All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 10, 2014
Guest: Daniel Hernandez, Christina Bellantoni, Dorian Warren
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
We have a full show for you tonight, including my interview with
Elizabeth Warren. That`s coming up shortly.
But, first, this was the scene near Portland, Oregon, earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNDIENTIFIED MALE: OK, we`ve confirmed now there`s an active shooter.
The sheriff`s office confirming there is an active shooter at Reynolds High
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there are a lot of people out here, even
students, who hadn`t quite gone into class yet, who are crying with tears
in their eyes, on their cell phones, trying to find out more information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Police would later announce that one student had been killed,
as well as the shooter. Anxious parents rushed to the school to reunite
with their sons and daughters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMAEL: I just want to hold her. Just want to hold her
tight. And get her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just another day in a country which has now seen 74 shootings
at school since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,
Connecticut, in December 2012. That number according to the gun safety
organization Everytown.org -- 74.
And as this sort of horrific gun violence has become almost routine in
America, pro-gun forces have regularly argued the only way to stop it is
with more guns. This was FOX News this afternoon, barely hours after the
shooting stopped in Oregon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a parent, wouldn`t you perhaps feel more
secure if you knew there was somebody there, armed security, to manage and
handle a situation like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arming one or more people at these schools makes
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is the standard response now, ever since that deranged
press conference in response to the Newtown school shooting when Wayne
LaPierre of the NRA famously said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is
a good guy with a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And if that sounds foolish or childish, it`s not just Wayne
You hear this over and over. It`s an article of faith among gun
advocates in the wake of these tragedies, and an argument for more guns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK: If you had more people carrying a weapon, if people had a
gun in their back and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn`t
have gotten off more than four shots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having a firearm can neutralize an evil gun maniac
is a way to go.
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Bob Costas and O`Reilly are in the theater.
BOB COSTAS: Yes.
O`REILLY: Do you want to hit the floor and hope you don`t get shot,
or do you want to have a gun on you that you can protect yourself with?
COSTAS: I don`t want a gun on me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look at all the gun violence. Almost all in
what is called gun-free zones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These gun-free zones are target rich environments.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These gun-free zones are not stopping the bad
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Aurora guy actively looked for a gun-free
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sandy Hook Elementary was a gun-free zone, but we
know what happened there.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: And I love our police, I do,
but they can`t be everywhere. So, yes, maybe our kids can be defended
against criminals on the spot if more mama grizzlies carry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having more guns in society, it does make the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a theory, gun violence is going down
because of the proliferation of guns.
O`REILLY: I want to protect myself against that loon with a gun
rather than being on the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. On Sunday in Las Vegas, a couple shot and killed two
police officers and a civilian before they died.
And listen to this -- all five of the people killed in that incident,
all five of them, the shooters, the police, the civilian, every single
person killed that day was carrying a gun. Three good guys with guns, two
bad guys with guns, to use the language of Wayne LaPierre. All of them
with guns, all of them dead.
Las Vegas police officers were ambushed while they were eating their
lunch, and a civilian, Joseph Robert Wilcox, was at Wal-Mart to return a
modem and who pulled out the handgun for which he had a concealed weapons
permit in a laudatory attempt to stop the one gunman he could see, Joseph
Robert Wilcox was cut down by that gunman`s accomplice before he could fire
Now, this map shows the average number of firearms per 100 people
around the world. And there`s one country that jumps out there, the
darkest country, the one with 70 to 100 fire arms for every 100 people.
That`s the one awash in guns.
The idea that it just take as good guy with a gun to stop the bad
guys, that more guns in the right hands means less deaths, that`s destroyed
by this map because no other developed country has as many guns as we do,
and no other developed country has as many gun deaths. And that is not a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re the only
developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a
week. High levels of gun violence are off the charts. There`s no advanced
developed country on earth that would put up with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Daniel Hernandez, former intern for Retired
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. He was with her when a gunman shot her and
18 other people. He`s Arizona organizing director for Every Town for Gun
Daniel, if you don`t mind talking about your experience during that
shooting -- I mean, there`s all this ridiculous armchair conjecture in the
wake of this about what would happen if more people had guns. What`s your
reaction when you hear people saying that, having lived through this?
DANIEL HERNANDEZ, EVERY TOWN FOR GUN SAFETY: You know, having lived
through what happened in Tucson on January 8th, we know that`s not a
solution. You know, this is a smoke screen that`s being used by the
Washington gun lobby to push forth the idea that more guns will mean less
gun crimes. But what we really need to do is address the core issue which
we have done in places like Nevada.
You mention that Nevada was a state where we recently had two people
gunned down who were police officers who were armed, but the real issue is
one of the people who was one of the assailants was a prohibited possessor.
He shouldn`t have had access to the firearms.
And, in fact, about a year ago, I was at Nevada at the state
legislature and the assembly and then the state senate and we passed a
background check bill that Governor Sandoval vetoed, which meant universal
background checks are no longer a requirement in Nevada even though it was
passed by the legislature.
So, I think what we really need to talk about is not the fact that the
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I am sorry to interrupt.
It`s not like me.
I`m Rachel Maddow here at MSNBC headquarters in New York. I know
you`re not used to seeing me at this time. I`m sorry to interrupt ALL IN
WITH CHRIS HAYES.
But I`m jumping in here because it is now 8:06 p.m. on the East Coast,
and we`re switching up plans to start covering what is honestly a shocking
development in American politics tonight. Shocking is an overused term in
our political discourse, but this news tonight earns the term.
