific
about what you`re going to do in those negotiations because it is a
negotiation. And so my question is, what -- what do we think the mandate
is coming out of this? If Barack Obama is reelected, what does that -- the
first thing he`s got to do is deal with this emergency, essentially. What
do we think that looks like?
MCGHEE: Well, I think you still see -- I actually think that he was
actually very detailed back when this sort of -- I mean, this -- this
fiscal crisis, not the crisis on the balance sheet, the political crisis
around fiscal issues, has been rehearsed already three times, right?
MCGHEE: OK, so...
HAYES: Thank you.
MCGHEE: And we saw with, you know, the sort of Bowles-Simpson
crescendo moment, the president put out, you know, the six-page fact sheet,
and it said very clearly, you know, I`m going to toughen the independent
payment advisory board, I`m going to do this to defense spending, I`m going
to do this to taxes. (INAUDIBLE) said what he would like to do, and he
knows what the American people in -- you know, about three out of every
four want in terms of they want higher taxes on millionaires and
billionaires, not on themselves, but they`d be willing to do it for Social
Security. They don`t want Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid to be
I mean, in terms of the mandate, I don`t know where the election is
going to go, but it`s very clear what the American people want, and I think
it`s clear what Democrats, you know, believe on this issue. This is not
HOGUE: I think Andrew Sullivan is the only person I`ve seen who
believes that the Republicans are going to be more open to a deal if
President Obama is reelected.
Look, I think the question that the president has not actually asked
the public or asked Mitt Romney that really is the question is, when we`re
in a fledgling recovery like this, we have two options. We can immediately
choose to pay back the Chinese and Wall Street, neither of whom are very
popular right now, or we can choose to invest in the middle class, right?
And when you put it that way, there`s no question. And it`s not a
partisan issue, right? People believe that we`ve got to invest in the
middle class, rather than pay off these people that we owe money to. And
that is also what history shows is incredibly important.
The thing that people shouldn`t forget, either, as we move into this
austerity debate, which -- to me, we need to be talking jobs, not austerity
-- is that every single Republican president has driven up the deficit.
People forget that.
HOGUE: Every single Republican president has driven up the deficit,
and Democratic presidents have had to grapple with that. I think people
want to see Barack Obama be much more firm with the Republicans, call them
on their bluff. I don`t think they`re going to drive the country off the
HAYES: Here -- here -- here`s the president talking in that "Des
Moines" -- in that "De Moines Register" interview, which is a great --
people should go read the interview. I thought it was very interesting,
and it was very -- because it was ostensibly off the record -- it wasn`t
like he said anything that, Oh, my God, I can`t believe he said that. But
he`s a little more detailed and freer than normally on the stump.
This is him on using the Simpson-Bowles framework for the debt deal.
"I`m absolutely confident we can get what is equivalent of the grand
bargain essentially I`ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long
time, $2.50 worth of cuts for every $1 in spending" -- to a 2.5-to-1
ration. "We can credibly meet the target the Simpson-Bowles commission
established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction and even more on the out
So that -- that is him being very clear, I mean, assigning a number.
Do you see the Republicans taking that deal if Obama is reelected, in that
-- in the -- in that period of time?
ROY: Well, so, of course, President Obama`s budget that he proposed
didn`t really get to $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years. So it would be
interesting to see the president first propose a budget that got to $4
trillion in spending reductions over 10 years or $4 trillion in deficit
reduction over 10 years.
If he did that, then there would be something to negotiate back and
HAYES: Well, he`s going to (INAUDIBLE) no -- with this point -- with
this House, it`s very hard to see what you`re (ph) gained by putting
anything down in writing.
More on the fiscal cliff, immigration reform and climate change, all
in the second term, perhaps, after this.
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
With me this morning, I have Avik Roy, health care policy adviser for
the Romney campaign; Ilyse Hogue from the Friends of Democracy super PAC,
which supports campaign finance reform; Heather McGhee of the progressive
think tank Demos; and Rick Hertzberg of "The New Yorker" magazine.
We are talking about the president`s second term agenda, the plan that
was put out by the campaign this week. But the fact that this strangeness
of our political calendar, the president`s second term begins the day after
the election if he`s reelected.
It begins before his first term ends, because the big enforcing
mechanism of what`s called the fiscal cliff, which is the expiration of the
Bush tax cuts, the implementation of what are called sequestration cuts --
spending cuts that were put in place to resolve the debt ceiling crisis,
are going to happen at the end of the year. In that lame duck session,
they are going to negotiate -- we think -- some way out of it.
In fact, the president, I thought, made news in the last debate, where
he said sequestration will not happen, which I thought it was giving away
some leverage, right? Because presumably, if you think -- you know, that
is your leverage to say, well, if you don`t want the deal, then we are
going to drive over the cliff.
HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: But what the idea when it -- I mean --
HAYES: You are so frustrated by this.
MCGHEE: I really am. But that was the idea when sequestration was
put into place, look; this is never going to happen. This is just this
hatchet. And this is what happens like, once in the political ecosphere,
something is sort of dropped in.
Even if it`s from Planet Mars, as, frankly, I think, Bowles-Simpson
is, and I think as a sequestration, the idea of just sort of chopping off
our budget, one-half defense, one-half not. Whatever. It just becomes
like part of the ecosystem in this very strange way.
