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All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, May 9th, 2014

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May 9, 2014

Guests: Ron Unz, Dorian Warren, Benjamin Jealous, Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams, Alisha Thomas Morgan

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from the sweet Auburn Spring
Fest in Atlanta, Georgia. I`m Chris Hayes.

And we are very lucky -- we are very lucky to be live here in Atlanta,
which is a key battleground in the fight to raise the minimum wage, a place
where hundreds of fast food workers have gone on strike over the past 12
months to fight for $15 an hour, where Congressman John Lewis has marched
with workers, one of the dozens of cities across the country where people
are putting pressure on elected officials to raise minimum wage to living
wage or something closer to it.

Today, there was an important turning point in that fight. Mitt
Romney, who you may remember, and who in 2012 said there was, quote,
"probably not a need to raise minimum wage now says it should go up.


you know, part company with many conservatives of my party on the issue of
minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it, because, frankly, our party is
all about more jobs and better pay.


HAYES: Romney isn`t the only one embracing a wage hike. This week,
Fred de Luca, founder and CEO of Subway, which is the world`s biggest fast
food chain, told CNBC he was, quote, "not concerned about hike in minimum
wage. Over the years I have seen so many of these wage increases. I think
it`s normal. It won`t have a negative impact. That`s what I tell my

In one week, the former Republican nominee for president and CEO of
the largest fast food chain in the world had come out in support of raising
minimum wage. But Republicans in simply aren`t listening, and seemingly do
not care.

Last week, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill to raise minimum
wage. This week, they`re spending their time doing what? Putting together
a brand new Benghazi select committee.

Today, Speaker John Boehner tweeted out a very snazzy graphic
introducing Republican members of the committee -- no word on minimum wage

While Republicans may be out of touch with the American people who
overwhelmingly in poll after poll support minimum wage, they do still have
some powerful allies on their side, like the Koch-backed Americans for
Prosperity, who plan to spend $125 million this year alone in part to
convince the American people that they are in fact wrong on minimum wage.
Part of an Americans for Prosperity strategy memo published in "Politico"
reads in part, quote, "We consistently see that Americans in general are
concerned that free market policy and its advocates benefit the rich and
powerful more than the most vulnerable society. We must correct this

Joining me from California is Ron Unz. He`s former publisher of
"American Conservative" and chairman of Higher Wages Alliance.

Ron, you and I have spoken before. You have been waging a lonely
class traitorous campaign to get millionaires like yourself to support an
increase in minimum wage. You`re apparently doing a good job.

RON UNZ, HIGHER WAGES ALLIANCES: Well, it is getting much less lonely
every day. When you have the Republican presidential nominee of the last
election endorsing a hike in minimum wage, we`re talking about the
mainstream of the Republican Party.

HAYES: What was interesting to me about the Romney conference this
morning, he actually had supported minimum wage early in that campaign
cycle, was forced to back off it, perhaps not surprisingly incident primary
fight, now seems to be coming back. I wonder if that`s a leading or
lagging indicator of Republican opinion.

UNZ: Well, he`s not just alone out there. Remember, we have Bill
O`Reilly, the biggest conservative on FOX News, who`s endorsed minimum
wage. A lot of the main publications, writers, for example, economic
writers in "The Daily Caller" and "National Review" have endorsed a big
hike in minimum wage.

It`s basically the thoughtful conservatives, the thoughtful
Republicans, the people who believe businesses should pay their own workers
rather than forcing the taxpayers to pick up the difference by social
welfare subsidies.

HAYES: So then how do you account for the gap between what seems to
be moving in the right direction among opinion leaders, among parts of the
Republican establishment, among Republican thought leaders and
conservatives, and the Republican elected leaders in Washington who
filibustered a vote on it, wouldn`t even vote, allow a vote on it just a
week ago.

UNZ: Well, we have got to remember that lobbyists, business lobbyists
who support those industries that are shoving the burden to the taxpayer,
they`re very influential in the halls of the legislature, and they`re the
people many of the congressmen speak to. They put on the fund-raisers, and
businesses would rather not pay their own employees, they would rather have
the taxpayer do it, and that`s wrong. It`s not conservative and it`s bad
for America.

HAYES: I thought it was interesting Romney said we are for more jobs
and higher wages. You heard for a long time, there are certain
conservatives who say, you know, we don`t even think there should be any
minimum wage. We think any minimum wage is a violation of basic free
market principles, about where the labor market sets the wage.

And it`s strange you don`t see people articulate that, even though I
suspect there`s a big amount of Republicans who actually do believe that in

UNZ: Well, a lot of the Republican ideology of the last 20 or 30
years has been captured by what might be called extreme free market
libertarians. People believe there should be no regulations, no minimum
wage, no standards in our society, and the result of that has been the
tremendous impoverishment of so many tens of millions of Americans and
American workers in over last 20 or 30 years.

