IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Monday, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014

Guests: Lenny Alcivar, Christina Bellantoni, Mark Alexander, Igor Volsky,
Roben Farzad, Akhil Reed Amar, Carl Kenney, Saru Jayaraman

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: My question, did you hear what Gwenyth
Paltrow said about working moms?

Plus, make Nate Silver freaks out the Democrats with data.

And what my great grandfather tells us about the Hobby Lobby case.

But first, as the countdown clock ticks down, the enrollment numbers are
ticking up in some of the least likely places.

Good morning I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

HARRIS-PERRY: Can you feel it in the air, the tension, the excitement, the
fear? The feeling of an pending deadline, the deadline to sign up for
health insurance under Obamacare.

Tomorrow, you probably already know the big numbers. More than six million
people have signed up for health insurance on the state and federal
exchanges. Now, that exceeds the congressional budget offices` most recent
predictions. And the administration took a bit of a victory lap this week.
But President Obama himself announcing the milestone on the conference

But deep down a bit and you`ll find even more interesting numbers. Like
the fact that as of March 1st, 442,087 people had signed up for the
exchange in Florida, putting Florida on track to well outperform the
federal government projection.

In North Carolina, 200,546 signed up by March 1st, 105 percent more than
the federal government had predicted would signed up. And that is not even
counting those who will have signed up by tomorrow night. And yes, these
are the same states led by these Republicans.

Both North Carolina governor pat McCory and Florida governor Rick Scoot
refuse to expand Medicaid.

In Florida, Republicans tried to cripple the ACA by banning navigators from
working county help department and refusing to use state dollars to promote

And in North Carolina, the governor signed a law of blocking his state
health department from sending federal dollars to conduct outreach and set
up some elements of an exchange. And yet, both look like they will
outperform all predictions and signed up hundreds of thousands of people to
private insurance plan. Why?

Well partly it is because people who really need it. One quarter of
Floridians lacked insurance in 2012 and 20 percent of North Carolinians.
These two states are also among the 11 states targeted by Enroll America, a
pro ACA, that is the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare group
whose goal it is to enroll as many people as possible. Enroll America, not
only has very close ties to the Obama administration and the president`s
past campaigns, but also the backing of major industry players in the
health care world including insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies
and hospitals.

Enrollment efforts in Florida were built on the existing structure left by
Democratic presidential campaigns in recent cycles. And Enroll America
relied on many of the same tactics including data crunching to target the
uninsured and extensive door to door canvassing.

In one way, time runs out tomorrow. I mean, if you want coverage you need
to get enrolled. There is a deadline. Go ahead. Hit DVR. Go get signed

But tomorrow does not end the politics of the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans will continue to run against Obamacare. Democrats are going to
try to ride the infrastructure of the enrollment campaign to victories in
some unlikely places.

Joining me now, Igor Volsky who is managing editor of,
Republican strategist Lenny Alcivar, Christina Bellatoni who is editor in-
chief for "Roll Call," and a Seton Hall law professor, Mark Alexander who
is also a former senior advisor to President Obama.

It is so nice to have you all here.


HARRIS-PERRY: So Lenny, you should know I didn`t mess up your name because
you are a Republican, I`m just terrible with names and it is really sort of
ethics. But let me ask you this. Let me start with the kind of Republican
question because for me, I was legitimately surprised to look and see that
both Florida and North Carolina were outperforming, CBO projections, in
part because these governors haven`t just been sort of neutral about ACA.
They have at least stood in the way of it.

How is the trend then with this sort of over enrollment?

LENNY ALCIVAR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. Well, you know, that is a very
good question. First of all, everybody, Republicans and Democrats, we want
all people to have health care. There is no question about that.

HARRIS-PERRY: But Democrats have prepared to make policy is supposed to
just wanting. And like -- I mean, I believe that people want it, but like
we also created a policy so that people can get it.

ALCIVAR: Yes, no question bit. Our party actually created a series of
changes that we wanted to see so that a, we wouldn`t have thousands and
millions of people left in the lurch and having this kind of drift, drift,
drift problems with Obamacare that we have seen. So I think everybody
wants coverage.

You mentioned a lot of numbers. I`m going to give another number. Zero,
that is the number of time that is senators wanted to be Kay Hagan in North
Carolina, senators in New Hampshire are going to be seen with the president
this election year.

HARRIS-PERRY: So that is fair. And I promise towards the end of the hour
I`m going to mock Democrats in North Carolina exceptionally hard as a
result of the behavior of charlotte mayor. I promise. And I promise we
will get to that.

But I am, sort of an evil in the meantime. So you know, I don`t want to
start with the assumption that, you know, Republicans just don`t want
people to have health care and they all hope they die painful deaths while
rich people have Viagra. Like that is not acclaimed here, right?

But -- I mean, to make someone does. But I do think that is partisan. But
I do think it is fascinating to watch states that have trended red and
where there were institution barriers set up by the elected officials
actually outperform.

I mean, is this the kind of thing that should be a bright light or is a
kind of ray of hope for the Democrats?

are finally seeing not Obamacare or the ACA, you are seeing health care.
And I think when people go into their communities, go into their churches
and see these great networks that are alive in these states, and that is
where why you are seeing such big numbers in North Carolina and Florida.
You have the hospitals participating. You have community centers
participating, navigators participating.

For those people, it is about health care. It is about getting that Aetna
that that sign card and signing and figuring out how to best get health
care for your family. They tune out the politics. And that is why I think
if that is number zero or one or two with Obama it is not health matter. It
is not Obamacare anymore. It is health care now.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. But here then is the political question on that. So,
on the one hand I love the idea of people getting it because they need it.
Now, we do know that if people need because they are ill. That t his could
have negative effects, right? The part of the problem is we need healthy
people and sick people to sign up with these young people and older people
to signup. But, there is a politics of the Medicaid expansion.

So as much as I hear you say we didn`t want people left out, in fact the
unwillingness of these Republicans governors to expand Medicaid does leaves
out a whole category of people who would have otherwise then eligible for

And in addition to that, what you are seeing is the states that have set up
their own exchanges according to the Kaiser family foundation, you are
seeing those 17 states have a higher enrollment.

HARRIS-PERRY: If you didn`t have to won the federal site, if you had a
state of change.

BELLANTONI: And some of them are working better than others. California
has had a lot of good statistics. But the average number of -- the average
percentage is 15 percent of eligible people for the Affordable Care Act are
signing up and that is because of the patchwork system. And you have, you
know, all of these volunteers, you know, working the political network that
the president set up for his re-election campaign in some places. But
then, another places, you don`t have any infrastructure like that.

In Idaho, the 5th highest where people 64 percent of them hate the
Affordable Care Act but they are signing up number five in the country.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. If I hate the Affordable Care Act but I need insurance,
and so (INAUDIBLE) those like go on. I will get my insurance, right? So
maybe I hate tax cuts but I`m being sure going to take them, right, on my
IRS form. So -- but then the question is that does that translate for
Democrats politically. If I go ahead and sign up for the ACA, if I
actually get insurance, do I then change my vote in the midterms come fall?

your vote. But I think more broadly what you will see is that people are
going to see there is a real good reason why we have the Affordable Care
Act. And they are going to see the benefits of it. And so, the question
is, you know, Lenny talks about people wanting to have health care

But people want health care. And when they start to see that one party
really pushed it, and this is going to be -- this is I think a long-term
principle here. We will see that the Democrats made this happen. And they
are going to say that is a party that is saying something that I care
about. Will it mean a vote tomorrow? Some people maybe. But I think
long-term they say this is what the party stands for. This is a good thing
that we have gotten through this. Short-term, we`ll see what happens. I
think long-term, it is important.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right, we are going to stay on this topic. And stay
right there because when we come back, where do the Republicans really
stand on expanding the ACA deadline. It depends on which day you ask them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So do you go to websites that are dot-coms or dot-nets
or do you mainly just stick with dot-govs?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. OK, let`s get this out of the way. What
did you come here to plug?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it is fair to say that I wouldn`t be
with you here today if he didn`t have something to plug. Have you heard of
the Affordable Care Act?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I heard about that. That is the thing that
doesn`t work? Why would you guy that created the Zoom to make your Web

OBAMA: works great now.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now the official deadline to sign up for a health care plan
in the Affordable Care Act exchanges is still midnight tomorrow night. But
the Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it will allow extra time
for people who will quote "in line" but not able to complete the sign up
process in time.

