All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
November 3, 2014
Guest: Sheldon Whitehouse, Nate Silver, Ellen Weintraub, Karine Jean-
Pierre, Jess McIntosh
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Midterm elections.
HAYES: Election eve in America.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you fired up?
HAYES: Nate Silver is here with his final Senate forecast. Plus,
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the massive implications of a Republican
Then, the latest dark money ploy to fool Democratic voters in three
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get hot, get high, vote John Haugh.
HAYES: And why being a bad candidate doesn`t necessarily mean you`re
going to lose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll break you in half -- like a boy.
HAYES: Tonight, our bipartisan list of the candidates we can`t
believe have a real shot at winning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Jackson claims to be for the people, but
he`s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That comment is not politically correct.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
It is election eve in America which mean`s tomorrow is election day
and millions of people across the nation are greeting that news with a
giant collective shrug. That thick line at the bottom, the blue one there,
that is the interest in tomorrow`s elections charted against the previous
two, which, as you can see, is much, much lower than it was in either of
the last two mid-terms.
And I get it, after watching the least productive Congress in U.S.
history, it is in fact hard to get invested in the used that four or five
Senate seats changing party will make that much of a difference.
So, I think a lot of people understandably have come to the conclusion
that it doesn`t really matter what happens tomorrow. The next two years
will be the same more or less no matter what, and it is tempting to believe
But it is not true. In fact, it is a dangerous dilution because which
party controls United States Senate matters a lot. It`s pretty grim to
talk about, but four of the nine Supreme Court justices in that photo there
are over the age of 75. So, there is a very real actuarial possibility of
a vacancy on the court in the next two years, and the Senate needs to
confirm whoever fills that vacancy, which means that tomorrow the Supreme
Court, a third the branches of the U.S. government, is on the ballot and
And not just, I should add, the Supreme Court in some abstract sense
that building there with the columns and the justices firing questions and
oral arguments, there are specific big cases we already know about right
now that are very likely headed to that building you see there on the
screen. Like the case, for instance, that threatens to destroy the new
Obamacare insurance exchanges in 36 states. Or the case that it will
decide whether Texas can potentially disenfranchise some 600,000 voters,
many over them black and Latino, under the state`s new voter ID law, or the
biggest case on abortion rights, frankly, since Roe v. Wade was decided,
which could determine whether it`s OK for states to regulate abortion
clinics almost completely out of existence, and still as Texas has just
done, and still pass constitutional muster, as Texas has just done, passing
a law that shuttered 80 percent of its clinics.
So, health reform for millions of people in 36 states, voting rights
not just in Texas but across the south and throughout the country, abortion
rights not just in Texas but throughout the country, they`re headed to the
court and the court is on the ballot tomorrow which means all of those are
very much on the ballot tomorrow.
Also up for vote tomorrow, the way the government spends money. Which
sounds banal or whatever but is more important than you might think. The
real victory of the 2010 Tea Party wave, let us recall the wave brought
into power during the last mid-terms when conservatives came in to vote in
numbers far greater numbers than liberals and progressives, the greatest
victory of that wave election was taking a hatchet to the part of the
government that happens to spend money on lots of public goods and people
who don`t have much power.
Congress -- the Congress produced by that election, Congress cut $8.7
billion from the food stamp budget. The National Institutes of Health
alone lost $1.71 billion during sequestration, process put into play in
2011 after those conservatives were elected.
Those cuts, they were big and real, and they might just be the start.
Because if Republicans control the Senate they`ll have two key pieces of
leverage the night time they want to go after programs they don`t like and
One, they will be able to pass spending bills with a simple majority
through a process known as reconciliation, and that is important because it
means they don`t have to meet the 60-vote filibuster threshold. They just
need a simple majority.
And number two, they will be able to control the amendment process
which sounds on secure and boring but is actually the most powerful thing
you can do in the United States Senate, because they can add whatever they
please to a spending bill and send it right to the president`s desk, and
the president will then be presented with a choice, veto a bill chock-full
of GOP amendments and thereby risk a big messy government shutdown that
hurts millions of people, many of the people that are his supporters and
constituents, or sign a bill chockfull of GOP amendments and do damage to
his agenda and lots of struggling Americans who are counting on him.
And this isn`t just my pet theory of how this play out. Mitch
McDonnell made an explicit promise to do exactly, precisely what I`m
describing, if Republicans get a Senate majority tomorrow, telling
"Politico" over the summer, Obama, quote, "Needs to be challenged and the
best way to do that is threw a funding process. He would have to make a
decision on a given bill whether there`s more in it that he likes than
dislikes." A good example, McConnell said, is adding restrictions to
regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Let me be clear for a second, the regulation the EPA is issuing right
now for coal-fired power plants is basically the most important thing the
government is doing right now. The biggest part of the Obama domestic
policy legacy since he was reelected and those regulations are set to
reduce emissions and more importantly could permanently alter the
trajectory of American power generation towards renewables and away from
coal and the carbon pollution that is threatening mass catastrophe and all
And that, that signature achievement, hangs perilously in the balance.