Now, I`m a conservative, but there`s a difference between somebody who
looks at things in a pragmatic, logical way, and somebody who is such an
ideologue that he believes all government regulations and requirements
should be abolished, and that really is a problem in the Republican Party.

HAYES: And that was the part of that AFP memo that was leaked today
that I -- that made me sit up and take notice was an awareness even on the
part of AFP, backed by the Koch brothers, that what they are selling people
on is not going over very well.

UNZ: Exactly. It`s the dog food that dogs just won`t eat. And
again, we`re not talking only about workers suffering because of lower
minimum wage. We`re talking about the taxpayers suffering. Taxpayers
right now are spending $250 billion a year on social welfare programs for
the working poor -- people who work but can`t afford to survive and pay for
their own families. If we raise minimum wage, if we force businesses to
pay reasonable wage to those workers, the taxpayers would save tens of
billions of dollars. And maybe that`s part of what`s motivating Romney
since he pays a lot of taxes himself.

HAYES: Well, not according to Harry Reid.

Ron Unz, former publisher of "The American Conservative" -- thanks for
your time.

UNZ: Great to be here.

HAYES: All right. Joining me now here in Atlanta is Atlanta`s very
own, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor.

Goldie, it`s great to see you here.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, GRIO.COM: Nice to be here (ph).

HAYES: So, this fight has been hot. We had amazing footage of John
Lewis coming out when the fast food workers struck. It`s the kind of issue
that in deep red states, even in states with the sort of conservative
center of public opinion, you see over 50 percent polling.

TAYLOR: So, you know, you can never, ever blame the Republicans or
claim the Republicans are going to be in line with what real people think.
You know, they have gone so far on this structuralized hyperbolic, you
know, libertarianism, that they do believe that no regulation is good
regulation when what they ought to be saying is that good regulation, smart
regulation, regulation that protects the rights of workers, of families,
while allowing businesses to flourish and grow in this country is a good
and noble thing to have.

HAYES: I don`t want to even -- I mean, even just from a political
standpoint, given how popular minimum page increase is, given that
Democrats clearly think it`s in their interest politically, given the fact
the president is campaigning on it and members of Senate campaigns, they
could just vote to take it off the table. I mean, even just as amoral
political decision.

TAYLOR: But they`re not talking to us.

HAYES: Right.

TAYLOR: They`re talking to a very small cast of primary voters who
you could not get to believe otherwise that raising minimum wage in their
minds would kill jobs. They`re convinced of the base of that, they`re
playing to that. And that`s what they aim to bring out in these primaries,
and that`s what they aim to bring out this fall.

HAYES: Were you surprised by Romney`s comments, this one?

TAYLOR: I was not. I was not, on the one hand, because structurally,
he does understand that raising minimum wage does, in fact, increase
productivity, I want to go to work. I want to educate my family. I want
to take time off with my kids.

So, you know, that great work environment, that great compensation
package does a lot for me and my family, in turn I want to do a lot for my
employer. So, he understands that on that level. On the other hand, it`s
ironic, because Romney did almost more than anybody else to ship jobs
overseas and out of this country.

If we remember (INAUDIBLE) and other companies and manufacturing firms
that frankly his firm shut down and sent overseas. And so, you know, on
one hand, I`m not surprised. On the other hand, I find it deeply ironic
and hypocritical.

HAYES: Do you think that as we move from the primary season as we are
in now to general election season, because of the politics of this are so
strong for Democrats, for progressives, for the left, do you think you`ll
see a change in Republican nominees when they become nominees?

TAYLOR: Well, you know, if you can get Rand Paul to say that voter ID
is offensive, you may get -- you could --


TAYLOR: I love the way he said, but you could -- what happens after
primaries is that people do indeed begin to pivot, but they nail their foot
to the floor on this so hard that it`s going to be very difficult to see
that they could reach over and get that --

HAYES: Plus, I think in the house at least, the strategy there is
literally do nothing and hope no one notices.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

HAYES: I mean, to just kind of do a lot of gesticulating about
Benghazi and not do any -- I don`t think they`re going to hold another vote
the rest of the term.

TAYLOR: Well, what they intend to do is flood the dam. They intend
to flood it with Benghazi. They intend to flood it with the IRS so-called
scandal. They intend to flood it with false talking points on the
Affordable Care Act. They intend to flood --

HAYES: Which they`ve already moved off. They`re on to the next one.

TAYLOR: They`ll be back. They intend to flood every dam until they
get us clear to Election Day without us articulating the real messages, the
real things that impact people`s daily lives in a positive way.

HAYES: I would just love to see one thing if one thing could come out
of this midterm, which is basically that the line of resistance on minimum
wage breaks.