The news was not welcome by the health care law`s opponents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the president decides to unilaterally delay part of
the law that this last week or the week before the secretary of health and
human services will not be done. This is the deadline. This is it. When
is the law not the law anymore? When is it just Swiss cheese? When is it
the president -- when do you trust somebody take them at their word?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: You check the box here on an honor
system. I would say this is to infinity and beyond. What they are
essentially planning is that people can continually enroll whenever they
want to enroll because they want to get to their numbers and let`s face it,
this is an admission of failure.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You know, if he hasn`t put
enough loop holes into the law already, the administrations now are
resorting to an honor system to enforce it. What the hell is this, a joke?


HARRIS-PERRY: Which is all kind of sort of funny when you considers some
of the bills that House Republicans have approved lately like the bill hr-
4118 to delay the penalty for not signing up for health insurance in one
year. They passed on March 5th in a vote of 250 to 160 or Hr-4015 which
would delay the penalty for five years. That one passed the House on March
14th in a vote of 238 to 181, so which is it? Delay or not delay.

I mean, Igor, you know, this is the part that makes it feel like, OK, we
are just playing politics with a policy that is meaningful for people`s

VOLSKY: Yes. I mean, but hypocrisy is point one. I think point two is
pushed it, something similar with Medicare part D where he said if you let
come see me, you can have some more time to sign up.

But the other part is I don`t get the argument. I mean, Lenny, is the
argument here, Republican saying, you know, the American people are just
liars. They are going to lie to you about when they sign up. I just don`t
think it gets them anywhere. You are extending it for a little bit, if the
argument is that it doesn`t work. Then stick to that. But more people
shouldn`t sign up because why exactly?

HARRIS-PERRY: So, I mean, I think it would be hard more for any honest
broker to look at the Obama care roll out and is anything a grade above
about C-minus or a D, right, in terms of the roll out? But now that we are
moving towards maybe what is a midterm exam of ACA, so then what kind of
grade would you give it now? I think part of what you are hearing is
opponents using any sort of glitch or any kind of change to say it is an F.

But like sort of honestly, how would you grade where we are now?

ALEXANDER: I think right now, what we are doing is we are moving towards
the B`s, right? And I don`t know, maybe my students are worried about what
kind of grade I am. But you know, the reality is that it was a failure at
the start.

But I think what`s important, and Igor was talking about this too, it is
like the point is to make it happen. And if they are moving towards
getting an A, then everybody, Democrat, Republican, Independent should be
cheering that.

And so, if there is a way in which we can make sure get health care then we
need to make sure we do that. We have a law that has been passed, that has
been approved by U.S. Supreme Court. And we need to now say, how can we
best implement that to make sure that those are eligible who want to get it
can get it? And to complain like nonstop about what the president is doing
just because it is the president, and you know, it is tiresome.

HARRIS-PERRY: So Lenny, let me ask you this. I want to show you the, did post this. And so they are doing all of their sign up.
And so, they posted this statement from a writer Mark Beardan (ph) who
says, I`m a staunch Republican. A self proclaimed FOX News addict and I
didn`t vote for the president. And I`m here to tell you that Obamacare
works. I`m living proof. Mr. Beardan (ph) has apparently chemotherapy,
patient who was spending $428 a month and he is now spending $52 a month.
It does feels to me like -- so, I hear you on the Kay Hagan, he is not
going to run next to President Obama, but there is going to come a point at
where those kinds of statements are going to be over and against the Mark
Beardans of the world.

ALCIVAR: Well, you are asking a political question that time is running
out. Elections are certain. They are going to be in November. And
numbers are going to continue to change. Time is going to run out for
Democrats and for ACA as a political tool.

HARRIS-PERRY: Political tool of the Democrats or the Republicans?

ALCIVAR: Of the Democrats. I think the challenge for both parties is
whether you are a Republican or Democrat. No, we really want -- we want
certainty. Voters who want certainty that government is going to do what
it is saying going to do.

And president broke his promised. I`m OK of being the person who is kind
of odd man out here. But I also I think that if you look at the numbers
across America, Obamacare, despite the enrollment number and those are
great. I would like to see how many of those who enrolled have actually
paid, are not going to be good enough. And the polls show, right now,
Obamacare not popular with a broad group of Americans.

BELLANTONI: There are a lot of questions about this. There is a legal
negative question where small businesses aren`t sure if they need to signed
up their employees where people actually, was they are going to get
penalized or not. But there are issues that should be pointed out here.

You know, I`m 34-years-old. I`ve been lucky to have health insurance
though an employer since I started being employed full time in 1998. But I
have friends who are artist, bar tenders, people that are in my age
bracket, they have signed up for health care for the first time. Freelance
writers who signed up for health care for the very first time. My mother,
cancer survivor, can finally get health care and not be denied it because
of her preexisting condition through her work place.

So, these are areas where little bits and pieces start to improve for
people. It has nothing to do with the election. These people are going to
vote, but they are going to vote either way and they might not turn out in
November because they are mad at the president.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I`m glad you brought that is exactly where I want to go
as soon as we get back from the commercial. Because I want to look at that
Democratic Party coalition of 2012 of who voted for the president, when we
look at women and African-Americans, Latinos, and particularly women of
color black within a Latino women and young people 18-29. You see that
those are the people who were the president`s 2012 reelection coalition.
And I want to make a claim they are also the people who are being targeted
in a critical way with ACA. So, I just want to know, will that kind of
targeted marketing make a difference come midterms?

So when we come back, we are going to talk a bit about that.

But first, as we continue to follow this is the search for the missing
Malaysia airlines flight, emotions are boiling over from the love ones of
those who were aboard. Relatives of Chinese passengers unfurled banners
enchanted in protest at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. One
banner declared we want evidence and we want our families back.

And a significant development in the search, tomorrow an Australian war
ship carrying an American black box detector will set sail for the search
area in the Indian Ocean.

We are going to be right back.


HARRIS-PERRY: Like any good marketing effort, the campaign to encourage
Americans to enroll in health insurance under the Affordable care Act was a
targeted effort. As any good executive knows, you have to tailor your
message and your messenger to the people you knows want to reach.

Like the congressional black caucus`s efforts this week to encourage
African-American men to enroll by posting pictures of congressional members
by holding signs that say # black men enroll. The CBC, the Congressional
Black Caucus, said its efforts stem from the fact that African-American men
are at a high risk for serious health issues like diabetes. And yet, are
for more likely to be uninsured than either white men or black women.

So, I get it, I get targeted marketing, right, but I felt a little bit
like, you know, the youth marketing is like what old people think among
people want to hear. And like the idea that, you know, definitely, folks
will do a congressional black caucus tells them to do. I don`t know. What
do you make of these targeting market efforts?

BELLANTONI: It is multi layered though. I mean, the Between two Ferns
example that you showed right before one of the breaks like that is getting
at certain young people who really aren`t paying attention to news or
politics and all, like there is this health care thing. Let me go check
that. The Web site, you know, got this influx of traffic. You are seeing
people out there in rural communities throughout the south trying to sign
up poor people. And these demographics often, why not, as being a
Democratic base voter, they are also the kind of people that are being
targeted to respond to where they people Republicans have over reached in
this action.

So you have a lot of elements happening. The Congressional Black Caucus
might not necessarily move a lot of people, but they are going to move a
few and that is what they are trying to do. It is a political maneuvering,
I mean, with Medicare.

They had to pay $2 million to get volunteers to be paid to go sign people
up. They got 93 percent of eligible people in the first year to sign up.
And that you can`t do that when you have such a political environment now.
So, you have to have that political person who believes in Obamacare, the
same way they believe in Barack Obama and that is not going to happen in
every state.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me play because I love, you know, we had already decided
to do this but then, it was like "SNL" was reading our rundown because I
just want to show you "Saturday Night Live" from last night talking exactly
about this kind of targeted marketing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right now let`s bring in Kim Kardashian, Harry
styles, a cat dressed like Princess Elsa from prison and bat kid, all

This is so amazing. Oh my God, I love history. You know, hey, you are the
president right oh, my God. They took my phone away from me. Three, two,


HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, you know, it is sort of mocking it. But it does
feels like there is a real difference between structural organization
building, the same kind of organizational building that could then be
deployed for get out the vote efforts, come November for these same groups
versus the kind of you too being, you know, efforts that we saw.

Now, I loved "Between Two Ferns" and it did have this viral effect. But I
still wonder about whether or not that kind of thing can be transferred
come fall.

