UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
November 10, 2012
Guests: Avik Roy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Goldie Taylor, Lorella Praeli, DeForest Soaries, Ben Jealous, Myrna Perez, Bertha Lewis
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
President Obama reiterated this morning his mandate to raise taxes on
the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
And former Democratic congressman, Jay Inslee, has been elected
governor of Washington State. Republican Rob McKenna conceded last night.
Right now, I`m joined by MSNBC contributor, Goldie Tailor, also
contributor to our sister website, TheGrio.com, Avik Roy, former member of
Mitt Romney`s health care policy advisory group, senior fellow at the
Manhattan Institute, and author of the "Apothecary: The Forbes Blog On
Health Care And Entitlement Reform," Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at
"The Atlantic" magazine, and Lorella Praeli, director of Advocacy and
Policy at the United We Dream Network. She came to the United States as an
undocumented immigrant when she was ten years old.
Late Tuesday night, Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term as
president of the United States. His victory was, at the same time, narrow
and decisive. And it was not just a victory for the president but a truly
historic night for liberalism across the country. Colorado in Washington
legalized recreational marijuana through valid initiatives.
And three states, Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved gay
marriage by popular vote for the first time ever. After Tuesday`s
election, the Affordable Care Act will be implemented. The 113th Congress
will include the most female members ever, and for the first time in
history, women and minorities will hold a majority of the Democratic
Party`s house seats.
In his victory speech, President Obama vowed to continue the work he
began in his first term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America, I believe we
can build on the progress we`ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and
new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can
keep the promise of our founders. The idea that if you`re willing to work
hard, it doesn`t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look
like or where you love.
It doesn`t matter whether you`re Black or white or Hispanic or Asian
or native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or
straight, you can make it here in America if you`re willing to try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president`s second term will, no doubt, be fraught with
much of the same obstruction and frustration of the past four years, but
after Tuesday, Obama will have the opportunity to become one of the most
celebrated president`s in history. One who may, years from now, be seen as
ushering in a new era of liberal governance in America.
And he will have that opportunity in no small part, thanks to the work
of his remarkable campaign. On Wednesday, a newly re-elected President
Obama stopped by the Obama for America`s Chicago headquarters to express
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Even before last night`s results, I felt that the work that
I`d done in running for office had come full circle, because what you guys
have done, blue, red, the work that I`m doing is important. I`m really
proud of that. I`m really proud of all of you. And --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Obama who inspired the world during the 2008 election, the
man who was notably absent for much of the past campaign reappeared over
the past week. The real question now is whether he will stay.
So, Tuesday night, my big take aways from Tuesday night in terms of
what it meant and what the legacy is, a bunch of people have noted that the
economic recovery seems to be picking up, and it seems like we may finally
have the tires of the economy grip pavement and get going. And, if that`s
the case, then, that means that whoever was going to be the next president
was likely going to inherit essentially recovery.
And that recovery was going to render a verdict on the previous four
years, and I thought that people seemed very likely to me from a sort of
historical legacy perspective that if Barack Obama did not get re-elected
and there was a recovery, then there would be this kind of Carter
comparison, which was that America tried liberal governments.
It was a failure. It was in the doll drums. We had a recession. We
never really got going. We elected Mitt Romney and, boom! Four or five
percent GDP growth, and this is what free markets and American conservatism
can do. I think now, if there is a recovery, that recovery belongs to both
Barack Obama and also, in sort of a historical sense, the liberal project,
the Democratic Party, the policies he put in place.
and I also think from a historical sense, it`s funny to think that a
few hundred thousand votes or a million votes if you kind of spread it out
over the swing states is the difference between a legacy that would have
always cowered in American history because of the historical nature of his
presidency, but now, I think will be one of the -- possibly, one of the
truly great presidencies.
And I mean great in that kind of loaded way that all great
presidencies are which is complicated and shot through with all sorts of,
you know, terrible stuff and amazing stuff. And then finally, and Avik,
I`d like to hear your thoughts on this, because this is something that you
worked on, and obviously, you were on the other side of this that evening.
The Affordable Care Act is going to be implemented. And, you know, my
feeling about this is that was huge -- when I went to the polls just as a
voter, that was a big part of what my vote was on because, you know, I
think it`s a flawed but good piece of legislation. I think it`s an
important step in American history.
And what I like is that not just the human fact that 30 million people
are going to get access to health insurance, 50 million added to the
Medicaid roles. But also the fact that we`re going to just implement the
thing and see if it works, just from a basic kind of Democratic
perspective. If it`s a disaster, well then, the Democrats are going to pay
for it, and they should pay for it.
It`s their bill. You know, they`re going to pay for it politically.
They`re going to pay for it at the polls. And if it`s really good, they`re
going to reap the gains and that, to me, seems like the way that this
AVIK ROY, FMR. ROMNEY ADVISOR: Yes. So, I mean, you know, we were
talking before the show about the fact that, sometimes, when policies fail,
why they failed is not obvious to everyone or the political case for why
they failed isn`t always made accurately. So, we talked about the
financial crisis. Why the financial crisis happens?
Some people say it was because of greedy bankers running around,
screwing everybody else. Some people say that actually there were policy
problems. There were problems with Fannie and Freddie. There was problem
with monetary policy. There was problem with banking leverage, things like
So, if the Affordable Care Act fails, will Republicans be able to
point out why it failed? You know, for example, will it be because
premiums are too high, things about access. So, there are problems right
now with access to care if you`re on Medicaid, but those problems didn`t
dissuade people from wanting to expand Medicaid, right?
So, if those problems continue, will people be successful, will
Republicans be successful at painting the bright picture as to why they
feel? They think that remains to be sees. So, even if something fails,
that doesn`t necessarily mean that that`s a partisan victory for
TA-NEHISI COATES, THEATLANTIC.COM: You know what, I have (inaudible).
I can`t even about (ph) to help Avik --
COATES: I think it`s also probably hard to roll something back once
it`s in. So, it might fell, but dismantling it, I think, will prove a lot
harder once it`s already in.
HAYES: What were your thoughts? What were your big take aways
watching Tuesday night`s election?
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think the question is
even larger than whether or not we`re going to have an economic recovery,
because I think that`s coming. You know, I think we are going to grow, and
whether it was a liberal or conservative in the White House, and who knows
which one Mitt Romney was even to this day.
But the medical (ph) we had that was going to be some sort of recovery
and who gets credit for that? What the real issue was for me on the ballot
was who was going to have access to this economy and how? And so, women`s
reproductive rights was an issue, because that is about my economic
Marriage equality was about economic parity. Meaning (ph) was
entering to that marital state contract. And so, I think a lot more things
were on the ballot than simply more jobs, but who has access to welfare
countrywide and why not.
HAYES: And that echoes, obviously, the themes in that speech, right,
which is this vision of a very broadly inclusive America, right? That
inclusion is the kind of (INAUDIBLE) and what was on the ballot, right
inclusive or narrow. I mean, obviously, I think people who are on the
other side of this don`t think that was the framing, but I think that was
the way the victory was framed certainly.
COATES: Well, yes, and to me, like that was, you know, obviously, you
know, it`s historical we elected Black president. There`s an argument my
colleague, James Fallows, made that it`s even more historic to re-elect a
Black president. But I have to say beyond that, marriage equality.
This was like, you know, if I say I will only fight you on my home
field, and I`ll only fight you by my rules and then you come and you kick
my you know what on that home field, because, frankly, I don`t think
marriage equality should be on the ballot. I don`t think, you know, that
should be up. But we were in a situation where that was the case, and we
COATES: And we won, you know? We won. I think that`s just huge.
It`s absolutely gigantic.
LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM: I think that this week, there has
been a tremendous amount of talk about the Latino vote and the impact that
it had in this election, but I don`t think there has been a lot of
discussion about what made Latinos come out and vote in the way that they
did. And that was a lot of voter mobilization.
It was watching civic action happen and the delivery. So, forcing
President Obama to deliver on something months before the election to this
constituency made a tremendous difference.
HAYES: You couldn`t vote.
PRAELI: I cannot.
HAYES: And I`m just curious what that felt like on Election Day.
PRAELI: So, even though we could not vote, United We Dream Network
was very committed to making sure that our community was informed,
educated, and that they made their volt and that they pledged to vote with
dreamers in mind. And so, we had a campaign going in key battleground
states where we were knocking on doors, and we were asking people to
remember us on the day that they were going out to vote.
And so, while it was very frustrating to not -- you know, to be
politically engaged in this --in my country and not be able to go out and
express who I want to run this country and to lead us, I think we had a
tremendous amount of impact.
HAYES: That brings up our next big topic, and this is, I think, one
of the things that dominated the discussion after the election, which is
the changing demographics of America, the changing faces of America, and
the respective coalitions that have come together around Barack Obama and
the Republican Party, particularly.
And I want to talk about why it`s not the Latino vote that tells us
the most about the Republican Party`s future. My story of the week right
HAYES: My story of the week. Identity politics and political
identity. Of all the surprising and revealing results from Tuesday night,
there is one relatively small bit of exit polling data that I think is the
key to understanding the entire evening. You`ve probably heard by now that
Mitt Romney won White voters by a sizeable margin while Barack Obama won up
huge margins among African-Americans and Latinos.