At this hour, it appears that Republican congressman Eric Cantor of
Virginia, the number two Republican in the House, the House majority
leader, has lost his seat in Congress in the Republican primary to try to
hold on to his seat.
Today was primary day in the commonwealth of Virginia. Congressman
Cantor came into the primary today facing what he knew to be the toughest
challenge he has yet faced. It was from his right, a Tea Party challenger
named Dave Brat.
Now, although it was expected to be a tough challenge and Cantor
campaigned hard, it was not at all widely expected that Congressman Cantor
was in real jeopardy of losing his seat in this primary today.
But at this hour, "The Associated Press" has now called the race. It
now appears Eric Cantor has lost his seat in the House.
Now, to be clear, this is not one of those races where there`s going
to be a run-off or a second match or that Eric Cantor has some next step in
terms of being the Republican incumbent trying to hold on to this seat.
This is it. David Brat is going to be the Republican candidate for this
seat in this congressional district in Virginia. Not Eric Cantor.
The Democrats for a long time had not even bothered to put up anybody
to run on the Democratic side for this race in the general election this
November. Eric Cantor has been the number two Republican in House since
Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 elections. It was
presumed his seat was relatively safe. That`s why the Democrats weren`t
necessarily going to even bother to put somebody else against him.
When Mr. Brat, when Dave Brat, the challenger, did seem to be fighting
very tough race against Mr. Cantor, Virginia Democrats decided just this
weekend to pick somebody to contest this on the Democratic side. But now,
Eric Cantor will not be the Republican in that race.
It appears again, the breaking news at this hour, "The Associated
Press" has called this race in Virginia. House Majority Leader Eric
Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives has
apparently lost his seat.
Joining us now on the phone is Steve Kornacki, host of "UP WITH STEVE
Steve, thanks very much for being with us. Let me ask your immediate
reaction to this and whether or not we should see this as much of a
surprise as it feels like.
STEVE KORNACKI, UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI (via telephone): Yes, my
immediate reaction is this is the single biggest political upset I have
ever seen in my life. We`ve seen high ranking leaders in Congress lose
elections before. You know, Speaker of the House Tom Foley losing in 1994
in a general election. Newt Gingrich, when he was the number two
Republican in the House, he got a scare in a 1992 primary. He survived
Especially in the case of Foley, the speaker, though, we saw that
coming. You know, weeks, even a couple of months ahead of time. It was
still shocking to see it happen, but we saw it coming.
This is something that nobody, and I mean nobody, saw coming. There
were rumblings that this race was closer than people would assume it was
going to be. There were rumblings that Cantor was getting a little
nervous, maybe the margin would be embarrassing for him.
Nobody thought, right until the votes starting coming in, even as the
votes were being tabulated and Cantor was falling behind, everybody`s
assumption was a new area is going to come in, this must be a weak area.
Nobody saw this coming until about 50 minutes ago. So, this is the biggest
shock I have ever seen.
MADDOW: In terms of how this happened, Steve, I know that Congressman
Cantor`s district is among the most conservative districts in Virginia.
He`s never had a hard time running for re-election in his district before,
In terms of where this challenge came from, obviously, professor Dave
Brat, his challenger, who has beaten him in this primary is a first-time
candidate himself as far as I know. Is it -- is this -- obviously, it`s an
upset because of Eric Cantor`s position, is this an upset we should
understand as being an issue-driven upset because Mr. Brat ran against Eric
Cantor so heavily, especially on the issue of immigration?
KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, that`s what we`ll be hearing now, I expect
for, you know, nonstop, the idea that this race signaled the Republican
base, the Tea Party base of the Republican Party is still as much opposed
to -- as much in revolt against the concept of comprehensive immigration
reform as always. Maybe more so than ever, because all the talk, of
course, the broader national context for this race, you know, I think you
have talked about this, the broader national context, is immigration reform
advocates believing that there was a window that was going to open up as
soon as Eric Cantor won tonight.
Again, all these assumptions were that Cantor was going to win and
that was going to open a window. The Republican primary season was going
to an end, Eric Cantor, the majority leader, was going to survive, and then
there would be a window of one or two months where immigration reform
legislation could potentially be brought to the house. You know, most
Republicans would vote against it, but enough would vote for it with
Democrats, they would get the vote they needed, and that how it might get
It seems that that thinking, that prospect, the plausibility of that
scenario really animated the Republican base in this district, and it`s not
just in this district. There were -- if you look at it now, and there will
be a bigger excavation of this in the days to come, but there were national
conservative leaders who were starting to get involved in this, too, and
were making noise.
And again, the main issue being immigration and it`s -- this is one of
the moments I think that just shows you the difference between we talk
about so much talk about the demise of the Tea Party movement, about the
infrastructure of the Tea Party not being what it was two, four, five years
ago. This tells you, though, that the Tea Party mindset, that animates the
Republican Party base, is as strong as ever.
MADDOW: And, Steve, when you look, especially from your historical
perspective, looking back at upsets like Tom Foley as speaker of the House
getting ousted, looking at the scare that happened with Newt Gingrich,
looking at other people like Tom Daschle who had trouble holding on to
their seats while they held on to leadership positions.
Beyond that specific issue of immigration that you were just
describing, which I think is going to be mostly what people are talking
about tonight, and as the country absorbs this news, beyond immigration
specifically, what does it do to Republicans in Washington to lose their
House majority leader? Who does this kind of upset empower in terms of
taking over the leadership of the Republican Party and how are House
Republicans essentially going to cope with this? What is it going to
change for them?