That`s very much on the ballot tomorrow. The Republicans have told you it
Joining me now is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode
Senator, you work in the United States Senate. So, I want to hear
from you, given the fact that very little seems to get done, giving
unanimous consent, the 60-vote filibuster, all the way from the minority to
block and obstruct, how much do you think it matters? How much does it
matter for Sheldon Whitehouse when he wakes up the day after the
Republicans control the Senate and goes into work?
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, RHODE ISLAND: Well, it matters a lot. I
sit, for instance, on the environment and public works committee, and
having Barbara Boxer be the chairman of that puts news a very good
direction. Having Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who claims that the entire
climate change thing is just a big hoax, having him in charge, that really
changes things for the worse.
When the gavel changes, the ability not only to control legislation
but to investigate changes, and one of the things we can clearly see coming
is the intention of the Republicans to torment the president, either with
the kind of mishmash of poison Republican pills attached to must-pass
legislation, that you talked about, or just flat out investigations,
candidates or using the word "prosecute" about the president and you can
get a sense where they`re likely to go. Those are two of the things they
HAYES: So, walk me through this in the more granular fashion. If you
talk about Inhofe as the chair of the committee, this is a guy who is
probably the number one climate denier in all of Congress, very proudly so,
says it`s a hoax. It`s a big sort of cause of his to deny the scientific
What does it mean when EPA appropriations come up? What can he do
holding that gavel to actually impact the agenda?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, he can refuse -- the easiest thing is to refuse to
reauthorize EPA because the chairman has a lot of discretion about what
goes forward. Once the substance of something comes the committee, then
every senator has a bit of involvement but where the really strong stoppers
are for them is without a committee chairman, you really can`t get a bill
out of committee, and if you can`t get a bill out of committee to the
floor, the only way to bring it to the rule is under what`s called Rule 14,
where the majority leader brings it directly to the floor and with a
Republican majority leader, you`re not going to get it that way either.
So, they can essentially shut down legislation.
HAYES: Yes, just to be clear. I mean, you can imagine a scenario,
not farfetched one, particularly Republicans of have spent, really across
the board, the last few months, railing against the EPA regulations, in
which they just say, we`re not going to reauthorize the EPA until you --
until you compromise on this, until you tell them to stop doing this and to
hold it hostage.
WHITEHOUSE: They could bill a undo the restrictions on carbon coming
out of existing power plants and attach it to, say, the highway bill, and
just dare the president. What are you going to do? You`re going to shut
down the highway program?
And I think they`re less averse to government being broken because of
the nature of their philosophy. So if they break it, I think they mind
less, even though it`s our American government, and particularly in the
Bear in mind that on the House where they control it already, they
have passed more legislation attacking environmental regulations than
they`ve passed to repeal Obamacare.
HAYES: Right, they`ve actually --
WHITEHOUSE: So, if you think they hate Obamacare --
HAYES: A bigger fetish of theirs.
WHITEHOUSE: Yes, absolutely.
HAYES: So, let`s talk about the judiciary. You`re someone who has
been passionate about this, has been outspoken, I think it often can feel
abstract and remote because we`re not just talking about the Supreme Court,
although the possibility of a vacancy exists, there`s huge cases, but the
entire federal judiciary, which seems like some faceless group of people in
some room deciding something somewhere, but as we have seen in the
Affordable Care Act case, whether it`s the striking down of the voting
rights act, all of that which came up through the lower courts, these
decisions can last for 60, 70, 100 years if you get bad court decisions.
WHITEHOUSE: And, remember, the Republicans in the Senate, even when
they were in the minority, were so obstructive and so objectionable about
the president`s nominees that Majority Leader Reid was forced to change the
rule so that we could clear judges at least below the Supreme Court level
by a simple majority vote, and then they all had fits that had taken place.
So, you know, that in the majority they would shut down the president`s
judicial appointees unless they met a test of right-wing conformity that
this president I think would not be comfortable with.
HAYES: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you very much for your time
today. I really appreciate it.
WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.
HAYES: The big storyline of this election is Republicans possibly
gaining control of the Senate, as I just mentioned. But isn`t as simple as
you might think for them to do that. There`s a catch and Nate Silver will
be here with his model to break it all down, ahead.
HAYES: The prize for the most disturbing election mailer in its
competitive race this election cycle goes to a political action committee
in Alaska and it will seriously, seriously creep you out. And it`s
perfectly legal. More on that, ahead.