In fact, he won Latinos by 71 to 27, an even wider margin than in 2008
when he won them 67 to 31. What almost no one has noticed is what is to me
the most shocking result, and that`s how the two candidates did with Asian-
American voters. Now, Asian-Americans made up a very small sliver of the
electorate, just three percent.
So, a presidential candidate`s performance within that group doesn`t
necessarily carry with it massive electoral consequences. But Asian-
Americans are also, according to the latest census, the fastest growing
racial subcategory in America. In fact, the census projects that by mid-
century, they will make up nine percent of the country.
And as it happens, Asian-Americans are also the nation`s highest
earning ethnicity with median incomes even higher than those of Whites.
So, you might have predicted that Mitt Romney would do well with them since
he won among voters making more than $100,000 a year. But he did not. He
got creamed, losing Asian-American voters 73 to 26.
This is a shocking result, not only because just 20 years ago, George
H.W. Bush carried Asian-Americans comfortably or because the margin is so
wide, but because the entire category of Asian-American is so obviously
construction there`s little reason to suspect members of the group would
vote with each other in any discernable anybody pattern.
Think about it for a moment. What exactly do a Filipino nurse in
Hartford, Connecticut, a Pakistani geologist in the oilfields of Texas, and
a fifth generation Chinese-American cop have in common? Same can be said
for Latinos, of course, even African-Americans, heck, even gaffe White
That`s because race is a social construction, not something out there
in the world but something we, as a society, create the rules, rhetoric,
and identities for. And in the political process, nothing more assuredly
creates firm political group identities than the experience of prejudice,
contempt, marginalization, and condescension.
That is, in American history, the racial identity of those not
classified as White tends to be forged in the furnace of contempt by the
majority. And that is the grand irony of this election and more broadly
the predicament of the Republican Party. Conservatives are creating their
own electoral enemies. The beating heart of modern conservatism is its
visceral appeal to anxieties and fears of White Christians.
This is a different statement than saying the beating heart of modern
conservatism is White racism or White supremacy. It`s not or not
principally. It is simply White identity politics with all the pathos and
ugliness that implies. And if you don`t believe that, go read some
conservative comment threads or click over to the Drudge Report (ph) or Fox
News, two outlets for the (INAUDIBLE) natural sense of the deepest
anxieties of the modern conservative base.
Look at the ceaseless coverage of the new Black Panthers and voter
fraud and immigrants living high on the hog of government welfare and
absolute frenzy the right whipped up over the so-called ground zero mosque.
Once you understand this, then you can see that the Republican Party`s
problems are deeper than, say, opposition to comprehensive immigration
reform or even the far less controversial Dream Act.
That policy opposition is a symptom of the problem, not the cause.
The deeper issue is that for conservative politicians and conservative
networks and conservative websites, there is simply too much to be gained
by feeding the sense of persecution and siege that many white Christians
feel down to their toes. I`m not sure what is going to shift those
incentives, because that insecurity as an emotional fact is real and it
isn`t going away.
This does not mean demography is destiny. It`s the construction of
political identities that correlate to our racial categories is a dynamic
process and not fix fact about human beings. And it does not mean that
Democrats are insured some permanent majority and perpetuity because their
ability to make the electorate look like the country that is their ability
to turn out their voters may wax and wane depending on the candidates in
But it does mean this, that the only way our politics avoids the
increasingly ugly spectacle of a revanchist (ph) party attempting
desperately to strengthen its appeal to a shrinking pool of White voters is
if the movement`s leaders show some genuine leadership and stop cultivating
their bases worst instincts.
HAYES: We`re talking about the demographic coalitions that were at
the heart of the results on Tuesday night. And here`s just to give people
an empirical grounding, these are what the demographics of the two groups
look like. The Romney voters were 88 percent White and then -- that`s the
top bar, and then a small smattering of Black, Latino, Asian, other.
Barack Obama was just barely a majority of white, the coalition you
put together. Fifty-six percent White, 24 percent Black, 14 percent
Latino, four percent Asian, and two percent other. And, I just gave a
little spill about why I think this was. And Avik, I`m curious to get your
thoughts on this, obviously, because you`re occupying a sort of a portion
of the diagram (ph) which we can see from that data is actually fairly slim
And how you as someone -- how you relate to the modern Republican
Party and whether you think there`s some truth to what I said about that
kind of White identity politics appeal.
ROY: You know, I`ll tell the story about my mom. My mom is the
classic Republican target voter. She lives in a respectable suburb of
Detroit. She`s hard working, worked her whole like, never took a handout,
deeply religious, commonsensical, frugal. She`s a lifelong Democrat. When
I spout Republican nonsense on TV, she`s like how did I raise this child,
And a big part of why she`s a Democrat is because she perceives that
the religious Christian Republicans are out to get her or don`t want her in
America. Now, I don`t believe that`s true, but that is --
HAYES: You would have joined the party if you did.
ROY: Right. That`s not -- I strongly disagree with that, but that`s
her perception. That`s the perception of a lot of people like her, I
think. And I think there`s just this view that Republicans don`t want, you
know -- that`s the perception. The perception that`s propagated,
sometimes, by people who aren`t Republicans as well, that Republicans
aren`t interested in those voters.
But it`s also demographic, right? So, the base of the Republican
Party, the people who are elected -- who elect Republicans to Congress are
often in these very, you know, maybe rural areas or areas where there`s
less minority concentration. So, it`s also conservative intellectuals who
don`t necessarily interact with a lot of people who might have minority
So, there`s just a lot of -- you see it on natural view. You`ll read
stuff like, well, if we just have this policy, if we adopt this immigration
policy, then we`ll do better, or you know, because there`s no school (ph)
choice, if we advocate the school choice, we`ll win the Black vote. And I
think what`s missing there a lot of emphasis on multi-conservatism, which
is build relationships with people.
When you build relationships with people, you have credibility with
people. The policy comes second. The credibility comes from
relationships. And I think that`s what we`re missing.
TAYLOR: Where were you like three months ago?
HAYES: He was here the whole time.
TAYLOR: Well, you know, I think you`re right about a lot of that, but
there was a May 1970 "New York Times" profile and a fellow named Kevin
Phillips (ph). Kevin Phillips (ph) was a big aid to Richard Nixon. This
was the stated policy.
HAYES: Southern strategy.
TAYLOR: The southern strategy. We would not only -- we would not
only want -- we don`t need what they called the Negro vote. They did not
account for you, for you, or for you. What they said was, if we keep this
coalition together of the southern states, if we play to White populism, if
we chain it together with some of these western, you know, territories, we
can run this country with a White majority into the 21st century.
They didn`t account for it. They were shortsighted. They were wrong.
It died Tuesday night, because a brand-new coalition of women, of gays, of
African-Americans, of Latinos who are coming and taking and playing out
their franchise (ph), you know, at the voting booth now. There is a brand
And I think that coalition will only grow really over time. The
challenge now is for Republicans, as you said, to go back and invest in the
small seats. I know that I am an evangelical. But --
HAYES: And you`ve told me -- you`ve told me on this program that
you`re not registered -- you`re a registered independent or you had been --
TAYLOR: Georgia does not have voter registration -- does not have
registration by parties. So, you can go in, and I can be a Republican one
TAYLOR: The next primary, I can be a Democrat the next day. And so,
we don`t have registration by party. There was a time in my life, the
first, you know, 100 years after the passing of the 15th amendment,
African-Americans all voted Republican, you know, from, you know, 18 - from
-- what is it 1870 clear up to 1970.
TAYLOR: You know, we voted straight Republican ticket. That began to
erode after the southern strategy took hold, and we never went back. And
so, you know, my grandmother, her grandmother, when they could vote, they
voted for Republicans.
HAYES: I say this all the time. The mid-century -- the mid 19th
century, Republican Party is the best political party America has ever had
COATES: I`m going to open this up, because -- you know, the one thing
-- you know, I agree with everything you said about Republicans and how
they conducted, you know, the election, but, you understand that
citizenship in this country has always been racialized since 1790. You
can, you know, go through the very, very long history, both parties, you
know, from whatever movement racializing citizenship.
Why would this not happen? This is an American thing. You know, the
one disagreement I have about what you said is you can`t understand this
without White supremacy. There`s no White resentment without White
supremacy. If you take away the idea that America is, first and foremost,
and should always be run by White people, if you take that away, the White
resentment doesn`t make any sense.
You know, it immediately dissipates. And so, I just don`t -- this
sounds like a strange defense of The Republican Party, but it`s like
there`s a market fest, and a market was created by history. And so --
HAYES: That`s a profound statement.
COATES: You know, the notion that, you know, some party wouldn`t take
advantage of that is like -- I mean, it`s almost like the war on drug
HAYES: I think you`re right about the market for it. And I actually
think this is the problem Republicans have, which is that the Republican
Party as a political institution is being ill served by the markets that
have been created to feed the beast of White resentment. You know what I
Like, it`s not doing you any favors, talk radio, drudge, a lot of the
stuff on Fox. That`s the -- your people see that.