VOLSKY: Well, they are seeing, if it works now. I mean, certainly, if you
asked them in September before all the problems, how are you going to reach
out to people? They would say don`t worry. We got young people to vote in
2008 and 2012, we can do it. Now, they are finding out it is bit of a
different angel.

You are right. It is not just a political campaign. You have to bring the
message to where the young people are. And that is why I think, yes,
"Between Two Ferns," we want to see more of that because that`s how you are
going to make all of this work if you use the people that young people
consider important, and you bring the message to where they are. They are
not going to come to you for this health care.

HARRIS-PERRY: And so, let me -- I want to show one more on exactly this,
the notion of the people who young people things are important. Well their
moms of course. Let`s look at this one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taking care of yourself so your mothers can sleep and
have a nice life after all they have done for you is not too much to ask in
my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So please get covered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do it for your mom.

love you.


HARRIS-PERRY: So those are like celebrity moms -- Jonah Hill`s (ph) mom,
Alicia Keys` mom, Jennifer Lopez`s mom, and of course the mom in-chief,
first lady Michelle Obama.

ALEXANDER: And we have to take this approach whereas can be a little old
fashioned which is maybe a political leaders, Congressional Black Caucus,
but also some of the new fashion, between the firms. But you have to find
every possible way to reach people because the reality is the Affordable
Care Act is for everybody in the country. And you are going to have to
make sure you find a way to get 21-year-olds as much you can get 81-year-
old and everyone in between. And that is going to be north and south as
going to be different demographics. And whatever effort it takes, then we
have to think about how to make a broad approach to everyone in the
country. And that is going to have a long term effect and that same people
have to realize is. It is not about voting in one day in the political
campaign is. But having health care for your life which frankly, you know,
that is everyday how you live for the rest of your lives.

HARRIS-PERRY: So let me, let me back up on this one because, you know, you
said earlier, people dislike Obamacare, right? And I think that is right
empirically if you go out and ask people just the Obamacare framework, then
you will get negative responses. But if you ask people about specific
policies within it, those actually are pretty positive towards it. But
what that suggests to me is that opponents have been extremely effective at
branding, both at branding it as Obamacare instead of the Affordable Care
Act and at branding Obamacare, something you would be against, even if in
fact you are for the things that are under Obamacare. Could maybe you lend
your branders to the Democrats so that we could get people signed up?

ALCIVAR: Well, the reality is having served on those presidential
campaigns for Mitt Romney I kind of wanted the opposite. I wanted the
president`s branders on some days.

But listen. The reality is this. I don`t have a problem and I`m sure most
of us don`t have a problem with what the Affordable Care Act approach is
with these viral means. I would love to see one of these take place with
maybe Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. So I don`t have a problem with that.

The challenge for them is I think this is happening not because they want
to do this, but because they have to do this. And the electorate that is
up for play in the midterms is a little bit different than what they are
trying to -- Democrats are trying to reach. So, I`m all for it. Is it
going to work in November? The truth is, probably not.

HARRIS-PERRY: We will see. All right, stick with us. We need to take a
break. But when we come back, we are going to have pearls of wisdom from
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Stop, you have to get the facts right
if you ask me a question. It is nice that you actually get the question.
But the premise that the question is so informed that I`m not answering it.
Why don`t you just get to the question with and cut the commentary back
though. I don`t know whether you can`t take notes or you are not
listening. I would love to say I missed you but I didn`t.



HARRIS-PERRY: If you are a Republican and you want to run in 2016, there
is only one place you needed to be this weekend, Vegas baby. Perspective
GOP candidates descended on the Venetian resort and hotel in Vegas. The
back-top, speaking at the Republican Jewish coalition`s spring meeting.
But the sub-tags for why they showed up was to participate in an extremely
important political event, the Sheldon primary. Name for casino mogul
Sheldon Adelson, who is the GOP`s presidential hopefuls are jockeying to
win Adelson over at this unofficial primary with the hopes of getting his
support and his cold hard cash.

Remember, thanks to the Supreme Court, we live in a post citizen`s united
world with the impending doom of the (INAUDIBLE) decision that made open
the flood gate outside presidential election financing.

In 2012, Adelson and his wife spent more than $92 million for mostly losing
candidates. But it isn`t really that much for a man worth a reported $37.9
billion. But according people familiar with Adelson`s thinking, he is not
going to make the mistake of backing losing candidates again.

This time, the billionaire will look for a more main stream Republican
candidate. Translation, tea party need not apply. So, who did show up to
impress the dollar out Sheldon`s pocket? Four potential GOP hopefuls which
included former Florida governor Jeb Bush, he is a front-runner. Adelson
gave money to his brother, George W. Bush, during his presidency. There is
also casino building Ohio governor John Kasich who said he had no interest
in the presidency.

There is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker who also showed up. The union
busted an early vote restricting recall this, Walker, just brave man, what
it takes. But last and definitely not least there was scandal plagued New
Jersey governor Chris Christie still trying to turn the corner from the
fallout of bridgegate.

Now, Adelson gave money to Christie`s 2012 reelection campaign. But if the
governor was practicing his charm offensive in Friday`s press conference,
he still may have a way to go.


CHRISTIE: Colorful, cut the comment. Why don`t you just get to the
question and cut the commentary back though, not my toppers. Can you get
to it already? I`ll answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is your assumption, sir. I don`t believe that is
in the facts. That is your assumption.

CHRISTIE: As you often do. What was the first part? I did answer that.
This is my press conference not hers.

Yes, I can only imagine the speculation that some of the more irresponsible
members of your profession would be engaged in about what went on in the
meeting between me and Bridget Kelly. It is amusing to me when you guys
write stories about what you think you are entitled to. What I think you
are entitled to is the answers when I get them.

Seriously, I`m up here trying to very carefully answer your questions. And
I don`t know whether you can`t take notes or you`re not listening.


HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, couldn`t you just feel the presidential aura?

When we come back, while he trying to figure out his future, Democrats try
to figure out theirs after getting a glimpse and Nate silver`s crystal


HARRIS-PERRY: Democratic Party leadership did their best impression of
angry toddlers last week when Nate Silver of 538 predicted that the GOP is
the light favorite to win back majority in the Senate this fall.

Weighing factors ranging from candidate quality to polls to state
partisanship, Silver and his team determined that in the 36 U.S. Senate
races in November, Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota Montana
and Arkansas are likely to be lost with four other Senate races classified
as toss ups. Only six seats need to switch hands to give the Republicans

Democrats responded to Silver`s passion analysis of forecasting models by
saying um-hum. I mean, remember Nate Silver is the guy that Democrats
praised as being politically cleat wit back in 2012 when his data analysis
allowed him to predict quite precisely the outcome of the presidential

But now that the data don`t predict their prepared outcome, Democrats have
deposed king Silver from his wacky (ph) thrown. About an hour after
Silver`s prediction was published, Guy Cecil, executive director of the
Democratic Senate campaign committee sent this tweet. The point is not
that 538 isn`t a smart site with interesting things, it simply to point out
it is a forecast.

In March, the DSCC sent out a memo attempting to discredit Silver and an
alert to its e-mail list warning that Silver might be right if Democrats
failed to mobilized. Even Senate majority leader Harry Reid took a shot in
an interview published Friday in "the Washington Post." He said quote "so
all polls are about like Nate Silver`s predictions, good sometimes, bad
most of the time." Reid then made clear that baseball star Bryce Harper
wasn`t over rated whom their bet.

Look, because this is hilarious, Silver joined comedy center at "he Daily
Show" on Thursday night to expressed his thoughts about it.


in politics, they like the math part of things when it tells them what they
already believed. It is hard, you know, it is a complicated world to
figure out sometimes. And I`m saying that we have all the answers by any
means at all. Objectivity --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am saying that though, I`m saying that you have all
of the answers.


HARRIS-PERRY: And we know Jon Stewart is kidding, at least a little bit we
think he is. But with the way that we are responding to Silver, are
Democrats kidding themselves?

Still with me at the table, Igor Volsky who is managing editor of, Republican strategist, Lenny Alcivar, Christina
Bellantoni who is editor in-chief of "Roll Call" and Mark Alexander, law
professor at Seton Hall University and former senior advisor to President

So I want the two of you, Lenny and Mark, I want you guys to respond the
way that you would if you have already campaigned. So both of you have
been campaigning by and both of you have thought about, OK, when went bad
holds show up or bad data. And by that, I don`t mean that the data
themselves are bad data. I mean, they don`t say that you want them to say.