HAYES: There is more uncertainty tonight in the big battle for
control of the Senate than there was over who would win the presidency in
2012. The last big election forecast of that presidential election cycle
two years ago gave Barack Obama, President Barack Obama, a 90 percent
chance of winning reelection, and Mitt Romney, only a 9 percent chance of
defeating, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
And yet, very folks I knew felt like President Obama`s reelection was
a given. In fact, it felt more like a close election that people were
really and truly sweating up until the very last second.
This time around, control of the Senate appears to be up for grabs,
even if there`s even one side that`s heavily favored. And the latest
forecast for the same outfit, FiveThirtyEight, gives Republicans about a 75
percent of chance of taking control, with Democrats given about a 25
percent chance of holding on to their majorities.
So, the battle for the Senate is right now, according to that
forecast, more up for grabs than the presidency was in 2012, which means
this election cycle is actually closer, much closer than that one -- at
least comparing them using that same model.
The possible path for the Republicans to gain control and the
Democrats are is growing clear. With open Senate seats in Montana, South
Dakota and West Virginia widely expected to easily go to Republicans, the
GOP needs to pick up three out of step close races, ones in yellow, to
reach a majority of 51 seats. All seven seats are held by a Democrat right
now, if a Republican wins in three of them the GOP is highly likely to get
the 51-seat majority.
But there`s, however, a catch -- Republicans might lose a seat in
Georgia, or Kansas, or possibly maybe, at the outside of possibility,
Kentucky, and if Republicans were to lost any of those three, then they
would have to compensate by winning more than three of the seven seats that
are currently in the Democratic column.
Joining me now, Nate Silver, editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.
Nate, great to have you here.
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: Definitely.
HAYES: So, you guys are projecting the most likely scenario is 53
SILVER: Fifty-two or 53, could be higher, could be lower. If it`s
lower, of course, Democrats keep the Senate.
But, yes, there are seven or eight races still in play. We`re a
little skeptical now about Kentucky. It looked better for Grimes for a
while but she is down by seven or eight points in the polls. There`s not a
lot of history of candidates winning when they`re down that much on
Mark Pryor in Alaska, polls broke against him, too. So, you know,
those are two states that have become more certain for the GOP.
HAYES: Now, Kentucky, let`s remove from the equation. Let`s talk
about the seven, right? The one that is most -- what would you say the
closest of the Democratic-held ones are.
SILVER: The closest is probably Kansas. It`s really not clear who`s
ahead there in the first place. You had something very unusual, except the
undecided vote has grown as election has gone on. That doesn`t usually
happen. So, we`re not sure what is going to happen there.
HAYES: Kansas obviously is held bay Republican incumbent, Pat
Roberts, and you guys are projecting that as the closest race you have
right now. Greg Orman running --
SILVER: Yes, 50 or 52 percent I think for Orman, 48 percent. That`s
not the vote share, that`s a probability. So, it`s basically a coin flip.
HAYES: A coin flip.
And part of what make that difficult to model they`re not a ton of
precedent. I mean, this is a weird quirky race, right?
SILVER: So, look, one good thing is that states which are not Ohio
and Pennsylvania and so forth are getting some attention, and voters who
have not had a competitive race have chance to make an impact. It also
makes the states harder to poll. The pollsters don`t have that much
practice surveying close races. You have divergence between what the
fundamentals of the state might say. Kansas is red-leaning and where the
polls stand and how those resolve is not clear.
But, yes, you know, Kansas and Alaska and Louisiana, all these states
that aren`t normally competitive are important this year.
HAYES: Let`s talk about Alaska. Alaska is a strange race. Begich
got in over Ted Stevens even when Stevens was indicted, right, six days
ago. He sneaked in there. He`s a tough race against the A.G. Dan
Sullivan, but it`s been difficult to get a good finger on the pulse there
because the polling as I understand it, it`s tough to do, and there aren`t
not a ton of polls.
SILVER: Yes, people complained Iowa, or you might have five-point
range in the polls. In Alaska, you have 20 percent range, showing Begich
10 points ahead, Sullivan by about the same margin.
The one thing to keep in mind is that historically, Republicans have
done better than their polls in Alaska on Election Day and the fact that
Democratic incumbents are likely to lose in Arkansas. He might not bode
well for him, but he supposedly invested more per capita in his ground game
in any candidate in history. If that story ever holds up, maybe that will
be the case.
HAYES: So, when you look at building this model, you`ve got the
average of polls. That`s the easiest thing to do. Anybody can do that
actually, if you just go and poll them.
SILVER: For sure.
The other question is do you look at the history of these states in
which -- on a state-by-state basis, whether one party or other seems to
outperform its final polling.
SILVER: Sure, look, partisanship is a powerful variable. When you
look at the fundamentals, as we call it, we`ve also found in red states,
Republican does better in polls on election nights than Democrats in blue
states. That`s a problem for Democrats this year --
HAYES: Say that again. I want people to understand.