COATES: Republicans don`t serve that. Where do these people go?
Like, if Republicans change -- I mean, there`s a large portion of this
country, I hate to say that, that, you know, has been said --
HAYES: And let me step up for those people, too, and just to litigate
this sort of supremacy identity politics distinction. It`s a profound one,
right, because you start saying White racists, people are like, you`re
calling me a racist. And --
COATES: That`s their problem.
HAYES: That`s their problem. I agree. But let me say this, I do
think it is possible to name an emotion and a disposition and an affect
towards the political system that carries with it a sense of grievance,
persecution, and ethnic resentment that is close to, connected to, but not
quite the same thing as --
COATES: -- the problem with that, though, is that that sense of
grievance is as old as White racism.
HAYES: Right. Right. And they`ve been tangled together in the
COATES: What`s the fear? The fear is they are going to make slaves
of us. The argument actually hasn`t changed. This is the oldest White
racism, itself. So then, where`s the difference?
part of it is the equivalence that goes on between conservatism and
racism that isn`t true. there`s nothing about believing in the
constitutional tradition, believing in the tradition, and there are people
that are contemptuous of that tradition. When conservatives say, no, we
support this tradition, we don`t like people. That`s not racist. That`s
not white resentment.
ROY: But you know, part of it too is there`s this equivalence that
goes on between conservatism and racism that isn`t true. So, there`s
nothing racist about believing in the tradition of America, the
constitutional tradition of founding fathers, you know, believing in that
tradition, believing -- and there are people who are contentious of that
And so, when conservatives say, no, we support these tradition and we
don`t like people who are contemptuous. That`s not racist. That`s not
White resentment (ph).
HAYES: Please respond.
PRAELI: You can do that. You can support all documents, the
documents that we respect today and uphold today without having to call for
self-deportation, without having to refer to people as illegal aliens. I
mean, these are -- you know, Latinos are just one example, right? But they
live in households of mixed status. You have an undocumented parent with a
child who is a U.S. citizen who goes and votes.
He sees his father being talked about. He doesn`t belong here. Like,
he should self-deport. Like Arizona is the model of this country. Why
would you vote and support and give your allegiance to a party that speaks
to you in the worst possible ways?
HAYES: We`re going to play this and then we`ll take a break. This is
Mitt Romney`s language on the campaign trail largely in the primary about
just this topic. And I think it costs him lasting damage. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Almost half the jobs created
in Texas were created for illegal aliens, in state tuition for illegal
aliens. People are here illegally today. Sanctuary cities giving tuition
breaks to the kids of illegal aliens. Four years of college almost
$100,000 discount if you`re an illegal alien. You can`t have any illegals
working on our property. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. We`ll have a lot more to say on this, and we`re
going to talk it all the way through. Don`t go anywhere. We`ll be right
ROMNEY: Almost half the jobs created in Texas were created for
illegal aliens, in state tuition for illegal aliens. People are here
illegally today. Sanctuary cities giving tuition breaks to the kids of
illegal aliens. Four years of college almost $100,000 discount if you`re
an illegal alien. You can`t have any illegals working on our property.
I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have illegals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lorella, you had a strong reaction, not surprising. You had a
strong reaction to that. I mean, that language permeated the entire
PRAELI: Yes. And it was language that wasn`t just -- it didn`t just
come in effect undocumented immigrants, it wasn`t just about dreamers, it
wasn`t just about the quote/unquote "illegal people" that he`s talking
about, it was a slap in the face to the whole Latino community, and I would
go as far as to say the whole people of color community.
PRAELI: Because that is saying you don`t belong here. Your family
essentially does not belong in this country and, you know, 50,000 Latinos
turn 18 every year. 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every year. They will not be
voting for a president or a presidential candidate that refers to their
people as illegals. And there`s passion behind that.
PRAELI: I mean, what is scary, there`s passion behind that. The way
that he talks about me, the way that he talks about the community I am
ROY: Yes. So, I mean, I will say that there is another side to the
story, right? So, they`re the people who are waiting in line to come to
this country. The valedictorian of this class of the Indian Institute of
Technology who can`t get in because he can`t get a high-skilled visa
because the high-skilled visa program was killed.
HAYES: Say that again, because --
ROY: There`s issues of tone that can be -- that modulate or improve,
but from a policy standpoint, being opposed to illegal immigration isn`t
the same thing as being opposed to immigration.
HAYES: I want to respond to this point, because I think this is
really important, right? And I think this is key to sort of us keeping
this conversation going as it`s going to keep going as America keeps
I think you`re making a really crucial point and it`s one that I
really, in good faith, try to hold on to, which is, there`s a set of
conservative principles and ideas, right, about limited government or about
a sovereign state being able to have -- exercise control over who enters
that sovereign state. And that principle, I think, is a pretty widely
recognized one, right?
And those can be made as intellectual arguments. The problem is that
those have been historically attached, not just like by happenstance, but
like genuinely as a matter of American political history, those
conservative principles, limited government, the states as opposed to
federal government calling the shots, right the Tenth Amendments, states
rights have been attached to the -- to really racist and racially motivated
And so, those two things get twined together, even if they can be
separated intellectually which I agree they can. You can be -- you can
think the immigration system should be more restrictionist and not be a
racist. Absolutely possible, and I totally agree with that. But the fact
of the matter is, the people that that stuff is playing to, it is playing
to some racial animus.
And I want to say this. It`s not just liberals who are recognizing
this aspect. I mean, check out what conservatives were saying on the night
of the election about the demographic facts on the table. Check it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White establishment is now the minority. And,
the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against
them and they want stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who want stuff are now a statistical
majority of voters in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to bed last night thinking we`re
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the new America. This isn`t your father`s
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It`s not the America I`ve grown comfortable
I went to bed last night thinking we`ve lost the country.
HAYES: So, it`s like, yes. Like, yes, that intellectual stuff is
TAYLOR: So, when you say state`s rights, I hear slavery.
HAYES: Right. Yes.
TAYLOR: There was something on the internet, I think, I posted on
Twitter where there was a shop owner who closed down his store on Wednesday
morning and put a large sign across the door that said, you know, we are
mourning the death of the country that our forefathers deeded to us.
And so, I said, why is that racist? Because I didn`t get the deed,
because the deed wasn`t in my name. It wasn`t in your name. It was in --
COATES: What did the country look like when your forefathers had
TAYLOR: What did the country look like when your forefathers had
HAYES: What did it look like?
TAYLOR: And so -- and that`s kind of the trouble with this
conversation is that using buzz words and other things that fan the flames
of White populism but not understanding how it`s reaching other people
(INAUDIBLE) and then you`re surprised when 95 percent of African-Americans
don`t vote for you.
ROY: That`s precisely the problem, because there are a lot of people
who genuinely believe they`re using that rhetoric in a racist way. They`re
using it to really just talk about the traditions and the heritage of the
country and they`re being accused of racism that they don`t believe that --
they don`t see themselves as -- they`re being accused of racism and --
TAYLOR: I don`t know that a bigot is going to self-identify.
ROY: I`m not talking about actually bigots. I`m talking about people
who genuinely aren`t bigots but are being painted as bigots and being told
COATES: The heritage and tradition is racist. I just hate -- it is.
ROY: This is the problem is that if the heritage and tradition of
America is racist, then conservatives are all racist, because --
COATES: Because the heritage is also a lot of other things too. It`s
not just racist. There are a lot of other things you can believe in too,
but it is racist. That`s part of it, and you can`t really deny that --
ROY: Can`t we reject the --
COATES: You know, I wake up in the morning and I have bad breath,
right? That`s part of me, right? That`s not all of me when I wake up in
the morning, but that`s definitely part of me. And for me to walk around
like that`s not true, I mean, how can you do that?
ROY: We can say that there was -- there`s a legacy of slavery that we
have to contend with and live with and --
COATES: It`s not just the legacy of slavery.
ROY: But to say the entire heritage of America is fundamentally
HAYES: But he`s not saying entire, right? I mean --
ROY: That`s what I read when --
COATES: No, no, no. What I`m saying is that the heritage is racist
and a lot of other things, too.
COATES: You know, that`s definitely part of it.
HAYES: It`s a beautiful, bountiful, racist mess.
HAYES: More on that after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The choice you face won`t just be between two candidates or
two parties, it will be a choice between two different paths for America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama`s re-election is a devastating
blow, but it`s not a decisive defeat. Over the next four years, he will
seek to fully implement Obamacare, continue exploding federal spending, to
hollow out our nation`s military, and seek to impose a cap and tax scheme
upon our nation`s economy. We are in a war. We`re in a war to save this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s the "Heritage Foundation," a video they put out after
Barack Obama`s re-election. We are in a war, a war to save this nation.
Now, political rhetoric, you know, has a tendency to get away from people,
but I want to talk for a second because I think that one of the things I
find -- there`s a certain kind of triumphalism, I think, liberals felt (ph)
after Tuesday night understandably which is like, yes, we are a bigger part
-- like our coalition is bigger now.
