'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
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Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 4, 2015
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: And on Friday, do not forget to catch
the Democratic forum hosted by the one, the only Rachel Maddow, exclusively
And the aforementioned Rachel Maddow, her show begins right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That was very kind of you. I also want
you to know that I will not be asleep between now and that forum.
HAYES: You people watching this may think you are joking about that.
HAYES: But that is a true thing, because I know you well enough to
know that`s true.
MADDOW: Even if I take the time to lie down in bed, I`m staring at
the ceiling freaking out.
Thank you very much, Chris. I appreciate it, man.
HAYES: All right.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
There`s a lot of news going on in the world right now and even into
tonight. We have a lot coming up on tonight`s show.
There`s news tonight that one major household name, presidential
contender, may not be getting into next week`s Republican debate for the
first time. A new person at the kid`s table. We`re going to have that
There`s also news tonight on what may be the death of a political
issue that both Republicans and Democrats have been up in arms about for
eight straight years now. The Keystone pipeline is looking like it may be
dead after all these years of fighting over it and there`s really
interesting news on that tonight.
But the biggest news in the country and the biggest news in the world
right now concerns the plane crash of MetroJet Flight 9268 this past
weekend over Egypt. That terrible crash of that flight full of Russian
vacationers happened on Saturday. All 224 people on board were killed when
the plane came down over the Sinai Peninsula.
This is a map showing Egypt as a whole, the Sinai Peninsula is this
part over here which is geographically and topographically quite separate
from the rest of Egypt. In the Sinai, they talk about the rest of Egypt as
mainland Egypt. But the Sinai is where the plane came down shortly after
taking off from a relatively small airport at the international resort town
at the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula, a town called Sharm el-Sheikh.
That plane crash, as you know it happened on Saturday, just a
terrible story. The crash has remained in the news every day since
Saturday because authorities don`t know what that brought that plane down.
That remains the case tonight, bottom line. There`s still no official
pronouncement that anybody knows exactly what happened to that plane.
But when the story of this plane crash turned today, to not just the
distant prospect, not just the threat but as of today the real fear that
that plane might have been brought down by a bomb -- it was interesting
that that news today came first from the U.K. of all places. The British
government convened an emergency cabinet meeting today and after that
emergency cabinet meeting, the British prime minister put out an order and
a statement. The order was to halt all flights to Britain from that Sharm
In a statement that rocketed around the world, explaining why that
order had been issued by the British government, the prime minister said,
quote, "While the investigation is still ongoing, we cannot say
categorically why the Russian jet crashed, but as for information has come
to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought
down by an explosive device."
And that`s why this is the biggest news in the world today. The
British government has not said what this new information is. That
increased their concerns that the flight was brought down by a bomb rather
than because of mechanical failure or some other reason, but whatever.
They learned that led them to this conclusion caused the British government
to take this rather drastic step of not letting anymore planes bound for
the U.K. take off from that airport at Sharm el-Sheikh. And we`ll have
more on the logistical importance on that in a moment.
But after the British made this announcement, and made this policy
decision today, NBC News was told by a U.S. official that, indeed, the
evidence indicates that it was a bomb that brought down that flight.
Again, though, caution, that is not any sort of official pronouncement from
the U.S. government. That is one anonymous official characterizing the
evidence that way to NBC News.
But there is an official investigation under way. The official
investigation is the Egyptians because the crash happened on their
territory and it happened to a plane that had just taken off from an
Egyptian airport. Investigation involves the Russians because it was a
Russian plane full of Russian citizens who died.
It involves the French because that plane that crashed was an Airbus
A-320. So, it was manufactured by a European company, headquartered in
France, and France the home of Airbus is involved in the investigation into
when their own planes crash. That investigation also involves the German
because that particular plane was built in Hamburg. The investigation
involves the Irish because the plane was registered in Ireland.
And when you think about that, as the character of this international
investigation into what happened with this plane crash on Saturday, that
makes it all the more interesting that news about this plane crash took
such a dramatic turn toward the prospect of terrorism today with an
announcement from the British government because the British government is
not one of the countries who`s taking part in that international invest
into this crash.
Why did this news today come from the British?
The reason the British are now such a key part of the story, the
reason they have taken such a critical and interventionist interest in what
happened here, the context for understanding why they were first to sound
the alarm today about this incident and the prospect of terrorism, the
reason that they feel so close to this story in Sharm el-Sheikh is because
as it happens, there are a ton of British people in Sharm el-Sheikh right
now. With this decision to not let flights take off from Sharm el-Sheikh
coming back to the U.K., this means there are about 20,000 British citizens
who are stranded at that resort town right now, 20,000. And that`s a
fairly typical number for this time of year.