So I think the president was really saying, oh, no; of course
sequestration is not going to happen because no one ever thought it would
happen. They thought, you know, we would force ourselves to come back to
the table, which is strange to think that that`s what our elected officials
have to do.
AVIK ROY, ROMNEY HEALTH CARE ADVISER: And this is what I want, you
know, because I think if you want to summarize the Budget Control Act and
all that, basically Republicans want on the scale of the spending cuts.
But Democrats want on the content of the cuts. So half of it`s
defense. There is no -- there are no cuts really to health care. A little
to Medicare, but that`s about it. So it`s really -- it -- the content of
the cuts preserve Democratic priorities; whereas the scale of the cuts is
where Republicans want, by and large. And so the thing is --
HAYES: Well, but there are no tax increases, which was the thing that
was the do-or-die thing to Republicans and always will be forever and ever
ROY: Right. It`s the scale and no tax increase. Those are things
Republicans want on. And they conceded on the content of the cuts, because
those were their primary objectives. And so --
ILYSE HOGUE, CO-DIRECTOR, FRIENDS OF DEMOCRACY: Well, but they did
start saying the day after --
HAYES: The day after that we should make these cuts.
HOGUE: Yes, that means Defense was off the table. They were not
going to abide by this. This was not binding.
ROY: Sure. But I just want to say that my point is that I think we
are optimistic. We think that Capitol Hill`s an incentive to compromise
here, because if Democrats -- if Democrats sit down and say look, if we are
stuck with this framework, where we don`t have any tax increases and we
have spending cuts, these are the spending cuts we want. And it`s hard to
see how Republicans, you know, alter that dynamic when -- if they don`t
control the Senate.
HAYES: Well, Republicans alter that dynamic that by putting revenue
on the table. I mean, I think that`s the thing -- that`s been the thing
from the beginning. And of course we have the iconic moment in the
Republican primary, when everyone was asked, would you take a 10-1 deal?
Right? Would you take $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of raised revenue,
and not a single person on stage raised their hand, including current
nominee Mitt Romney. You know, that is the issue to me.
Rick, do you think there will be any difference in behavior of the
Republican House if they are coming off a victory for Barack Obama?
RICK HERTZBERG, SENIOR EDITOR AND STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": I
don`t see why there should be, because of the incentives that these
politicians have in their own careers. Again, they guys are -- these guys
are from Republican districts of -- Republicans are from Republican
districts. It`s Republicans that they have to please.
And they have shown themselves far more willing to strap a suicide
vest not onto themselves, but on to the country, and then say, oh, it`s
your responsibility to keep this thing from blowing up. We have no
responsibility. We have no responsibility.
And it`s part of the mythology of the presidency, too, that somehow
the president is always the one who calls all the shots, who`s always in
charge. And that`s fed in these presidential campaigns, where the
presidential candidates put out their visions --
HAYES: That`s right. Exactly.
HERTZBERG: -- and realize automatically. So it`s a machine for
HAYES: I think that`s what democracy is called. Democracy
(inaudible) a machine for disappointment.
HOGUE: I think it`s important for folks to remember, too -- and I
have no idea how this plays into the incentives of the Congressional brain,
but Heather is right; we have been through this before. The last time we
couldn`t get a debt deal was when congressional favorability hit its all-
time historic low. People are sick of this. People are sick of playing
Russian roulette with the economy. And everybody suffers.
HERTZBERG: And you have a Congress that`s got a public opinion rating
in the single digits. And yet 97 percent of them are going to be --
HAYES: Right, that`s the point. There`s a huge distinction between
what their collective --
HERTZBERG: Because people can`t vote against Congress. You can vote
against one-435th (inaudible).
HAYES: There is one place where I think -- and the president -- this
is the other thing that he said, when he was talking to the "Des Moines
Register" about this, the stacking of what he envisioned for a second term.
There`s -- you got to do the fiscal stuff first, because that when --
on the calendar. And then this was what he said next.
"The second thing I`m confident we`ll get done next year is
immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very
HAYES: " Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second
term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so
alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino
community. And that is a really new phenomenon.
"George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the
changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they`re
going to have a deep interest in getting that done."
Now the political case -- Andrew Sullivan (ph) was the one who wrote
this political case -- said, oh, if Barack Obama is reelected, the
chastened Republican will want to (inaudible) the budget.
Absolutely not. I think we are all in agreement. It`s going to be
the exact same dynamics as it has been before.
I think actually there`s a persuasive case on this (inaudible). I
really do. And as a Republican, Avik, I`m wondering if you think the same
ROY: Well, you know, I mean, George W. Bush tried to propose
bipartisan immigration reform. It was sunk by the base in both parties
that had for different --
HAYES: Avik, that is just not true to say it was the base in both
parties. Labor, which historically always opposed these, did the tough
thing. They bit down, they went to their members, many of their members
who were really suspicious of this and sold them that comprehensive
They got -- this is McCain-Kennedy we`re talking about. It was not
killed by the left base. It just wasn`t. It was killed by the right-wing
base. And the reason you know that is that in 2008, when the candidates
were running, John McCain took his name off the bill while Barack Obama
still (inaudible). So it`s just not true it was killed by the base in both
ROY: So let`s talk about what Barack Obama has done. He hasn`t
proposed a bipartisan immigration plan. Right? And I think one of the
things that comes out of Bob Woodward`s most recent book is President Obama
actually doesn`t enjoy the policy negotiations with Congress. It is not
Why would you enjoy the policy negotiations with the Congress? You
would have to be a masochist to enjoy the policy negotiations.