Is this the most productive way for you to respond?

ALEXANDER: I think you come out right away when you say to your
supporters, who you are trying to get them to give money, get on with and
say, this is going to be close. The balance is right. Nate Silver who we
know does a good job of predicting things and saying we are in a tough
spot. Let`s go out and do this. It is a rallying cry.

You know, I don`t see a need to sort of panic. And also it is true. I
mean, it is March. So you are making your best predictions today that you
are going to say for November and say it is close. And we all know it is

Lenny, I`m sure we could talk for hours and hours and agree overall, it is
going to be close. And it has been close year after year after year. Now
we have more prove of that. So let`s get up and go do something.

HARRIS-PERRY: But to me that is reasonable. You say here is a guy whose
models and forecasting we have previously accepted and reasonable. And so,
this will create for us a sense of urgency, but that is not what happened.
Instead they were like that guy can`t count. I mean, numbers can`t show
you numbers in March. I mean, that`s just not true. Data are numbers that
they can in fact show new thing. They are not crystal balls where it can
tell you everything, but data matter.

ALCIVAR: Well, it goes to show that in politics if you live long enough
you see everything over and over.

HARRIS-PERRY: And sometimes you have to live two years between loving and
hating the fact.

ALCIVAR: That is right. I mean, it really is unbelievable. I think what
the story here is again, Democrats having to do something not because they
want to but because they have to. And the person who predicted correctly
that they would win last year is now predicting the opposite.

It is not surprising that they would kind of attack the messenger. What is
surprising is that they should be smarter than what they did. On twitter
they said he was wrong. On the fund-raising they said he is right.

BELLANTONI: Because this is, in addition to the enrollment deadline for
the Affordable Care Act, this is the end of the first quarter deadline
which is why all of our e-mail inboxes are blowing up on these fund-raising
requests there. It is a shell game. They are raising an alarm look, we
stand a chance of losing here give us your money. But they are also trying
to people want to back winners. And so, if it sounds like the goose is

HARRIS-PERRY: So that is helpful to me. This idea of you want to create a
sense of urgency, then you also want to create a sense that the game isn`t
over. That said, one of the ways that Democrats have been trying to
message themselves as different and separate from Republicans beyond sort
of ideological and policy differences, is by saying the right doesn`t care
about data. They, you know, they are climate denials. They are sort of
out of touch with science and with information. And when I see the
Democrats behave this way, I think OK, come on guys. Like you are going to
have to embrace a reality that you claimed was valuable to you.

VOLSKY: Well yes. And I think, you know, if you kind of read all their
statements carefully, they say look, he is right on some things but when
you look at some of the races like tester and whole scam pre-predicted,
those race is wrong. And anything can happen and (INAUDIBLE). But you are

HARRIS-PERRY: I feel I can`t. Did you take steps 101? Sure. That is
what probability is.

VOLSKY: Yes. I mean, I think at some point you can`t think that your
chance -- this is going to be a tough election for Democrats, right, and
you can`t hope to win elections by having another Akin moment. That is
just not going to happen every time around.

ALCIVAR: It happened this week.

ALEXANDER: It is a tough situation. You know, these are people who won in
`08 with the president who are coming got reelection, she has always known
as can be tough. And the key thing is to play, they got to stay

As you are saying, take the data and build on it.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, let me tell something a little bit because -- and I
think this goes back to something Lenny said earlier about, you know
Landrieu and Kate Hagan. So these are people who won with the president in
`08 and then have actively been sort of moving away from them.

Now, I`, just sort of making fun a little bit of Governor Christie in New
Jersey and his sort of self presentation as not being particularly
presidential. But it does feel to me like one of the things that the right
often gets right that Democrats have a harder time doing, is just kind of
being like yes, that`s me take it or leave it and that in fact they may
have a better chance if they went ahead and continue to run with the

Yes, that is my guy. Here is what we did. We passed his health care
reform. We did this. We that and actually embraced being blue.

ALEXANDER: I think you are absolutely right. And that seems to embrace
who you are, be who you are and I think that is what we talked about is
that, you know, there is a way which the president could connect with
(INAUDIBLE). That was something which actually Democrats are effective at,
you know.

And we are talking before about President Clinton on our senior hall
playing the sax, water shed moment in politics. There are ways which
Democrats have been very successful. But also, yes, I think you are right.
We need to embrace who we are. And Chris Christie he embraces who he is.
We I goes, we can debate that one.

BELLANTONI: But Democrats aren`t out there openly criticizing the
president. Some of them are saying, we do make changes the Affordable Care
Act, right, and particularly these vulnerable democratic senators we have
been mentioning.

But they are going to take his fund raising money. They are still
generally on message with what he says. And they will absolutely, if his
popularity numbers go up, you will see them appear with him in different
types of wave. And his name is going on fund-raising requests. Joe Biden
is going to be out there, you know,

And with the data issue, think about the congressional budget office
scoring, right? Like both Republicans and Democrats love to draw these
numbers which are completely meaningless. You can go back and look at the
estimates for the Iraqi war. We have Bush tax cuts to see if they were
like wrong in every way. But people use them to their advantage because
this is part of the game that is played in Washington.

HARRIS-PERRY: Agreed, I hear you. But maybe it really just is the intro
stats professor in me that I hate hearing, numbers can tell you anything.
No they can`t, right? And Silver is in fact sort of a smart guy who is,
and this is my point about passion, it is like he doesn`t care if the
Republicans or Democrats win. He is making a suggestion about what the
forecasts are showing him.

Coming up, the Democrats who a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,
and a bit of political hail storm of shame.


HARRIS-PERRY: Nate Silver`s prediction was just the start of Democrat
terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. It got even worse when two
democratic office hold this week for corruption, Charlotte mayor Patrick
Cannon and office only since November resigned Wednesday after being
arrested by the FBI.

A three and a half year long investigation found multiple instances of the
now former mayor Cannon taking more than $48,000 in cash and other benefits
from undercover agents in exchange for special access to his
administration. He faces federal charges for theft, breviary, honest wire
services fraud and extortion, all of which can get him up to 50 years in
prison and fine up to $1.5 million.

That same day that Cannon was arrested, California state senator Leland Yee
was arrested at his home, also by the FBI, also on breviary and corruption
charges. But the most headline grabbing items in the 137-page long
affidavit is without a doubt authorities claim that Yee was negotiating the
terms of an international gun trafficking deal pedaling M16-style riffles
and racket launchers to an eager buyer who is actually an undercover FBI

The California State Senate on Friday voted 28-1, who is that one, to
suspend Yee who had been known, wait for it, as a strong advocate for gun

So Lenny, usually when I have Republican at my table, I come not bearing
gifts so lovely as these. But you know, I just -- you know, yes, we are
talking about a state senator. But the fact is when you have a state
senator who is doing an international gun running deal while claiming to be
a gun control advocate, like these are pr‚cising the kinds of things that
have huge effects right on the party as a national entity.

ALCIVAR: Yes. Even for a politician, these are amazing, right? These are
incredible. So, I think that they had a horrible wee. And the reality is
that these aren`t happening in a vacuum. It is happening at a time when
increasing numbers of voters, moderate, Democrats, Independents, are giving
the Republican Party another shot because they are seeing, frankly, the
president have the worst year of his administration ever, and maybe
sloppiness kind of hang over to the presidential election that they won so

HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, here is what I`m going to disagree with you.
I don`t think this is -- my concern actually isn`t that this causes people
to go, I`m going to vote for the Republicans who clearly are clean and
scandal free. But rather that it makes people go man, I can`t believe in
anybody. This young kid gets elected in Charlotte to be the mayor and this
young man who is a gun control advocate is having an international gun run.
That it actually just turns people off all together.

VOLSKY: It chips away democracy. It chips away a politics how we will all
lawmakers, politicians, we don`t trust anybody. It is a real problem. And
I think, you know, Democrats, Republicans, people have the scandals. But on
a macro level, I would say for this upcoming election. Democrats,
Republicans whoever it is, need to be campaigning and thinking about these
issues from a position of strength. So Democrats are running away from
this. They are running from Obama. They are running away from Obamacare.

Voters want to see you as strong. You want to lean into the strengths that
you have as a party whether you are a Democrat or a Republican and kind of
block out all the noise. Because at the end of the day, that is what
matters, right? For Democrats, you know, it might be Obamacare and health
care as a whole and those details there. It is easy to get lost in kind of
the sound and all of that, but you have, you know, focus on what you have.