Round trip flights from London to Sharm el-Sheikh, to this specific
place in Egypt, you can get round trip flights, a flight there and back for
like $175, round trip airfare. And you`re not mixing up the geography in
your head. The U.K. and Egypt are not right next to each other. Flying
between London and Sharm el-Sheikh is equivalent of New York City to
Bogota, Colombia, which you cannot do roundtrip for $175.
But if you want an impulse buy, quick vacation to some place warm
because the London fog is bumming you out or something, last-minute
vacation packages for an all inclusive holiday, leaving from London, seven
straight nights at the Grand Oasis Resort in Sharm el-Sheikh and the
flights, all inclusive, everything all in for seven nights, you can get
that for 299 pounds, about $460, if you are traveling from London.
And the reason they can do package deals like that for British
tourists so cheaply, the reason they can do non-stop round trip flights for
less than 200 bucks to this place in Egypt is because there`s such a great
huge volume of tourist travel specifically by British people to Sharm el-
Sheikh. It`s just one of those kind of accidents of tourism marketing and
well-trod paths among European tourists.
Sharm el-Sheikh is lovely. The mountains come right down to the sea
and beautiful snorkeling and there`s nice resorts and where Brits go.
British people go to Sharm el-Sheikh on vacation by the tens of thousands.
There are tens of thousands of them there every day.
And that historical truth has persisted even over the past few years
as Islamic militancy in the Sinai Peninsula has become an increasingly hard
to ignore violent insurgency.
Mostly Islamic militant attacks in the Sinai target military
facilities or police and soldiers. In another part of the Sinai Peninsula
today, there was a suicide car bombing that killed at least four Egyptian
police officers. That was about 300 miles from Sharm el-Sheikh.
It was one big coordinated bombing attack ten years ago that did hit
the resort town itself. Did hit Sharm el-Sheikh exactly. It targeted
tourist areas. There are multiple, simultaneous remote detonated bombs, 88
people were killed, including nearly a dozen British tourists. That was
ten years ago. That was 2005.
This time last year, one relatively high profile group of militants
in the Sinai pledged their allegiance to ISIS and to its leader, Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi. Those Sinai militants started calling themselves the Sinai
Province of ISIS, the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. That was about
a year ago.
And when that specific group immediately claimed responsibility when
we learned that that Russian plane had crashed in the Sinai on Saturday,
most people blew it off. Most people blew it off as bluster and wishful
thinking by that ISIS affiliate. It was perceived as the group wanting
credit for something they could not conceivably have had anything to do
Well, today, that same group issued another claim of responsibility.
They said it really was them. They bragged that they would never explain
how they did it, but they downed that plane.
And you know what? The old cautions and caveats still remain in
place. A group like ISIS and its affiliate in the Sinai, they have every
incentive in the world to claim that this is their work even if it is not.
They would love to get credit for killing this many innocent civilians,
particularly now that Russia claims to be fighting against ISIS in Syria as
part of Russia`s military efforts to bolster the Syrian dictator Bashar al
I mean, to that point, Russia and its aviation industry has every
reason, every incentive to blame this on a bomb or a terrorist attack, even
if it`s not a bomb or a terrorist attack, because they would love to divert
from any concern that their own plane might have crashed because of just
something so dumb as a maintenance issue.
But something has happened today in the international scrutiny of
this incident if not the official investigation. Something has happened
today in the intelligence world that has led Britain to quite literally
strand 20,000 of their own citizens on the ground in a very, very, very
popular British tourist destination which nevertheless is a place that the
British government now believes may have been the origination point of a
major international terrorist attack.
With no British flights in or out of that airport at Sharm el-Sheikh,
how are all those 20,000 British people going to get home? Don`t know yet.
But right now, they`re stranded.
And again, there`s no official word either from the official
investigation or from the U.S. government on the record. But NBC News
contact with U.S. government officials has yielded this very provocative
but as yet anonymous claim that evidence related to this crash indicates
somehow that it may well have been a bomb that brought down that plane.
I can`t be more specific about that because that`s the only word that
we have. If it was a bomb, if the ISIS claims of responsibility that it
was their bomb, if those turn out to be correct, naturally, that would make
this not only ISIS` deadliest attack yet on an international target, it
would make this one of the deadliest acts of international terrorism of any
kind anywhere in the world since 9/11.
Joining us now is NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.
Pete, thanks very much for being here. It`s good to have you here.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
MADDOW: I`m very sorry. I have no audio. I can`t hear you.
