All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 11, 2015
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: August 11, 2015
Guest: Rick Wilson, Sandy Berger, Lawrence Lessig, Alicia Garza, Bill
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: He`s back!
HAYES: The Trump show continues.
DOOCY: Glad you`re back with us and we`re friends again.
HAYES: The inside story how Donald Trump stared down FOX News and
Plus, the Republican candidate now making it his mission to destroy
Then, a new Democrat jumps into the race with a one-topic platform.
LAWRENCE LESSIG, HARVARD PROFESSOR: I will enter the race as a
HAYES: Tonight my exclusive interview with Harvard professor Lawrence
And Bernie-mentum sweeps the West Coast. Tonight the question, Black
Lives Matters activists right to interrupt Sanders?
PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!
HAYES: We`ll have the debate tonight when ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening.
At this very hour, Donald Trump is addressing the crowd gathered for
the Michigan Republican Party`s Lincoln Day dinner.
Now, this is Trump`s first campaign event since last week`s
blockbuster Republican debate. And as a warm-up act, Trump spoke to the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, when you talked
in the debate it came out on one of the networks today. So, there should
have been 2 million people watching. Do you agree? About 2 million,
that`s been sort of standard, 2 million people. They had 24 million
people. And the 24 million, I think, is going to go to 28 million, 29
million and maybe even 30 million when the final numbers come in.
Who do you think they`re watching? Jeb Bush? Huh? I don`t think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When asked if he`s ever gone over the top, here is what he had
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t think so at all. I mean, I look at the polls. I can
only go by the polls.
A new poll came out, 32 percent. That`s the highest for anybody yet.
So, I can only go by the polls. The people we`re dealing with and whatever
has happened, it is what it is. You just look at the results.
I guess Iowa just came out a little while ago and leading in Iowa,
leading in New Hampshire, leading in North Carolina, leading in South
Carolina, leading in Nevada, leading everywhere. So, that`s all I can go
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Also asked him if he would consider running as a third party
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope that I will be the Republican nominee because that`s
the best way to win. I`m going to keep the door open on the other. If I`m
not treated fairly -- and the word is fairly. It doesn`t mean well. It
means fairly. If I`m not treated fairly, we`ll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Republican media consultant Rick
Wilson, founder of Intrepid Media, and MSNBC political analyst Howard Dean,
former Vermont governor, former chair of the DNC.
Rick, what are we -- what are we watching here? I can`t -- I continue
to have a hard time understanding what is happening in front of me as far
as Donald Trump is concerned. The campaign which started on a platform of
Mexico is sending rapists, has now become a campaign about cherishing
women. He said earlier in terms of women`s health, I`m for that.
He also seems to have constructed this somewhat bizarre new axis of
evil that`s China, Mexico and just dashed in today, Vietnam, whose leaders
are more cunning than ours and apparently beating our brains out, although
if you went to the median Mexican or median Chinese and ask them if that
was the case, I doubt they would give you the same answer.
What is this?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN MEDIA CONSULTANT: Chris, are you guys picking
up yet that half -- that Donald Trump`s brain is a hot mess? This is a guy
who just says what`s on his mind. He`s the drunk uncle at your
Thanksgiving dinner. There`s no internal monologue constraining what his
momentary prejudices or his momentary beliefs are.
It doesn`t have to have any basis in fact. I mean, as you said,
Vietnam is not our competitor in the global market space.
HAYES: Nor is Mexico really. Obviously, there`s a massive issue vis-
a-vis what happened post-NAFTA and the sort of trajectory of American wages
and how trade has affected that. All of which are totally legitimate. But
it is this kind of fascinating, Howard Dean, let me bring you in here,
Steve Kornacki was on the program and he compared it to Pat Buchanan back
in 1992, and there is something Buchanan-esque.
To the extent there`s any identifiable, ideological anything here,
it`s sort of this idea what you need are people, are leaders that are tough
and China`s got leaders that are tough. Mexico has got leaders who are
tough. We need leaders.
HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Here`s what I think this is
really about. This country has changed enormously both in terms of
demographics and this new, young generation I call first globals that most
call millennials are changing everything. You have gay people who are
allowed to get married. You had an African-American president. You have
women who are asserting themselves as equal to men.
This is incredibly disturbing to a significant number of people in the
Republican Party, and they are lashing out. They are angry. They don`t
know what to do.
And the elders of the Republican Party know they can`t win the
election with that going on and they`re trying to steer the party back to
the center. That`s what this is happening.
HAYES: Rick, does that stand to you?
WILSON: I think Howard has a point there that Trump is activating a
very small but very vocal faction in the party. They are very much this
nativist segment of it. He`s conning them with his seven-mile golden wall
surrounded with alligator moats. It`s not going to happen.
HAYES: By the way, it will be built, as we learned today, on top of
the toads that apparently stopped it from being built the first time and
will be paid for by Mexico as he reiterated again.