ROY: Bill Clinton did enjoy those (inaudible). Maybe he was a
masochist. But the point is that you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy was impeached (inaudible).
HAYES: Exactly. That`s what he got for it.
ROY: In order to get the difficult things done in Washington, you
have to get into the nitty-gritty and have those --
HAYES: But let me ask you -- no, no, no, let me ask you about this,
because Mitt Romney, we all saw him get up there and just take the wood to
Rick Perry in the primaries on immigration. You want to spend $100,000 of
taxpayer money on these illegals -- his words -- these illegals that are
coming into the country? That`s what you want to do?
Now the question is, why did he do that? The answer is clear. The
incentives in the conservative are to use that kind of language, and beat
up and get to the right of people.
The question is, if those are the incentives at that point in the
campaign, why are the incentives going to be any different? When are they
going to change?
ROY: Well, I think it`s a challenging issue. Right? I mean, there`s
no doubt that, for a lot of different reasons, immigration reform has been
hard. That`s why it hasn`t been done yet.
But how does it get done? It gets done when people of different
persuasions get together and say I will give on this if you will give on
that. And that process stuff, that boring, unsexy process stuff is what
the president has been unwilling to do.
HOGUE: Well, I disagree.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act.
ROY: Look, that was a partisan bill that passed with (inaudible)
Republicans voted. But you can blame Republicans for not voting. You
know, you can blame partisanship. But by the way, but the point is, that
was not a bipartisan compromise.
ROY: He wants to get people together. And you might disagree. And I
think (inaudible) might disagree, but I think that`s his history, that`s
his temperament. He`s the guy who tries to bring people together and he`s
willing to make compromises on policy points in order to get --
HAYES: Look --
HAYES: If we were going to elect Mitt Romney -- if we were going to
elect Mitt Romney with a Congress that was 87 percent Democrat in both
houses that would be one thing. I would be very curious to see how Mitt
Romney would conduct himself -- which is basically the numbers that he had
But we are not electing him into that. We are electing him with a
House Republican caucus that is devoted to a very right-wing vision of the
country. That`s their right. I mean, they`re genuinely conservative.
They believe in what they believe in. But that`s the Congress that we are
going to have. And I just don`t see how that is going to change the
behavior of the Republican Party institutionally.
HOGUE: I think it gets done when it`s a matter of survival. When
more of the guys in the House have -- need the Latino vote in their
districts to get reelected. It is the opposite dynamics of what we are
seeing on climate change. Right?
Because as a matter of survival, the GOP needs oil money. So the
disincentives there are going to last for generations more. The dynamics
are going to change much more quickly in Republican districts.
HAYES: All right. A deep dive into the career of the Republican
lawyer behind the myth of the voter fraud. That`s next.
HAYES: All right. This week, President Obama was finally asked about
one of the crucial issues of this election season, an issue that didn`t
surface during any of the debates. In my view, it took comedian and talk
show host Jay Leno to ask the president to directly take on the issue shy
of voter suppression.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, NBC HOST: Look at this billboard here. Look at this
billboard (inaudible) "Show it. Voters will be asked, but not required."
That`s a billboard -- I think it was in Colorado. You know, they
make it look like you have to have this. But if you read the fine print,
it`s you don`t really have to (inaudible).
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s a problem.
LENO: It`s a little scary.
OBAMA: Now the Justice Department handles all these cases, so I can`t
weigh in on any particular state. Here is one thing I know, that
throughout our history, our country has always been stronger when everybody
had a voice. It took a long time to make sure that the franchise expanded
But we should be thinking about ways to make it easier for folks to
vote, not to make it harder for folks to vote. And if the --
OBAMA: And that`s why, you know, that`s why this early voting is
actually really terrific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This network has specifically addressed voter suppression laws
throughout the country, which have almost invariably been put forth by
Republican governors and lawmakers, laws that disproportionately affect
poor, student, black and Latino voters. In short, Democratic voters.
During a convention speech, Democratic Congressman John Lewis reminded
people that legal efforts to block the path of legitimate voters isn`t new.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GA.: Not too long ago, people stood in unmovable
lines. They had to pass a so-called literacy test, pay a poll tax; on one
occasion a man was asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap.
On another occasion, one was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar, all
to keep them from casting their ballot.
Today, it is unbelievable there are Republican officials trying to
stop some people from voting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans who support voter ID laws claim they are needed,
insisting that the threat of election fraud is compelling and rampant.
But (inaudible) Center for Justice at NYU School of Law points out one
is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud.
Reporter Jane Mayer draws out the voter fraud myth in her new piece in
"The New Yorker" magazine -- fantastic piece focusing on Republican lawyer
Hans von Spakovsky, who she says has, quote, "stoked fear about imposters
at the polls." We`ll talk about von Spakovsky`s impact on voter
suppression in a moment.
But if the assault on voting rights characterize the first act of this
election story, the less-told stories of a second act in which activist and
voters have struck back with a vengeance, winning a series of dramatic
In Pennsylvania, a judge blocked a voter ID law from taking effect
before the election.