HARRIS-PERRY: But when people turn off, when the electorate chips away at
democracy by feeling like I just don`t want to be part of it, the fact that
it has a stronger impact on Democrats than it does on Republicans, we just
know that high turnout elections tend to benefit the party.

BELLANTONI: And voters who are excited for something tend to come out in
bigger numbers especially when they have that certain group mentality like
we are in this together. And you know, 41 percent of people turned out in
the midterm elections. And those are people that were energized for
Republicans. And when you are a Democrat and you don`t love what the
president is doing, you (INAUDIBLE), throw your hands up or you are an
independent, forget it.

HARRIS-PERRY: I want to ask a real sort of nitty gritty get out the vote
question. If the mayor of Charlotte that has now gone way, obviously, will
be interim and that sort of thing, but is that the end of the Kay Hagan`s
ability to reclaim that Senate seat in North Carolina? And I`m asking
because Charlotte drum maybe the greens were area, these are the urban
centered where those mayors have got to activate those bases where the
Democrats live in North Carolina.

Does Cannon`s bad behavior impact Kay Hagan?

ALEXANDER: Well, the key question is who is making those machines run in
daily basis? You know, does the mayor, the former mayor, is there a team
of his that was really moving voters day-to-day or just another set of
folks are moving it. But no doubt, if there is a mayor that has a strong
power base then that can have a negative impact. Somebody who is new may
not build up quite that same kind of thing, but the question who steps up
in that vacuum to then get people out to vote.

HARRIS-PERRY: And who are right to do that?

Well, thank you to -- you are going took hang out with me a little bit
longer. We have a lot more politics to talk about.

But thank you to Lenny Alcivar and to mark Alexander for being here. Igor
and Christina are going to stick around for the rest of the show.

But coming up next, I want to share with everyone the story of my great
great grandfather, his four wives and what it tells us about a case being
argued before the Supreme Court this week.

This is going to be good time to stick around. There is more Nerdland at
the top of the hour.


HARRIS: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

Allow me to share with you one of my favorite family stories. This guy is
my great-great-granddaddy, Frederick Alfred Cooper. That`s him, back in
March of 1906, all dressed up to pick some oranges and sporting a rather
impressive mustache. Regular viewers of MHP will recall that I`m descended
on my mother`s side from Mormon ancestors, who were persecuted for their
religious practices. And great-great-granddaddy Frederick was one of them.

During Frederick`s lifetime in the late 19th century, polygamy was a core
teaching of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Followers of the faith
believe that the only way to reach the Celestial Kingdom, the highest
degree of glory in the afterlife, was to practice plural marriage. And my
great-great-granddaddy, Frederick, was a man of great faith. And he
followed the teaching of the time and of his church, taking three wives

Here is a picture of him actually posing with his fourth wife Mary Ann
Mills Turner (ph) in October of 1898. But he actually had married Mary Ann
only after his other three wives had passed on.

Now, while great-great-granddaddy, Frederick was following the tenets of
his faith by engaging in plural marriage, his home territory of Utah was
trying to get itself upgraded from a territory to an official American
state. And as a new addition to the United States, Utah was now under the
legal jurisdiction of the federal government, including the Edmunds Act,
which made cohabitation with more than one woman a federal offense, which
left Fred, you know, facing a bit of a predicament.

Either obey the federal government`s law and forsake both his spiritual and
financial responsibility to his wives or obey God`s law and brand himself a
criminal in the eyes of his country.

Well, don`t let the fancy mustache fool you, because my great-great-
granddaddy told the government to take their law and stuff it. He refused
to divorce his wives and on January 28th, 1886, was under federal arrest
for unlawful cohabitation in violation of the Edmunds Act. He was sent to
prison for six months at the Utah State Penitentiary.

Now climb down with me out of my family tree and out onto the judicial
branch of our government, where we find the point of this little blast from
my past -- because this week the Supreme Court heard arguments from
plaintiffs who are trying to do the very same thing as my ancestors did
more than a century ago.

Conservative Christian couple David and Barbara Green (ph) and their family
are seeking to defy federal law because of their deeply held religious
objections. Only there is a huge difference between their family and mine.
The Greens want to extend their individual claim to religious protections
to include their multibillion dollar corporation, because they are the
owners of Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma City-based chain of 640 arts and crafts
stores with 28,000 employees. And they have religious objections to four
forms of contraception required to be covered by employers under the
Affordable Care Act.

The Greens are arguing that based on those religious objections, their
company should be allowed to deny their employees coverage for those
contraceptives. And if the court`s justices agree this summer when they
deliver their decision, it would, in the eyes of the law, make Hobby Lobby
as much a person of faith as my great-great-granddaddy, Frederick.

With me at the table, Igor Volsky, who is an actual person and editor of; Robert -- excuse me -- Roben Farzad, who is "Bloomberg
Business Week" contributor; Christina Bellatoni, who is editor-in-chief at
"Roll Call" and Akhil Reed Amar, who is professor of law and political
science at Yale University and author of "America`s Unwritten

Welcome to all of you.

So Akhil, I need you here at this table because Hobby Lobby oral arguments
were this week and I know that many of us ignored what you wrote about how
Justice Roberts was going to rule in the ACA decision and so all of us were
shocked when in fact you had already known.

So you are sort of the Nate Silver of difficult SCOTUS cases and I want to
ask you, when you look at Hobby Lobby`s claim, when you look at the oral
arguments, when you look at the composition of the court, what do you think
is likely to happen?

AKHIL REED AMAR, YALE UNIVERSITY: Yes, prediction is a dangerous business
especially about the future.


HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it`s really not so hard about the past.

AMAR: And so I should probably just stop while I`m ahead. But I think
that the justices will follow the law. And I think the oral argument can
be very misleading at this point in the game in the Affordable Care Act
case. Chief Justice Roberts actually was tentatively leaning the exact
opposite way than how he actually ruled. And in the course of doing
research and writing, apparently according to the press reports later on,
he changed his mind, when you actually dig deep into the case.

So I think the law rightly understood should be that Hobby Lobby at the end
of the day will lose its case, but not because it is a corporation and not
because this is a for-profit but because at the end of the day the rights
of the employees who aren`t members of his religious group are -- outweigh
the claims of the religious conscience. Hobby Lobby is being asked to just
pay its employees and compensate them the same way that every other
employer has to do. And so actually to give them an exemption from the law
would really be kind of unfair competition and disadvantage and unfair to
its employees, who are not co-religionists --


AMAR: -- own bodies, but Hobby Lobby will probably be able to bring the
case and the fact that it`s a corporation won`t be a bar and the fact that
because it`s a kind of a family corporation and the fact that it is for
profit won`t be a bar. But at the end of the day, they should lose because
their religious rights should be outweighed by the rights of employees.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so I want to pause a minute and I want to actually
listen to Hobby Lobby`s attorney, making the oral argument that mean --
just at -- towards the end there about the fact that this is a different
kind of company. This is a closely held corporation. Let`s take a listen.


extent in how you would apply these principles to Exxon. But I think
that`s just something that`s not going to happen in the real world. It is
no accident that the claims that you have before you in these cases are
brought by small, closely held corporations that have firmly held religious


HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So let me -- I just want a little bit more from
you. I promise I`ll open it up to the table.

But so as I hear that and I hear OK, yes, we want to expand it from an
individual like my great-great-granddaddy to a corporation, but we are not
talking about Exxon. We are talking about the corner kosher deli and
you`re asking the corner kosher deli to sell pork.

And you can`t do that, right, that is unreasonable thing because of our
religious beliefs. And we are -- we`re just a small kind of company.

Is it possible that they would rule that there is an extension of that
personhood around -- of our religious beliefs, but that it doesn`t go as
far as an Exxon or a General Motors, but just to a Hobby Lobby?

AMAR: I think that is the idea that when the folks who own the company,
they own the whole company and they direct the company and they administer
the company. And that`s just not -- no one person owns Exxon. So certain
kinds of corporations might be treated as, in effect, extensions of the
family. But in our kosher deli company, who is really untrue to the point
if the deli doesn`t sell pork? There`s a deli down the street that sells
pork. And so why put that in position on the religious --


HARRIS-PERRY: -- pork is not mandated.

AMAR: Yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And well, and, your employees who may not be kosher
are allowed to eat bacon when they go home.

AMAR: That is the key point, right?