But here is the thing -- the con game here is precisely the issue.
This comes off this crazy weekend in which he appeared to go to war with
FOX News, a war he was said he couldn`t win. Remember, he kind of
rhetorical war with John McCain and everyone thought that would be his
Waterloo, it was not.
Then, it was -- he takes on FOX News. He`s going after Megyn Kelly,
who is a prized talent there, whose debate performance, I think, it`s fair
to say, was widely praised. Her questions were tough but fair. He`s going
after her and, you know, Gabe Sherman basically reporting today, and this
is his reporting, and I can`t independently vouch for it, that basically
Ailes waved the white flag. He could not find the off button on the
Like is that how you feel watching this? Or is this just an August
WILSON: I think this is the mad doldrums of late August and we`re
going to end up, look, guys, no matter how interesting Donald Trump is,
every interview is largely the same. Every interview is largely the same -
- weird stream of consciousness out of the guy.
And eventually there will come a point where it`s not as fascinating
every day for the press to cover it. Eventually, there will be other
things and other factors that start to wear away at the novelty of Donald
Trump and that starts to reduce the level to which it`s a story every day
for us to once again have to talk about the magical wall or the terrific
health care system he`s going to pull out of thin air, you know?
So, eventually the oxygen will start to go out of the room. Ailes
does play the long game. He`s a genius at television. And part of this is
that Roger Ailes has a set of motivation about the news and there`s a
symbiotic rating monster that they created --
HAYES: He did 24 million viewers.
WILSON: No kidding.
HAYES: When Donald Trump -- and this is what`s hilarious to me, too -
- it`s like these arguments. What are you going to do? Well, look at the
polls. I`m leading in the polls.
HAYES: It`s like, well, that`s not -- it`s like this bizarre
chronological thing of like, what are you going -- well, it`s working. I`m
leading in the polls.
DEAN: Here`s the thing -- he`s gotten -- he`s existed longer than I
DEAN: I thought he was going to self-destruct with John McCain. When
he said this to Megyn Kelly, I just thought, OK, he can`t survive this.
But he has. So, the next test really for him, assuming people don`t get
tired of this spectacle is Iowa because you have to have a good
organization in Iowa. You have to have smart, on the ground professional
people who have done this before.
HAYES: You speak from experience.
DEAN: It`s true. When I was chairman and was scrupulously neutral
between Hillary Clinton and Obama, I realized that Barack Obama could be
president because of what he did in Iowa doubling the previous record
turnout in my year, doubling it and getting all people to the polls, three
quarters of whom nobody in Iowa Democratic Party had seen before.
That is organization and discipline. You need those to win this. And
Trump first has to show that he has it. So far, there`s no evidence. We
WILSON: But what I think, though, I mean, Howard has a great point
about having to actually do the mechanical work of running a campaign.
Right now, Donald Trump is most of the time holed up in this fortress of
solitude in Trump Tower. He`s most of the time doing phone-in interviews
only. He doesn`t travel all that much. He`s not on the road all that
And eventually, you can`t fake it. You have to go out on the ground
and work these early states, you have to go out and be there and be
present. And I don`t think there are many five-star hotels he`ll be
comfortable with in Iowa unless he wants to commute back and forth to New
York every day and he`ll have to start exposing himself not only to the
day-to-day of campaigning but he`s also going to have to start rolling out
policies which are -- you know, it`s not sufficient to have three bullet
points on a sheet of Trump stationery in these things.
All the other factors will be picked apart of the mechanics of running
a campaign and, frankly, right now, he doesn`t seem to have a terrifically
large infrastructure. He`s picked up a couple of people that are good Iowa
hands but doesn`t have all the build-out that`s necessary to go out and win
HAYES: Let me flip this around, though, OK? Let`s talk about someone
who did do the stuff you do about campaigning, the guy who has been doing
it, Governor Rick Perry.
Now, whatever you want to say about Governor Rick Perry, the guy
governed one of the largest states for three terms for 12 years. That`s
like an actual job.
And he is a flurry of press today saying he`s run up against money
problems. The super PAC is going to come in. He had to stop paying staff
in South Carolina. The boxes you check, Rick Perry is doing those things.
And he`s screwed.
WILSON: I do think, Chris --
HAYES: Hold on one second.
DEAN: Trump is sucking all the oxygen out so people like Rick Perry
can`t survive. There are going to be four or five people probably serious
contenders in Iowa. I can`t tell you who they are, but that means there
are going to be 12 people who aren`t. Trump is making it impossible for
those people to get any oxygen at all in this race.
WILSON: That`s exactly right.
HAYES: But here`s the part of this that I think actually points to
something bigger, you talk about the oxygen, right? People getting tired
of hearing it.
I mean, here`s -- there`s a cycle that`s set into American politics
and you, Howard Dean, I think know this as well as anyone. There`s that
famous moment back in 2012 when someone yelled at Mitt Romney, what about
your gas, right? This sort of meta question like you`ve been saying -- and
campaigns become this means of gaffe chasing, right?