Pete, if you don`t mind, we`ll have to take a quick break and fix
this and we`ll be right back. You can hear me. I can`t hear anything
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Joining us is NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.
Pete, I`m sorry about that interruption. Thanks very much for
sticking with me.
WILLIAMS: Not to worry. These things happen.
MADDOW: The word from the British government today was, "As more
information has come to light, we have become concerned that the plane may
well have been brought down by an explosive device."
Do we have any news about why the U.K. government believes that or
why our own government might be leaning that way?
WILLIAMS: Yes. I think we do. There`s actually been a pretty
consistent message from the British both publicly and backchannel and from
American intelligence officials and the Pentagon today.
Basically, two tracks of information. One is the physical evidence
itself. Now, I should say before I delve into this, something that you
said earlier but I think it bears repeating which is no one says they know
what happened. There`s no conclusive evidence of what brought this plane
down. They don`t know what it was. They still say it might be a
Now, having said that, why are they increasingly saying that they`re
growingly concerned that, in fact, was an attack of terrorism?
Two channels: one is the evidence itself, the pieces on the ground
consistent with the explosive, not definitive and not definitive the other
direction. So, it`s part of what the physical evidence doesn`t show and
part of what it does show. So, highly suggestive that it was a bomb.
Second is the claims of ISIS before this happened that were -- the
claims of ISIS, rather, that came out after the crash, both publicly and
we`re told some in intercepted communications where ISIS is saying that
they did this. Now, again, that`s not definitive either.
And if you just take a look at any one of these things, for example,
the ISIS claim of credit is coming in a text message and two audio messages
and in one of the most recent text message, they say prove that we have not
downed it. They say, we will Allah willing declared the method of downing
it at the time we want and the form that we see. But this is all post-hawk
after the fact, and the normal course for ISIS if you think, for example,
about the Garland, Texas, attack is immediately afterwards to be very
specific about what they did, charts and graphs, circles and arrows,
pictures of people involved and they haven`t done that here.
So, you know, all of which is to say it`s very suggestive. There are
some things in intelligence that they`re not telling us. We have a sense
of what some of it is and we can`t report it.
But all of those things together, Rachel, the physical stuff and it`s
the intelligence lead them in a direction but don`t get them to the
MADDOW: Clearly, we have in terms of thinking about ISIS or a group
like them as a potential culprit here, we -- obviously, have motive. The
question is whether they have means and I think that brings us pretty
specifically to the question of whether or not we understand enough about
the security of the airport from which this aircraft took off and any
security concerns around this airline specifically.
Is Sharm el-Sheikh considered to be a dangerous place in terms of
terrorist risk at the airport?
WILLIAMS: Well, it`s certainly a dangerous part of the world.
WILLIAMS: The thinking was that the airport`s security was actually
not bad. Now, there are two ways a bomb can get on an airplane.
One is that a passenger can carry it on and we have been told that
intelligence officials have scrubbed both the passenger manifest and the
crew list and haven`t found anyone that was previously known to be
connected with terrorism. Now, of course, it could be someone that wasn`t
The second way is to get it on the cargo and that`s why you`re seeing
this second layer of concern about people around the plane, the people who
load the baggage and the mail and whatever else may be on that plane.
One other point here about the British timing -- I think one of the
things that we heard earlier today is, you know, why did they do it right
now? And it may not simply be a tipping point of physical evidence and
intelligence, but also, the simple fact of the calendar.
This is apparently the time, you know, here in the U.S., people
change over on the weekend if they`re going to go to the beach, you know?
The new people come in on Saturday and the old people leave. Apparently we
were approaching that changeover point for Sharm el-Sheikh. Apparently
this time of the week and that was another factor that led to British to
make this decision about their own flights.
MADDOW: And now, of course, the British have the difficult
logistical decision about what to do about their 20,000 citizens there left
on the ground.
MADDOW: Pete Williams, NBC justice correspondent, thank you so much.
I really appreciate it, Pete. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: My pleasure.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Thanks very much for joining us.
MADDOW: I apologize that we`ve been having spectacular technical
difficulties this evening. In which case, I feel like I`m in space and
nobody can hear me scream but I believe we`re making normal-sized
television with audio and everything and I believe, God willing, that
joining us now from Istanbul is my friend Richard Engel, NBC News chief
foreign correspondent, who joins us tonight to talk about this new news and
new intelligence on this plane crash. Richard, of course, has been
covering ISIS for years.
Richard, thanks so much for hanging with us. Sorry about the delay.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It`s not a
problem at all. Can you hear me?