HARRIS-PERRY: And to spend their wages that they earned at work --

AMAR: -- of non co-religionists. That`s the --


VOLSKY: Yes, the rights of the employees, as you say, are very key because
they are basically saying, employees, you can`t use the compensation you
earned, your health care benefits, on the services that you want. And that
is where I think the rights of the employees are, really --

AMAR: And imagine, one of those 28,000 says actually access to health care
is part of my religion. And so when you have 28,000 employees, it is just
a very different situation than your great-great-grandfather and his
family of co-religionists.

HARRIS-PERRY: Because they all believe the same thing.

I want to listen quickly to Justice Elena Kagan, who does make this
argument about the scope of this. And then I promise we`re going to open
up this whole conversation when we get back.

But I want to listen to Justice Elena Kagan here.


JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: Your understanding of this law, your
interpretation of it, would essentially subject the entire U.S. Code to the
highest test in constitutional law, to a compelling interest standard. So
another employer comes in, and that employer says I have a religious
objection to sex discrimination laws. And then another employer comes in.
I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws. And then another,
family leave, and then another, child labor laws.


HARRIS-PERRY: And that`s precisely what I want to come back and talk

So what if it is my religious belief that racial groups should not mix or
that -- or that women should not work in this field? I want to sort of
think about how big this could get, when we come back.



KAGAN: Justice Sotomayor is quite right that there are quite a number of
medical treatments that different religious groups object to. So one
religious group could opt out of this and another religious group could opt
out of that. And everything would be piecemeal and nothing would be


HARRIS-PERRY: So Justice Kagan there is suggesting that the possibility of
a cascading effect, not only of making corporations into people with
religious objections, but also that once we do that, the kinds of things
that folks individually object to could, if it became corporations could
become deeply problematic, particularly on medical care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, take this to Sunday mornings, I wake up craving
Chick-Fil-A. Why is Chick-fil-a closed on Sundays? I think it`s egregious
(ph) as a nice Jewish boy. I should be able to have Chick-fil-a.

HARRIS-PERRY: Don`t have Chick-fil-a. They`re very bad on the LGBT Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but here`s the thing. Here`s where it gets
interesting. If Chick-fil-a wasn`t a closely held company, if it wasn`t
private, it wasn`t beholden to shareholders, it would not be able to hold
this kind of position.

Shareholders would argue that you are leaving revenue on the table by being
closed on the Lord`s Day of church and they would also say that you are
alienating a large swath of Americans by being LGBT hostile. So I think
that there is a bifurcation here. You talk about closely held companies
like Hobby Lobby which, frankly, most Americans I don`t believe heard of
before this case and the big ones who could never in 1,000 years do
anything like this. In fact, the likes of Starbucks, the likes of Disney,
they were providing same-sex benefits and well ahead of the law, you know,
years and months.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, but I want to be careful not to -- so there are ways in
which we can think of Hobby Lobby as small, as closely held, like Chick-
fil-a. But I also don`t want to think of them as the corner deli, like
they are also not small businesses. They`re also multibillion-dollar
business. And I think part of what happens in this discourse about the
Greens and their family business. Is it seems as though the federal
government is imposing this thing like it did on my great-great-
grandfather, right, on these kind of helpless individuals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it means there`s 120 million Americans who are
employed by small businesses. So if you go down the road of small
businesses, that is going to be a lot of people. And I think the other
concern is besides just opening the floodgates for denying treatment to
other condition, that you may disagree with, is I think this fear that
corporations may start using this as a competitive advantage to stop
following generally applicable laws. And if you get into that, if
businesses believe they can make more money, if they can avoid certain
regulations, that I think is a real dangers.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I can remember that Senator Rand Paul got into a bit of
trouble when he was revisiting the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which we`ll be
having the 50th anniversary of soon, and saying, well it is one thing for
it to have applied to public institutions, but it never should have applied
to private institutions. And, you know, for me, this Hobby Lobby makes me
wonder, is this kind of a Rand Paulian argument that, well, you know,
private interests should have a right to discriminate, basically?

BELLANTONI: These are the exact reasons that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
vetoed that measure that would have allowed people within that state to
discriminate against same-sex couples, you know, for marriage services,
right? There is a fine line here.

FEMALE: When you have gone too far for Jan Brewer, you have gone too far

AMAR: And here is an organization that should be allowed to discriminate,
the church.

HARRIS-PERRY: The church, of course.

AMAR: So the Catholic Church actually says that only men can be priests.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. And they should not have --

BELLANTONI: And there are all kinds of religious exemptions under the
Affordable Care Act. And so, that is sort of the extension that Clement is
arguing here saying let`s make that ford (ph).

But also, think about the things we are talking about. Contraception, you
know, IUD`s, whether that is the morning-after pill. I mean, this is an
issue that affects, in a large part, unmarried women. By the way, the
coalition we were talking about, those are the people more likely to vote
for Democrats. They are a lot of political consequences here. And so, on
Capitol Hill, especially, they`re really watching this to see whether there
will be reverberations for the act in general as Republicans are trying to
win back the Senate.

HARRIS-PERRY: So you brought us back to an important point, which is that
as much as this is about generally about corporations and -- it`s also
fundamentally about women`s reproductive rights. This actually isn`t about
blood transfusions. This comes up as an issue around reproductive rights.
I want to listen to my favorite Justice Scalia who, when he does this kind
of weird thing about birth control and then ask you about it.


VOICE OF JUSTICE SCALIA: You`re talking about what? Three or four birth
control, not all of them, just those that are --


SCALIA: (inaudible). That`s not terribly expensive stuff, is it?


HARRIS-PERRY: So I know you told us again not to think about oral
arguments very much, but when I hear the justice not making an argument
based on law, but like, well, it`s not that expensive. Just go get your
IED, I mean, I`m only gonna feel as though maybe he didn`t understand how
the three or four birth control worked. But also just that idea that -- I
mean, should really just ignore that in the oral arguments? Or is there
something to be said for the fact that Scalia is behaving as though -- the
relative expense of this is central?

AMAR: Well, he says all sorts of things in oral argument. But what he has
written is that he thinks the rule of law should be a law of rules. There
should be categories. He doesn`t love these individual balancing formula.
Justice O`Connor used to like balancing.

He`s a categorical person, and I don`t know what the relevant category is.
Small ones don`t count. You know, people only -- you know, it`s like being
sort of pregnant or something. So he generally, in his jurisprudence, has
liked clear-cut rules. (inaudible) The clear-cut rule is that when only
co-religionists are involved within a house of worship or within a marriage
just between consenting adults, maybe then the government should back off
and let religious observance prevail.

But when non-religious -- (inaudible) are up, when employees are involved
or the larger public, and when there is unfair competition, you know, when
some companies have to pay lower wages, and have less regulation than
others, that is when the law should prevail, the uniform law and not the
religious --

HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on. We`ve got more on this.

AMAR: And that is the clean categorical rule.

HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve got more on this and a little bit on the politics of
it as well as soon as we get back. Everyone stay with me. We`re gonna
have to put in a quick break here.

But first, bells are ringing across the pond, wedding bells that is. At
the stroke of midnight Saturday, same-sex marriage became legal in England
and Wales. Rainbow flags were hoisted on government buildings to celebrate
the new law. And couples gathered in the wee hours of the night to get
married. This is quite the evolution for England, which until 2003 had a
law on the books banning schools and local governments from promoting
homosexuality. So for this I say cheers to the people of England and


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re talking about the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme
Court. And I wanted to point out this article in "Salon" that reads,
"Hobby Lobby appears to be going much further than protecting freedom,
providing funding for a group that backs a political network of activist
groups deeply engaged in pushing a Christian agenda into law. Entities
related to the company are two of the largest donors to the organization
funding a right-wing Christian agenda, investing tens if not hundreds of
millions of dollars into a vast network of organizations working in concert
to advance an agenda that would allow businesses to discriminate against
gays and lesbians and deny their employees contraceptives. That network of
activist groups have succeed in passing legislation in Arizona, requiring
women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion, banning tax-payer funded
insurance paying for government employees` abortions, defining marriage as
a union between a man and a woman, and funding abstinence education."

So I wanted to just point this it because we talk about it just as the
religious freedom question, but in fact, if this is a corporation that has
a political agenda as well, I mean, this is about pushing something.