TAYLOR: Well, that`s exactly what we`re looking for. We`re looking
for, you know, those blue collar workers -- white, black, Hispanic, you
know, across this country, blue and red districts.

HAYES: In the state of Georgia, yes.

TAYLOR: In the Georgia -- you know, we have an opportunity here in
Georgia to change the tide right here. I mean, we`ve got strong candidates
running for senator, running for governor, for the first time in a very
long time. We`ve got a great shot. But it is up to us to turn up and turn

HAYES: Goldie Taylor, contributor with MSNBC, and a resident
of this great city of Atlanta -- great to see you.

TAYLOR: Same to you.

HAYES: All right. So, what was -- what was the president doing at
Walmart today? That story next.

We are live from the Sweet Auburn Spring Fest in Atlanta, Georgia.


HAYES: We are in Georgia now, in part because of MSNBC`s Growing Hope
Campaign, and in part because of our new series, we are calling "All in
America." All spring and summer we are hitting the road to find stories
around the country on the ground that illuminate some of the biggest
conflicts in American politics.

We want you, our reviewers, to help us out. Send story ideas. You
can tweet us at #AllInAmerica, or you can post ideas to our Facebook page.
You can email us, with a subject line: All in

Also this weekend, you can catch some other reporting I`ve done
recently on "Years of Living Dangerously". You can watch that show for
free as part of Showtime`s free preview weekend.

And we`ll be back live from Sweet Auburn`s Spring Fest here in
Atlanta, Georgia, in just a moment.



folks at Walmart. I know this looks like a typical Walmart, but it is
different. A few years ago, you decided to put solar panels on the roof of
the store. You replaced some traditional light bulbs with LEDs. You made
refrigerator cases more efficient.


HAYES: President Obama at a Walmart in northern California today, not
only talking about the store`s record on clean energy, but on the
construction jobs those upgrades create.

The reaction to the president`s appearance was immediate. "Walmart is
one of the nation`s largest and worst employers, low wages, unreliable
hours, few benefits, discrimination against women and anti-union," said
former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich in a Facebook posting. White
House officials underscored the purpose of the president`s visit by saying
Walmart will commit to double the number of on-site solar energy products
at its U.S. facilities, solar power, energy efficiency and renewable energy
are topics of Obama`s speech.

But as much as I love solar, it was strange on the day Mitt Romney
endorsed minimum wage to see the president at one of America`s biggest low
wage anti-union employers -- like watching two of the second year
priorities in an ugly wrestling match before our eyes.

Joining me from New York is Dorian Warren, associate professor of
political science at Columbia University.

Dorian, this was a little head of a scratcher, I have to say.

DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I`m shaking my head, Chris. It
is very strange. It`s full of contradictions. In addition to all of the
issues that Secretary Reich laid out, Walmart is the largest low wage
employer of this country. It drives down wages. It discriminates against
women -- all those issues, he is absolutely right about.

So, why the president would go there is baffling. But even on its own
terms in terms of the environmental role that Walmart plays, it is just one
green washer of the year by a prominent environmental organization. Even
on the terms of what Walmart promises to do around the environment, it`s a
head scratcher.

HAYES: But isn`t there an argument for some kind of tactical
alliances, right? You can`t conduct yourself politically if you`ll only
ally yourself with people you agree with on everything.

So you see this all the time, right? You see Ted Kennedy back in the
day would get together with a Republican he despised on a million issues to
co-sponsor something. Why is this -- why isn`t this good politics or even
good policy if you`re picking a narrow, specific enough thing to highlight?

WARREN: Well, first of all, the last time I checked, the president
isn`t running for re-election. So, choosing Walmart over say one of the
other retailers that uses 100 percent renewables in the stores, I`m
thinking here of Whole Foods, or Staples, or Kohl`s. One percent
renewable, Walmart is at 4 percent.

So, you`re actually rewarding a company who is one of the worst actors
when it comes to the environment. By the way, the context here is 10 years
-- almost 10 years ago in 2005, Walmart made all these promises about what
it was going to do to green its business model and it`s failed on almost
every indicator based on its own data.

So, according to Walmart`s own data, it increased the carbon foot
print since those promises in 2005 by 14 percent. So, even on its own
terms, it fails all of the tests that the president is seeking in terms of
his environmental goals. It fails on every single test.

HAYES: You know, this is briefly an issue in the primary between
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, of course, had sat --
lived in Arkansas when she was first lady of Arkansas. She sat on the
board of Walmart, and Bill Clinton defended her wife`s service to Walmart
saying it was the right thing for her to do. The Obama campaign responded
through spokesman Bill Burton by saying, "If they want to defend her
service to one of the least environmentally friendly, least labor union-
friendly companies in the country, they`re welcome to do that."