So, in red states, Republicans outperform their polling margin on
election night bit a greater margin than Democrats outperform their polling
margin on election night.
SILVER: Right. But we don`t have any blue state races this year.
It`s purple states and red states. So, that`s why it`s tough for
Democrats. You don`t necessarily expect Michelle Nunn in Georgia, which is
becoming more purple to perform toward the higher end of her polls, or
states like Alaska or Arkansas, for example.
With that said, it`s close enough where if you do have so-called skew
in the poll, then Democrats could kind of barely hold on.
HAYES: There`s a big question about the turnout machine. One place
is in Alaska and also in Georgia. There`s been a lot new registrations in
Georgia. Michelle Nunn`s polling average is two or three points down, it`s
a red state obviously.
But how do you can`t for possible changes in who the voting pool is?
SILVER: So, we are hoping the pollsters do it for us and they have a
lot of incentive to get things right. Sometimes they`re slowed by the
cycles or overreact and the bias in polls bounces back and forth.
Every state has different circumstances, Colorado has gone to nail
voting. Never that hat occur statewide before. You know, with that said,
heuristic that say, hey, trust the polling average, and if you want to look
toward the better polls, this is for Democrats, the best poll in the
country might be the Selzer Poll in Iowa that has Bruce Braley down by
seven points, the strongest polls, you had the worst results.
HAYES: Finally, what do you do on Election Day, Nate Silver?
Election Day for Nate Silver must be, I don`t know, an exciting affair.
SILVER: Election Days themselves are really boring because --
HAYES: You`ve already built the model.
SILVER: We`ve kind of felt it`s sacrilege to talk too much until
polls close in certain states, but we`re preparing for a really long night
because of the importance of Alaska, which doesn`t close until 1:00 a.m.
SILVER: And then -- the GOP has 75 percent chance to win eventually,
but it might rear recounts, runoffs, and Greg Orman deciding who he wants
to caucus with. So, it might be an election week or month, and not an
HAYES: That`s a great point. There`s a few different variables.
There`s a possibility of recount, so we don`t know who wins, who Greg Orman
is going to caucus with, and two states, Georgia and Louisiana both which
look like fairly likely they could end up in runoffs.
SILVER: It`s kind of like if -- when a jury is convening, a quick
verdict means guilty. Democrats want voters to take as long a possible,
the more chaos --
HAYES: The longer the night goes --
SILVER: The longer the night go, the more we have to wait for
fishermen in Alaska, and Greg Orman to decide who he want to caucus with,
the more chance for --
HAYES: That`s a good thing for people to look forward tomorrow as
they tune in for coverage.
Nate Silver, thank you so much.
SILVER: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. With all the way donors can now get around
disclosing who they actually are and who they`re giving money to, what`s
exactly the point of having an agency that supposedly regulates money in
campaigns? I will ask one of the commissioners that runs that very agency,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FFMALE: Get Haugh, get high, legalize it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More weed, less war. Vote Shawn Haugh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get Haugh, get high, vote John Haugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That ad for libertarian Shawn Haugh who was running for U.S.
Senate in North Carolina was brought to you by a nonprofit called the
American Future Fund. So, who are these lefty hippies calling for more
weed and less war? Not who you do expect.
They`re actually a self-proclaimed advocacy group designed to
effectively communicate conservative and free market ideals, and they`re
trying to tilt the North Carolina Senate race in favor of Republican Tom
Tillis by siphoning off young progressive voters from Democrat Kay Hagan to
the third party candidate in the ballot, libertarian Sean Haugh. And in a
race as close as this one, with Hagan up less than a few point in the
polling average, a few more votes for Haugh could make all the difference.
Now, American Future Fund operates as a 501c4 nonprofit under the tax
code, so it doesn`t have to disclose its donors. But in 2012, according to
the Center for Responsible Politics, the group received more than 92
percent of its revenues from two organizations connected to Charles and
David Koch. A spokesman for Freedom Partner, the Koch brothers` main
financial hub, said they haven`t given American Future Fund any grants in
the past two years. But without any disclosure requirement who knows? We
don`t know where the funding for the ad came from.
Four and a half years after Citizens United, outside money from secret
donors is playing a biggest role than ever in this election, which is on
track to be the most expensive election in history, almost $4 billion, and
even groups that are required to disclose their donors have found a very
According to Brennan Center for Justice, almost half the outside
spending in 11 top Senate races, $207 million out of $328 million, took
place in October alone. And conveniently, the last federal reporting
period for election spending ended October 15th.
So, any contributions made after that date don`t have to be disclosed
until the election is over, all of which means a small group of big donors
could decide tomorrow`s outcome and we don`t know who they are.