MADDOW: I can hear you. God willing. Yes, thank you.
ENGEL: The science works. This magic of television.
MADDOW: Let me ask you, Richard, about, obviously, the bottom line
here again is we do not know if ISIS is just bragging, taking credit for
something that they couldn`t conceivably have done or that they didn`t do
in this instance when they say they brought down this plane.
If they did bring down this plane, if they did get a bomb on this
plane, for example, somehow, would that be a big expansion in terms of what
we know about their capabilities particularly in that part of the world?
ENGEL: It depends, really. ISIS has enormous capabilities in Iraq
and Syria. The group operates tanks, it controls cities, it controls the
lives of millions of people. And ISIS has been expanding very rapidly.
It is not like al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was difficult to join. You had to
earn al Qaeda`s trust. You had to in some cases kick back money to al
Qaeda. Al Qaeda didn`t want you unless you could prove you`re worthy.
ISIS is not like that. ISIS is actively advertising that if you want
to set up your own ISIS outpost, it will fund money to you. So the degree
of ISIS` capability depends on place to place.
In Libya, they have a very extensive and very effective network. In
Sinai, I think it was an opportunity. A U.S. official that I spoke to who
said there is confidence that it was a bomb onboard, not something fired
from the ground but somehow that a bomb got on the plane, thought that
perhaps ISIS saw an opportunity that at this small regional airport in
Egypt, security might not have been as tight as it could have been and this
was a opportune moment for the group the strike.
It`s also just about the one-year anniversary when ISIS declared its
allegiance in Sinai to the ISIS main group of the Emir Abu Bakr al
MADDOW: Richard, obviously, we have seen a number of different al
Qaeda plots using commercial aircraft. 9/11 most notoriously, but also the
shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, some of the -- there have been other,
cargo plane plots. Al Qaeda is very attracted to using aircraft of all
kinds of part of their -- trying to pull off spectacular international
Does that mean we should just expect ISIS to look in that same
direction? Is this a surprise? Have we seen ISIS look toward aircraft in
the past as ways of trying to get their terroristic message across?
ENGEL: Well, airports and aircraft have always been targets for
terrorists, even go back to the attacks in the `70s and `80s by Palestinian
groups. They have always been something that militant groups have tried to
target in order to gain notoriety, to create fear and terror. I was also
told that ISIS` capability to target aircraft or to attack a sophisticated
airport is still not considered as high as al Qaeda`s.
But ISIS is incredibly ambitious. It would attack an aircraft. It
would attack a cruise ship. The group has promised to make 9/11 look like
So, I think it will look for any kind of opportunity, aircraft or
MADDOW: Richard, if we do -- if the train of events and the train of
sort of noise from the U.K. government and the U.S. government, these
assurances, even if they`re so far anonymous assurances that this is
starting the look like a bomb, if things going in the same direction, if
they get closer to concluding that ISIS was behind this and they did plant
a bomb on this aircraft, do you -- do you expect anything in terms of a
response either from Russia or the U.K. or the U.S. or anybody else in
MADDOW: What do you expect for a response?
ENGEL: I expect a big Russian response. If this starts to become
the accepted truth and it plays out in the Russian media and as you know,
Russian state-controlled media is very powerful, it tends to whip up
And, right now, Russia`s already engaged in a military campaign in
Syria. This could very easily galvanize public support for that campaign.
There`s already a degree of public support for that campaign and Russia
using this to show off the military might, to show off how it stands with
its friend Bashar al Assad, how it is different than the United States
which Russia claims doesn`t stand with its allies.
So, if that groundswell of public support builds even further after
this, which if it`s proved to be a bomb, I think that public opinion will
head in that direction and I think we could see Russia very aggressively
starting to target ISIS in Syria. And not just opposition groups and
people to support Bashar al Assad.
So, I think we are going the see a response if it proves to be the
MADDOW: Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, getting
up at an unholy time of day for us in Istanbul -- Richard, thanks for being
with us. I appreciate it.
ENGEL: At least there`s audio.
MADDOW: Yes, exactly. Which I`m cherishing right now, having not
had it far long time. Thank you.
All right. We got much more to come tonight, including some stunning
polling news that could likely change who`s in the next Republican debate.
We`ve actually got a lot ahead. Almost none of which involves me having a
working earpiece, so I might just throw this away.
MADDOW: So, at this time on Monday night, the big breaking news we
were covering at the top of the hour is unexpected decision from the
company TransCanada, that they were essentially pulling the plug on the
Keystone XL pipeline.