WARREN: Again, I mean, I understand the politics of this, and you
know, the president said some things in previous campaigns that was
supportive of workers, that attacked Hillary for her connections with
Walmart. Then you can`t step into a store and reward a company that failed
on its own terms to advance its own environmental goals, and, frankly,
speak about income inequality all week, and go into the premises of the
nation`s largest private employer, which is the leading exploiter of
workers in terms of low wages. It just makes no sense.

HAYES: And you made this point about other comparative businesses and
renewables. I mean, what we`re talking talked about at the top of the
show, if the idea is to go out and find businesses that are either doing
good things in the environmental field or paying higher wages or maybe not
paying higher wages but supportive higher minimum wage, all those
businesses exist. I don`t think Walmart is any of those.

WARREN: Walmart isn`t in the top five of any of those categories,
which is the baffling part of this. Why create controversy, why create a
backlash, why guarantee a protest of workers when the president is visiting
that store.

This could have been all avoided by a smarter choice, both on the
politics and policy. If you wanted to go to Whole Foods or other
competitors that made progress on environmental issues, I think that would
have been the smarter choice.

I understand the carrot of trying to encourage Walmart to do better,
but that hasn`t worked in the past in terms of changing Walmart`s behavior,
I doubt it is going to work this time. Why create the controversy over
this in the first place.

HAYES: Dorian Warren of Columbia University, thanks so much.

WARREN: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right. Up next, the NRA takes on our very own Inners.

We`re live from Sweet Auburn Fest in Atlanta, Georgia.


HAYES: We are live from Sweet Auburn Spring Fest in Atlanta, Georgia.

And we have been trying now for four days to get someone, anyone from
the National Rifle Association to come on the show and talk about smart
guns, specifically explain the NRA`s opposition to a technology that could
save lives.

So far, we have received radio silence, absolutely nothing. They
won`t talk to us but they will talk about us. On the NRA`s own weird
propaganda news channel, they were having a conversation about the
kidnapping of young women by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And intersperse with
that was a strange rift on exactly who would be going to rescue the girls.


KATIE PAVLICH, TOWNHALL: There is evil in the world and someone has
to stop it. Who do they always call? Us, because we are the ones willing
and capable to do it, and we are the good guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. I would go one step further and say
when they ask the U.S. for help, we don`t send pajama boy to do the job,
Katie, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably not a lot of people who know and use the
#inners going over to Nigeria to rescue hopefully those girls. There are a
lot of guys who look like -- who look like they just came from the NRA
annual meeting frankly who will be going over there and trying to rescue
those girls.


HAYES: I am pretty sure there are some actually pretty tough folks in
the Inners feed, but that`s kind of beside the point. Here they are
passively aggressively talking smack about us, when they won`t actually
come and talk with us on this show.

They`re so tough, they`re going to strap on some guns, fly into
Nigeria and take on the most monstrously horrific cult in the world, but
they`re afraid of coming on a cable news show.

Well, NRA, we`re still waiting and the offer is still on the table.



SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Showing your driver`s license to have
an honest election, I think, is not unreasonable, and I think that`s the
main thing Republicans have been for.


HAYES: Just one year after defending voter I.D. laws in front of a
crowded Howard University, no less, Rand Paul seems to have come around.

After meeting with the coalition of African-American pastors in
Memphis this morning, Senator Paul told "The New York Times, "The GOP needs
to layoff voter I.D. It is offending people."

And while that is great, and he is to be commended, here is what`s
actually happening in more than 30 states, including right here in Georgia.

We are joining you live from the Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta.
And in Georgia right now, voting is still open for the May 20 primary. In
order to cast your ballot or any ballot here in Georgia, you do have to
show a government-issued photo identification, thanks to one of the
strictest voter I.D. laws in the country.

Joining me here in Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP.


see you. It`s good to be here at sweet Auburn.

HAYES: First of all, Rand Paul, what`s your reaction to that?

JEALOUS: Well, I think Rand Paul is finally coming back to his own

People of his strain of Republican politics typically opposed voter
I.D. for a very long time. The Cato Institute, that brand of

HAYES: They used to not like it.

JEALOUS: Yes. They`re supposed to not like it. There was the Koch
brother money and the Tea Party, and they got a little confused.

But I think this is actually him talking.

HAYES: We are seeing an experiment across the nation in which the
raft of voter I.D. and restrictive voting legislation that was passed in
the wake of the 2010 Tea Party election is going to show up in a lot of
cases more than ever in 2014.


HAYES: What are you expecting?

JEALOUS: That we have to organize like never before to overcome it.
We have a playbook, and it comes from 50 years ago in Freedom Summer.

There`s a formula for overcoming voter suppression. It is a massive
wave of voter registration and pushing people out to vote.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: That`s the only way to do it.