Joining me now, Ellen Weintraub, who`s commissioner on the Federal
All right, Ellen, I want to talk for a second about how this works,
because I still am a little unclear.
So, I set up a 501(c)(4) that`s called America`s Future Fund, right,
or Americans for Americans being Americanish, OK? And -- you like that
ELLEN WEINTRAUB, FEC COMMISSIONER: Yes, I do. It`s good.
HAYES: I think it`s catchy.
WEINTRAUB: Somebody`s going to pick it up.
HAYES: I think so. Americans for Americans being Americanish, OK?
And I can get, you know, $100 million checks written to me and I don`t have
to disclose donors. Is that right?
WEINTRAUB: Well, it depends on what you`re doing. The rules of the
FEC do not depend on whether -- what tax status you choose. The question
is, is this a group whose major purpose is political activity, federal
campaign activity. And if it is they ought to be registered with the FEC
as a political committee and disclosing all of their donors.
HAYES: Yes, but here`s the thing you. You fine folks at the FEC are
the ones who make the ultimate determination on the question. Am I right?
HAYES: You wonderful people --
WEINTRAUB: Although you can go to court.
HAYES: And you wonderful people who work very hard seem to deadlocked
3-3 on every single major question of precisely who falls into what
category. Am I correct about that?
WEINTRAUB: It has been known to happen.
HAYES: Which means, basically, it`s kind of a lawless frontier of
craziness out there. I mean, you guys are pretty much deadlocked on all
the major issues, the rulings of do you have to file, do you have to
report, when you have to file. And am I right, the election law seems
pretty tangled and unclear at this point?
WEINTRAUB: Well, the election law is complicated. And the Supreme
Court created part of that complication. And Citizens United, as you know,
the court held that independent spending cannot cause corruption, even when
it`s by corporations.
The Supreme Court also held at the same time that disclosure is a
really important thing for the voters, it helps to create an informed
electorate and it helps the voters to hold people accountable for the
spending of the money and the
raising of the money.
But in this election, we are seeing, as you pointed out, an increasing
number of outside groups who are swamping the ad campaigns to the point
where the outside spenders are actually spending a lot more than the
Now some of those groups do disclose and other groups not so much.
HAYES: Right. So -- but here`s the thing, right. I mean, so even if
I create this group that I don`t have to disclose my money, OK, Americans
for America. And we get our big $100 million check from some secret donor,
I could then turn around and give that to a Super PAC, right. And I`ve
basically kind of anonymized the donation. I`ve wiped the fingerprints off
the gun, so to speak. Isn`t that true?
WEINTRAUB: Well, that has been happening. And the commission has
on some of those issues and some of them are going to court.
The people who file complaints can sue us if they don`t think that we
not properly enforcing the law. I think we could be doing more and should
be doing more and groups are suing us and it`s going to end up in the
courts, but unfortunately it won`t be resolved before tomorrow.
HAYES: OK. Here`s the writing on the wall, and I want to see if you
agree with this, you said that outside groups are actually swamping
candidate spending. I mean, isn`t that just going to continue to be the
case? Because the regulations are so looser on outside spending. You can
raise in huge -- you can raise the in $10 million chunks as opposed to
going around doing $2,600 checks at a time.
Won`t it clearly be the case, even by 2016, that the outside groups
are really running the election and all the regulated sphere of stuff, the
stuff that is disclosed, that`s limited, that was part of that original
post Watergate raft of reform, that`s going to be a tiny share of what
elections are actually about?
WEINTRAUB: Well, it could go down that path, but it doesn`t have to.
I have long felt that there is a deal to be had on Capitol Hill if
people really want to make one, that would involve increasing contribution
limits for parties and for candidates who are the most transparent and most
accountable actors in the system and at the same time, ensuring that we get
real disclosure of the big money players at all levels.
Similarly at our commission, I think that there are more things that
we could do to increase disclosure. We are right now accepting comments.
And I hope that we will get lots and lots of comments on this as to what we
HAYES: Yeah, but here`s your problem, the Supreme Court has no
interest in that. That 5-4 majority that decided Citizens United, the 5-4
majority that decided McCutcheon as well, which is you knock down the sort
of individual giving limit, they -- my understanding is a lot of them from
oral arguments think that you have a constitutional right to give
anonymously to these groups.
WEINTRAUB: No, I think you`re wrong about that, Chris. By an 8-1
margin, the Supreme Court has been very strong on the importance of
disclosure. And we could do more even at the FEC if we get the comments
that we need to persuade some of our colleagues who are not so persuaded
right now that we need to do more.
I would really welcome all of your listeners to send us comments. If
they Google the Commissioner Weintraub they can find the link to the
comment page on our
website and we would really love to hear from them.