KORNACKI: Well, this is -- I mean, first of all, in terms of how they
think about any individual vote they cast, every Republican member of
Congress, we talked about this, in a way, this has been the big story of
American politics for the last five years, is that you look at sort of the
reflexive opposition that`s defined the Republican Party`s response to the
Obama presidency, and part of that is ideological, part of that is
But a big part has been every Republican congressman, every Republican
member of the Senate, has looked at these results the last two years, and
has seen Christine O`Donnell beaten Mike Castle in Delaware, has seen
Sharron Angle win a nomination in Nevada. Has seen Bob Bennett, senator
from Utah, lose at a convention in Utah. They have seen results like this,
Dick Lugar in 2012. And they said all I have to do is cast the wrong vote
once on the wrung issue and get on the wrong side of the Tea Party movement
and they can take me out in a primary with literally anybody. When
Christine O`Donnell started beating Mike Castle in a primary, that`s the
lesson Republican office-holders drew.
And so, this is sort of the ultimate, ultimate example of that. The
number two Republican in the House losing under these circumstances in the
primary, this just re-enforces the lesson that is really, I think, driven
Republican strategy for the last five years.
So, if you think Republicans have been scared of their base before
this, if you think Republican officeholders have been unduly nervous about
primary challenges, wait until you see what happens after this because Eric
Cantor can lose in a primary like this, who can`t? And I think in terms of
leadership, the future leadership on the Republican side, this becomes a
huge story because there`s been so much talk that this could be the end of
the line for John Boehner.
You know, he`s sort of been -- that conservative revolt we have been
waiting for since the moment John Boehner became speaker. He`s managed to
keep it at bay, but there`s certainly been plenty of talk that after this
year`s election, he might go into retirement.
Eric Cantor, it was assumed would be the next speaker. Eric Cantor
was supposedly the Republican in leadership who had more of -- who had a
better relationship with the Tea Party, better relationship with the base.
He was a logical successor to Boehner.
KORNACKI: Obviously, now, that`s completely out of the window.
There`s a huge, huge leadership vacuum on the Republican side in the House.
MADDOW: Absolutely. Steve Kornacki, thank you so much for joining us
on short notice on this. Much appreciated.
MADDOW: We will have much more on this again, but this, again,
stunning political news tonight. Washington just starting to react to the
news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost his seat in Congress
in a Republican primary challenge from the right, has lost to Tea Party
challenger named David Brat. Again, that news confirmed by "The A.P."
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Good evening.
We`re back with more of this breaking news story out of Washington.
More specifically, out of Virginia. A legitimate political earthquake
tonight, as the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican congressman
of Virginia, has lost his seat in Congress.
He was running in a Republican primary to try to hold on to his seat
in his congressional district in Virginia. It`s one of the more
c/conservative districts, one of the Republican heavy districts in
Local college professor named David Brat had mounted a Tea Party
challenge against Eric Cantor. It was of interest, certainly, Eric Cantor
seemed to be campaigning harder to hold on to the seat than before, but
there was no widespread political expectation, I think it`s fair to say,
that Eric Cantor`s job was legitimately in jeopardy tonight.
These results, again, the race being called tonight by "The A.P." for
David Brat, for Eric Cantor`s Tea Party challenger are being treated as a
legitimate earthquake in American politics. Nobody quite knows what this
means for the future of the House Republican leadership. The ongoing
struggle and relationship between the Republican Party proper and its sort
of insurgent Tea Party core.
At this point, but as we start to absorb this news, I want to bring in
Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, host of "THE DAILY RUNDOWN" here
Chuck, thanks for scampering back in front of the camera for us
How did -- how did this all happen?
CHUCK TODD, THE DAILY RUNDOWN: I think -- look, it`s a perfect storm
of three things that I think you need to understand.
Number one, Virginia is not a state that has many primaries. So, it
notoriously is a low turnout primary. Many congressional primaries are
actually decided at conventions. Very rarely do they go to the ballot.
So, not a history, low turnout primaries.
Number two, it`s a one issue campaign. Immigration for Dave Brat.
And the third thing here is -- think about what has been in the news
on immigration over the last 48 hours. Suddenly, there was urgency to Dave
Brat`s message against Eric Cantor. He was hammering Cantor for in
particular being for a version of the DREAM Act.
Eric Cantor, remember, about nine months ago, was coming out, he
wanted to pass a House Republican version of the DREAM Act, (AUDIO GAP) an
opportunity for some citizenship or legalization for minors that were
brought over that were undocumented that were brought over -- you know,
wasn`t their fault, was their parents` fault.
Well, what`s happening right now on the border? There`s this crisis.
Well, this has lit up talk radio. It`s been lighting up the right over the
last 72 hours.
So, think about that perfect storm. Add it all together, never mind
the problems that Eric Cantor basically was not realizing he had on the
ground at home, you know, I started to talk to people who have been telling
me, Rachel, over the last -- and it was odd for him, over the last, I would
say year or two, he was making fewer and fewer stops at home, more
concerned about being a national leader, more concerned about traveling
thousands of miles rather than the simple 100 miles to his district from
MADDOW: I spoke with Steve Kornacki just a couple minutes ago, Chuck.
He described this as the biggest political upset of his lifetime.