And I`m -- you know, I`m a cosmopolitan, I`m a lefty, I`m a liberal,
I`m a White liberal. I love the fact that I`m --
HAYES: I am, you know?
HAYES: Yes, I love -- yes, do I feel slightly self-satisfied that I`m
part of the coalition that has people of color, sure. Of course, right? I
will be honest and cop to that. But there`s also part of me that has this
kind of dread about what our politics look like if this continues to be the
case in which we have these kind of like demo -- in which this kind of --
the main axis of political conflict are also the main axis of racial
conflict across the board as the country gets more and more diverse.
And, you know, I think one place to look at what that looks like is
Arizona. Arizona`s got some of the ugliest politics in this country in a
lot of ways. And look at the exit polling out of Arizona. Obama won 18 to
24-year-olds, 66 to 32, and lost 65 and older, 29 to 71. He won White --
Obama lost White votes 32 to 66 and won Latinos 74 to 25.
And to me, Arizona`s politics, I mean, Arizona is a great state and
there`s also great things about Arizona and I don`t want to speak poorly
about Arizona, but Arizona`s politics are very -- are toxic politics. And
they`re toxic politics, because it is a place where these dividing lines
are just basically the kind of racial demographic generational categories,
and the partisan ideological categories have become totally coterminous.
Those are, you know -- that is to say they exist in the same groups
and it`s just kind of this like ethnic conflict. And I -- you know, when
we -- when Iraq was recovering from its civil war in the beginning stages
of setting up its putative democracy, you know, we all just looked and
said, well, there`s going to be a Shiite voting block, and a Sunni voting
block and a voting building block.
And basically, they`re just going to transmute their ethnic conflict
into the democratic process. And it`s worrisome to imagine America that
increasingly looks like that. And I wonder what you think of that whether
you were feeling triumphalist (ph) on Tuesday night because of victory or
if you had the same anxiety about what our politics look like if they
continue to be --
PRAELI: Both. I think it was a combination of both. I think I felt
like we won, because I don`t think that President Obama got elected -- I
don`t think it was an easy election.
HAYES: No. No.
PRAELI: And I don`t think it was an easy win. I think he --
especially because he delivered on the deferred action policy that
mobilized Latino voters to go out and vote in the ways that they did.
HAYES: Will you stop for one second and explain the reaction. We
talked about it on the show. We just -- people haven`t read in.
PRAELI: Deferred action has basically President Obama came out on
June 15th and said I`m going to stop deporting dreamers. They can
affirmatively apply for some protection. They can get a work permit. And
I`m going to do this because these are -- these fit in with my enforcement
HAYES: This is a category of people that are under 16, have been in
the country at least five years, have no criminal record, and are currently
pursuing education or those -- education or the military. Those force
stipulations (ph) and those of the people that the Dream Act would apply
to. It`s somewhere between 1.7 and 2.1 million people.
PRAELI: Yes. Yes. And so, you know, I think that for dreamers and
for Latinos on Tuesday, we saw that we made a difference, that even though
I could not vote, my voice was heard on Tuesday, because I was scared. And
I think Latinos, as a whole, were scared that a Romney president would come
in and take away deferred action for childhood arrivals.
HAYES: Right. So, there`s just very clear thing at stake.
PRAELI: But I don`t think that the Latino electorate is a given for
the Democrats or for the Republicans. I don`t think that President Obama
has done a good job on immigration. He has deported 400,000 people every
year. 34,000 people are placed in detention every single day. So, we will
be holding the president accountable.
We will -- I think it`s time -- I mean, I think the Republicans and
the Democrats have to make a choice on whether or not they want to move on
immigration. And Chris, I don`t think immigration is finished.
I think it`s a threshold issue for the Latino community. I think if
you want to start changing how people perceive you as a party, as your
politics, as how you refer to people, they want to understand how you`re
going to interact with them, how you treat them. And I think immigration
policy and immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the 11
million is just one step in the right direction.
HAYES: There`s now increasing talk. I mean, the conversation has
gone this week like this, oh, man, did we get creamed among Latinos? I`m
talking on the right. And then, there`s kind of different -- there`s been
different arguments. You know, one argument and I think this is a good
also cautionary chair for liberals is saying, you know, if we turned out
slightly more voters, we would have won the election.
Like, we can still win with the coalition we have if they start turned
out slightly less and we turned out slightly more. And as a kind of
cautionary note to liberal triumphalism, take a look at Texas, right? No
state is going through the demographic changes we`re talking about after
Mitt Romney won Texas by a wider margin than John McCain won Texas.
So, demographic change does not insure victory, right? So, there are some
conservatives who are saying that. Then, there`s other conservative saying
we got to get religion on immigration. And Sean Hannity --
TAYLOR: He has evolved.
HAYES: Announcing how he feels about immigration reform. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF SEAN HANNITY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We`ve got to get rid of
the immigration issue altogether. It`s simple for me to fix it. I think
you control the border first. You create a pathway for those people that
are here. You don`t say you`ve got to go home. And that is a position
that I`ve evolved on because, you know what, it just -- it`s got to be
The majority of people here, if there`s some people have criminal
records, you can send them home, but if people are here, law abiding,
participating four years, their kids are born here, you know, it`s first
secure the boarder, pathway to citizenship, done, you know, whatever little
penalties you want to put in there if you want, but then it`s done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Avik, I want to hear your thoughts on this evolution right
after we take this break.
HAYES: Levon Helm and the band, our dearly departed Levon Helm,
giving poetic voice to that aggrieved sense of White persecution.
HAYES: It`s true.
HAYES: Rendering an incredibly artistic fashion. So, you know, we`re
talking about the wake of the election on Tuesday and the degree to which
there`s been this interesting debate among conservatives. And, I`m
curious, seeing the Hannity clip about him saying he evolved in immigration
Boehner making some noises in that direction. Where you are on this
and whether you think, A, it`s the right way to go and, B, it`s the way the
party can or will go.
ROY: I think immigration reform is certainly very important. But I
think if Republicans think if we just pass an immigration bill, Hispanics
will now vote for us, I don`t think that`s true. I think it has to be more
about, you know, really extending the coalition to Hispanics and making
sure the Hispanics are part of the party, that they`re concerned.
You know, one of the things that Romney did, I mean, we talked a lot
about the illegal immigration stuff. Romney also -- you know, published a
lot of ads, run a lot of ads, talking about how the economy is hurting
Latinos and how Latino unemployment is high.
So, it`s not like he was -- you know, he was trying to run the sort of
broader message about, here, we`re all suffering from this economy
together. But you know, the thing I want to say is, you know, to
conservatives who are panicking or reading Teixeira and Judis and thinking
we`re demographically doomed --
HAYES: Teixeira and Judis were the co-authors of a book in 2002
called "The Emerging Democratic Majority" which more or less predicts
precisely the kind of demographic changes we`re seeing.
ROY: A great book and a very persuasive book which all conservatives
should read. There`s -- you know, political scientist in Yale, David
Mayhew, writes all the time about how persuasively that there are no
permanent majorities in politics, because people --
ROY: It`s too competitive. And people will figure out -- republicans
will figure it out. I just hope they`ll figure it out sooner rather than
HAYES: Lorella, on this immigration issue, because I think there`s --
I`m actually weirdly in the camp of -- well, first, what do you think about
the role immigration would play in changing these political dynamics if,
let`s say, there was a comprehensive immigration reform bill hammered out
in this Congress, Republican Congress, Democratic president. What would
that do to the political dynamics among Latinos?
PRAELI: I mean, I think Latinos, overall, are very conservative. I
mean, I think they`re church goers. They not always support abortion. I
mean, like, they fall right into your politics, but they do not agree
(INAUDIBLE) on the way that the Republican Party is talking about
immigration. So, I do think that it would -- it could move voters.
I mean, I think it`s over 30 percent of Latinos said on -- you know,
Latino decisions was doing a poll saying if they moved on immigration, you
know, I am more willing to vote for a Republican presidential candidate.
And that is because they`re not showing like they`re coming to the table to
really address the issue that is very personal and important to them.
HAYES: Let me just interject one thing quickly here which is that
there`s this talk about Latinos, but the polling says, ands the polling may
not be capturing something essential, that Latinos actually are relatively
liberal as a group in terms of how they answer questions. So, things like
if they want Obamacare repealed, only 25 percent want it repealed, right?
Do they say government should ensure access to health insurance? Two-
thirds say yes. Do they want the deficit to be reduced for the combination
of higher taxes and spending cuts, there`s a plurality. So, I just --
people say this sometimes and I just want to make sure that like that`s on
the ground. One more thing, sorry. I just want to show one more bit of
data, which is that this is Latino performance voting in the presidential
election through the years.
And you`ll see that they are a Democratic constituency. Now, it`s not
fixed what those margins are. They actually fluctuate, and you can see
George W. Bush really did a lot to narrow the gap down the 60-40. But, we
should just be clear about, as a group, ideologically and in voting
behavior, they have been both a liberal and Democratic constituency
Goldie, I want you to react right after we take a quick break. Sorry
HAYES: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Here with MSNBC
contributor, Goldie Taylor, Avik Roy, former advisor to Mitt Romney on
health care, Ta-Nehisi Coates from "The Atlantic" magazine, and Lorella
Praeli of United We Dream Network.