And you have this kind of weird cycle between the press and the
candidates where candidates speak less. They`re more controlled. Then
when they say something that can be a gap, that`s a bigger story, right?
DEAN: I`m very familiar with it.
HAYES: And part of what I think is interesting about Trump and it`s
been somewhat true of Bernie Sanders who I don`t think is comparable to
Trump in any way.
DEAN: I don`t think he`s made any gaffes.
HAYES: No, but the thing about Sanders is -- Sanders will talk to
you. Sanders talks and talks. Sanders will talk to you. Sanders is not
button down. He`s not going to not talk about things, right?
And to me, part of what we`re seeing here is we`ve hit some kind of
weird tipping point with the logic of control that has set in among the
relationship between campaigns and the press corps that covers them.
DEAN: That`s been going on for a long time, though. It`s oh, got you
all the time. I mean, the press corps doesn`t -- there are some, and I
respect them greatly, but very few people who go out and cover campaigns.
It`s all about got you. Can I be the one to ask the question that`s going
to get my name on the front page of the paper?
Even the great papers -- the best paper in the country, which is "The
New York Times," you read three or four paragraphs and they`re giving their
opinion although the article is not labeled as analysis. That`s fact.
HAYES: Criticism from Howard Dean.
DEAN: So, this is a game. This is a game that`s gone on. It
certainly went on when I was there. It really hasn`t changed much, except
it`s gotten worse.
HAYES: It is a game to a certain extent. It is a game in the
theoretical sense. It`s a back and forth between the candidates and the
press corps that covers them, there`s this war for novelty, OK?
The candidates` job is to not say anything new. The press corps` job
is to get novelty and make news.
HAYES: That`s why Donald Trump is --
DEAN: For Trump to be -- of all people to put Roger Ailes in his
place, I`m scratching my head. I don`t know anyone else on earth who could
do that. The Democrats don`t care. The Republicans, it`s a big deal.
WILSON: You`re right, Chris. It is a game and part of this is this
tension with voters, they say, we want authenticity. We want real. We
want people who will tell us what they really believe in.
And they typically don`t reward that.
WILSON: They typically end up rewarding the Barack Obama who stayed
on message all the time in 2008. It was all about the war and the economy
all the time. And so, you know --
HAYES: One of the most remarkably disciplined candidates in recent
And what will happen eventually is people will tire of the same set of
lines out of Trump that seem so authentic and refreshing in July and
August. They will become trite. They will signal not his authenticity but
of his -- like I said, the fact his thinking is a hot mess. This is not a
guy who`s got a policy or philosophy that he`s running on.
DEAN: I wouldn`t want to bet on that one, Rick.
I`ll tell you why. He`s a master of picking up the hot issue and
running with it before anyone else does. So, he`s going to have another
hot issue whether it`s immigration or who knows what it`s going to be.
He`ll be all over it with outrageous statements and nobody else will get a
HAYES: I think there`s also this leverage issue, which he keeps sort
of, you know, it`s an awfully --
WILSON: The word you`re looking for is not leverage, it`s blackmail.
HAYES: Well, let me -- people can draw their own conclusions. Here,
take a listen of what he said about a third party run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m going to keep the door open on the other. If I`m not
treated fairly -- and the word is fairly. It doesn`t mean well. It means
If I`m not treated fairly, we`ll see what happens. I don`t want to
run a third party or as an independent, I want to run as a Republican. As
long as I`m treated fairly, that`s going to be the case. And fairly is an
instinct. It`s an instinct.
I know what fair is. You know what fair is. I know what it is, yes.
I know what fair is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And this is the thing, Rick, that I think in terms of when we
think about the next phase of this campaign. "A," I might be more with
Howard Dean about the duration of this is an actual contender particularly
in a diffused field, but when it comes time to not be a contender, this is
a guy who`s going to take every last ounce in the final negotiation when he
sits down. That`s what he does.
In fact, he`s been bragging about that. If there`s one thing the guy
wrote a freaking book about, the thing that he beats his chest the most is,
you`re going to sit across the table from me, you`re going to give me
something, and he is already starting the campaign for that moment.
DEAN: It`s true.
WILSON: You know, I think he`s framing that out a little bit. Like I
said, I think there`s an element to the blackmail thing.
I will tell you when Republican voters heard him in the first debate
not being willing to foreclose that option, I think he hurt himself there.
I think there will be longer lasting damage than we think among rank and
file Republicans. And when they come to realize that a third party run by
Donald Trump is an absolute lock for Hillary Clinton in the White House --
WILSON: -- that he was enabling that, they will say this is not
leverage. It`s flat-out blackmail.
HAYES: All right. Howard Dean and Rick Wilson, thank you, both,
gentlemen, for your time. Really appreciate it.