It`s obviously a surprise. But the consequence of a big upset is not
just, oh, I didn`t expect that to happen, but oh, it`s a big deal this has
What do you think this does to the Republican leadership and to the
Republican congressional project more broadly in Washington to lose Eric
Cantor and lose him in this way? How did they respond?
TODD: Look, it`s a major upset. I mean, there have been few
isolated, I have seen as I remember, a house leader going down in a primary
in 1992. At that time, it was seismic because it sort of foreshadowed what
was an unusual general election and the whole Ross Perot movement and all
So, I do think, you know, we ought to look at this not as an isolated
incident. But I think it does a couple of things. And I`ve heard Steve
Look, immigration, dead. OK? There is no -- there`s going to be no
stomach among House Republicans, the 50 or so that would be necessary to
get some form of reform. They`re just going to run for the hills on
immigration now between now and the next two years. That`s number one.
As for the impact it has in the House, I think there`s going to be a
lot of pressure on John Boehner by many of the, quote/unquote,
"establishment" to say, please don`t leave. There`s been this quiet
assumption that Boehner will go through this, re-elect the Republican
majority, and some time in February or March of next year decide to resign,
opening, and then there would be a replacement there.
And Cantor had the votes. OK? There was really no other challenger.
He was the guy that straddled -- did the best among the leadership of
straddling the establishment and reaching out to this Tea Party wing of the
So, I think there is a big vacuum, certainly, in the short term. The
only person who could fill it other than John Boehner is Paul Ryan. And
Paul Ryan still wants to look at running for president more so than he does
want to be speaker of the house.
But I wouldn`t be surprised if there was pressure on Paul Ryan. If
Boehner doesn`t want to stay, and there`s thought he doesn`t, he would like
to spend a few years, quote/unquote, "go make money", as a lot of these
guys like to do, before they hit their true retirement years, then you
could see a lot of establishment pressure on Paul Ryan who is even better
at straddling the establishment Tea Party line of the Republican party.
MADDOW: Doesn`t this contrary take on this, doesn`t this potentially
open the way for a full-on Tea Party challenger to the establishment
leadership, to the Paul Ryans and John Boehners of the House Republican
leadership to say you`re the old generation, we`re ascendant and you ought
to get out of the way?
TODD: I hear you, but the numbers aren`t there. There`s enough of
the insurgent class to make a difference in leadership. There`s not enough
to take over leadership. OK? So, that`s the -- I think that`s the issue
there. It`s why you need somebody -- now, maybe it takes somebody that`s
of more of the closer to the Tea Party, more 60/40 Tea Party establishment.
A guy who makes the most sense is a guy named Tom Price. Actually,
he`s a Georgia Republican. He declined to run for Senate because he wants
to move up in leadership. He has more trust of the Tea Party, I would
argue, comes from the South where really the Tea Party`s base is the south.
That`s the other thing that I think that there`s a misconception that the
Tea Party in many ways is national when it comes to Republicans. Where
they really see success and have moved the party to the right has been in
the South, and Eric Cantor is now prime example number two. Thad Cochran
could be number one this year.
MADDOW: Chuck Todd, NBC political director and host of "THE DAILY
RUNDOWN" -- Chuck, thanks for being with us. This is pretty much
TODD: Incredible, big story.
MADDOW: Yes, thank you.
Joining us now is Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor. He`s a correspondent
for the "Upshot" at "The New York Times."
Josh, again, I thank you for scampering in front of the camera for us,
too, for this breaking news.
JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.
MADDOW: Let me ask you in terms of what this signifies why this
happened, this isn`t one of those races where all of the outside groups and
Club for Growth, and all these big national Tea Party groups that want to
be players were necessarily involved the way they are with Chris McDaniel
and Thad Cochran in Mississippi, right? This is sort of an outlier.
BARRO: Yes. And I think this sort of gives lie to the idea that the
Tea Party is Astroturf. Now, obviously, a huge part of what has been
effective for the Tea Party has been billionaire money and outside forming
from Washington, but this was a guy who had very little of that support and
was being written off not just by the national media and the establishment
Republicans but by the Tea Party groups themselves.
MADDOW: Josh, we`re going to wrap you for a second so we can go to
Eric Cantor who is about to make live remarks upon having lost his seat in
the Republican primary of Virginia. Let`s go to Eric Cantor live.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: Look, obviously, we came up short.
And there`s so many people in here I want to thank.
First of all, I want to thank my wife, Diana, who`s --
Who`s put up with me and elected politics now for 20-some years, and
in the process, raised our kids, one of whom is here tonight, the other two
are off working. My mother-in-law, my mother, brothers, thanks, because it
all starts with family, we know that. So I want to thank them.
And then to all of you, so many of you who not only today spent
endless hours in the heat with your undying loyalty and effort, I want to
thank you for that as well. And I tell you, absolutely.
It`s not only the hundreds of volunteers here. It`s also, you know,
my team, both my team that have served the constituents of the seventh
district both here and the district office, have continued to serve the
seventh district constituency in Washington and Culpeper, but also my
political team. They have put in so much extraordinary work to try and win
this campaign, but have done so for the last decade or more.
So I want to thank them and --
Now, serving as the seventh district congressman and then having the
privilege to be majority leader has been one of the highest honors of my
life. And, you know, what I set out to do and what the agenda that I have
always said we`re about is we want to create a Virginia and America that
works for everybody. And we need to focus our efforts as conservatives, as
Republicans, on putting forth our conservative solutions so that they can
help solve the problems for so many working middle-class families that may
not have the opportunity that we have.