In Ohio, the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated early voting.
In Florida, a judge blocked restrictions on voter registration.
And voter ID laws have been taken off the table in Wisconsin, setting
up an Election Day that will be less restrictive (inaudible) once appeared
and bringing us to this story`s third and final act, when people actually
cast their ballots.
And if the election is as close as it looks like it will be, the same
conservative agitators and activists, like von Spakovsky, who led the
effort to suppress the vote will be at the courthouse the morning after the
election with the opening salvos in the post-vote battle.
Joining us now at the table is Bertha Lewis, the former chief
executive officer and chief organizer of ACORN -- maybe you remember them -
- Ari Berman, my colleague at "The Nation" magazine, who`s done the best
coverage on this issue throughout the entire campaign; and Jane Mayer from
"The New Yorker" magazine; it`s great to have you all here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to be with you.
HAYES: So this is such a complicated -- in some ways, it`s a
complicated story because there are a lot of moving parts. There are a lot
of little bits of information and different things happening in different
states. At another level, it`s a very simple story, because it`s about one
group of people trying to get another group of people not to vote.
Before we get into the von Spakovsky sort of deep dive you do in the
magazine -- which is fantastic -- and before we talk about what it looks
like to be the former head of ACORN, watching all of this unfold, when you
were really the test case, could they go and get away with going after
Democrats afterwards to broaden the franchise?
Ari, I want to start with you about where we are right now, because I
think it`s important that we don`t lose sight of the fact that, in some
ways, this story is a hopeful story insofar as the countermobilization has
been really impressive.
ARI BERMAN, "THE NATION": Well, it`s hopefully a hopeful story. The
jury is still out. I think you said it right in your introduction, which
was 2011 was the year when Republicans in sweeping ways passed laws to
restrict the right to vote.
One of the most significant legal changes probably in the last 50
years occurred in one year alone. And 2012 is the year when the courts
really fought back and blocked, at least temporarily, all of these laws.
So a lot of laws aren`t on the books now. The question is, how will they
be enforced on Election Day?
In Pennsylvania, for example, will people be wrongly told they need
ID? In Florida, will people show up, will they not be on the voting rolls?
All sorts of swing states still have problematic laws on the books. Places
like Virginia have voter ID laws on the books. Florida still has laws
disenfranchising ex-felons on the books.
So, there`s the possibility for a significant amount of confusion.
I`m hoping that because there`s been so much coverage of this issue that
people know what the laws are in their states. But we`ve have court
decisions three weeks before the election. So people are going to be
rightly confused on what the story is on Election Day.
JANE MAYER, STAFF WRITER "THE NEW YORKER": I have been hearing from
people who are actually out there canvassing that there is a lot of
confusion. People are really uncertain right now about what they need to
bring to the polls or whether they will be challenged in some way.
Confusion is, in itself, a tactic to some extent. But -- and I`m a
little less maybe optimistic about what happened in the courts than maybe
some people might be, because while the courts have suspended a number of
these rules, it`s temporary. They have said basically, this isn`t going to
work for this election. The states haven`t had enough time to implement
But they will be able to be implemented after this election. So
moving forward towards the next election, I think we are talking about some
of these laws going into effect and I think also we`re going to see that a
major provision of the Voting Rights Act may be challenged.
HOGUE: And I have to correct one thing Ari said. And this goes to
Bertha sitting right next to me, who I love, the courts did not fight back.
We had people on the ground in Pennsylvania, identifying plaintiffs who
were being denied their right to vote and putting them out to win the court
of public opinion. And that`s what we`re drastically missing since we have
BERTHA LEWIS, FORMER ACORNX CEO: And you also have folks pointing out
the issue. I mean, from the Brunitz (ph) Center to the events part --
look, folks have to fight. But here is the good thing. Here is the good
You know, now that we know that these guys really are just liars and
will do whatever it takes to steal an election or to pretend as though they
are protecting democracy, it actually has energized, at least my folks.
Folks I talk to -- the folks, those older people, young people, poor
people, black people, brown people, people of color, we are out. We are on
LEWIS: Because you know what? We said oh, really? Is that how you
are going to roll? Well, here`s what`s going to happen. We are rolling on
HAYES: There`s this lemonade project that`s happening in Florida --
Al Sharpton has been involved in that. He was down there. And which is
basically make lemonade out of lemons.
And this countermobilization, Dave Wiygul (ph) had a piece -- he was
reporting down in Florida where he was talking to folks. People said the
same thing, you know, it`s possible that there might have have been a lack
of enthusiasm. Or, you know, it`s tough economic times and that might
squeeze people down.
But part of seeing someone come at you that way with -- basically
saying no, no, no, that has been an incredibly energizing force.
I want to talk about the sort of prehistory of this. And also, the
way -- the perverse way in which creating uncertainty and confusion in and
of itself accomplishes a political aim, which I think is really the -- part
of the insidious part of the story. And you talk about that in your "New
Yorker" piece, and I want to talk about that right after we take this
HAYES: We are talking about voter suppression and the
countermobilization against efforts to suppress the vote. And I want to
talk to you, Jane Mayer, about this great profile you wrote in "The New
Before I want to do that, I want to make a kind of programming note
about this issue, which is that, you know, one of the things we try to do
here on this show is bring people together from diverse perspectives and we
try to have conversations and conflict and root through issues.