Up next, how an organization lobbying against the Iran deal couldn`t
convince an extremely important person in their own ranks.
Plus, he is the only presidential candidate pledging to quit once he
gets the job. My exclusive interview with Lawrence Lessig is ahead.
And later the politics of disruption, did Black Lives Matter
protesters do the right thing when they interrupted Bernie Sanders on
stage? Both sides will join me tonight.
HAYES: Two months after one of the biggest U.S. prison breaks comes a
bombshell report by "The New York Times" of other prisoners being beaten by
guards in a frantic effort to get information on the escapees. Richard
Matt and David Sweat`s break ended a few weeks later with Matt`s shooting
death and Sweat`s capture.
But for days after the prison break, according to "New York Times",
many prisoners in the honor block shared by Matt and Sweat described a
litany of abuses, including being beaten while handcuffed, choked, and
slammed against the cell bars and walls. Sixty inmates filed complaints
with prisoner`s legal services.
A prisoner occupying the cell next to Mr. Matt, Patrick Alexander,
says he was handcuffed and lifted up by the throat, a plastic bag was
placed on his head and he was threatened with waterboarding. "Times" also
described an exchange with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who toured the
prison hours after the break, "Must have kept you awake with all that
cutting, huh?" Mr. Cuomo asked, according to video of the exchange. Then,
Mr. Alexander said the governor gave me his best tough guy stare and walked
Investigators have, thus far, found that certain prison system
employees were responsible for aiding Matt and Sweat.
HAYES: Right now, there are a lot of groups spending a lot of money
to lobby members of Congress and the public against the nuclear deal with
Iran, and you`d be forgiven for having trouble keeping it all straight.
They all seem to have politically ambiguous names, like Citizens for a
Nuclear Free Iran, the Foundation for American Security and Freedom, and
Secure America Now. Some are running ads on this very network, even during
this very show.
One of those groups, United Against Nuclear Iran, is ramping up
campaign right now. They put out a new ad hitting the Obama administration
over the four American hostages currently in Iran`s custody and now,
they`re sponsoring a billboard in times square thanking New York Senator
Chuck Schumer for coming out against the deal.
But already, there`s at least one key person United Against Nuclear
Iran has been unable to convince. His name is Gary Samore, the president
of United Against Nuclear Iran. Samore, you see, is a nonproliferation
expert who served as President Obama`s first czar for arms control and
weapons of mass destruction, and he endorsed the deal in an op-ed for
"Time" magazine last month.
And now, United Against Nuclear Iran has apparently decided it needs
someone new at its helm, someone in a better position to lead their
lobbying efforts against the deal and who better than former Connecticut
senator and former Democrat Joe Lieberman, a guy who hasn`t been all that
optimistic about diplomacy with Iran.
Here it was back in 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LIEBERMAN (I), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: The bad news is I think the
tougher sanctions will not convince Iran to find a diplomatic way to end
our nuclear weapons project. I think there`s an even better chance before
the end of 2014, the U.S. and/or Israel will take military action against
their nuclear program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Samore has now stepped down as president of United Against
Nuclear Iran, and Lieberman is the group`s new chairman. And with that,
Lieberman who once told "Time" magazine, he`d, quote, "for sure not become
a lobbyist after retiring", now sits on the boards of at least three groups
actively lobbying against the nuclear deal.
Joining me now, Sandy Berger, former national security adviser for
President Bill Clinton, current co-chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group.
Mr. Berger, have you ever seen an effort quite like this one to undo a
diplomatic accord of this nature?
SANDY BERGER, FMR. CLINTON NAT`L SECURITY ADVISER: Well, this is a
pretty strenuous, impressive effort. You know, there have been efforts
before to oppose arms control treaties with the Soviets. I don`t think
I`ve seen one where there`s been so much participation of a foreign
government involved. But this is about a strong an opposition I think as
I`ve seen in all my time here.
HAYES: And what are you -- I mean, you`re talking foreign government,
in this case Israel, the Israeli government, both the current government
and the opposition party are fairly strongly against the deal. Why do you
-- what do you make of this? Is the Israeli government making a different
calculation than the American government is? Do the two countries simply
have different interests which also seems a distinct possibility in this
BERGER: Well, if you`re Israel and you are living near a country
which denies your existence and would be happy if you didn`t exist, you
have to every reason to be insecure and to be paranoid. And so, I
understand that fear. And I think all of us -- all of us should.
My own view is if I thought this agreement threatened Israel`s
security by the way, in any way, I would not be for it. I think Israel is
better off if Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. It`s not in the verge
of getting a nuclear than if it is.
HAYES: But that`s -- let me stop you there. That seems to be what`s
so maddening about this debate, to the extent there`s actual debate.
There`s a deal on the table that was negotiated over a very long period of
time. The people who I would say are closest to technical expertise in
arms control and nuclear development seem to think this is a good deal.