We can also put our solutions to work for the most vulnerable. I
spent a lot of time on charter schools and education opportunity, to make
sure that everyone in America can have access to that American dream
starting with the quality education. You know, we talked about, you know,
research a lot in my office and in our campaign, and in congress.
I`m really proud of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.
Because what it says as conservatives that we don`t believe you ought
to spend taxpayer dollars on political conventions that in fact it`s
probably better to help cure disease because not only do you save lives and
help people, you can ultimately solve the federal deficit problem by
bringing down health care costs.
So, these are the kinds of things that I know will continue to work
on. You know, I know there`s a lot of long faces here tonight and it`s
But I believe in this country. I believe there`s opportunity around
the next corner for all of us. So, I look forward to continuing to fight
with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative
cause, because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that
so many people are facing today.
Thank you all very, very much.
MADDOW: Just a remarkable live scene tonight in Virginia, in the
seventh congressional district in Virginia as House Majority Leader Eric
Cantor gives essentially his concession speech after being beaten in his
Republican primary by Tea Party challenger named Dave Brat.
"Associated Press" called this race not that long after polls closed.
This was not a close race, as you can see, with at least 83 percent of
precincts reporting, a 12-point gap between Mr. Brat and Mr. Cantor with
Mr. Cantor coming in on the wrong side of it.
Eric Cantor in those remarks, smiling, putting on a brave face,
repurposing parts of his stump speech, such as it was from the campaign
professing disappointment, acknowledging seeing long faces in the crowd,
but pledging to continue to fight for the conservative cause.
Now, I should mention that this is a slightly different situation than
Eric Cantor losing the general election, in the sense that this is not
November. This doesn`t necessarily look like a final loss of his seat.
After all, we saw Lisa Murkowski lose to Joe Miller in Alaska, and she
came back and won. It does not look like any opportunity like that is
here. First of all, there`s no runoff here. This is done. Eric Cantor
has lost the primary.
Second of all, as far as we understand it -- and I stand -- I will
stand corrected if this preliminary understanding that I have is wrong, but
as far as I understand it, Virginia has what is called a sore loser law,
which says if you do lose in the primary, you can`t be on the ballot for a
So if anybody was entertaining the idea that when Eric Cantor said he
was going to continue to fight for the conservative cause, that meant he
was going to come back as an independent to try to hold on to his seat in
November, as far as I read the Virginia sore loser law, he cannot do that.
According to the Virginia statute, as I understand it -- quote -- "If
defeated in the primary, the candidate`s name is not to be printed on the
ballots for that office in the succeeding general election."
Now, if your name is not printed on the ballot, the one other way that
you might run is as a write-in candidate, the way that Lisa Murkowski did
in that Alaska Senate race. I saw nothing from the Eric Cantor concession
speech that we just saw moments ago, brave face as it had, I saw nothing
from that concession speech moments ago that indicated that he would be
planning to run a write-in campaign to try to hold on to his seat. You
never know, but at this point, this is what he would have to do. He could
not run as an independent.
I want to go back now to Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor, correspondent
for "The Upshot" at "The New York Times."
Josh, looking at Eric Cantor there essentially saying goodbye to his
district, what are the new dynamics among Republicans in Congress, both
losing their majority leader and seeing him lose in this way?
JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think Chuck Todd was right,
that this means that immigration reform is dead, if it wasn`t already dead,
because this was really basically a single-issue race about immigration.
Sort of remarkable to me about that speech Cantor just gave, that it
didn`t touch at all on why he lost the election. Now, I don`t really blame
him. I don`t think he was expecting this. And I`m sure that`s something
he will be reflecting on.
But I think when Republicans in Washington look at this, they`re going
to say this is an issue where we really crossed our base even by talking
about the issue. And I think the politics of immigration are basically
impossible for Republicans.
At the national level, a lot of observers talk about it like why don`t
they get immigration reform over it because the party is shooting itself in
the foot with Hispanics and Asian voters? And that`s true, but their base
just really hates the idea of an amnesty for several million immigrants who
are already here, or you don`t -- even if you don`t call it an amnesty,
they still hate the idea.
So, there`s basically no course of action for them on the issue that
doesn`t deeply upset some part of the electorate they need to appeal to.
MADDOW: Well, what we end up with I think political -- the political
dynamic there is that you end up not in every district in the country, not
in every Republican district in the country, but in some Republican
districts in the country, you end up with a message on immigration reform
that is so loud, that it obscures the contrary message that Republicans
could appeal to in terms of Republicans broadly being sort of in favor of
immigration reform, let alone a general election electorate being in favor
of immigration reform.
I mean, the numbers writ large are absolutely in favor of Republicans
acting on this issue, but in these small, microcosmic primary fights, it
ends up being the end of the world, including for this very high-ranking
Republican. And this is going to be a lesson that echoes very, very loudly
BARRO: Yes. And Eric Cantor in this race was sending out mailers
saying that he is fighting against President Obama`s plan to give amnesty
to illegal aliens. He was sending out these sort of fire-breathing mailers
that tried to make him sound like his opponent on the issue, and he still
wasn`t able to overcome it.
So, I think the lesson for Republicans is that even -- even touching
the issue -- and Cantor was clearly going to be part of the coalition that
was necessary if there was going to be a Republican deal to get immigration
reform done -- even that seems to have done him in.