TransCanada wrote to the State Department asking that the U.S.
government suspend the application to build that massive and hugely
controversial pipeline, which would take hundreds of thousands of gallons
of oil every day from tar sands country up in Canada, all the way down to
the Gulf of Mexico.
This pipeline, of course, has been the subject of widespread protests
and very loud political activism not to mention loud partisan taunting from
the Republican side throughout the Obama presidency. TransCanada asking
the Obama administration to essentially shelve their application seems like
basically the last we would hear about Keystone for a very long time,
certainly for the remainder of the Obama presidency.
But a funny thing happened on the way of TransCanada asking the Obama
administration to please suspend their application for Keystone. The Obama
administration has now said, no. We will not suspend your application.
This is kind of amazing. The State Department got this letter from
TransCanada on Monday. They have been reviewing this proposed pipeline for
years now. They initially reacted to the letter saying, "Thanks,
TransCanada, got your letter, we`ll get back to you".
But then, today, they officially responded and said, essentially,
yes, we understand you`d like us to stop our review process for your
pipeline, but we`re going to go ahead and not do that. The State
Department says they intend to complete the review of Keystone, a review
which has been under way to great controversy for years now.
I`m not sure what TransCanada was expecting for a response when they
tried to pull their project, but I imagine this wasn`t it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Given how long it`s
taken, it`s -- it seems unusual to me to suggest that somehow it should be
paused yet again.
REPORTER: Does he see this as something he wants to finish,
complete, get off the plate before he leaves office?
EARNEST: The president has said that before, yes. That he would
like to have this determination be completed before he leaves office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He would like to have this determination completed before he
leaves office. TransCanada would please like to not have this determined
before he leaves office.
TransCanada has asked that this whole entire process put on hold
presumably so they could come back to the issue with a fresh president who
isn`t this one.
The Obama administration instead appears to be going full speed
ahead. Once that announcement from TransCanada on Monday night, it was
interesting. The activists who`ve been opposing Keystone for years, you
know, they celebrated. They started to thanking each other for having
supported the campaign to stop Keystone, but they also started pushing
explicitly for the White House to not let TransCanada off the hook yet.
Don`t let them pause this process.
Quote, "Behind the end of nine innings, they`d like to suspend the
game until after the next election. They`re simply trying to avoid the
final ignominy of a ruling against them, and President Obama should not
give them the satisfaction."
It sort of seems like President Obama might not give them the
satisfaction. He might just go ahead and rule on this Keystone permit
application anyway, whether the company likes it or not.
Keystone seems to be trying to die. How it dies might be a very
fascinating end to this story. Watch this space.
MADDOW: The big news, of course, is that Lawrence Lessig just won
Ohio! A law professor who quit his job and staked his run for the
presidency in cleaning up all the lousy foul stuff in the process of the
democracy, the big anonymous money, the gerrymandering of political
districts so the same party always wins that district year after year.
Yes, sure, Larry Lessig may have just quit the presidential race this
week, but he did just win Ohio last night. Voters in Ohio last night by a
40-point margin decided that Ohio shouldn`t be able to gerrymander its
To get a sense of the problem with this in Ohio, by 2012, Ohio`s
districts were so screwed up and so partisan that even though Democrats got
more than 50,000 more votes than Republicans did in that year`s elections,
Republicans still, even though they got less votes, still got almost 60
percent of the seats in the Ohio House, because the partisan districts were
gerrymandered so badly.
That happened in 2012. But according to Ohio voters, that should not
happen again. It was a vote last night on a constitutional amendment to do
districts in that state on a non-partisan basis from here on out. That
amendment passed with 71 percent of the vote.
It`s not for Ohio`s seats in Congress. This is just for the state
legislature. But still, 71 percent of the vote. That`s a big deal.
And somewhere in America, in law school faculty housing somewhere,
Lawrence Lessig is either celebrating Ohio or cursing himself for getting
out of the presidential race too soon.
In the great state of Pennsylvania, there were three open seats on
the Supreme Court in that state. And yes, while, it is creepy to vote for
judges, particularly in partisan terms, in Pennsylvania last night,
Democratic candidates took all three of the Supreme Court seats that were
open. That will give Democrats a majority on that state`s Supreme Court
for basically a decade.
Now, is it weird to talk about a partisan majority on a court? Yes,
it is. But Pennsylvania`s partisan majority on the Supreme Court is now
solidly Democratic after the most expensive judicial elections in state
In the big cities of Indianapolis and Charlotte, North Carolina, and
Orlando, Florida, and Philadelphia, as well as Salt Lake City in Utah,
voters in all the cities picked the Democratic and/or progressive choice
for mayor. Salt Lake City, in fact, looks like it`s getting the first-ever
openly gay mayor. And, yes, it`s the Salt Lake City in Utah.