And the thing is, is that we tend to think of ourselves as two-time
losers in some way, because although we had the Reconstruction. That ended
badly. Had the new South. That ended badly. Yes, but this -- we are not
just out of segregation; we are not just out of slavery. We have a lot of
power. We can sign folks up to vote and we can turn the tables.

HAYES: OK. So, you have got a situation right now, a lot of people
look at the dynamics in Georgia, let`s Georgia, right?


HAYES: I think it`s about 30, 33 percent African-American.


HAYES: There`s another significant demographic, Latinos, Asians.
That`s the fastest growing percentage, right?


HAYES: You have got an influx of African-Americans coming back from
the North to the South, right?


HAYES: And so you look at the math, and it looks like it is pretty
doable, in the foreseeable future, for this state to go blue.


HAYES: But then you look at the statehouse, and it is one of the
reddest states in the nation.

JEALOUS: Well, look, redistricting -- that statehouse will lag beyond
the trends in this state probably for about six more years.

The only question is whether this state goes blue this year, in two
years, or in 10 years. The math is there now. We have 600,000
unregistered black folks in this state right now. We have 230,000
unregistered brown folks and Asian folks in this state right now. If we
could sign up even 90 percent of them, and only half of those turned out,
the politics of the state would change radically.

You could see a Democratic governor here in -- just in 2018. You
could see a Democratic senator this year.

HAYES: Right. Right.


JEALOUS: But we have to organize. Our job as organizers is make the
future come faster. We can make it come faster, but we have to work on it.

HAYES: By the way, Jason Carter right now is saying, what am I,
buddy, chopped liver?


JEALOUS: He needs to organize.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: That`s what I would say.

HAYES: You also have seen the conversation about voter I.D. tends to
be about race very much because of the legacy of voter suppression is so
heavily racialized.

There`s also a level at which, when you are talking about that math,
it is morally devious, but also makes practical sense to try to make sure
those folks don`t come in off the sidewalks, right?

JEALOUS: No, that`s -- that`s right.

HAYES: They have every incentive to do this.

JEALOUS: We have been here before.

You said that there`s an experiment being run. It is a bad experiment
being rerun. Right?

HAYES: Rerun, that`s right. Yes.

JEALOUS: Because right after the Civil War, our country saw the
extreme conservatives try to suppress the black vote, all right, and try to
push immigrants of color out of this country, the Chinese Exclusion Act,
very similar to what we are seeing.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: The difference now is that the numbers are intensely in our

The conservatives have figured out that we will control the future.
What they`re trying to do is hold it off as long as possible.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: We need to internalize that we have the power to flip this
state and flip this region now, if we want it.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: There can be a lot of harm done in the gap between the
present and the future, right?

I think one of the things we have seen about Southern politics,
particularly in the Obama era, is, you have seen intense racialization, you
have seen backlash politics, reactionary politics, voter I.D. laws. And a
lot of -- there`s a lot of harm being done across this region on a whole
variety of issues, even if that power is out there in the future or locked
up somewhere in hundreds of thousands of people...


JEALOUS: This is the thing that tends to confuse Yankees about the

So, Yankees are used to...

HAYES: Tell me.

JEALOUS: things being -- dimmers, right? You can dial it up, you can
dial it down. Politics in the South is either on or it is off. Right.
Things are really dark and desperate...

HAYES: Hot, right.

JEALOUS: .. or all of a sudden you break through, right?

You can look at the Moral Monday movement not just here, but up in
Raleigh. 2006, 2007, 2008 in Raleigh, we were passing the Racial Justice
Act. Right? The folks on the ground like Reverend Barber were
transforming the state through the statehouse.

And then you have 2010, 2011. The Tea Party sweeps in, and the switch
is off again.

HAYES: Complete...

JEALOUS: And so when, frankly, the Democratic Party looks South, they
say, well, things haven`t changed enough. Why should we invest?


JEALOUS: No, no, no, if you invest, then things will change.

HAYES: Then things will change.

And then you can feel that activation switch on and off. I feel it
all the time.

Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, thank you, Ben.

JEALOUS: Thank you.


HAYES: All right.

Up next: Georgia doesn`t have a single statewide Democratic
officeholder. It`s one of the most conservative state governments in
history, and yet there`s a movement stirring to change that.

We are live from Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta, Georgia.



HAYES: All right, we are live in Atlanta. I am asking folks, what`s
the number one issue you think about in the midterms 2014?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting more Democrats in office.

HAYES: Getting more Democrats in office.

What have you got down here? What are you worried about, what are you
thinking about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m thinking about the Voting Rights Act. Last
year, the Supreme Court basically demolished Section 4 of the Voting Rights

I think it needs to be restored and I think it needs to make sure that
it includes all 50 states, because we have seen Ohio and all the other
states up north that weren`t included being really dishonest about it.

HAYES: I like that, nationalize the Voting Rights Act.