MADDOW: Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor, correspondent for "The Upshot"
at "The New York Times," Josh, thanks a lot. I much appreciate you being
BARRO: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: We have much more ahead on this breaking news, again, House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in Congress, John
Boehner is the speaker, Eric Cantor runs the House for John Boehner,
including deciding what things get voted on and what things don`t, Eric
Cantor has lost his seat tonight in Virginia in the congressional district
number seven in Virginia that he represented for seven terms.
In his concession remarks, which we aired live just a moment ago, Mr.
Cantor gave no indication that he might try to run a write-in campaign or
something to try to hold on to his seat. It seemed like he was saying
goodbye. I will stand corrected if it turns out he changes his mind on
We are going to have much more ahead on this incredible upset in just
a moment with Chris Hayes. I will be back at 9:00 Eastern. We will be
right back. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Now, serving as a
Seventh District congressman and then having the privilege to be majority
leader has been one of the highest honors of my life.
And, you know, what I set out to do and what the agenda that I have
always said we`re about is, we want to create a Virginia and an America
that works for everybody.
And we need to focus on our efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Eric Cantor in one of the most stunning political
upsets in recent memory in a long, long time, a first in the history of the
It appears that the sitting House majority leader losing in a primary
in his own party tonight to a heretofore obscure college professor named
Dave Brat, a man whose Wikipedia page was about two lines, and about
$40,000 in the bank in his fund-raising, who is now looking to be the next
congressman to represent the Seventh District of Virginia, the district
that Eric Cantor has represented for seven districts (sic).
Eric Cantor, one of the shining lights of the Republican Party, part
of a young generation that saw themselves as on the pathway to taking over
the Republican Party, fell tonight in a stunning, stunning upset.
Joining me now to discuss it, Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor,
correspondent for "The Upshot" at "The New York Times."
HAYES: Holy cats.
It`s funny. Actually, I went back and read the "Washington Post"
article about this, this morning -- and I don`t mean to bag on "The Post."
I`m sure every...
HAYES: Everyone, everyone.
BARRO: It said, the question here is what Eric Cantor`s margin of
victory will be. And I guess the answer is, it will be negative.
HAYES: Well, OK.
So, here`s what is going to happen. Here -- I will give you
tomorrow`s spin today.
HAYES: Immigration, immigration, immigration.
We saw that immigration was hotly contested in this district
specifically. Mailers were going back and forth on each side of the issue.
BARRO: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: Cantor clearly felt the heat coming from his right, because he
had to send out mailers saying he is, as you said, opposing amnesty, the
president`s amnesty plan.
The lesson that will be taken away, whether or not it`s the truth, is
cross on immigration, cross FOX News, cross Rush Limbaugh on immigration,
and you`re toast. And that is going to be another 10 years, another 10
years with a broken immigration system. That`s my fear.
BARRO: I don`t know about 10, but, yes, I think it`s certainly
another several years.
And I think this was already the instinct of most Republicans in
Congress, which is why there hasn`t been a vote on it yet in the House,
because they -- it`s just an impossible issue for Republicans. They fear
what will happen to them, what happened to Eric Cantor, even as he was
HAYES: They fear they won`t get credit.
HAYES: They fear what will happen to them.
And -- and let`s be clear. I think the timing here is really
important. The story of the Nogales, Arizona, unaccompanied minor children
has been everywhere in conservative media the last three or four days. And
I think -- and you had on our air on a phoner Dave Brat this morning
talking to my colleague Chuck Todd saying, if you want open borders, vote
for Eric Cantor.
BARRO: Yes. No, I think that`s right.
And I think, on the flip side, they -- what you said about not getting
credit, I think they fear that if they do go ahead on immigration, not only
will they anger their base. They will get this influx of new, mostly
Hispanic, some Asian voters who then will break 2-1 or 3-1 against the
Republican Party. So, they see it something that is hazardous now and
thankless in the long term.
HAYES: Right now, we have a primary -- it`s primary night not in
veteran. It`s primary night in South Carolina as well.
HAYES: There`s another story, which is the flip side of this, which
is Lindsey Graham, incumbent, co-sponsor on the bill that passed the
Senate, the same bill that Eric Cantor was attached to, who appears at this
early juncture to be cruising to reelection in a primary, to winning.
What`s the lesson there?
BARRO: Well, and so I think you also see John Boehner a month ago
fended off very easily sort of similar grassroots Tea Party challenges,
even though John Boehner is as complicit or more than Eric Cantor in any
treason against the Republican base over the last four or five years.
And I think part of the answer is that, with Boehner, he`s an
authentic people that people -- or an apparently authentic person that
people perceive as trying his best in a very difficult situation. People
kind of like him, and he has deep roots in Ohio.
I think, with Lindsey Graham, even though he sorts of seems to enjoy
fighting with the more conservative parts of the Republican base, he`s also
an authentic figure and a deeply rooted politician in that state. And I
think Cantor was just becoming very much a national Republican politician,
all about being majority leader, wanting to be the next speaker.
BARRO: I suspect that he just -- the local activists in his base --
in his district felt very disconnected from him. A month ago, they had
this election for the Republican Party district leader in the Seventh
HAYES: That`s right.
BARRO: A very, you know, inside baseball thing.
And Cantor`s handpicked candidate got defeated by a Tea Party
candidate, despite his strong support for him.
HAYES: And, in retrospect, I think that that looks quite prophetic.