And there are a few issues where I just don`t -- can`t find anyone in
good faith. I`m very serious. Voter fraud and climate are these two
things where it`s just like, you know, the climate is getting warmer.
We`re not going to have anyone on the table who says otherwise. And
voter fraud just doesn`t exist in any sort of systemic way. It does --
it`s just not a big issue and we`re not going to have someone at the table
to talk about that.
So that`s just like the reason that we are all sitting around here
basically largely in tune on the issue. It`s just this is one of those
issues where I cannot, in good faith, have someone at the table who I think
is pursuing good faith who really is pointing to some empirical grounding
And Jane, this is something that comes across in your article. Tell
me who Hans von Spakovsky is and what his role has been in creating this
kind of tidal wave of voter suppression.
MAYER: Well, he may be the leading alarmist about in-person voter
fraud, the kind where you pretend to be someone else at the polls. And
he`s been sounding this alarm, really, since the 1990s. And so, I read his
book. He`s got a book out that -- and it would make you think that
American elections are like some banana republic and that we are -- you
know, they are going to be stolen.
And so I read it and I went to go talk to him. And it was
interesting, because he gives a number of examples and I looked at them
more closely. And every time I drilled down to figure out whether what he
was saying was in good faith and true, I found a lot of holes in his
arguments. They fall apart when you take a close look.
And the truth is, really, there isn`t that kind of voter fraud in this
country. You know, the most recent study showed since 2000, there have
been seven cases of voter fraud, identification, in-person voter fraud, the
kind that would be cured with an ID -- seven since 2000.
HAYES: Seven since 2000?
MAYER: OK. I mean, there are more cases of violations of migratory
bird (inaudible) than there are of election laws. There`s -- it is -- it`s
concocted, basically. So, but it is a very useful concoction, I think.
HAYES: And it has been concocted and also promoted by him
specifically. And John Fund at "The Wall Street Journal". And the two of
them have really succeeded. I mean, what I find so frustrating about this
is that they have pulled off this hustle on their own base. Right?
Because you talk to grassroots conservatives and they are absolutely
convinced, because they`re listening to these people, that this is
happening all the time, right? The people they get their information from
-- they are absolutely convinced.
LEWIS: But who is that base?
MAYER: But they are working with -- well, I mean, they have -- they -
- you know, von Spakovsky is at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative
think tank. So he`s got a platform and he writes and he`s on FOX News a
They also have helped advise this organization that looks grassroots,
called True the Vote, that comes out of Texas. It looks like it`s a
spontaneous citizens` movement. It`s directed by these people who are
really professional operatives, basically, conservative operatives who know
what they are doing.
BERMAN: And the fascinating thing about Jane`s article -- and I
really like it --
MAYER: Thank you.
BERMAN: -- another great piece, Jane -- is that von Spakovsky was
this fringe figure --
BERMAN: -- largely in the Republican Party for many, many years.
Now, he`s basically the spokesman for the Republican Party on voting
And I think it kind of shows the evolution of the Republican Party in
a disturbing way or the devolution of the Republican Party on this issue,
because in 2006, the Voting Rights Act was overwhelmingly reauthorized by
Congress, including by virtually all Republicans.
Now you have, instead, the core issue of the Republican Party is
restricting the right to vote. Voter suppression has become the new normal
inside the Republican Party.
They are not going to drop these efforts after 2012. This is their
only response to demographic change, is to stir up fears of voter fraud and
then use them to try to make it harder for the growing electorate -- young
people, African-Americans and Hispanics -- to be able to cast (inaudible).
LEWIS: You are absolutely right. And I was going to say, this is
about demographics when you say -- the base swallows this whole. Who is
that base? That is a base that is shrinking in this country. This country
is browning. It -- people of color are going to be the new majority in
this country. Then you have folks out there that see this as an absolute
My former organization, ACORN, we organized poor people, people of
color, brown people, young people, people in the projects, people that
folks said they don`t come out to vote, they never will.
We moved people to vote based on issues like in Florida, we moved
folks, over a million people through the polls to vote to raise that
state`s minimum wage because the federal government hadn`t done it.
ALEC, this American Legislative Exchange who does the templates for
all of these bills, this Spakovsky guy is in league with them. This is a
strategy to combat the changing demographics and power shift of this
MAYER: And every now and then, someone speaks the truth about it from
the conservative side. They generally try to portray themselves as
nonpartisan and just working for fair elections. But in truth, the founder
of ALEC, Paul Wyrick (ph), who`s also the founder of the Heritage
Foundation, set out at some point -- we don`t want everybody to vote.
MAYER: It`s not good for certain points of view that -- to have
everybody enfranchised. And I think we heard it again in Pennsylvania with
Mike Terzide (ph).
HAYES: Yes. When he said we got -- we need voter ID. That`s going
to get --
MAYER: Romney. That will get Romney elected. It`s something that
helps one party more than the other party. Generally, they don`t tell it
like that. But that really is what people say every now and then.
HAYES: One of the things I think has been a fascinating through-line
of this year, watching this from a broad ideological perspective, is a
reminder of there`s a historical debate between the Left and the Right
about democracy. Right?