What in Georgia? What are you worried about in Georgia? What are you
worried about in Georgia?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want guns out of our churches. This is the
Bible Belt. And we don`t need guns. We need God on Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the expansion of Medicaid.

HAYES: Medicaid expansion. Everybody on Medicaid expansion?


HAYES: What else? What else? What are you worried about here in


HAYES: Minimum wage?


HAYES: Do you guys have a state minimum wage here in Georgia that is
higher than the federal minimum wage?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... cents. It is lower.


HAYES: Seven -- seven -- right. It is -- it is -- so you guys are at
the federal minimum. So a federal raise makes a big difference down here.


HAYES: Anyone else. What do you got for this midterm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, I will tell you this. I am ready for
Hillary in 2016.


HAYES: Jumping the midterms. You all got to motivate, though, all

We will be back soon.


HAYES: We are live tonight from the Sweet Auburn Springfest in


HAYES: When Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Safe Carry
Protection Act into law a few weeks ago, the NRA held it as -- quote --
"the most comprehensive pro-gun legislation in state history."

Critics called it the guns everywhere law, since the law, which goes
into effect July 1, lets residents with concealed carry permits take their
guns almost everywhere, from bars, to churches, even school zones.

Now Georgians are pushing back. Church leaders are advising
parishioners to leave their firearms at home. And a new poll out today
shows that ordinary citizens don`t like the law much either, 59 percent
giving it a thumb`s down, that despite the fact that 50 percent of Georgia
voters said they believe owning a gun helps protect people.

And the guns everywhere bill is just one small part of a full-spectrum
right-wing assault that has happened courtesy of Georgia`s Republican
legislature and Republican governor, who came to power in 2010 during the
high tide of the Tea Party, everything from the refusal, to expand Medicaid
to drug testing food stamp recipients, to cutting unemployment benefits.

The question now is, are any of them going to face consequences in
this year`s election for what is looking more and more like overreach?

Joining me is a leader of the Moral Mondays movement here in Georgia,
Reverend Raphael G. Warnock.

Reverend, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for being here.

with you. Welcome to Atlanta.


HAYES: It`s wonderful to be here.

I should say you are giving us tremendous hospitality across the
street at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the historical church of the King

WARNOCK: Glad to do it.

HAYES: That`s where you are pastor at this moment, right?

WARNOCK: I`m the fifth pastor of a church founded in 1886. So when
we come, we stay a little while.


HAYES: So, talk to me about overreach, because there`s a hope. I
think when northern liberals watch what`s happening in Georgia, in a state
like Georgia, or liberals outside the state of Georgia, you watch this just
incredible raft of legislation and you want there to be some breaking

You`re wishing and hoping there`s overreach. But I don`t want to be
wrong and be wishful thinking. Is there backlash happening for real in the

WARNOCK: Well, I think the passing of this gun law is indicative of a
problem in American politics in this moment, the sense that there`s a
disconnect between where the people are and this kind of extreme
legislation that`s being passed.

I mean, you could make the distinction between North and South, but I
am not so sure about that, because most Georgians, as the poll points out,
do not support this law. And yet this law was passed.

And so the problem is that we have the best politicians that money can
buy. Too many of our elected officials...


WARNOCK: Too many of our elected officials are owned by the gun

Georgia citizens did not want this law. And I can tell you, as a
pastor, that when we pastors say it is now time to pass the peace, we mean
P-E-A-C-E, not P-I-E-C-E.


WARNOCK: This...

HAYES: The Moral Monday movement has encompassed a wide range of
issues. You have been congregating folks in protest against the governor,
but the biggest thing that you have been focused on is Medicaid expansion.
What`s going on with Medicaid expansion in the state?

WARNOCK: Well, we have been very focused on this issue.

It is unfortunate that the governor decided not to expand Medicaid in
the state of Georgia. So, there are some 600,000 Georgians who are in the
gap. And many of these people are working people. These are the people
who clean office buildings at night. These are the people who sit with
other sick people, but do not have health care, and so they can`t receive
care themselves.

And so we were lobbying very hard for the governor to expand Medicaid.
He decided not to expand Medicaid. And there`s a bit of tragic irony here.
As pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, I am reminded often that Dr. King
said that, of all the injustices, inequality in health care is the most
shocking and the most inhumane.

Well, our governor, Governor Nathan Deal, on the very day that he
signed HB-990, denying the expansion of Medicaid, shifting authority away
from himself to the legislature, so as to ensure in his mind that this
won`t happen, minutes earlier, to great fanfare, he signed legislation
authorizing a monument on the state capitol in honor of Martin Luther King

Dr. King deserves the monument, but I am very clear and anyone who
studied Dr. King is very clear that Dr. King would choose Medicaid over a
monument, that he died -- he died to build a better world.