In Maine and in Seattle, voters last night approved new measures for
the transparency of money in politics and public financing of elections,
Maine and Seattle both. In New Jersey, Republicans thought they would
whittle away at the Democrats` majority in the state assembly last night,
but instead, Democrats increased the number of seats that they hold in the
state assembly. So, Democrats have bigger majorities in the New Jersey
state legislature than they have had at any time since the 1970s.
And Jefferson County, Colorado, there was a recall effort last night
against three Tea Party school board members trying to throw local history
curriculum to make it more patriotic even if it was a little less historic.
The Tea Party activists on the school board got support of the Koch
brothers` network and they are very, very, very deep pockets. But that
recall effort in Jefferson County, Colorado, was successful last night and
all three Tea Partiers lost their seats.
In Mississippi, before last night, there was precisely one statewide
office holder in Mississippi who was a Democrat. He`s the state`s
Democratic attorney general whose name is Jim Hood. And before last night
he was the only Democrat left in statewide office in Mississippi. Tonight,
Jim Hood remains the only statewide elected Democrat in Mississippi because
Jim Hood beat the odds and beat the geopolitical headwinds and held on to
the seat last night as attorney general in Mississippi`s statewide
elections last night.
And other than that -- things didn`t go great for Democrats and
progressives on election night 2015. I mean, if you were rooting for the
blue team last night, those things that I just mentioned, those were
probably the things that you were cheering about. Those were the available
straws if you wanted to do some grasping at straws in terms of progressive
victories last night on election night in America. But elsewhere, and
mostly it was not a good night for the blue team and the Republicans and
the conservatives did pretty great.
Just look at Mississippi. Up ticket and down ticket from Jim Hood in
Mississippi, the Republican governor of the state re-elected after running
basically unopposed, because the Mississippi Democratic Party couldn`t get
it together to pick themselves a Democratic candidate for governor who
anyone had ever heard of.
Mississippi also last night upped the size of their Republican
majority in the House. They`re now at something quite close to a super
majority in terms of Republican rule in the state legislature.
In Virginia, Democrats thought that they were going to win the State
Senate last night. They only needed to flip one Senate seat to take
control, but they failed at that effort. Virginia Senate is still
Houston, Houston, Texas, is now the largest city in the country that
does not have a nondiscrimination ordinance. It`s also the only big city
in Texas without a nondiscrimination ordinance. That led the human rights
campaign to ask the NFL today to maybe rethink their plans to hold the 2017
Super Bowl in Houston in a little more than a year from now.
But today, the NFL said they`re not changing their plans. They will
keep the Super Bowl in Houston in 2017 despite the city last night
repealing the nondiscrimination ordinance. It is now legal for you to get
fired or thrown out of your housing or any number of other things in
Houston just because somebody thinks you`re gay.
And then there`s Kentucky. Republican Matt Bevin is now governor-
elect despite basically all the polls in the state predicting that the race
would go the other way. Matt Bevin, Republican Matt Bevin won the
governorship last night, turning the state of Kentucky red. He will take
over from a Democratic governor. He`s the first Republican governor of
Kentucky in decades. Last night`s election makes Matt Bevin the second
Republican governor of Kentucky literally in the last four decades.
That race was just a huge upset for Democrats. All the polls going
into election day show that Democrat Jack Conway would win. But it was
Matt Bevin in the end, and not by a small margin.
The other Kentucky race a little lower down the ticket that has
really big, national implications was surprisingly enough the race for
state auditor. The Democratic incumbent state auditor in Kentucky, I know
it doesn`t sound like an important position, right, for nationwide
implications here but follow this. The Democratic incumbent is a guy named
Adam Edelen. He lost his seat last night. He`s going to be replaced by a
This is a down ticket race and the result is a huge deal because
there`s a lot of talk that the very talented Mr. Edelen was the Democratic
rising star in Kentucky politics and a lot of people were expecting him to
run a very tough campaign for the United States Senate against Rand Paul
this time next year.
Now that Adam Edelen has lost the statewide elected office as
auditor, it`s now a much more open question of whether he`ll wage a run
against Rand Paul for Senate, and if he can, whether he might win or
whether any Democrat in Kentucky can.
That also makes it a little bit of an easier ride for Rand Paul who`s
been facing charges, facing calls from Kentucky Republicans and even
national Republicans to drop out of his presidential race and focus on his
Senate bid since the Senate seat is so hard to hold on. That pressure is
going to ease up considerably on Rand Paul now that Adam Edelen no longer
has a statewide elected job in Kentucky.