And we are talking about the demographic structure of Tuesday night`s
victory for the president and the two coalitions in American life and the
ways in which senses of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism on one side,
and senses of grievance, persecution, endangeredness for the white majority
on the other side seem to be some of the subtexts of what happened both on
Tuesday night and the reaction to it.
I just gave a little bit of data about Latinos who are generally
pretty Democratic voting and pretty liberal in the polling.
And, Goldie, you wanted to say something.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think that African-Americans and
Latinos alike report more frequent church attendance than any other
demographics in this country.
TAYLOR: They are largely socially conservatives. I think where
social conservatives, evangelicals -- white evangelicals get it wrong is
trying to attach their politics in that way. African-Americans and Latinos
don`t take their faith beyond their front yard. They don`t take it into
the voting booth and never have.
So, if you find a white evangelical running in Georgia who is trying
to get more of the black vote based on being pro-life or anti-gay marriage,
you know, those are not functional bonds to make because I am far less
likely to take my faith to my neighbor`s house or into the voting booth.
HAYES: Let me also say though, ideology that people have isn`t
something just out there or just internal to them.
TAYLOR: That`s right.
HAYES: It is formed through the experience of coalition. I mean,
this is actually one of the remarkable things, right, is that you get into
coalitions with people, then you start spending time around them and it
changes how people think about stuff. I think that`s -- you know, that`s
one of the things we`ve seen. There`s been I think probably too much made
of African-Americans and gay marriage and African-Americans don`t like
gays, they`re the reason that Prop 8 passed in California.
And what we`ve seen is the coalition, that is essentially the
progressive coalition, the Democratic coalition which has both gay people
and African-Americans, majority of both.
TA-NEHISI COATES, THEATLANTIC.COM: And African-American gay people.
HAYES: And African-American gay people because you can be both it
turns out. That that`s -- I think that that coalition, the politics of
working together has changed opinion.
COATES: Yes. I think like, you know, this is why I was beginning to
say I was most happy about marriage equality. But that`s me speaking as a
Just getting back to this question that you said about, is this good
for the country overall? I know plenty of African-Americans, I think, some
have family members. You want to get into a debate about welfare, you can
do it. If you want to get into a debate about taxes, you can do it.
I oppose those people --
HAYES: You want to get to the debate about drug legalization, you can
COATES: You can really, really do it. Look, I oppose those people as
a liberal, right? I hope that they never get any degree of power in the
political system, but they need to be represented.
COATES: And I think like that`s the great tragedy, like when you talk
about what`s happening in terms of the racialization of the Republican
Party, they deserve to be represented. This deserves to be a fight.
COATES: What you end up with in effect is folks voting a certain way
because somebody else is telling them they don`t want them.
HAYES: And I think that ends -- that`s why the politics break down.
I`m glad to see that this has transferred to the immigration discussion.
But just if I can -- and, Lorella, I want to get your response to this, I
don`t want -- if I were strictly an amoral political consultant person
right now to the Republican Party, I think comprehensive immigration reform
is good policy, good for the country and morally the right thing to do.
But if I were just a total Machiavellian political consultant in their
own party, I think you`re right. I don`t think it`s going to win them any
Republican votes. I genuinely don`t think they will and I think it won`t:
A, because I think if a Democratic president and a Republican Congress put
it together, people are going to remember one side of that equation. I`m
sorry, nobody is going to be like thank God for the Republican congress
making this happen, A. And, B, if you give a pass to citizenship for 12
million people, they`re going to be Democratic voters.
I mean -- so, the argument, the political arguments against it -- and
again, I am not ratifying these arguments as substantively right, but the
political arguments against it, they seem pretty strong.
LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM: But it`s the way it begins to change
the conversation so it is -- it`s like President Obama had not delivered on
anything until DACA, right? And we forced him to do that. There was a
tremendous amount of pressure that went --
HAYES: DACA is the Deferred Action --
PRAELI: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
He had to show that he was in his remarks -- that his words were
followed by action.
PRAELI: And I think that`s where the Republican Party could make a
difference in terms of immigration. It isn`t doing more than just saying,
you know, I want Latinos to come and join me, I want them to be part of my
base. I want to develop relationships with them. You have to do something
to show them that.
HAYES: So, you`re saying it`s a threshold step that then can
inaugurate another trajectory of the politics even if it itself isn`t the
thing that, oh, look, now we`re going to be --
COATES: Democrats worked on this, 40 years, 50 years? How long has
the Democratic Party been trying to get this right?
HAYES: Right. With immigration or --
COATES: I`m saying this idea of a broad coalition, regardless.
They`ve been working on this since, when, 48?
HAYES: That`s true.
COATES: It took a long time. You can`t do it with one policy.
HAYES: That`s how Roosevelt sold out African-Americans in the New
Deal up and down, to how JFK had to fight this own party -- I mean, that`s
a long --
AVIK ROY, FORMER ROMNEY ADVISOR: I just want to bring up one thing
about this Obama executive order. You covered this on your show. Marco
HAYES: Not executive order just so we`re clear. Prosecutorial
discretion, just as a legal matter.
ROY: Pardon me.
Marco Rubio was working on a Republican version of the DREAM Act which
Mitt Romney was making noises about endorsing. Obama saw this and
preempted them with this prosecutorial discretion.
So, I mean, It`s important to know that it was brilliant politically
and tactically, but it`s not like Republicans were just ignoring the issue.
Marco Rubio was trying to lead the front on this. He was blunted.
HAYES: You were there, in a meeting with Marco Rubio.
PRAELI: I met with Senator Rubio. We commended him for taking the
step to have the conversation. We never saw a bill. We don`t know what
that bill would have looked like right now.
And they were compromising on something I think we are not willing to
compromise on, and that is a pathway to citizenship. We have grown up in
this country. We are part of the social fabric in America. And they`re
telling us, here, we`re going to give you something, you can have legal
status but you will be part of the second class, the under class.
And, you know, I think going forward, whatever conversation Democrats
and Republicans engage in with regards to an immigration policy for this
country will have to have a pathway to citizenship.
HAYES: But here`s one point that I think is important, that moment
with Rubio, I think from a political perspective, everything was
fascinating about the whole moment. It was fascinating that you guys, and
I mean, the DREAMers who I have tremendous admiration for, as you know. I
nominated you for an award yesterday -- that the DREAMers were just -- they
were not partisan.
They were like, you know what? I don`t care if it`s an election year.
We`re going to go protest outside of OFA offices. You put pressure on
And then, and I think this speaks to this idea of what is lost when
the two parties are competing. It was the moment of competition when Rubio
entered the fray, when people were competing for those votes that produced
the trigger that made the deferred action happen.
PRAELI: Yes, and it won`t be -- I mean, it won`t be enough that
President Obama has said he is committed to passing an immigration reform
bill in his second term. That`s not enough, like we are -- we will fight
to make that happen. We will engage with the Republican Party, with the
And that is because we have not -- we do not have a -- we`re not loyal
to the Democrats or to the Republicans. I can`t emphasize that enough
because I think it`s important. Like the beautiful part about America from
where I stand right now is that I do not have the right to vote in this
country but I can have my voice heard. I can influence people. I can move
people and I can organize people.
The DREAM Act was first introduced in 2000, 2001.
PRAELI: 2001, it`s been that long and it hasn`t moved, right? It
came very close in 2010. I think that was a great victory for our
movement, but, you know, I think we have a long way to go.
HAYES: And I think the other part of this in terms of like is it just
some policy spigot that you can turn on and the bucket fills up with
electoral votes. But, you know, the other part of this and we shouldn`t
ignore is just that, you know, white voters are not monolithic either. It
wasn`t Mitt Romney won the white vote.
But here`s -- you know, Barack Obama won single white women
postgraduate, union households, LGBT, whites residents of cities over half
a million, white who never attend religious service voted for Barack Obama,
57 to 39, 71 percent of Jewish voters, 61 percent non-Judeo Christian
whites voted for Barack Obama.
So, you know, these coalitions, part of me thinks that -- I was
thinking about this -- we only have the exit polling we have and the
categories in exit polling are essentially racial categories largely and
there`s other things, married, religious status. But you wonder if like it
was like who watches "The Voice," and who watches "American Idol."
It would be fascinating if you had other set of categories.
AVIK: I`m down on the Obama database.
HAYES: That`s exactly right, you know? Like if you had some other
set of categories, are there all sorts of other subterranean coalitions
that are actually happening that we`re not looking at because the
categories we`re looking at are census categories.
MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor, former Mitt Romney health care
advisor Avik Roy, Ta-Nehisi Coates of "The Atlantic" magazine, Lorella
Praeli of the United We Dream network -- that was a fantastic conversation.
I really learned a lot from all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you
TAYLOR: Thank you.
HAYES: When it came to the process of actually voting, this election
was a national disgrace. That`s next.