I mean, this is actually the roots of -- the roots of the right wing,
of course, are going back to Edmund Burke and this counterrevolutionary
look of democratic revolutions being ghastly, as being mob rule. And
there`s a long intellectual tradition. We were just talking about the
Electoral College. Right?
I mean, the Electoral College had a lot more support on the Right than
on the Left. The national popular vote has been past all in blue states.
Right? Because there actually is an ideological difference about democracy
as the best means of ruling of people.
Ilyse, you have been traveling around the country. I want to hear
what you have been seeing. But first we`ve got to take a quick break.
HAYES: Elyse Hogue, God, you have been traveling around in a lot of
different races. What -- and you want to say something?
HOGUE: Yes, no, I did. So what I have been seeing all over the
country is twofold. One, extremely educated volunteers, right? DMV
employees very confused about what they`re supposed to do. Volunteers
better equipped than I have ever seen to get people what they need, where
they need it, state by state.
The other point that I wanted to make goes to what you were saying
about this fight about democracy. I actually think this is not
Republican/Democrat. I think this is 1 percent/ 99 percent. This is why
we saw the Romney fundraiser folks saying, well my nail lady isn`t educated
enough to vote, right?
And so one of the things that I think is really interesting and it
goes to the ALEC stuff, is voter suppression could be the Achilles heel on
all of their manufactured narratives. This is -- we saw corporations
fleeing ALEC because they didn`t want to be on the wrong side of democracy.
We did not see that, even though ALEC has pushed -- regrets
legislation on everything from climate change to gun rights. So one of the
things that we have seen is there`s a vulnerability around this issue that
we need to learn to leverage across the board for other progressive issues.
LEWIS: Well, I think you are right. One of the reasons that I felt
my new organization, called the blackinstitute.org, one is because of the
demographics. If, in fact, we are going to be a new majority, people of
color, then somebody better pay attention and develop policies for us and
And two, that black folks, people of color are not in an economic
fairness conversation, which is this pitting of 1 percent against the 99
percent and who rules and who doesn`t.
Climate change: if you are not talking about people of color being
part of that discussion; the privatization of education, again, this is,
you know, from income inequality to predatory education.
Then finally, immigration: black faces are not in the immigration
debate. That is the one thing that is going to occur, no matter who wins
But you -- Elyse is right. You have got to look at this as not a
Democrat/Republican thing or a Right/Left thing.
But there is -- there is -- let me just say this, there is a
Right/Left thing insofar as (inaudible) --
LEWIS: Well, I`m on the left. I will admit. That`s it. I`m out.
HAYES: In 2009, PPV (ph) did a poll and found that 52 percent of GOP
voters nationally think that ACORN stole the presidential election for
I mean, this is the -- what the myth making that has happened through
von Spakovsky has been very effective. This is what people hear. You
know, right now, here is the grand irony. There is this amazing incident
of a Republican firm -- tell me about this firm, Ari, because you have been
BERMAN: Well, there`s this firm, Strategic Allied Consulting. They
are run by a very checkered GOP operative, Nathan Spruill, with a long
history of potentially committing GOP voter registration fraud. He was the
main person funded by the RNC to do voter registration work.
And all these fraudulent forms turned up, not only in Florida, but in
other battleground states, like Colorado. They were registering dead
people -- the exact thing they claimed ACORN was doing. They were changing
voter registration forms from Democratic to Republican. They were
registering tons of people at the same addresses.
So essentially, Republican operatives were doing the very things they
accused ACORN of doing. It`s an incredible, incredible moment of hypocrisy
on the Right.
MAYER: Well, I mean, and there are kinds -- I think we should say --
there are kinds of election fraud. There is registration fraud. There`s
absentee ballot fraud. Historically, people throw out whole boxes of
absentee ballots sometimes. What -- I think what was striking to me was
there just is not the kind of fraud that gets cured with an ID.
So the whole movement on the Republican side has been to push through
laws that -- John Lewis said to me, the congressman, you know, it`s a cure
for a disease that does not exist.
There are -- I do think, in fairness, we have to say that there is a
very sloppy administration of American elections and it`s -- and it is a
real vulnerability for both parties. And it`s kind of a shameful thing
that this greatest democracy in the world is administered so sloppily.
LEWIS: And in the famous words of Chris Hayes, it is profane.
LEWIS: And here`s what is the problem with it. And again, leading
ACORN, you know, we used to put up a sign saying no good deed goes
unpunished. We, at one point at our peak, we accounted for 25 percent of
all voter registration in this country -- 25 percent. So, just that number
alone put a big target on our backs.
LEWIS: We had a quality control in which we never threw out a card.
We flagged and tagged every suspicious card. We also went to the Board of
Elections or -- woefully underfunded, by the way -- and said John Doe was a
canvasser. Here is his name, his address, his phone number. These are the
cards that he did. We did the job for them.
And so, therefore, because of the people that we were moving, we
didn`t just register folks, we also moved them to the poll. We had them.
HAYES: I want you, though, I want to raise the issue here because I
think one of the things that gets really lost in this, and it`s been very
productive for the people who are kind of raising the specter of voter
fraud (inaudible), there`s a difference between errors and fraud.
So I want to talk about that, because there were errors in some of the
stuff that ACORN (inaudible) in Florida. That was the thing they used to
hang on you. I want you to talk about that -- no, I want you to talk about
that right after this break.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean -- OK.