WARNOCK: And our message -- so our message to the governor now and
our message to our elected officials come November and actually May 20 is
that you cannot remember Dr. King and dismember his social vision at the
same time.

You cannot restrict health care and expand access to guns and
celebrate Dr. King. It is a deep contradiction. It`s a moral
contradiction. It is not the difference between left and right. It is the
difference between right and wrong, and we intend to stand up and send that


HAYES: I want to highlight something you just said about what
happened, how it went down with Medicaid, because I think it is


HAYES: Not only did the governor block Medicaid and block billions of
dollars in federal money, and block health access. He actually signed away
his own power to make the decision. What was that about? Why did he do
that? Explain that.

WARNOCK: When have you seen an elected officials sign away their


WARNOCK: I think it is a cynical political maneuver.

He is feeling the pressure from his base. Clearly, it is a big part
of the GOP midterm strategy is to run against Obamacare, Obamacare, which
has for some become a kind of a cussword, if you will, because if you ask
some of the same people who are opposed to Obamacare, if you ask them
individually about the actual content of the law, they say I like this, I
like this, I like the actual content of the law, they say, I like this, I
like this, I like this, but I don`t like Obamacare.

HAYES: Right.

WARNOCK: And so the Republicans have done a great job of kind of
muddying the waters on this issue.

But I do think the tide is turning. As people are signing up for the
Affordable Care Act, as people are seeing the benefits of having their
children stay on their plan until age 26, here in the state of Georgia,
even those who do not support Obamacare supported Medicaid expansion. And
yet the governor has made this maneuver. I think it is a tragic mistake.


HAYES: And we will see how it plays out in the midterms.

Reverend Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church, thank you so much.

WARNOCK: Great to be here with you. Thank you.


HAYES: All right, up next, common theme running through the
Republican primary here in Georgia and in midterm elections across the

We`re live from the Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta, Georgia.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Abraham Lincoln a liberal? That`s what
one Common Core-aligned math curriculum is set to teach your kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s one of the basic lies about Common
Core that somehow it was state-led and voluntary.

insidious, and we are not dealing with flesh and bone. We are not dealing
with that. We are dealing with evil.

HAYES (voice-over): Across the country, conservatives are rising up
against something they call Obamacore, known to everyone else as the Common

Mainstream Republicans are railing against the standards, while fringe
elements of the right wing peddle conspiracies of an end of our education
system as we know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is total takeover. Two plus two equals five.
Teach 5-year-olds how to be transgender. If they can get away with that,
they can do anything. That`s what this is.


HAYES: Last night, we brought you the story of the right wing`s war
on Common Core.

It`s a battle coming to a head right here on the ground in Georgia.
We are joining you live from the Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta.


HAYES: With less than two weeks to go, the establishment candidates
are fighting for an edge in the Republican primary race for Senate. Two
candidates are ahead of the pack, business man David Perdue and Congressman
Jack Kingston. Both Kingston and Perdue are trying to out-Tea Party each
other at this moment, and their weapon of choice is not Obamacare, but

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" is reporting that mailers paid for
by friends of Jack Kingston are showing up in mailboxes across the state
depicting Perdue alongside President Obama dressed in graduation gowns.

David Perdue is the cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue,
also a Republican, who helped launch the Common Core educational standards
in the state of Georgia. Perdue`s position on the issue is slightly more
nuance than Kingston`s mailer suggests.

He told "The Marietta Daily Journal" back in February: "The original
intent, I agree with that. It is where it gets into details, into the
weeds of how it is going to be administered, that`s where I have a problem
with it."

Yet that was enough of an opening to give Kingston to start running
ads attacking Perdue on Common Core. As for Kingston himself, he has
brought it full circle, calling the standards in a recent op-ed Obamacare
for education.

Joining me now on set in Atlanta is Georgia House Minority Leader
Stacey Abrams and Democratic State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan.

very much for joining me.

having us.


HAYES: So what is it? You both worked on the Common Core, I get it,
in the state legislature. What`s your feeling? You`re a supporter of it.

MORGAN: Absolutely.

How could you not support high standards for all kids across this
country, and particularly at the state level? We have been blind to kids
long enough. And it is critical that we have high standards and high
expectations for them, period.

HAYES: Did you anticipate that you would see it become this kind of
right-wing backlash issue?

when you talk about something that the Obama administration supports, in
this state, it is red meat. We are Pavlovian dogs when it comes to saying
no to anything that President Obama...


HAYES: So, that is what did it? It was the Obama Common Core?

ABRAMS: Absolutely.

HAYES: Even though the Common Core preceded him?


ABRAMS: It was done by Sonny Perdue, David Perdue`s cousin.

HAYES: Right.

ABRAMS: He was one of the architects of Common Core. It was lovely
and wonderful when he was a part of it. But the minute President Obama
embraced it, it became evil.