I think the American public is in a very different place from where a
lot of decision makers in Washington D.C. are right now. And we in
Washington need to hear from the American public on this.
HAYES: That`s a good point. Helen Weintraub of the Federal Elections
Commission. Thank you.
WEINTRAUB: And don`t forget to vote.
HAYES: If you think your job is frustrating, imagine being a federal
All right, the worst candidates on the ballot tomorrow that will
probably win, including my own personal nominee, that`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And just finally, before we let you go since we
have you here we haven`t had a chance to kind of talk about some of the...
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM, (R) NEW YORK : I`m not speaking about anything
that`s off topic. This is only about the president`s agenda.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what about.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: All right, well Congressman Michael Grimm does not
want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign
finances. We wanted to get him on camera on that but as you saw refuses to
talk about that. Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIMM: Let me be clear to you, (inaudible).
Why, why (inaudible) if you ever do that to me again...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why. Why. It`s a valid question.
GRIMM: (inaudible). I`ll break you in half like a boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ll break you in half like a boy. That was how the year
began for Congressman Michael Grimm. The Staten Island Republican
threatened to throw that local reporter off the balcony after that reporter
had the temerity to question him about a federal investigation.
A few months later, Grimm was indicted on 20 federal charges stemming
not from his career in congress, but from his time as a health food
restaurateur. Facing a possible prison sentence, you`d think Grimm would
also be facing a tough bid for re-election, but, today, he found himself
among the lucky few to make this list, compiled by Mother Jones, eight
candidates we can`t believe might actually win.
Not only is it looking like Grimm will be re-elected, it is looking
like he will be re-elected by a wide margin. The latest polling has Grimm
besting his Democratic challenger, Domenic Recchia by 19 points. If he
comes in at 20, he can go a solid point for every indictment tomorrow.
Recchia found himself getting The Daily Show treatment recently for
his performance on the campaign trail, which included bragging about his
foreign policy credentials -- I`ve been to Israel, I`ve been to Italy, I`ve
been to many, many countries across the world.
Responses like that may have prompted the New York Daily News to
openly root for Michael Grimm to win re-election, then go to prison.
"In Domenic Recchia, the Democrats have fielded a candidate so dumb,
ill-informed, evasive and inarticulate that voting for a thuggish
Republican who could wind up in a prison jumpsuit starts to make rational
Should he be convicted, Grimm has promised to resign paving the way
for a match between two fresh candidates all the better.
Now Grimm isn`t the only Republican, nor the only candidate to
recently threaten physical violence to make the Mother Jones list. There`s
also Don Young, Alaska`s 21 term at-large congressman. Roll Call lists his
race as one in the safe Republican category even though Young reportedly
threatened his Democratic opponent Forrest Dunbar. As Dunbar later
recalled he kind of snarled at me and said don`t you ever touch me, don`t
ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.
We haven`t gotten any firm denials from his office whether that`s true
Despite that and other recent comments Young has made, like telling a
group at the senior center the government handouts have contributed to
Alaska`s high-suicide rate, Don Young looks like he`s going to be back to
congress for another term.
Also on the Mother Jones list of candidates who might actually win
tomorrow, Governor Paul LePage of Maine. LePage, last seen on the national
stage just a few days ago practically threatening nurse Kaci Hickox who
tested negative for Ebola, doesn`t have Ebola, let`s be clear, noting,
"we`re trying to protect her, but she`s not acting as smart as she probably
It`s just the latest colorful comment from a colorful guy who uses
colorful language when he and another person don`t see eye-to-eye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL LEPAGE, GOVERNOR OF MAINE: Senator Jackson claims to be for the
people, but he`s the first one to give it to the people without providing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Without Vaseline like a boy. So colorful.
It`s a tight, three-way race in Maine. But Real Clear Politics has
LePage pulling off a victory in that three-way race, which just beggars
And I`d like to add one more person to Mother Jones list who wasn`t on
that list, he`s a Democrat. His addition hits particularly close to home,
because he is my governor, Andrew Cuomo. A man who has governed this great
blue state of New York with a relentless contempt for economic progressive
and anyone on the left that dares to try to push him towards making this
state`s economy more just and for turning New York into the laboratory of
progressive experimentation that it should, by all rights, be.
He has managed, time and again, to stiff arm, double cross and betray
New York liberals and progressives at nearly every opportunity. He seems
to relish it, in fact.
Case in point, the Working Families Party, a progressive third party
that can, thanks to New York law, endorse Democratic candidates. He barely
won their endorsement over the opposition of many in the party fed up with
his antics. After, Cuomo offered a series of promises to the group,
including, and I`m not making this up, "the bare minimum of actually
working to help get Democrats elected to a senate majority in the state,
something you`d think any Democratic governor would wants nor would want,
but not Andrew Cuomo.