HAYES: So, Bertha Lewis, there are these stories that happened,
right, that you were embroiled in the big ACORN scandal that ended up
being the sledgehammer brought down on the organization that had registered
but accounted for 25 percent of the registrations in the country.
And I want you to talk about, you know, the way that they came after
you, was they pulled out some registration that had been filled out by
someone that ACORN had employed that was Mickey Mouse or something -- some
And when you hear the case made about this rampant voter fraud, these
discrete examples of registration of Mickey Mouse or someone registered who
And I want you to just give your response to that. Why should I
believe that you weren`t undertaking some massive fraud?
LEWIS: Well, first of all, Mickey Mouse never went to vote, number
Number two is we were the ones that handed to the Board of Elections,
we said, you know what, John Doe here registered Mickey Mouse. This looks
suspicious. Again, we flagged and tagged every one -- unlike Mr. Spruill,
who the Board of Elections had to look and say that these cards are
suspicious. Unlike Mr. Spruill, you -- it is illegal to throw out any
So we flagged and tagged. And they did not.
We don`t -- does it make sense for an organization that organizes low
and moderate income folks and people of color to fraudulently register
someone who we can`t get to the polls?
HAYES: Right. Right. Right. And I think this point about not --
this is so key, right? If you pass a law -- the point is that you have a
duty to pass along every registration card because you don`t want the
organization to be the one throwing out cards. This is exactly what
happened with Spruill. What you -- that is a huge problem.
You can`t have someone go, I meet you outside the 7-Eleven. Oh, you
haven`t voted before? I`m going to register you to vote. I take down your
information; you walk away thinking, great, I`m going to show up at the
polls. And then I throw it in the trash.
BERMAN: It`s fraud that Republicans have committed recently is far
worse than what ACORN actually did. But yet there`s been no coverage about
it on the Right. And this is the problem here.
FOX News ran 122 stories about ACORN from 2007 to 2008. They`ve run
three stories on GOP voter registration fraud in Florida. And none in
Virginia, where they threw out voter registration forms. "The Weekly
Standard," the "National Review," zero stories about GOP voter registration
So viewers of FOX News are coming away from -- with the perception
that it`s still only being done by Democrats. They have no conception that
their side is the one doing the very things they are accusing Democrats and
progressives of doing.
HAYES: As we head toward Election Day, and right now one of the
reasons I think, obviously, the Obama campaign is pushing early voting is
because it gives you several bites of the apple if there are any problems.
If you go 10 days before the election and you show up and your name is
on the list, you have got nine days to get it sorted out and actually vote;
whereas if you showed up at 5:00 pm on that Tuesday and the name is on the
list, then you have to cast a provisional ballot.
You made this point before. And I think this is a good place for us
to end up on, which is the administration of elections in this country is
pretty bonkers. I want to -- we all saw this in 2000. And there was a
bill passed called the Help America Vote act. DeForest Soaries was
appointed to the head of the Election Assistance Commission, the body
tasked with implementing the law that was going to standardize our election
administration. And this is what he had to say about his time doing that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEFOREST SOARIES, FORMER CHAIRMAN, THE ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION:
We had zero dollars for research. You are one of the EAC. And what I
wanted was enough money -- and we suspected that $10 million would do it.
I hung in there until after the election.
And right after the election, I notified the White House that I was
leaving. I have got 16-year-old sons and I would rather spend time with
them at their basketball games than to work in Washington with a Congress
and a White House that is not really committed to this task, which I
thought was fundamental to our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a congressman White House -- a Republican Congress and
a Republican White House at the time.
You -- what do you hear from your sources like von Spakovsky and
others, about how they view what`s going to happen on Election Day
MAYER: Well, I mean, it`s disconcerting. Basically, what they are
saying is that they think there`s a good possibility that we`ll be worse
than 2000. Worse than Florida. John Fund said there might be three or
four states like Florida; von Spakovsky said if we`re lucky, three or
There may be more than that. I mean, what they`re -- if this election
is really close, you get into what they call the margin of litigation,
which means all the lawyers come out and they are going to be fighting.
And you know, it`s a worry because the country is very divided
politically and the elections are administered very poorly. And so there`s
a lot of area for litigation and confusion. And then that, of course, that
undermines the legitimacy of the outcome.
HAYES: And I think one of the things to keep in mind here is that the
story, the seed they have been planting, they can harvest the fruit of, if
there`s a close election, which is that the whole story has been about
fraud and about people sneaking to vote that shouldn`t vote and about how
people are not qualified or casting their vote.
And then you plant the seed to then, afterwards, start going after
striking provisional ballots (inaudible).
Bertha Lewis, former CEO of ACORN, which was a great organization, I`m
going to say it on national television, now president of the African-
American advocacy group The Black Institute; Ari Berman, my colleague at
"The Nation" magazine and Jane Mayer from "The New Yorker" magazine -- be
sure to check out her piece in this issue -- thank you all for joining us
What you should know about the news week ahead, coming up next.
HAYES: In just a moment what we should know for the news week ahead,
but first a quick update on a guest we had on the show back in March --
Mike is the priest who came on our show -- came out on our show as a
nonbeliever. He`s been working -- a working pastor at a nondenominational
church in Houston, but now he has started a new organization along with
several other atheists, precinct (ph) thinkers and secular humanists called
Houston Oasis to provide support and fellowship to people who don`t want to
be part of organized religion.