HAYES: But I have heard -- we had someone on my show last night.
There is a lot of -- Perdue`s comment about implementation, there`s a lot
of criticism coming from the left. There`s activists, teachers, and
parents and all sorts of people.

There`s a lot of pushback on the Common Core not just from the right,
coming from the left as well, saying this is a privatization of education,
that this is being written by people that only want to further private
education companies.

What`s your response to that?

MORGAN: My response is that Common Core is important. We have to
have high standards for all kids.

It is true that we have to make sure it is implemented properly. And
that`s why we have to work with educators and parents and all stakeholders
to make it work. In Georgia, we have had a tremendous effort to fight
Common Core, and we were able to defeat that effort.


HAYES: But did that effort to fight it mostly come from the right, or
was it both?

MORGAN: Absolutely, mostly Tea Party folks.

But here is a coalition for the first time that brings together the
Georgia Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, every education group that you can
imagine, and parents and advocates.

HAYES: So, that was a fight that you won in this state?

MORGAN: We absolutely won.

HAYES: Interesting.

The politics are bleak, if you just look at the numbers. I don`t want
to depress you, but there`s 180 members of the statehouse. About 120 are

ABRAMS: One hundred and nineteen.

HAYES: One hundred and nineteen, one independent.

ABRAMS: Yes. That`s right.

HAYES: And then the rest are Democrat. So, you`re looking at a one-
third, two-third kind of situation.

What`s it like working in a statehouse where you`re in that much of
the minority?

ABRAMS: Well, I think part of the important piece, is as Alisha said,
we fought back, and despite being in the minority, we have been able to
maneuver pulling together interesting coalitions.

This time, we had the Army standing with the NAACP, standing with
Democrats. When it was on fair tax issue, we...


HAYES: So Democrats helped put together the coalition that passed the
Common Core in this state?

ABRAMS: That fought off an attempt to...

HAYES: Fought off the attempt to opt out of it.

ABRAMS: Exactly. And I think that`s the role that we play.

As they go further and further to the right, Democrats become the
moderate middle. Even though we are on the left, we become the center for
the state. And what we have been able to do is pull together coalitions to
hold the center on some critical issues, including Common Core.

HAYES: The racial politics of the South at this moment are intensely
polarized on these partisan lines. You see fewer and fewer white
Democrats. My understanding is, in the caucus, it`s -- there`s about 20
white members of the Democratic Caucus.

The Republican Caucus is overwhelmingly white. So you have got kind
of -- you know, in very rash terms, you have got a black party and a white
party, or it certainly can look like that from the outside. How do you
overcome that?

MORGAN: By working together and finding the values that we agree on.
And I will tell you that our leader has done a great job in working across
the aisle. It`s not -- we have to stop fighting all the time.


HAYES: But how can you not fight, how can you not fight when they`re
saying we don`t want 600,000 to have health care?

MORGAN: Well, you fight when you need to. We fought hard to make
sure that we -- or at least attempt to expand Medicaid in our state.
There`s no question about that.

But, again, whether it is Common Core or other issues, when you can
work together, you do. And when you cannot work together, you fight really

HAYES: Are white Democrats a species going extinct in the South?

ABRAMS: Not at all. Not at all.

MORGAN: Absolutely not.

HAYES: Why not? Convince me not, because I -- like, if you look at
the numbers...


HAYES: ... the last 15 of them behind me -- no, we are going to put
them in a case.

No, but, I mean, if you look at the numbers and you look at the
trajectory, particularly at the elective level, right, it is a vanishing
species. Now, I don`t mean citizens. I mean elected leaders.

ABRAMS: Right.

HAYES: It has been a vanishing species.

ABRAMS: Well, part of the reason some of them vanished was it was an
architecture of the Republicans.

During redistricting, they targeted white women to eliminate them from
the General Assembly, because we were starting to grow more white
Democrats. Having white women, having white men, moving us from racial
politics and into actual value politics, we were starting to win. And so
they spent a lot of time redistricting trying...

HAYES: Going after white Democrats.

ABRAMS: Going after white Democrats.

HAYES: Because, to them -- because there is something to be gained
from making that -- those two distinctions sort of lie atop each other,
when -- in a state like Georgia.

ABRAMS: Their attempt was to resegregate our politics. And the goal
of our party is to not allow it to happen, to not only reenergize the white
Democrats, but to expand the base by adding Latino and Asian Democrats, so
that we can overcome all of the demographic changes.

As long as we allow them to make this a racial issue, they win. But
when we make it a values issue, we win.


HAYES: Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and the Democratic
State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan, it`s so nice to have you here.
Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Thank you.



HAYES: All right.

And that is ALL IN for this evening live from Sweet Auburn Springfest
in Atlanta, Georgia.


HAYES: Atlanta, you`re a great town. You watching at home should
come down.


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