There`s a new letter out today from scientists, dozens of them,
there`s 36 retired generals and admirals, who have come out now in favor of
this deal. Everything -- all defense of the deal seems to stem around the
deal. Objections to the deal seem far more existential. So, you run ads
about the fact that there are some Americans who are currently in Iranian
custody, or the fact that Ahmadinejad said odious and anti-Semitic things
about the state of Israel, but that`s a distinct thing from the actual
BERGER: Sure. I think that`s right.
I mean, you mentioned Gary Samore at the top of this. I think it`s a
very interesting development. Gary is one of the leading nonproliferation
experts of the United States, one of the leading Iran nonproliferation
He was one of a group of former Obama officials who wrote the
president about a month ago and laid out a series -- essentially
conditions, rather skeptical letter saying that the agreement didn`t meet
these conditions, they wouldn`t be for it. So, you have an Iran skeptic
looking at this agreement with very, very expert eyes saying, I think this
is a good agreement. I think that`s a very strong validation of the
strength of this agreement.
HAYES: This is a key point, right? That letter that you signed on to
happened before the final -- I mean, it was between the interim framework
and the final 100-plus-page document of the deal was announced. I mean,
this was before that thing. He said, we need to see these conditions met
in order to support it. The deal came out, he felt satisfied those
conditions were met. He supported it and he is now no longer at United
Against a Nuclear Iran.
BERGER: And it was a rather high bar, Chris. It was not just one
item. There were four, five items they felt needed to be addressed. And I
think the fact that Gary now has looked at this agreement and examined it
from I would call him a super Iran skeptic.
BERGER: And from that perspective, you know, I think that`s a
HAYES: Yes, I think it is.
Sandy Berger, thank you for your time. Appreciate it.
Ahead, presidential candidate Rand Paul unveils his two word solution
of on inequality, work harder. A look at meritocracy in the 2016 field is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: The thing is income inequality is due
to some people working harder and selling more things. So, if people
voluntarily buy more
of your stuff, you`ll have more money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took a bold stand while
defending his tax plan over the weekend, declaring that some people work
harder than others and that`s why they have more money, half of which is
true -- it is definitely true that some people in America, in the world, do
work harder than other people. It is, however, deeply unclear to the
degree which that has anything to do with the
money they make or income inequality.
Paul was trotting out a tried and true Republican standard on American
meritocracy, you work hard, you rise up to the top. But for a more
realistic picture of real American meritocracy in action, look no further
than last week`s Republican debate.
Reviewers watched broadcaster Chris Wallace, son of broadcaster Mike
Wallace, asking questions of former Governor Jeb Bush, son of former
President George H.W. Bush, real estate developer Donald Trump son of real
estate developer Fred Trump and Senator Rand Paul son of former congressman
This election cycle of course is not unique. 2012, of course, gave us
presidential candidate and former governor Mitt Romney, son of former
and presidential candidate George Romney. And every four years it seems
have a whole host of candidates competing to give us their best Horacio
Alger story proof the American dream still exists.
So, now we have Rand Paul who inherited a name and a political base
from his father noting that income inequality is due to some people simply
working harder than others. Paul, who spent the last several days in his
campaign, hitting the current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and
questioning his conservative credentials, to which Trump called Paul in a
tweet a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.
Paul`s rebuttal to the spoiled brat portion of that remark came today
campaign stop at Riley`s Gun Shop in Hookset (ph), New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: If we`re talking about who is a spoiled brat or not, my kids
all work minimum wage jobs. Do you think any of the Trump kids have been
working at the
local Pizza Hut?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For the record, Rand Paul is no fan of the minimum wage and
also for the Trump family is not above working for Pizza Hut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP,REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: Do you really think this is the
right thing for us to be doing, Ivana?
IVANA TRUMP, FRM. WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: What will people think?
TRUMP: Let them talk.
IVANA TRUMP: Donald.
It`s wrong, isn`t it?
IVANA TRUMP: But it feels so right.
TRUMP: Then it`s a deal?
IVANA TRUMP: Yes, we eat our pizza the wrong way.
TRUMP: Crust first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Different times.
You know, let me tell you something, working hard is great, but if you
really want to make it in America your best bet is still being born to a
rich person. If you don`t believe me, just ask the Donald.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This campaign is not about a person, it`s about a
principle, an American principle that we must reclaim that all are created
equal and that a democracy must respect us all as equals. This is our shot
to make democracy possible. We need to take it now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, it appears there`s going to be another entrant into
the 2016 presidential field, this one on the decidedly less than crowded
Democratic side, and one I don`t think anyone expected a year ago or even
six months ago or even a few months ago. Today, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard
law professor, announced he is launching an exploratory committee for the
2016 Democratic nomination for president. Lessig, a pioneer in
intellectual property law has more recently dedicated himself to battling
big money and corruption throughout political systems and other systems.