So, big developments last night in Kentucky and across the country
and big down ticket results across the country for Democrats, not just last
night but over a period of the last couple of years that Democrats are
starting to get alarmed about.
And the person I most want to talk to about that joins me next. Stay
MADDOW: In the 2014 midterm elections, the Democratic Party suffered
fairly stunning losses. I mean, not just on the national level where
Republicans did great and Democrats did badly, but down ticket, state
legislatures, governors races across the country. It was for the Democrats
in a word "devastating". That is not my word. That is what the Democratic
Party had to say about itself in their own postmortem analysis of what
happened to the party in 2014.
Quote, "We have suffered devastating losses at all levels of
government since 2008, including 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 910
legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers, 11 governorships."
Last night, Democrats suffered another loss on top of that one,
losing the hotly contested race for governor in Kentucky. That one flips
red, too. So, make that 12 governorships lost by the Democratic Party
since 2008, and counting.
A man named Chris Hayes today called this phenomenon and I quote,
"the absolute decimation of local Democratic parties in red states in the
Absolute decimation? Really?
Joining us now is that man, Chris Hayes.
HAYES: Not the decimator.
MADDOW: Not the decimator.
HAYES: The chronicler of said decimation.
MADDOW: Absolutely decimation?
HAYES: Well, I don`t think that`s an overstatement. I mean, I think
that -- well, so there`s bunch of things happening, right? So, one of this
kind of a partisan geographical realignment, which has been a long time and
coming about the South and the South turning over to the Republican Party,
the once solid Democratic South. It`s taken a very long time to get there.
My favorite vestigial example of how long it`s taken is Kim Davis was
a Democrat --
HAYES: -- until this whole thing went down. Why was she a Democrat?
Because a local party machine that got her essentially elected was a
Democratic machine, because that Democratic machine hadn`t been there since
the civil war, right?
So, it has taken a long time and some ways that`s not anyone`s fault.
That`s kind of makes sense. I mean, the South is a conservative place.
The Republicans is a conservative party.
Kim Davis should be a Republican based on her belief system. We had
though seen the completion of that project in a totally stunning way. I
mean, we have supermajorities throughout the Deep South, in Alabama and
Mississippi, where they have a near supermajority.
You have also seen, thanks to the massive turnout problems Democrats
faced in 2010 and 2014, big margins in the non-red states South, right?
You have the problem in Ohio or you have in Wisconsin or you have -- in
Florida, which let`s remember Barack Obama won twice, right?
HAYES: Really big margins for Republicans and this is something we
have seen throughout the country, not just in the Deep South but most
pronounced in the Deep South.
MADDOW: So, you`re saying that there`s a geographic way to
understand what`s happening in the Deep South and definitely the Obama era
Democratic Party tried to make inroads there, right? The big effort in
North Carolina, for example.
MADDOW: Including the North Carolina hosting the Democratic
convention in 2012.
MADDOW: The big hope, the big blue hope in Georgia in 2012. There`s
been efforts to fight that but you`re saying that`s essentially
geographically cooked. But then there`s something else going on in other
parts of the state that doesn`t make sense in terms of that same geographic
partisan realignment that just represents partisan failure?
HAYES: Yes, I think there`s a bunch of things and partisan
realignment. One, I think there`s a sort of partisan realignment.
Geographical partisan realignment, right? Solidification of the red south.
Two, Democrats have not figured out how to turn their people out in non-
presidential elections, full stop.
HAYES: Turnout in Kentucky last night was 30 percent, 30 percent.
Democrats can`t win elections with 30 percent turnout, except in very
deeply blue places. They sure as heck cannot win an election in Kentucky.
Remember, Matt Bevin outperformed Barack Obama by about eight points,
OK? So, he did better, but he still lost that state, OK? I`m sorry, Jack
Conway outperformed Barack Obama eight points.
There`s also the fact that every election is now nationalized.
HAYES: I mean, this is what`s so fascinating to me. Ryan Grim was
on last night and he talked about New Hampshire and Iowa. And these
candidates going around these town forums, getting asked questions about
national political issues. Not like, what are you going to do about the
dump they want to put outside Manchester? What are you going to do about
ethanol? Which is the traditional thing that happens, right?
MADDOW: Now, everybody is saying I saw this thing on FOX News.
MADDOW: Or I read this thing on X right-wing Web site and I want you
to respond to that.
HAYES: Because the local media in this country has been eviscerated
over the last 10 years, particularly local newspapers, state house
reporter. The media people are consuming increasingly is through their
Facebook feed, through national news outlets. And so, the politics they`re
thinking about is national.