HAYES: All right. The Supreme Court of the United States yesterday
agreed to hear a challenge to a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act
passed in 1965 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, setting up what
likely will be a contentious battle over the future of voting in this
country in the near future.
We`re supposed to feel very good about voting, but even if you
celebrated President Obama`s victory on Tuesday night, you cannot possibly
feel good about people waiting three, four, even five hours to exercise
their right to vote. It`s a spectacle so embarrassing that the president
himself couldn`t help but note it just two minutes into his big victory
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank every
American who participated in this election.
Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very
By the way, we have to fix that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I love that flare in his eyes of genuine anger at that
The incredible irony here is that when the president was making that
reference to long voting lines, many people across the country were still
waiting in them.
Take, for instance, the story from Wednesday`s "Miami Herald." Alfie
Fernandez waited three hours before she had to take her daughter to an
activity. She waited another two hours on Tuesday morning before leaving
to take care of her children while her husband went to work.
Shortly before 7:00 p.m. Tuesday she returned to the polling place for
a third time. She cast her vote after midnight. Although Fernandez knew
the projected results before she voted she wanted to vote for President
In the wake of the last Florida voting debacle, we had resolved to
make things better. In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act or
HAVA which allocated almost $4 billion to states to help them make sweeping
reforms to the voting process, and yet reports from Tuesday night don`t
inspire much confidence that things have been fixed.
In fact, there`s a good case to make that Republicans have gone about
breaking it on purpose. According to the AFL-CIO, 16 percent of Obama
voters waited 30 minutes more in line compared with just 9 percent of
Romney voters. Also, 9 percent of white voters 30 minutes or more compared
with 22 percent of black voters and 24 percent of Hispanic voters.
This is a system in which election officials are simply overwhelmed.
There are too many stories about insufficient staff or lack of informed
poll workers and voting machines. If we`re supposed to measure the fitness
of our democracy system by the simplicity and efficiency of casting the
vote, then we are grossly out of shape.
Joining me at the table now is Dr. DeForest Soaries, former chairman
of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, current senior pastor of the
First Baptist Church of Lincoln Garden in Somerset, New Jersey.
Myrna Perez, senior counsel at the Democracy Program at the Brennan
Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
Ben Jealous, returning to the table, president and CEO of an
organization you may heard of, the NAACP.
And Bertha Lewis also returning at the table, former CEO of ACORN,
founder and president of the Black Institute, a nonprofit African-American
It`s great to have you all here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to be here.
HAYES: DeForest, you and I were just talking. I interviewed you, I
was doing a story about election administration in the run-up to 2004, and
the title of the article was "Can there be another Florida?"
DEFOREST SOARIES, SR. PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Right.
HAYES: And what it was looking at is the history of the Help America
Vote Act. Take us through the Help America Vote Act and what your role
was. You were the head of the Election Assistance Commission, which was as
the body created by HAVA that was supposed to fix the way we were running
elections in this country. What happened?
SOARIES: Do you have three hours?
SOARIES: In 2000, we had the Florida debacle. What most people don`t
know about 2000 was that in Georgia, more votes were lost than in Florida.
SOARIES: But Florida was the focus because the election was close and
Florida determined the outcome. After Florida, the consensus in Congress
was we had to do something about voting. Now we have to be careful not to
talk about fixing elections. There`s a difference between fixing elections
and fixing voting.
HAYES: Right. Yes.
The consensus was that we would repair the voting process, that the
hanging chad and those types of devices were antiquated and they were
inaccessible. And so, Congress passed a law in 2002 called the Help
America Vote Act that funded states to buy new equipment, that set up
national standards for voting equipment, that made overseas voting easier
for military personnel especially, that looked at mobilizing college
students to become poll workers, a number of things.
And it set up a commission, a bipartisan, presidentially appointed,
Senate-confirmed commission that needed three votes to make a decision on
anything, and I became the first chairman of that commission. The
commission was to have been formed 120 days after the law was passed. The
commission was formed two years after the law was passed and two years
after was the next presidential election.
So the commission did not take office until January 2004. Now, what
can a commission do --
HAYES: Ten months before an election?
SOARIES: Right. The commission was supposed to have been funded. It
was authorized for $10 million budget. It was approved -- appropriated to
have $1.2 million -- $1.2 million to run a presidential commission to
oversee the presidential election.
Eight hundred thousand of that $1.2 million, by the way, by law, had
to be spent to publish the state`s plans for using their appropriations in
the public record.
HAYES: So you really got $400,000 in the federal budget to run an
election assistance commission.
SOARIES: That`s salaries of four commissioners, executive director,
rent. There was no office. We literally camped out at the Federal
Elections Commission for four months. We begged the White House and the
Congress for staff. It was horrendous.
At the same time, however, there was pressure put on us to comply with
the timetables of the law for dispersing $2.3 million.
I`m probably the only black man who spent $2.3 million of federal
money in six months. We were approving checks. I went to Congress --
HAYES: Two-point-three billion, right?
HAYES: Billion, yes.
SOARIES: I went to the Congress and said, listen, it doesn`t make
sense to fund states to buy new voting equipment prior to having standards
for the voting equipment.
HAYES: OK. So --
SOARIES: We bought $2 billion worth of voting equipment without any
standards to say how the equipment should run.
HAYES: Exactly. Money pushed out the doors and lots of contracts
with voting machine companies. It looks like it was a little bit of
boondoggle for them because one of the people responsible for the bill was
a notorious Bob Ney of Ohio, later went to prison. In the Bob Ney,
HAYES: Abramoff himself was a lobbyist on behalf of some of the
voting machine companies.
SOARIES: It was a debacle. It was theater. It was designed to send
money out. It looked like we were repairing the system when in fact we
made it worse.
HAYES: And you walked away.
SOARIES: I walked away. After the November 2004 election, I resigned
because I could not participate in a process where neither the White House
nor the Congress were serious about the mission. What I concluded, Chris,
was that after the 2000 debacle, the elected officials all concluded that
the process can`t be that bad notwithstanding hanging chats because it
SOARIES: So any process that produces them doesn`t need to be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the case.
MYRNA PEREZ, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: There was an important
function of the EAC that I think is relevant to the discussion that we`re
having today and that was as a national clearinghouse of information.
PEREZ: So, one of the things we`ve been talking about are the long
lines in New York because of the voting machines breaking down. Those
voting machines broke down in California, the same ones, the same optical
scanners, and had there been some way of a federal agency allowing for
people to disseminate information, to show what other vendors and what
other election officials are experiencing, we could have election workers
that are better trained to be able to fix the problems that confront them.
HAYES: The election assistant commissioners, four commissioners,
HAYES: Two Republicans and two Democrats. It currently has zero
commissioners. Zero of its commissioners that`s working.
SOARIES: Exactly, which means it can`t decide anything.
HAYES: How are we going to fix this? That`s going to happen right
after this break.
HAYES: All right. So before we talk about how we`re going to fix the
system, fix the problem, can we just talk about the problem, first, right?
You see lines of voters around the country. And I myself went into the
public school in Park Slope where I live and it took 1 1/2 hours to vote.
I don`t think that was because people are trying to suppress the Park
Slope vote in New York City, it just seemed like the system itself was
overwhelmed and inefficient.
When we look at the lines of voters, what are the different reasons
that there are lines of voters?
BERTHA LEWIS, FORMER CEO, ACORN: First of all, you have bad
equipment. You know, we talked about the commission actually being able to
fund equipment. Now, in my neighborhood, in the neighborhoods of people
that I organize, our equipment always was bad, but it just got marginally
better with a scanner. But, you know, there`s no coincidence that these
things break down.
The other thing is not to be able to anticipate turnout. You knew
what the turnout was in 2008 and in this country you can`t figure out what
the turnout is going to be and how you`re going to handle it.
BEN JEALOUS, NAACP PRESIDENT & CEO: Plan for low turnout.
LEWIS: That`s right.
For me, it`s either you revere and respect voting and the electoral
process based on what you do and how you proceed. But as you said, Chris,
what this shows is there is no respect and no reverence for this
constitutional right to vote.
JEALOUS: You know, what happens here in New York City in some
boroughs is more relevant, more representative of what happens in the Deep
South than most folks realize.
HAYES: Exactly. Yes, that`s point.
JEALOUS: We have boroughs are included in section five.
HAYES: Yes, right. Part of Brooklyn are part in section five.
JEALOUS: Because this state has a very deep history of suppressing
the black vote going right back to the Civil War.
JEALOUS: That`s ultimately what we had. You saw it from the AFL
JEALOUS: And in fact, if you split it north/south, if you listen
(INAUDIBLE) you would see that the white vote is much easier and the black
vote is much harder. We kind of bake in these sort of inefficiencies as a
way of suppressing the vote. That`s absolutely clear. What we have to do
HAYES: Before you get to that, convince me that`s the case. When you
say -- I am convinced about, you know, when Republicans come in, let`s get
rid of early voting, let`s have voter ID, I`m convinced that`s about
suppressing the constituencies that are not going to vote Republican.