VOLSKY: And that`s why I think this is such a big story and struck such a
nerve because it`s in this larger political environment of an attack on
women`s rights around the country and all these different states, limiting
when you can get an abortion, limiting your access to contraception,

And so, when you see connections like this, you immediately think, aha,
this is part of something bigger. This is part of something that`s been
going on for, like, the last five years when the number of anti-abortion
laws have sky-rocketed. So it`s not just this case. And I think if the
justices rule for Hobby Lobby, I wonder what kind of reaction you are going
see, if we`re finally going to hit a tipping point of people in the streets
saying, this is just the latest in a long pattern.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mike and Robin (ph), this shouldn`t -- I mean, this
shouldn`t bear on the legal question, right? I mean, this shouldn`t bear
on how justices make the decision. But I do think it should -- it should
matter to us, as Americans, to ask how, for example, Citizens United
creates a kind of corporate personhood that impacts our elections and that
this sort of decision could also create a kind of corporate set of rights,
personhood rights, that could impact who we are.

AMAR: So let`s step back for a minute and fault the people in the White
House who needed to thread the needle for the Affordable Care Act.


VOLSKY: Look, professor, I never took the LSAT. If I did, maybe I would
have gotten a 15 on it or something.

I don`t profess to be a lawyer or a constitutional scholar, but shouldn`t
this stuff have been codified somehow that is not a special package
(inaudible) for contraceptives that you give the alternative to your
employer to go in and --

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, let me back up even further and suggest why in the
world -- we`ll go even farther left. So allow me to take you even farther
to the left, that this is the problem of your employer providing your
health insurance and that the core issue here is that, if health care is
itself a fundamental human right that people should have access to, that it
actually -- like, I don`t really want my university, MSNBC, anybody else to
be providing the health care, right? That if it was delinked (inaudible)

VOLSKY That is what leaves this terrible territory. If you are a person,
you`re a contrious (ph) objector at Hobby Lobby thinking, gosh I`m not a
libertine, I`m not a promiscuous person. I`m married. I fit all these
other Christian qualifications, but I suddenly feel like I should be shamed
about this at Hobby Lobby. And that is a terrible byproduct of what is
going on in this conversation, that you leave that air for argument. It is
almost s-shaming (ph) if you want to take it to the second degree. And how
the ACA, which was supposed to comprehensive, which was supposed to be a
landmark event, which was supposed to cover Americans leaves that loop
hole, just has me questioning.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, and I appreciate the strategic reality. Like, I -- I
get it. I get why single pair was a problem. But I also feel like maybe
in this moment then you stand up and say, hello America. This is why
single pair would have a certain value.

BELLANTONI: Well, even Barack Obama could have made that argument, you
know, before. And obviously, they made a lot of compromises to be able to
pass this.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s politics.

BELLANTONI: It is absolutely politics. But it gets at privacy issues and
going back to what we were talking about before the break. There is a huge
price differential on these birth control methods. And some of them are
more effective than others. And then you can take the argument down about,
you know, if you have access to birth control, there are going to be fewer
unwanted pregnancies, which leads to fewer abortions, right. But
elections have consequences and all of these laws that Igor was talking
about with the sort of switch in state legislatures and like little bits of
chipping away different things -- there are members of the Virginia
delegation, for example, in their state legislature that believe that birth
control pills are like abortions.


HARRIS-PERRY: Why are we having this conversation?

AMAR: Let`s remember since we are talking about the religious right, that
it`s been very important in America that there`s been a religious left.
They are the ones who give us the Civil Rights Act of 1974 led by the
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and the Voting Rights Act. And on many
issues, the Catholic Church has been very good on social stuff.

So let`s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let`s remember that we
believe in religious liberty.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right, and this is part of why I wanted to start this
whole thing talking about great-great grandaddy Frederick (ph) is to just
make the point that yes, individuals have a right to -- and whether or not
people think polygamy is OK is separate. My only point is just that
individuals can have deeply held beliefs that come into conflict with law
and that we as Americans set out space for those individuals.

But whether or not corporations should be allowed to opt out of this kind
of legal fairness is something quite different.

We will continue to keep on this. Akhil, thank you so much for being here
with us.

Stay with us because we are about to talk about Gwyneth Paltrow. Her
conscious uncoupling, is it the only thing raising eyebrows this week?


HARRIS-PERRY: If you haven`t heard already someone has finally figured out
an easy method for parents to balance work and raising their children: a
9:00 to 5:00 job! Well, at least that`s what Gwenyth Paltrow suggesting
when she told E! News, "I think it is different when you have an office job
because it`s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning
and come home in the evening. When you are shooting a movie, they`re like,
we need you to go to Wisconsin two weeks and then you work 14 hours a day,
and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and
be a mom is not as - I mean of course there are challenges, but it`s not
like being on set."

Oh, okay. Plenty of mothers who do work 9:00 to 5:00 jobs were quick to
respond. Pointing out challenges like affording child care and pushing
back on the assertion that a full-time job leaves ample free time. For the
nearly 18 million women who live in poverty in the United States, the
struggle is to find work that even pays a living wage.

Women make up nearly two thirds of all workers who receive minimum wage,
and 72 percent of tipped minimum wage jobs. And then there are those who
are unemployed and still trying to provide for their families, like Felicia
(ph) Taylor, who went on a job interview last Friday.

Now, she could not afford child care for her two kids during the job
interview, and she is homeless. She has nowhere they could stay. Instead
of losing the opportunity of a job, she brought her kids with her and left
them in the car.

When she came back from the interview she was arrested on two felony
accounts of child abuse. Her children were taken by child protective
services, and this morning she is still in jail.

Now, comments like Paltrow`s make headlines and stif up social media, but
to meaningfully address workplace challenges for mothers we need to focus
on policy that centers on the needs of low wage women.

Joining our table now is Saru Jayaraman, who is the director of the Food
Labor Research Center At UC Berkeley, and co-founder and co-director of the
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. So nice to have you here.

So, it is easy to beat up on Gwenyth Paltrow, it`s almost (INAUDIBLE). You
know she`s going through her "conscious uncoupling," so I don`t want to
beat up on Gwyneth Paltrow, but it does seem to me that what she touches on
in that moment is part of the kind of like poverty shaming and just this
complete unawareness of the difficulty of actually managing full time work
and parenting.

the reality that unfortunately she doesn`t seem to know is that in this day
and age most of these women that we`re talking are actually working two
jobs to make ends meet. And they`re not actually working 9-5 jobs. So,
take tipped workers, for example, which is one of the -- the restaurant
industry is one of the largest employers of women in the United States.
It`s over 10 million workers nationwide.

These are workers, you know especially the women, who are tipped workers -
- servers, bartenders, bussers, runners. They work irregular hours, they
often have to put together two jobs to make ends meet, and they are living
completely off tips because the wage for tipped workers in the United
States has not risen from $2.13 in the last 23 years. They are living
completely off their tips because their wages are so low, they`re going
entirely to taxes. They are working erratic hours. They are working
multiple jobs and their income fluctuates from day to day, week to week,
month to month. Imagine paying for child care when you don`t even know
what your income is let alone not being able to get to your child on time
because you don`t know when your shift is going to be.

HARRIS PERRY: Right, I was going to say or even securing child care under
the circumstances of the kinds of work folks do.

There was a great open letter to Paltrow that captured one part of it I
want to put a finger on because this is Mackenzoe (ph) and she`s writing,
"Thank God I don`t make millions filming one movie per year. Is what I say
to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro North
platform about to begin my 45 minute commute into the city." So this is
from the New York Post, and I thought like just at the very end of that,
"my 45 minute commute into the city." And I thought, you know what? This
goes to the idea that some of the things that we think of as policy in a
general sense actually could make an enormous difference - so we don`t -
it`s not mom policy, it`s minimum wage policy, it`s public transportation.
These are actually things that make an enormous difference in the lives of
women workers.

BELLANTONI: Or how about services that have been cut and cut and cut at the
state and city level that might have provided low cost or even free daycare
or health services for kids or a policy for how many days that you can take
off if your kids gets sick? You know, forget the fact that it`s hard to get
child care, like, what if you need to pick your kid up at school because
they got beat up, or any of those things? My own mother worked three jobs
in the service industry when I was growing up, and one of the reasons we
lived in an expensive place in the country, in the Bay area. is because my
grandparents were there. And they helped. And if it weren`t for them
helping getting me through school, because by the way schools aren`t 9-5,
there`s no way she could`ve done it, but it forced her to stay in a place
that was expensive because it was the only place where her network was.