And so no sooner had he gotten the Working Family Party`s endorsement
than he basically started backing out of all of the promises he made and
sought to destroy that same party.
Cuomo`s campaign is now urging voters to cast their ballot for him not
under the Working Family`s Party line, which would ensure the progressive
party gets a ballot line in the next election and retains its political
power in the state, but under a new third party the Cuomo camp created
called the Women`s Equality Party.
You can see, WFP, WEP, how voters could be confused by the similar
names. And that appears to be fine with Andrew Cuomo.
Now, Cuomo has recently denied taking revenge on the Working Families
Party, calling that tortured political analysis. But he`s almost certainly
going to win tomorrow, leaving progressives in New York who are ticked off
at Andrew Cuomo few good options.
You can vote for the Green Party candidate, who is not going to win,
you can vote for the Republican who is not going to win and doesn`t have a
progressive record, or you could vote for Andrew Cuomo on a line of the
progressive Working Families Party who endorsed them and then watched as he
tried to destroy them.
And, alas, that`s what I`ll be doing tomorrow, as much as I find the
All in all this is all a very good reminder that politics doesn`t
begin and end with who you vote for. Casting that vote is just the
beginning, there`s a lot more work to do right after you cast it.
HAYES: In Alaska this year, election mailers have gotten down right
stalkerish. Check out this piece of mail. Under what looks like an
official seal, it asks in big bold letters what if your friends, your
neighbors and your community knew whether you voted?
The mailer then lists a series of names and shows whether or not they
voted in past elections with a question mark under November 4, 2014.
The so-called public shaming mailers, the Alaska Dispatch reports,
were sent by a conservative group called the Opportunity Alliance PAC in a
move presumably designed to maximize Republican turnout.
One recipient told the newspaper that the only thing the 11 people
listed on her letter had in comment was that they were her friends
Facebook, which, understandably, seemed creepy to her.
There are three important things to know about mailers like this. The
first is that they are perfectly legal. While who you vote for is private,
whether or not you vote is a matter of public record, accessible to anyone.
The second thing is that this isn`t just happening in Alaska and it
isn`t just being done by conservatives. It`s being used by both sides in a
number of states, although the level of shaming seems to vary.
The North Carolina Democratic Party, for example, has sent out mailers
noting that voting records are public and honestly warning the party is,
quote, disappointed by the inconsistent voting of many of your neighbors.
The letter stops short of listing names and voting history, but it`s
suggests that level of restraint may not last forever.
Because here`s the third thing to know about these types of mailers.
They work. Evidence suggests they`re one of the most effect ways to turn
people out for an election, at least so long as they don`t make people too
freaked out to vote.
The mailers are based on experimentation by political scientists who
have discovered that, quote, substantially higher turnout was observed
among those who received mailing promising to publicize their turnout to
their household or their neighbors.
Improving turnout, getting more people of your people to the polls,
that is the crucial, central problem that every political organizer loses
And it`s usually important, especially for progressives, because if
the electorate looked more like the country, our government would almost
certainly lean more to the left.
Right now, even though President Obama`s approval rating is low and
Republicans are widely expected to gain seats in both the House and Senate,
the Democratic Party remains far more popular than the GOP among registered
voters, overall. As you can see, the Republicans favorable rating, on the
cusp of what is supposed to be a big winning election for them is
completely under water.
But if a Republican-leaning subset are the ones that actually come out
vote, that fact, it doesn`t matter.
Now one method that has long been used to try to improve voter turnout
has been to deploy celebrities. And this year is no different.
Behold Rapper Lil John`s celebrity studded Rock the Vote public
service announcement Turn Out for What?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m Darren (ph), and I`m turning out for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m E.J. And I`m turning out for marriage
LENA DUNHAM, WRITER/ACTRESS: My name is Lil Lena (ph), and I`m
turning out for reproductive rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, so here`s the rather unfortunate punchline. The
Washington Post did some smart homework and found out that at least five of
those celebrities who
appear in that video, including Lena Dunham, who you saw dancing at the end
of that clip, did not actually vote in the midterms in 2010, which is kind
of funny and ironic or maybe it suggests that they have learned their
lesson and that people can, in fact, change their voting behavior.
When we come back, I`m going to talk to two people who spent countless
hours trying to crack the code of human voting behavior, what makes people
do it, what makes people stay home. They`re going to share what they`ve
HAYES: And as promised, joining me now Jess McIntosh, communications
director for Emily`s List; and Karine Jean-Pierre, former deputy
battleground state`s director for President Obama`s 2012 re-election
And Karine, I`ll begin with you. What do you think of this new trend
of the shaming mailer for turnout this election?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, FRM. CAMPAIGN DIR. FOR OBAMA 2012: Well, Chris,
thanks. Great to see you. Great to be here.