And so, every election, it`s an inversion of the all politics is
local. Every election is now national, right? So, you try to run to be
governor of Kentucky and you want to do these Kentucky things about
Kentucky. And they say Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, and that
MADDOW: Or they say ISIS or they say Sharia law.
HAYES: Yes, right.
MADDOW: I mean, the question here is whether or not the Democratic
Party have anything out for the candidates and the would-be leaders for the
party to try to say I know how to fix this?
HAYES: They can build capacity, 30 percent in a gubernatorial
election in Kentucky is not handed down by God as the ceiling for turnout.
You can -- that number can be moved. And if anyone has shown that, it was
the Barack Obama campaign 2008 and 2012, that you can if you put in the
money and the effort and the organizing and the will, you can get people
MADDOW: And now, it`s up to some next Democratic genius to figure
out how to do it in a year that`s not divisible by four.
HAYES: And that`s make or break.
Chris Hayes, the host of "ALL IN" -- thank you for staying late
tonight. I hereby apologize to your family through you.
HAYES: My great pleasure.
MADDOW: Very good. Thanks.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One thing presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has seen a
lot on his time in the campaign trail this year is protests against him.
There was this protest at the Donald Trump rally in Iowa just a couple of
weeks ago. There was this one in Massachusetts right around the same time.
And tonight, there was a very interesting Donald Trump protest right
outside this very building. It was a protest of a really specific kind
with a really specific aim. Because Donald Trump is set to be the host of
"Saturday Night Live" this coming weekend. And ahead of that appearance,
there`s been an organized effort to try to get NBC to dump Donald Trump of
host of "Saturday Night Live" because, of course, about his controversial
remarks about immigration and about immigrants.
Tonight, as part of that effort, a coalition of Latino groups came to
this building and they delivered a big box of petition signatures. They
say they`re turning in more than half a million signatures calling on NBC
to dump Donald Trump as the "Saturday Night Live" host for this weekend`s
NBC is declining comment on that petition tonight. Donald Trump, as
of now, is still the "Saturday Night Live" host this weekend. Whether that
remains the case, stay tuned.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: There`s some late breaking 2016 news tonight. I hold it in
my hot little hands.
Late tonight, FOX News has just released their brand-new national
Republican poll. And, yes, polls are all interesting, but this one in
particular, this may have a hugely important consequence on the race. This
may have a hugely important consequence in terms of who gets into the next
The next debate for the Republicans is Tuesday. It`s a Republican
debate hosted by the FOX Business Channel. In order to qualify to get into
that debate, a candidate has to be polling at at least 2.5 percent in the
four most recent national polls conducted through November 4th, which is
today, as recognized by the FOX Business Channel.
OK, so that`s what they`ve said about the criteria. What FOX has
said is not which polls they`re going to recognize. So, we`re sort of
guessing at this a little bit.
But using their previous criteria from the FOX News Channel`s earlier
debate, using that as a guide, this is what the polls look like, in terms
of who`s going to get in.
Down on the bottom there, right on the bubble, you see you have
former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
They`re just both just barely qualifying to get into the debate. They`re
just above that 2.5 percent cutoff. You also see there New Jersey governor
Chris Christie failing to qualify. That`s the three polls that were out
Remember, the cutoff is tonight at midnight. And now late tonight,
we got this brand new poll, the new FOX News poll, in theory because of the
cutoff date at midnight, this should be the last poll that factors into who
And according to the standards FOX Business has set who gets into the
debate, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee would need at least 2 percent in this
latest poll in order to be in the clear. Chris Christie would need to hit
3 percent or better in order to be in the clear and qualify for the debate.
But look what this says. The latest FOX News poll, down at the
bottom, you have Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee at 4 percent. That means they
should be in. But Chris Christie does not hit 3, he`s only at 2.
And when you factor in that news poll, according to the FOX Business
criteria, Chris Christie does not make the cut.
Now, to be fair, FOX Business will not officially announce who`s in
the debate until tomorrow night at 7:00. And remember, FOX Business hasn`t
said exactly which polls they`re going to use in the polling average for
deciding who`s to qualify. Maybe they`ll fudge it and change which polls
they`ve decided to use and they`ll find something favorable for Chris
Christie to factor it in. Maybe they`ll find Chris Christie at 2.25
percent is close enough.
But it stands right now to our best knowledge, and the best guess of
their methodology that Chris Christie is going to be at the kids table on
Tuesday night. Drama.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD." Alex Wagner is in for Lawrence
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