The Harvard professor is running as what he called a, quote,
referendum president with a singular mandate of passing what he called the
act, a bill that would focus on equal voting rights, representation and
citizen funded elections.
Once it`s passed, Lessig says he would hand over the presidency to his
elected vice president.
Easy as that.
Joining me now is Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor, potential
Democratic candidate for president. Full disclosure, I was a fellow at the
Safra Center for
Ethics at Harvard a few years back, which is run by my friend, Lawrence
How are you.
LAWRENCE LESSIG, HARVARD: Great to see you, Chris.
HAYES: OK. Let me hold off on the skepticism and start with the
central -- what is the idea here?
LESSIG: The idea is we are at a place where everyone recognizes this
is deeply corrupted and corrupted because of a basic inequality in the
Look, in the way we fund campaigns, we`ve created essentially a green
primary, you know, in the southeast have the white primary where only
whites could vote, well now we have a green primary where people like The
Donald have the money and they are the people who are voting and the
candidates spent all their time sucking up to these people giving them
money so that they can be qualified to run in a general election.
That is a perverse corruption of the basic equality of a
And as you describe in the introduction it`s not the only corruption
of equality in the system. The way we district in gerrymandered ways to
all sorts of people from any meaningful representation, the way we
disqualify people from being able to vote through these ridiculous systems
to keep them out.
These are all ways in which we`ve allowed the system to evolve away
from the founding idea of what this republic was supposed to be, a
representative system where citizens were represented.
HAYES: Every citizen, each soul is equivalent to each other soul.
HAYES: OK. So, I agree with you on the problem broadly. I mean, I -
- you know, and the citizen equality act talks about racial disparity as
well, racial injustice, criminal justice the way that the criminal justice
system also values some citizens much more highly than it does others, the
way that it values donors over average working people. Agree on the
Why run for president? I mean, you`re a Harvard law professor, you`re
a friend of mine, I think you`re brilliant. But you`re going to run for
LESSIG: Right, because as I`ve listened to the Democratic candidates
describe all the beautiful things that are going to happen under a
Democratic administration, really bold, fantastic ideas for dealing with
climate change, for dealing with Wall Street, for taking on the problem
that`s been raised by the immigration issues in really powerfully effective
ways, I`ve had this kind of fantasy politics feeling about it all, because
the thing that we all know in Massachusetts where our senator is Elizabeth
Warren is the, quote, system is rigged, right? The system is rigged.
What follows from that is if we do not fix the rigged system that all
these dreams are fantasies, fantasies.
HAYES: OK. But then you have got a candidate named Bernie Sanders.
And Bernie Sanders is someone who very high high up if his issue priority,
I mean, maybe even the top thing, he talks about money and politics. He
talks about Citizens United. His funding streams are actually quite
distinct from the other candidates in terms of how he actually is raising
his money. Isn`t Bernie Sanders kind of doing this?
LESSIG: Well, it`s interesting. Bernie Sanders two days ago -- money
and politics was the lowest issue on his list of issues. Today it`s number
two on his list of issues. So, that`s progress already.
But the point is I think Bernie has been great in talking about these
issues. But the question isn`t whether you`re checking off the box of the
right issues, the question is show me the plan that gives any plausible
reason to believe you`re going to have a mandate to take on the most
powerful political interest in Washington.
HAYES: But isn`t that the -- see, this strikes me as a problem.
You`ve done all these sort of interesting experiments in interventions into
the political system the last four or five years. And you and I have been
having a conversation about precisely this issue. You have this thing
called May Day PAC, which is this kind of way of using the system in a
jujitsu way, raise money against big money and sort of these pledges.
And part of the issue it strikes me is that you know when people can
agree with you, but the thing they want to argue about over Thanksgiving
Dinner, or the thing you`re going to stream to vote in are on the sort of
first order issues, right.
Like, are the cops going to shoot my kid? Am I going to have a good
The question is like how do you make this stuff you`re talking about,
can nod my head, into that sort of primary issue?
LESSIG: Right. Because if I had the opportunity to be in the debate,
then the debate would tie every issue to this inequality. We would see how
every issue that we`re complaining about like climate change -- we will not
have climate change legislation in the United States until we fix this
So, if you`re talking about how terrible it is that the oceans are
rising or that Bangladesh is going to disappear, you need to realize that
until we deal with this issue, we are not going solve our contribution to
You want to take about taking on Wall Street, all the Democratic
candidates, they are talking about massive new laws to take on Wall Street.
I`m all for it.
But here`s the reality, Wall Street is the largest contributor to the
Democrats and Republicans in over anyone else. And so you`re going to take
number one funder and regulate them in a way that will drive them nuts?
It`s not going to happen, Chris, it`s not going to happen until we find a
way to fix this rigged system.
We have got to find a commitment to fix the rigged system first.
And the thing that they`ve not done is given us a plan that has any
credible mandate to take that on.
Citizen equality act it`s called?