Well, you know, I -- it`s -- as we know, historically, voter
suppression has been -- has been around from Jim Crow until today,
suppressing minority votes, you know, all across the board. We`re still
dealing with that today.
And, you know, we were talking about...
HAYES: But wait, let me ask you this. The thing here, right, is this
seems to me there`s a tension between what`s effective and what like scans
with people`s sense of what`s acceptable. And there`s evidence that this
sort of shaming actually works, right?
But people react to it in a creepy way. So as a political organizer,
what do you do? Do you go with what you think works? Or do you listen to
JEAN-PIERRE: I think you -- you know, you`ve got to work where people
are. You have to really go out there and I think work with people`s
And so we`re talking about the midterm elections. I think it`s
important to look at these low propensity and sporadic voters that are not
known for coming out in the mid-term election. They`re historically --
they come out for the presidential election and I think it`s very important
to really figure out how do you reach these voters.
And when I talk about sporadic voters I`m talking about African-
Latinos, young people. I saw that you were playing that video. I think it
was the Rock the Vote video. Clearly, their understanding that, right?
They`re part of the sporadic voter group that they`re really going after.
HAYES: In fact, they are actually literally part of the sporadic
voting so far as some of them didn`t vote in 2010.
So they didn`t vote in 2010. And I think right now, in this midterm
election, what`s important in 2014 is making sure those voters come out.
And that`s a hard task. That`s a really difficult task to -- it`s an
uphill battle. It`s an uphill battle.
HAYES: Well, Jess, the thing that`s fascinating to me about this
question is there`s this deep core sort of social psychological question
which is how do you change human behavior. And that applies in all sorts
of different places, right.
How do you get someone to switch their brand of toothpaste. The
hundreds of millions of dollars over time go into that question, right.
How do you go to get someone from being a non-voter to a voter. What do
you know? What do you know? What is Emily`s List do to attack that
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Well, when one of the biggest groups of
sporadic voters is young, especially single women and what we have learned
about them is two-fold.
One, women tend to distrust political communications, that means ads
and mailers. So they want to hear from sources that they trust. And there
is literally nobody that they trust in their world more than their friends,
and their neighbors and their families, which is why it`s so important for
everybody watching to post on Facebook tomorrow that you`re going to go
vote and try to drag a friend to the polls, drag three to the polls.
When people learn from people that they love who understand what their
lives are like that voting especially even in the midterms matters a lot,
that really helps drive people up.
I think the other thing that we need to consider is that the issues
are right for Democrats this year really across the board the electorate
responds to the idea that we need to raise the minimum raise and gender
discrimination in pay, increased access to health care. We`re fighting a
really good issue battle right now. And you can see from the ads that
Republicans have chosen to close on, where they`re suggesting that they are
in favor of equal pay that they might be kind of pro-choice, that they`re
not comfortable with their messaging.
So basically the louder we can spread our message and the more people
we can get to the polls, the better progressives are going to do tomorrow.
And that`s why all of this matters right now.
HAYES: Let me ask this word of mouth question, Jess, is there a way
to scale that, right? I mean, is there a way to systematically scale word
of mouth to get people to turn out so -- on -- yeah. Are you guys doing
that? Are people doing that?
MCINTOSH: Oh, for sure.
And we have seen that happen in segments of the electorate. The
African-American vote being turned out with the Souls to the Polls, that`s
a huge way of talking to a lot of voters right away, meeting them right
where they live.
And I think that social media has given us a way to expand that
exponentially even since 2010. If you think about the social media
advancements in just the last four years, we can talk to a lot more -- our
networks have gotten so much bigger and so much more easily accessed than
just four years ago.
So I`m excited to see how things change tomorrow.
HAYES: Karine, you worked on the 2012 re-elect and obviously that
campaign both in 2008 and 2012 did manage to get a lot of these marginal
voters, or infrequent voters. What do you feel like the big lessons are
that you learned?
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I think it`s important. I think Jess hit it
right on the nose there. It` really important to -- people will listen to
their neighbors and to their friends right. And so you do like neighbor-
to-neighbor kind of action, you really tell -- one of the final pitches
that a lot of candidates I`ve worked for tend to do and tend to say that we
really, really push for is tell -- you go in there and you tell the crowd,
you tell people when you go to the polls you bring someone with you, right,
you don`t go alone. Make sure you bring your neighbor, make sure you bring
your mom, make sure you bring your sister.
So there is really reaching out to sensibility and making them
understand, we can do this, right? We can really, really make a difference
tomorrow in this election. So that`s one way is really talking to the
folks out there and really touching to their sensibility.
HAYES: Jess McIntosh and Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you both.
That is "All In" for this evening. Tune in tomorrow night starting at
6:00 p.m. Eastern for MSNBC`s special live coverage of the midterm
elections. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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