HAYES: And I do think there`s going to be postmortem. There will be
individual things that happened in that district, in Eric Cantor`s district
maintenance and constituent relations that led to this moment.
HAYES: Tonight, though, shockwaves across the political world. I
mean, really, this is a really unexpected result, a truly and genuinely
We will discuss it more. Eric Cantor loses in the primary in
Virginia`s Seventh District to David Brat.
We will talk about it more after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Happy Election Day.
DAVE BRAT (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Hey, morning, Chuck.
Happy to be on. Thanks.
TODD: Let me ask you this. Define amnesty for me. What does that
mean? I hear the word thrown around and everyone has a different
definition. What does it mean to you?
Yes, I think that the working definition out there is a pathway to
legalization and citizenship. And in that instance, Eric Cantor is the
author of the House principles which allows for 6.5 million illegals to
become legal and gain a pathway to citizenship.
And he`s been in favor of the DREAM Act, the Kids Act, and Enlist Act,
which all follow that definition of amnesty. And so Eric, of course, in
the primary for the last two weeks says he against all of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You just heard David Brat speaking to my colleague Chuck Todd,
I believe this morning. That was before David Brat`s stunning upset
victory tonight in Virginia`s Seventh District, where he has pulled off
something that no one has done since 1899.
And that is defeat the House majority leader, the sitting House
majority leader, and he`s done it in a primary. And it`s still unclear
whether that has ever been done in the history of the republic.
David Brat campaigning hard on immigration and taking a hard-right
stance on immigration against Eric Cantor, apparently successfully, 56
percent to 44 percent, with 83 percent of precincts reporting.
Joining me now to discuss this shocking bit of news are my MSNBC
colleague Steve Kornacki, host of "UP," and Ari Melber, co-host of "THE
Here`s what`s amazing about that clip. It wasn`t the Senate bill that
David Brat was attacking Eric Cantor on. It was the fact that he was the
author of the principles. Now, everyone who followed the immigration
debate in Congress understood the principles as largely a stalling
mechanism, that basically the principles were a way of Republicans trying
to get out of this bind they were in, where they had to do something about
immigration, but didn`t want to move the ball.
And it was just having his name attached to principles that, in the
abstract, it would be a good idea if these millions of people who were here
under completely gray legal coverage be moved into the mainstream of
American and put on a path to citizenship. That was enough.
That is what David Brat was attacking him on.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that was enough, and I don`t
believe we view this as solely a policy-based issue.
This is about anger. They used to say don`t trust anyone over 40.
There are remnants of the Tea Party here that don`t trust anyone in
Washington, even the person who tried to do most of their bidding most of
the time, particularly on all the economic standoffs. That was Eric
MELBER: He was, as we know, to the right of John Boehner on many of
HAYES: As he let us know through intermediaries who presumably were
the ones leaking it to the press.
So, the headline here, as you say, is this is an extraordinarily
historic shift that is going to affect the Republican Party, the future of
the White House agenda here, but also reflects the fact the Tea Party is so
angry, it doesn`t even like its own puppet, which is the role Eric Cantor
auditioned for and played for, for years now.
HAYES: And, Steve, what strikes me here also is there`s this way of
looking at the Tea Party`s batting percentage I think that is totally out
of whack. Right?
You say, well, how many Tea Party Express-endorsed candidates, how
many Sarah Palin-endorsed candidates win? They don`t have to win. They
don`t have to win. They just have to win once in a while. They just have
to win enough to send a message.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, it`s about
winning sometimes, but it`s also about look at what the people who are
beating Tea Party candidates in other races are saying. Look at the
positions they`re taking. Look at the rhetoric that they`re using, because
part of the -- sort of there`s the literal Tea Party.
I think we tend to think about politics as a top-down thing. We say
which party organization supports which candidate, which interest group
supports which candidate, and who is sort of driving this thing? And I
think that that`s always been the wrong way to look at the Tea Party. It`s
not really a top-down thing.
It`s a mind-set. The Tea Party is a mentality. And I think what Ari
is saying is true. It`s the idea of entrenchment. There are literal
policy areas here. And immigration is one of them. This is definitely a
situation where I think you could say, well, Cantor`s fingerprints weren`t
really all over the Senate bill or anything, but at the same time, I think
you have a Republican base that is responding to what they`re hearing.
What they`re hearing is, hey, there`s a window that`s about to open
up. All Cantor has to do is win his primary, and then there`s going to be
a month or two where Republicans can go -- from the standpoint of the Tea
Party, go and sell us out, and they will put this on the floor, and 30
Republicans will vote for it, and immigration reform will be the law. And
they want to put the brakes on it.
So, there`s that. But look at the common thread when you look at the
people who have been felled by this, the Republican incumbents, Thad
Cochran, 36-year Senate incumbent, Dick Lugar, 30-year Senate incumbent,
Bob Bennett out in Utah, 18 years, Senate incumbent. These are -- these
HAYES: Right. And they came to be seen -- and Eric Cantor was a
creature of D.C., totally, right?
He was seen that way. He was a very prominent national politician.
I want to bring in Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, host of
"THE DAILY RUNDOWN" here on MSNBC.
Chuck, do you know who I want to talk to tonight more than anyone is
Rick Perry, because Rick Perry has been there. Rick Perry stood up on that
stage in that 2012 primary, Republican primary, and he had to defend the
University of Texas giving in-state tuition to -- quote -- "illegals," and
he got creamed.
And right now, Rick Perry is watching this news and he`s been where
Eric Cantor has been.