LESSIG: It`s not just an act, it`s that there would be a referendum,
that`s what the presidency would be, a referendum, that that referendum
would be the thing that would create a mandate different from anything any
presidential candidate could bring to it.
HAYES: Lawrence Lessig, I`m a great admirer of yours. And thank you
for coming on tonight.
LESSIG: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, Berniementum (ph) takes Los Angeles.
(BEGNI VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN; He is a man of the people. He has to be,
his name is Bernie. And he`s a man for the people. He has to be, he`s
9END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As the crowds keep getting bigger, the debate over the Black
Matter protest to Bernie Sanders continues. A debate over the politics of
disruption, and the future of the progressive grassroots is ahead.
HAYES: Last night there were more than 20 arrests during another
night of protests in Ferguson, Missouri marking the one-year anniversary of
the police shooting death of Michael Brown. Last night`s arrests came
after some protesters refused to move out of traffic. One of the most
striking images from the sight of -- was the sight of certain heavily armed
civilians mixing among the crowds, the so-called oathkeepers as they call
themselves, a right-wing group composed largely of former military and
police who pledge to, quote, defend the constitution against all enemies
foreign and domestic and who spend a considerable amount of time worrying
about the federal government declaring martial law.
A St. Louis County police chief John Belmar said their presence was,
quote, both unnecessary and inflammatory. But a police spokesman said he
did not think the armed civilians had been asked to leave.
If you could create one little moment, one picture of America in 2015,
I think it would be an armed oathkeeper with an assault style weapon amid a
Black Lives Matter protest in Ferguson talking up Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump provides more jobs for more people
even -- he helps people of all races. The man is not a racist.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Is that just talk. Is that just talk, though?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When we come back, the Black Lives Matter movement versus
presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
HAYES: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton spoke at an event
today in New Hampshire focusing on substance abuse. Activists from Black
Lives Matter told The New Republic they planned to disrupt that event
today, but when it was over, Politico reported that five demonstrators with
the Black Lives Matter movement were
barred from entering after they arrived too late to make it past the Secret
But then in a somewhat unexpected turn of events Hillary Clinton
agreed to a private meeting with Black Lives Matter activists.
A tweet from Black Lives Matter Boston said they had, quote, gotten
the attention of Hillary Clinton`s staff and they are working with us.
Black Lives Matter activists have been able to directly challenge
other Democratic candidates for what they consider paying insufficient
attention to race
and criminal justice.
At the progressive NetRoots nation annual convention last month in
Phoenix, Black Lives Matter activist interrupted both Bernie Sanders and
fellow democratic presidential candidate Martin O`Malley.
After that event, O`Malley unveiled a criminal justice platform that
to address many of the protesters` concerns. Sanders was interrupted again
Saturday. At an event for Social Security in Seattle by protesters
identifying themselves as from the Black Lives Matter movement. That event
ended without him
And since that confrontation, Sanders has added his own racial justice
platform up on his website. It`s quite ambitious.
He has introduced his new national press secretary, a young black
criminal justice advocate named Simone Sanders. And she was the one who
kicked off Sunday night`s event in Portland in front of a record crowd of
28,000 people and she was the one who introduced comedian Sarah Silverman
at last night`s rally in Los Angeles before Sanders took the stage and
spoke to more than 27,000 people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVERMAN: He was against the Iraq war, against deregulation of Wall
Street that led to the 2008 collapse, and, most importantly, against the
breakup of Destiny`s Child.
I may have made that last one up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Bernie Sanders campaign along with the Black Lives Matters
movement continue to be what I think are two of the most vibrant parts of
the American left at the moment. But there`s a very heated debate
happening about each side`s tactical wisdom. We`ll talk about that with a
supporter from each side next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to honor all of the black lives
lost this year, and we`re going to honor the fact that I have to fight
through all these people to say my life matters. That I have to get up
here in front of a bunch of screaming, white, racists who say my life
(EXPLETIVE DELTED) matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was an emotional moment from Saturday in Seattle when
protesters identified as Black Lives Matters interrupted Bernie Sanders.
And joining me now a Alicia Garza. She`s co-creator of Black Lives
Matter and special projects director at the National Domestic Workers
Alliance and Bill Press, host of the nationally syndicated radio show The
Bill Press Show.
Alicia, let me start with you. I think one of the things I`ve heard
from folks about this tactic is there are people who perceive Bernie
Sanders has been singled out. He`s been interrupted twice, which I think
is more than any other candidate, and that it seems odd to people who feel
he`s someone who in his record, in his politics, in his world view would
seem in some senses to be of the 20 people running probably the closest to
having an ideology similar to folks at Black Lives Matter.
What`s your response to that?
ALICIA GARZA, CO-CREATOR BLACK LIVES MATTER: Well, I have a few
responses. And I think the first one is just for the record to say both
Sanders and O`Malley have been interrupted. It has not just been Sanders.