HAYES: Black and Latino youth, right. But when you talk about, oh,
we have a crappy system that`s got a lot of choke points in it, convince me
that is about --
JEALOUS: Because our system isn`t one system. The system is first
all 50 states and then it`s every county.
JEALOUS: And then the person in charge of it in that county is from
the dominant party in that county.
JEALOUS: So what if you`re in down South, right?
JEALOUS: You know, what if you`re in some boroughs in the city?
HAYES: That`s a key point.
JEALOUS: This is a party of boss who`s saying, make sure that those
folks, those voters have a hard time. Make sure our folks have an easy
HAYES: Right. It`s radically decentralized system.
JEALOUS: Radically politicized.
SOARIES: The history of voting in this country has been this -- the
party that benefits from expanding the franchise is for expanding the
SOARIES: Whether it`s lowering the voting age, whether it`s expanding
it to blacks and women, that`s the system.
SOARIES: And as long as voting, which is a democratic right, is left
to politics, which is an enterprise --
SOARIES: -- then we`re in trouble.
On Election Day, the only people who are interested in turnout are the
people running campaigns.
SOARIES: As long as the government allows the political process to
control the constitutional right, then we have an inherent de facto voter
HAYES: Decentralization I think is just really key for people to
understand. I just want to linger on it for one second, which is there are
no national standards. Zero, I mean, there -- the HAVA has some, there are
some benchmarks you have to hit.
SOARIES: Voluntary standards.
HAYES: Voluntary standards. And, you know, you can -- if you could -
JEALOUS: By the way, in Mississippi, a voluntary standard, there`s no
SOARIES: That`s right.
HAYES: I mean, you could say we`re going to have votes by like, you
know, you got to fold a piece of origami. You have a constitutional
challenge for that --
LEWIS: Our foreign policy -- and this is why this is so critical --
our foreign policy is we promote democracy. We judge you whether we`re
going to give you aid or military weapons or have relations with you by how
well you are allowed to vote. And look at us.
PEREZ: Chris, I mean, it`s clear that part of the long lines have to
do with poor election administration, right? We had poll workers who
weren`t trained, we had machines that weren`t working, we had bad election
preparedness. But I very much believe that the long lines were a result of
what we saw with a war on voting.
PEREZ: We had 25 restrictive laws being passed, two executive actions
in 19 states and those remnants affected us today, like I can explain this
so in Ohio and Florida we had long lines. Well, some of the laws they
passed compressed early voting.
HAYES: Right. Squeezing the balloon. If you get lots of people
here, then you`re going to have a bulk over there.
PEREZ: Right. But also, it created enormous confusion because there
were challenges to this war on voting.
In Pennsylvania, we kept hearing people call in to the election
protection hotline saying they`re turning me away because I don`t have
voter ID. We know that the voter ID wasn`t implemented.
HAYES: It was struck.
PEREZ: Right. But that didn`t mean that the message didn`t somehow
get to some poll workers. And that happened everywhere. In New Jersey,
which is where I live, they do not have a photo identification law and
people were calling in saying, they`re asking me to show my ID. I didn`t
So, when you have a war on voting like what we saw, it creates a
confusion even when we win. We won the war on voting.
JEALOUS: No, no, no. We won a battle. This war on voting is going
to continue for years. We`ve got to be very clear about that.
HAYES: Particularly in the wake of Supreme Court case which will --
SOARIOES: Let me speak to Bertha`s point. I went to Vienna to
represent our country on the international conference on democracy, and
voting was the issue.
Listen, the Europeans pulled me aside and said this. And said,
listen, how is it that all of us open up our voting process on Election Day
to international observers starting with the U.S. and the U.S. will not
allow international observers to come here and observe the voting.
JEALOUS: We actually went over to the U.N. commission, got them to
send over folks to about 40 states. It threw them out of four states
because we are embarrassed by the state of our democracy.
HAYES: Last night at 11:00 p.m. -- last night at 11:00 p.m., I was
literally in bead reading that U.N. report, preliminary report. And it was
so funny to read about the U.S. from the sort of anthropological
perspective. Like in this country, they have a fairly free press. And it
was like, oh, yes, these are the deficiencies of our system.
We talked about deficiencies. I want to sort of moving towards
solutions because I think we can -- this is fixable. This is a nation of
smart people with a lot of resources.
SOARIES: But you have to know the history.
HAYES: Yes. Let`s talk about solutions right after this.
HAYES: Talking about the American system of election administration
and the long lines for voting.
I want to give a pretty amazing statistic. Just voter turnout, right?
I mean, we lose sight on Election Day that there`s basically -- there`s
about 40 million or 50 million people who aren`t even registered, who are
eligible and not even registered when voting happens.
Here`s voter turnout of the eligible populace in the 169 countries.
The U.S. ranked next to last among G8 nations. So, we come in 120th out of
169 and next to the last of the G8.
Now, one interesting and important thing about this, I would note, is
that voter turnout does not mean you have a great really functioning
democracy as evidenced by Italy coming to number one in that last. So, we
shouldn`t kid ourselves that this is like the panacea of fixing everything.
HAYES: Right, exactly. But I do think it`s remarkable to see that.
You made a point to me about voter registration because when we talked
about solution, we should start going all the way upstream, right? Let`s
start with the population of people that are eligible to vote, which is
people that are citizens over 18 who have not been disenfranchised by local
felony disenfranchisement laws and people that have green cards, too,
right? You can vote if you have a green card?
PEREZ: U.S. citizens.
HAYES: Just U.S. citizens. OK.
That group of folks. How do we get them to the polls?
PEREZ: I`m glad you asked.
There is -- one of the big problems with our system is that we rely on
antiquated paper to get people registered. Imagine what that is. You go
to the DMV to get your driver`s license. You fill out the form that says I
want to register to vote. That form has to get mailed to the election
office. The election office has to type it in, hopefully they didn`t
mistype your name.
The better way to do it is put the burden on the government to try and
register voters. And the way you do it is by leveraging existing
technology. There are computers at the DMV. They can talk directly to the
Board of Election Administration. That`s the same for our social service
agencies, that`s the same for our colleges.
And once you do that, you could have a very good list of who is
registered to vote. You give people the opt-out -- the opportunity to opt
out if they decide they don`t want to participate. But then you have
someone who`s already on the rolls. I can`t tell you how many people on
the Election Day called in and said to the election protection hotline that
said, I didn`t show up on the rolls.
HAYES: So, what you`re saying is rather than it being the burden
being on the citizen to go out and affirmatively do something to have
themselves enrolled, the burden of the government to go out and
affirmatively add that to the rolls and you can obviously decline.
HAYES: I`ve always -- I thought -- I always about think about this.
When I turned 18 in New York City, a senior in high school, my selective
service card showed up. The government knew where I was.
HAYES: They knew my addresses. It wasn`t --
LEWIS: Absolutely So, why not have that --
SOARIES: You know what? Because there`s nobody in charge. You can
have all the solutions you want.
In New Jersey, we have an independent commission for gambling. We
have no commission for voting.
SOARIES: We`re more concerned about slot machines than we are voting
JEALOUS: That`s right.
And the key thing here is that this is what every other major Western
JEALOUS: I mean, you know, we should worry as a country when we are a
punch line for Russia. When Russia looks at our democracy and says, wow,
that`s inefficient, wow, that`s got a lot of flaws, because we`re supposed
to be the best. We were the best in 1776. We`ve got to update.
PEREZ: Right. And part of that updating means now, we all -- all
have computerized registration databases statewide. So why --
HAYES: Right. That was part of the Help America Vote Act mandated
PEREZ: That`s exactly right. So why is it that when you move from
one county to another, if you didn`t register, you`re not in the rolls.
They find you in the system. They know that you`re there.
HAYES: But it always drives me nuts. It`s like everybody in my
world, like my friends, the post office, bill collectors --
PEREZ: They can find you.
HAYES: -- magazine subscribers, they all know where I am. How does
the voting system not?
JEALOUS: Be very clear. We as an association have a 50 state
database of every voter. We know who is registered and who is not
HAYES: You can purchase access to that.
JEALOUS: The same database that the folks who send you those catalogs
JEALOUS: So the federal government can use it and fix it like that.
SOARIES: But the federal government will not do it.
JEALOUS: Why don`t they? Yes, explain to us.
SOARIES: Because our infrastructure is based on that 1776 model that
Ben talked about, where the states, it`s the United States of America, not
the United States of America.
SOARIES: So state`s rights in this issue have the final word. And
today we have more mobility, more diversity.
HAYES: Right. That`s the other problem.
SOARIES: In 1776, you couldn`t vote in Massachusetts in the morning,
New Jersey in the afternoon, and Florida in the evening. This is --
JEALOUS: That`s very deep.
About 15 years ago when I moved to Mississippi I was told if I wanted
to vote in the federal race I could sign up at the DMV. But if I wanted to
vote for dog catcher, I had to go across the town, right?
SOARIES: That`s right.
JEALOUS: And so, now, this year our folks go out, we`ve fixed that
problem by the way.
JEALOUS: Our folks go out there, and where did they decide to do it?