TODD: He has.
And he just saw -- he has seen the entire Texas Republican Party be
taken over by folks to the right of Rick Perry, particularly on the issue
Look, the issue of immigration -- we talk about this -- and I heard --
and I was glad to hear Steve do this. We talk about the Tea Party and we
think, oh, it`s debt and all this stuff.
What truly animates the Republican base right now this election year
is one issue. And it`s been immigration. When you need to sort of win in
the end, when you see last-minute desperate attacks from somebody that`s
behind on Republican primaries, it`s always been on the issue of
They drop the A-bomb, if you will, amnesty, and everything becomes
amnesty, amnesty, amnesty. Think about this race, though, Chris, and I
apologize if this has been repeated. There was a perfect storm here for
You had an issue that he had been harping on the entire time,
immigration, in particular, hammering Cantor for being for a version of the
DREAM Act, which had to do with minors. What`s been happening for the last
72 hours? Massive national coverage to a humanitarian crisis of
unaccompanied minors crossing the border.
It gave urgency to Dave Brat`s message. This is -- he had -- the
only, I would say, professional support he had behind him was the talk
radio world. And this was -- and so put it all together, low turnout, and
the issue hits come.
Then that`s how all this happened and that`s how somebody gets
blindsided. You always say, what happens when you get blindsided in
American politics? Well, we have seen it here. Most primaries in Virginia
are not done -- are not done with actual voters. They`re usually done at
And, obviously, Eric Cantor didn`t want a convention, or he would have
HAYES: This was the far preferential alternative for Eric Cantor.
TODD: Yes. This was supposed to be the safer way out for him.
HAYES: He`s just sitting there tire tracks on the head, figuring out,
what the heck happened tonight?
TODD: Well, but I will tell you this, Chris, really quickly, and I
have been talking to a bunch of people down there.
They say a couple of things, is that about a month ago, Eric Cantor
tried to have his way at one of these county conventions to pick the new
conventional district boss in Henrico County, the largest county there in
Brat`s people won that little skirmish. That was sort of -- a month
ago, the sign was there. the signs were there. No amount of money was
going to salvage him, though. That`s what`s going on here. This isn`t
about money. This was about he lost touch with his local base, period.
HAYES: Chuck Todd, Steve Kornacki, and Ari Melber.
Ari will be back at 10:00. He doesn`t have the beard. Too many.
All right, we will be back with more coverage of the stunning,
stunning upset tonight in Virginia. Eric Cantor, House majority leader,
goes down in defeat to a Tea Party primary challenger -- more on that in a
HAYES: Eric Cantor has gone down to a stunning defeat in Virginia`s
Seventh Congressional District, the seven-term congressman who is also
House majority leader becoming the first House majority leader to go down
to defeat since 1889, losing to insurgent, frankly out-of-nowhere
challenger David Brat, who is now speaking.
Let`s listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BRAT: Luke 18:27, Jesus implies what is impossible with man is
possible with God.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRAT: I want to give special thanks to someone who was with me every
single day in my ups and downs. That`s my loving wife, Laura. Laura,
where are you?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRAT: And where are my two great kids who didn`t see dad for the past
six months, Jonathan and Sophia?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRAT: Let me say thanks (AUDIO GAP) 18-hour days when I was passed
out and exhausted from giving talks to people, my campaign manager, Zac
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRAT: And right...
HAYES: We appear to have lost the signal of the live comments from
David Brat, the triumphant challenger in the Republican primary in
Virginia`s Seventh Congressional District, where Mr. has taken out Eric
Cantor, House majority leader. Mr. Brat is an economics professor at a
He wasn`t on anyone`s radar screen just a few months ago, and even
really going into this weekend, he was written off. He has won a stunning
victory by 11 points tonight.
Joining me now to discuss it, Dorian Warren, associate professor of
political science and international public affairs at Columbia University,
and Christina Bellantoni, editor in chief at "Roll Call."
Christina, quickly, your reaction?
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, "ROLL CALL": Oh, my gosh.
Well, we`re downstairs shredding the front page right now. As the
newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, this was a pretty big deal. Our front
page tomorrow is going to say "Stunner," because it is.
Democrats we have talked to, operatives all across the state of
Virginia and also here in Washington were completely not expecting this.
People are studying election law to find out if it`s at all possible for
him to do a write-in campaign. This is big deal and it has major
consequences for leadership races, with John Boehner under pressure. It`s
a big thing.
HAYES: Dorian, I was just looking.
One of the issues Brat raised was the corruption in Washington. I was
thinking of Larry Lessig and others who have railed against big money in
politics. He was talking about bills being for sale in Washington. I
wonder how much that played a role as well.
DORIAN WARREN, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. And
especially if Cantor`s base didn`t turn out -- we will crunch the numbers
tomorrow -- and this guy created a new electorate in some ways, or he
generated more voters, more conservative voters to turn out and vote for
him, a 25-1 money advantage that Cantor had.
This is one of those small races, one of those small examples, rather,
where money doesn`t necessarily matter in politics.
HAYES: And 25-1 -- 25-1, you don`t often see margins like go in the
WARREN: That`s right.
HAYES: And at a certain point, I think it probably didn`t help Eric
Cantor to outraise him by that much, because it confirmed what his district
apparently thought about him, or at least the Republican members.
Dorian Warren and Christina Bellantoni, thank you both.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: That`s it for ALL IN for tonight.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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