And that that interruption really forced Bernie Sanders to have a strong
platform on race and racial justice and criminal justice. And it can get
And so we should really be thinking, activists, who have taken the
risk to make sure that our lives are represented in every candidate`s
platform and that is our plan from now leading up to 2016.
I think the other thing that`s important just to acknowledge is that
bird dogging and disruption is about as American as apple pie. But when we
talk about bird dogging when folks like Code Pink or Act Up, mostly white
folks, are disrupting the president, they`re disrupting businesses as
usual, we don`t seem the same level of vitriol that we`ve seen against
Black Lives Matter protesters who doing exactly the same thing.
HAYES: Yeah. I mean, I would say I think Act UP got a fair amount of
vitriol in their day when they were disrupting people.
But Bill, I mean, what the response to this argument which I`ve heard,
which actually seems pretty -- to scan pretty well. Look, we disrupted
people. You know, politics ain`t bean bag. No, you have to so what -- you
get interrupted, you brush yourself off, you go to your next speech.
And, in fact, look at the next results. Martin O`Malley puts out a
very strong platform. Bernie Sanders puts out a pretty ambitious platform.
What`s so bad about that?
BILL PRESS, THE BILL PRESS SHOW: First of all, Chris, let me say --
look at me, right? If I -- if my hair were more disheveled, if I spoke
with a Brooklyn
accent, I might be Bernie Sanders. So, maybe I`m the last one to be giving
advice to African-Americans about how to deal with this issue of race, but
I know something about protests. I mean, I marched with Al Sharpton and
Jesse Jackson and Cesar Chavez and Jean McCarthy.
The first thing I learned about protest is, you target the people who
disagree with you. You don`t waste time targeting your friends.
I think the tactic is absolutely right, shut it down whether it`s a
highway or a city park or a speech by a politician, but I think of all the
understand that economic justice and social justice go hand-in-hand with
important, Bernie gets it better than any of those other 22 candidates.
They`re picking the wrong target.
HAYES: So, Alicia, let me ask you this on sort of on that point,
right, part of it seems to me -- there is kind of -- let`s just talk about
the Democratic primary and then we can talk about Republicans in a second.
But there is sort of a zero sum situation here, right? I mean, these
folks are competing against each other in a primary. And one of the things
fascinating about the NetRoots Nation thing is O`Malley and Sanders were
disrupted at that event, right. And Hillary Clinton didn`t get disrupted
because she wasn`t there, right. It ends up creating somewhat perverse
incentives to be as hunkered down as possible, right?
So, if you got the Secret Service retinue like the event today in New
Hampshire, if you don`t show up at NetRoots Nation, maybe you could avoid
it and then a day later you can come out with a perfectly good statement
about Black Lives
Matter because you didn`t have to deal with it in the moment.
Like, do you worry about that tactically creating the incentives in
front-runner in this race, I think it`s fair to say, sort of ends up with
this kind of added benefit?
GARZA: Let me say this. Every single candidate in this upcoming
election cycle is going to be pushed, and the tactics are not all going to
look the same, but we are going to make sure that every single candidate
addresses what their plan is to make sure that we can breathe, to make sure
that our lives do actually matter.
And I want to be really clear. With Bernie Sanders, yes, he is
someone that people on the left really like. But we have to be honest,
when he was asked whether or not Black Lives Mattered at the NetRoots
Nation conference, this is someone who spent 50 years fighting for civil
rights, right? We`ve heard this many times. He could not and did not
actually say Black Lives Matter until he was pushed.
So, again, we have to be really, really clear here that if there isn`t
disruption and if our friends and our enemies are not pushed around this
question of whether or not black lives matter and not just whether but what
they plan to do in order to ensure that black lives matter, we won`t see it
and so we`re going to continue at every step of the way to make sure that
each of these candidates feels
accountable to ensuring that black lives matter.
PRESS: Look, Chris, with Bernie I think this is a case of trying to
perfect the enemy of the good. I mean, Bernie`s record is second to none
when it comes to civil rights. People accuse Barack Obama of not using
certain phrases enough and yet look at all that he has done.
I have to say this, I think Black Lives Matter has made a real
contribution here. It`s a hugely important movement, a hugely important
message. Martin O`Malley has put his platform out there. Bernie Sanders
has put his platform out there. I would say now there are 17 Republican
targets and a couple more Democratic targets that should be their next
target, their next rally.
HAYES: Quickly, Alicia, Donald Trump basically dared Black Lives
Matter to interrupt him today. I don`t know if you saw that but any plans
GARZA: We have got plans for everyone. And I will say, again, it`s
important to us that we are moving our people. It`s not important it us
that we are palatable to folks who are not sure if they align with
disruption or not but, again, we want to be very, very clear that every
single candidate will be pushed to acknowledge what they`re going to do to
make sure that black lives matter.
HAYES: Candidates on notice. Alicia Garza, Bill Press, thank you
both very much.
And that is All In this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show begins now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>