They decided not to process the voter registrations. There`s thousand of
them sitting on the clerk`s desk in Hinds County right now.
LEWIS: This is exactly right.
SOARIES: That`s exactly right.
LEWIS: First of all, there should be no third party registration. It
should be the role of government to register its citizens.
It should be automatic. It should be universal. We have to have the
will to do this.
To me, Election Day has to be a national holiday, period. If I could
celebrate some president`s birthday, I certainly ought to be able to
celebrate the constitutional right to vote.
JEALOUS: Also be real clear, Bertha, when somebody stands in line for
eight hours and misses an entire day of work, that is a poll tax.
HAYES: That`s right.
PEREZ: In terms of thinking of what we can do, there is a federal
legislation that would do -- that would modernize our elections -- for
federal elections. It`s the Voter Empowerment Act that was sponsored by
John Lewis. It does other things like restore voting rights to persons
with criminal convictions.
HAYES: Hold that thought. I want to talk about the Voter Empowerment
Act. I also want to talk about even broader, like voting in different
ways, vote by mail, moving into Saturday, how we can get it all so that
people are maximally participating in the system after this.
HAYES: I just want to note that the state of Florida has still not
been called. We were expecting at some point today, I think they said
JEALOUS: If they had early voting, they probably would have been.
HAYES: Right, exactly. And Rick Scott did a whole lot in that state
to squeeze that system like a lot of --
LEWIS: Seriously, this is the most powerful nation on this earth.
HAYES: I know. Hopefully by noon today.
JEALOUS: But let`s be clear, because this really shows what we`re
talking about. Rick`s whole purpose was to re-break stuff other people
HAYES: Right. Florida was basically -- Florida was the laughing
stock of the nation and they really did, as far as I could tell, revamp
their system. They got rid of the hanging chads, all this stuff. They re-
enfranchised -- they had the harshest felony disfranchisement laws I think
in the entire country.
PEREZ: Then they rolled them back.
HAYES: Right. They re-enfranchised them, and then they got to
JEALOUS: They re-disenfranchised. But who does that in a democracy?
HAYES: So, Myrna, tell me a little bit about the Voter Empowerment
Act that John Lewis has written.
HAYES: And broadly how we can expand the franchise.
PEREZ: OK. Well, the Voter Empowerment Act consists of a number of
components that has (INAUDIBLE) to practice that component. It restores
voting rights to persons with criminal convictions upon release from
prisons, in federal elections.
But it also modernizes our registration system. It makes it such that
the burden is on the government to register people. It uses modern
technology to transmit information such that registration is automatic. It
makes your voter registration portable within the state, so that if you
move to one county to the other.
It has online components so that you can look up to see if your name
is spelled right and it has an Election Day correction in the event
something goes wrong on Election Day. You can present identification --
HAYES: I love this legislation.
PEREZ: (INAUDIBLE) legislation. We should work really hard to get it
JEALOUS: Frankly, this is very conservative small C. I mean this is
about doing things right.
SOARIES: Like HAVA was.
SOARIES: The problem is enforcement. Who is going to make this
happen? What are the penalties when it doesn`t happen? What are the best
practices? Who -- what commission?
SOARIES: If EAC is not the commission, someone -- I don`t believe
government can do everything.
SOARIES: But in this instance government must enforce and government
must pay for it. We still don`t have a prototype voting machine that
creates the standard for what an effective voting machine should look like.
PEREZ: But at least the voter registration component part is that it
pays for itself. It`s very expensive to mail paper forms, to type them in.
When the computers are talking to each other, you`re saving money.
HAYES: You`re actually saving money. But the key point here, I think
this is such an interesting point, we talk about this issue, there`s a
technical aspect to this and a policy issue. I keep hearing from you,
DeForest, it is a function of politics and political will.
SOARIES: It is.
HAYES: We can talk about how if we were -- if we washed away the
politics of this, if we washed away the American political coalitions work
at this moment is that one party benefits from restrictive turnout and the
other party benefits from a large turnout, then we can fix the system.
But the fundamental political fact of American politics in this moment
is that fact, the asymmetry.
JEALOUS: To be clear, when you don`t have the EAC working, what you
have is the DNC and the RNC.
JEALOUS: And the RNC has decided that that`s to their advantage.
SOARIES: That`s my point.
HAYES: My thanks to Dr. DeForest Soaries, former chairman of the U.S.
Election Assistance Commission. It was really great to hear your story
today. I think that`s been lost in history and I`m glad to have you hear
at the table.
Myrna Perez in the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law,
Ben Jealous from the NAACP, and Bertha Lewis, former CEO of ACORN -- thanks
for getting UP. Thanks for coming. Let`s support (ph) our Voter
Empowerment Act. We`re going to keep on that.
A final thought on the election when we come back.
HAYES: In just a moment, a final thought on the election.
But, first, a quick personal update. Tomorrow, Monday, November 12th
at 8:00 p.m., I`ll be appearing at the Miami Book Fair International at
Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida, to talk about my book, "Twilight of
the Elites". And the next day, Tuesday, November 13th at 7:00 p.m., I`ll
be appearing at MIT in Boston where I`ll be talking about my book and the
election with Ta-Nehisi Coates of "The Atlantic" magazine who is just here
Today`s show was only a preview. For information of both of these
events, go to our Facebook page, Facebook.com/UpWithChris.
So, I want to finish today`s program with a final thought on the
election. On Tuesday night after the race had been called for President
Obama, the first call I made was to my brother, Luke. When I got married
in July of 2007, Luke had to take a few days off his new job as an Obama
campaign field organizer in Nevada to attend the wedding. That was more
than five years.
In the intervening 64 months that my brother has spent every single
day working for the Obama campaign and its sister organization, Organizing
for America. He`s worked in eight states, at times literally living out of
clothes in trash bags while putting 87,000 miles on a beat up old white
Ford pickup truck. Sixty to 90 hours a week 52 weeks a year for five
years, my brother worked to get Barack Obama elected. And then from his
perch as a Nevada state director this time around to get him re-elected.
I`m biased, of course, but to me, Tuesday`s victory was Luke`s victory
as much as it was anyone else`s. Luke and the thousands like him,
organizers of every hue and background and creed in states across the
nation working preposterously long hours, doing the grueling, sometimes
comically mundane labor of making democracy work, calling people, knocking
on doors, sending e-mails, sitting through endless meetings and conference
calls and sorting columns on spreadsheets and buying office supplies in
bulk or slightly used so as to come in under budget. Negotiating leases
for field offices, getting yelled at by disgruntled volunteers, getting
yelled at by stressed out bosses, getting yelled at by diva-esque local
There were thousands of people across the country like my brother
doing this work, and not just for OFA, for local candidates from city
council on up, for the amazing, successful historic ballot initiatives that
passed across the country, giving us the first popular victories for
marriage equality in three states and the beginning to end for our insane
policy of marijuana prohibition.
When the victory bell rings, we all rush to talk about the great men
of history who made it so, the candidates and the master strategists who
ran their campaigns. Or we point to the exit polling demographics and say
it was destiny, fated, inevitable. But nothing in politics is inevitable.
And progress only comes about because of the tireless labor of organizers
who never get to give speeches at podiums, who don`t get vacation home
money like the brand name strategist, and who don`t show up on cable news
unless they`re in the background of a photo op. The reward they do get is
the fulfillment of the soul that comes from struggle and the defeat and
boredom that are inevitably part of that struggle makes the rare moments of
victory that much sweeter.
If you want to see what that looks like, check out this video from
election night of Richard Carlbom of Minnesotans United for All Families,
the group that fought the anti-marriage equality ballot initiative in that
state. One-forty-five a.m., he addressed organizers and volunteers to tell
them it was going too close to call and to go home and sleep and feel proud
about the work they did, win or lose. And then communications director
Kelly Schwinghammer announces the "A.P." has called the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CARLBOM, MINNESOTANS UNITED FOR ALL FAMILIES: I couldn`t be
more proud to have been in a position to lead you guys for the last several
-- for the last over a year, and I can`t thank you enough for all your hard
work and dedication. It`s blown my mind. Every time that I feel like
we`ve -- we`re just about to hit a wall, you guys blow right through that
wall to make this a reality.
So I want you to go to bed tonight. I want you to be very, very proud
of the result we have.
KELLY SCHWINGHAMMER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hey, Richard, the
"A.P." just called it.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Unless you`ve done the work that the people in that room have
done, you can`t know how that feels.
So to all the people in that room and around the country and all the
unsung thousands who toiled in the trenches of democracy -- a toast. Thank
you for what you did. Thank you for what you do, especially you, Luke.
I`m proud of you.
And thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow, Sunday
morning at 8:00, and we`ll have newly reelected Senator Sherrod Brown and
Congressman-elect Hakeem Jeffries.
Coming up is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP", the process
president. Is President Obama more about the democratic process than the
Also, education reform moving forward.
Melissa`s special guest which you are going to want to see is Randi
Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. That`s
"MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". It`s going to be a great show.
We`ll see you tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for watching today. I really
appreciate it. Thanks for getting UP.
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