And a quick personal update: if you`re in the Boston area, I`m
planning to be appearing at MIT on Tuesday, weather notwithstanding, at
7:00 pm to talk about my book, "Twilight of the Elites" and the election.
For details on Tuesday`s event up at MIT, go to Facebook.com/UpWithChris.
So what should you know for the week coming up? Well, in a nation
whereby partisan consensus tells us we`re equally accountable to justice
but that the nation will suffer somehow if we apply justice to the deeds of
those who ran the country, you should know that other democracies actually
do hold former heads of state criminally accountable.
At least former premier Silvio Berlusconi was convicted Friday of tax
fraud and sentenced to four years in prison. And, yes, you could always
argue that he always seemed to get off on appeal. But he is also still in
court on charges he paid for sex with a minor and tried to cover it up.
As you watch the freakish late-season Hurricane Sandy make its way
towards the Eastern Seaboard today, you should know that large corporate
entities who make their money by assessing and quantifying risk are freaked
out about the effects of climate change that we are already seeing.
A new report from top reinsurer Munich Re -- those are companies that
insure insurers -- concludes that, quote, "climate driven changes are
already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, heavy
precipitation and flash flooding, hurricane activity and for heat wave,
drought and wildfire dynamics in parts of North America. "
You should know that this is just the beginning and that if
Republicans really believed in the market and the information discovery
role of markets, they would be listening to the world`s insurance companies
rather than fossil fuel-funded cranks.
And finally, you should know that even good economic news can have
undesirable consequences for the long term.
This week Chrysler will add 1,100 new workers at a plant in Detroit,
thanks to rising demand for its cars. The plant has had a workers on
overtime for months just to keep up. It is now adding a third crew so the
factory can be operational for more hours in the day. You should know it`s
hard to imagine these new jobs without Chrysler and it`s hard to imagine
Chrysler without the auto rescue.
But because the new vehicles, these workers will be making our SUVs,
you should know tat while the comeback of the auto industry is good for
American workers in the short term, it`s only good on for all of us in the
long term if the industry goes through a revolution that dramatically
increases the efficiency and reduces the emissions of the cars it produces.
Want to find out what my guests think you should know for the coming
ROY: So, you know, I think one of the things that`s been distressing
over the last couple of days has been there`s more drips out of the
Benghazi situation. So there was a CIA annex that apparently asked for
military intervention and were denied three times.
It`s unclear if that was from the Pentagon, whether it was the
president. Who knows? But I think we`re going to see a lot more drips
from that next week and that`s going to be a news story that`s going to
continue to hit the headlines.
HAYES: We`ve covered Benghazi quite a bit on this show, and I`m at
the point where what I thought I knew, I then turned out not to know, and
so have been taking things very cautiously because there was a lot of
rushing. And there was a lot of, oh, it was about the movie, it wasn`t
about the movie, and every time we get wrong-footed, I think there`s been a
lot of pouncing on everything.
So my editorial approach out of this has really been a wait-and-see
attitude because each new discrete piece of information seems to me to
mislead as much as it reveals.
HOGUE: You should know that if you are sick of elections, of watching
corporate and anonymous cash, there is an opportunity within reach in New
York State to actually get the Senate that can pass public funding and you
should know that if it can happen in New York, it can happen anywhere.
HAYES: And you should know Andrew Cuomo is on the fence about it or
says he supports it?
HOGUE: He says he supports it. He says if there`s a political path
forward, he`ll take it -- which is why it`s incredibly important if you
live in New York, (inaudible) ballot. If you know anyone in New York, we
need a Democratic Senate.
HAYES: Heather McGhee?
MCGHEE: In this era of real hyperpartisanship, we know that citizens
are actually united on these issues. It`s actually amazing. We had a poll
in the field and did a report; eight out of 10 -- doesn`t go under 72
percent for Republicans, liberals, Democrats -- hates corporate money in
HAYES: Rick Hertzberg?
HERTZBERG: You should know that more than at any time in this
election cycle, maybe more than any time ever, the possibility of a long
winter election where one candidate gets more human votes and the other
candidate gets more electoral votes is more alive than ever. You should
know that both sides` oxes get gored.
In 2000, it was the Democrats who got screwed. This time it could be
the Republicans. You should know that the recount problem is not a problem
because that would happen only once in 3,000 years and you should know
there`s a solution. Go to nationalpopularvote.com and find out what it is.
HAYES: I want to thank my guests today. Avik Roy, health care policy
adviser for the Romney campaign; Ilyse Hogue from the Friends of Democracy
super PAC; Heather McGhee, the progressive think tank Demos; and Rick
Hertzberg of "The New Yorker" magazine, thank you all.
And thank you for joining us. We`ll be back next weekend Saturday and
Sunday at 8:00 Eastern time, our special pre-election coverage. If you`re
in the area, you can catch us live and in person. We`ll be doing the show
outside right in front of 30 Rock. Should be a lot of fun. We`ll hope you
come out to see us. Come check us out.
Coming up next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," the
strategy the Obama campaign is using to seal the deal. It all comes down
to one word and that could mean what happens on November 6th doesn`t matter
at all. But will it work? That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up next.
We`ll see you next week here on UP.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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