VOLSKY: We are having this conversation now across the country about paid
sick leave and universal pre-school because the old laws are so antiquated;
they were designed for a situation where you had one bread winner and it
was the man, he brought the money and the women would take care of the
children. That is not America anymore. You have to update those laws.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, let me - let me suggest that that - that for some
communities that was never America. That is not descriptive of immigrant
family communities or of African-American communities really at any point
in the U.S. context. But I want to go back quickly to what you said
because this is something I see in my own life. Folks know that I have been
out for six weeks because we have a new baby. One of the realities for the
care of my 12-year-old daughter and now my six-week-old daughter is that
we live an intergenerational household, right, my mother lives there, but
you know what makes that possible? Oh, the fact that she could choose not
to work because there was, oh I don`t know, Medicare. When we think about
the grandparents being available, grandparents are only available when
there is a support network for elderly people who then provide the support
network for working families.

ROBEN FARZAD, BUSINESSWEEK.COM: This speaks of the intergenerational
unfairness of our entitlement system. The elder people, they had Claude
Pepper (ph) in congress, they had people, the AARP fighting on their be
half. They have Medicare, they have Social Security, the have the
prescription drug benefit that George Bush 43 passed through. There`s no
one arguing on behalf of the 0-4 contingent, the kids, their single
mothers, lactation benefits, universal preschool, I wonder if somebody did
a cold died (ph) cost benefit analysis and you could sit liberals and hedge
fund managers alike, the societal bang for the buck that you would get in
covering everyone from 0 to 4, the mitigation of latch-key kids, of
homelessness, if on a Maslovian (ph) level that fundamental concern for
mothers is mitigated if they can go out and feel like they can continue
being productive tax paying members of society -


FARZAD: I think it`s, you know, it`s fun to go out and castigate Gwyneth
Paltrow, but this speaks to bigger issues. Again, a kind of an
intergenerational short-coming if you will.

HARRIS-PERRY: And I love your point about this intergenerational because I
thought you were going somewhere slightly different. I love the idea of a
kind of Maslov hierarchy of need in young people and the ways in which
childhood poverty has increased even as elderly poverty has decreased, but
also the intergenerational in that it is not clear to me that our social
safety net will be available when I`m 70 so that if my, now, 12-year-old
daughter is in her 30`s and needs child care, I might - like I might still
be working and be unable to provide those things.

Stick with us, we`ve got more about all of this, because up next - women
and wages. Could the Could the push for a high minimum wage be the mother
of all political issues?


women providing basic services to us all, like cleaning our offices, caring
for our children, serving in our restaurants, and so many other areas --
how can we say they don`t deserve enough pay to take them out of poverty?




lower wage jobs in America, Congress needs to raise the minimum wage.
Because no woman who works full time should ever have to raise her children
in poverty.


HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama in one of his most recent efforts to
make the case for raising the minimum wage to $10.10. And doing so by
framing it as an issue of women`s welfare and equality. It is a smart
political move for the White House heading into the midterm elections.
Combing a popular issue the Democratic candidates are likely to run on with
a key electoral demographic. But, it`s also reflective of an empirical
reality that the president is trying to change. The White House recently
released a new report focused exclusively on how raising the minimum wage
and the tipped minimum wage would positively impact women`s economic
outlook, and the report finds that women would constitute 55% of workers
directly benefiting from that policy change.

So, some folks may know that we`re doing this nerd-land scholar challenge,
the mother of all politics. And we`re trying to do readings and think about
women as political actors, specifically in the context of how they`ve
thought about motherhood and deployed and used motherhood. And as part of
that I gave an interview where I tried to think through the policies that
could improve the lives of women with young children, including universal
healthcare and paid maternity leave, universal pre-K, raising the minimum
wage, investing in public transportation, extending SNAP benefits,
affordable reproductive services, marriage equality, tax incentives for
parent-friendly business practices! All of those kinds of things - I guess
I have a - the political strategy question is, those kinds of things that
we hear, does it -- is it politically strategic to sell them as mother`s
policies? To sell this minimum wage increase as a mother`s policy.

JAYARAMAN: I believe so. I mean we have gone across the country talking
about, especially, the minimum wage for tipped workers. And it`s finny
when people talk about the minimum wage and the fact that it`s 67% female,
what people don`t realize is that a huge portion of those women at 67
percent are actually on this lower minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, and
unfortunately sometimes even our friends in Congress give away the tipped
workers. And what they don`t realize is that when they give away the tipped
workers at the end of the debate they are actually giving away the women,
the moms.

VOLSKY: On the politics level. This is something that should be attracting
Democrats and Republicans if we had a real conversation. Because you pay
people more and you boost up your consumer economy. You get people off of
food stamps because now they have more money in their pockets. And it is
also oftentimes there is an attempt to frame it as a business vs. everyone
else issue. But it`s really not. You have a lot of businesses across the
country who think they should be paying their workers a living wage. The
retention is better.


FARZAD: The problem in this economy, and why this is such an uphill battle
is there is so much slack in this workforce. People have moved on. People
who are participated in real estate and the stock market and junk bonds and
what not. You know income inequality has not been this bad in decades, and
you figure there was going to be some indignation after the era of bailouts
and people not seeing their wages increase while others are taking home
maximum paydays. If there isn`t indignation now, you wonder, there`s never
going to be indignation.

BELLANTONI: Women make the majority of financial decisions in all
households. And the Tea Party actually tapped into that, whether that was
on purpose strategically or just at work over the health care law in 2010.
You saw this group, they called themselves the Mommy Patriots, where they
are going after specific women to make these decisions. And that`s where
the Republican Party has done us -- I mean, you see more and more of Cathy
McMorris Rodgers, whose the conference chair woman for the House
Republicans. That`s why she gave the State of the Union rebuttal, which,
by the way, the most popular line in that was the president saying, "When
women succeed, America succeeds." This is the voter everybody`s going

HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so what I love -- part of how you framed that is when
you say the mothers, it depends a great deal on which mothers you`re
talking about, whether or not we think of them as good and worthy mothers
deserving of support and fairness or bad mothers who in fact are deserving
mostly only of our contempt. So these mothers who need to stop having
babies and go out and work rather than --

FARZAD: What happened to the greatest love of all? They told us to teach
them well and let them lead the way. It is not about the mothers; it`s the


HARRIS-PERRY: But we are cutting the benefits -- because of those bad

VOLSKY: Those are the Paul Ryan comments from a couple of weeks ago.
Because there are certain people in inner cities who just don`t know how to
work. They`re lazy and they don`t want to work. That`s -- it is a
cultural issue for him and that is the problem.

HARRIS-PERRY: And not just for him, though. I would say, as much as I
despise what Ryan said, it also has been the meme in both the left and the
right for a long time since the idea of this kind of cultural pathology

FARZAD: The you know where the left is wincing (ph) on this, incidentally?
There is a huge loophole for corporate welfare that`s inextricably linked
to the minimum wage. The fact that huge department stores and fast food
chains can pay their workers so little and then encourage them -- actually
there are recorded messages. This is how you avail yourself of Medicaid


FARZAD: That`s private property (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m just saying it is hard out here for movie stars and
multi-billion dollar corporations. Thank you to Igor, Roben, Christina,
and Saru. Up next, the Moral Monday campaign is on the move again.
Another state is about to join the growing protest movement, pushing back
against extreme right wing legislative agendas. Which one and why when we
come back.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been keeping a close eye on the expansion of the
ongoing grassroots Moral Mondays movement ever since its inception in April
2013. You might remember back in June I spent some time down in North
Carolina with the leader of the movement, Reverend William Barber. I also
met with protesters as they prepared to be placed under arrest in their
fight against the Republican controlled government and its plan to restrict
voting rights, health care access, and jobless benefits.

Just a little more than a week ago, 39 people were arrested during
Georgia`s Moral Mondays protest, which expanded to that state in January of
this year. Also in January, like Moral Mondays, Truthful Tuesday began in
South Carolina to bring attention to lawmakers promoting an extreme
legislative agenda at the expense of the state`s most vulnerable, children,
the elderly and the poor.

Now in Missouri, Republican leaders are pushing legislation to increase
waiting periods for abortions, implement voter I.D. laws, cut Medicare, and
get rid of federal gun control laws. My guest today is not having it.
Planning of a possible Moral Mondays Missouri movement is happening next

Joining me from St. Louis is one of the leaders and organizers of the Moral
Mondays Missouri possibility. University of Missouri Professor Reverend
Carl W. Kenney II, who is also a dear friend about whom I wrote in my first
book. Reverend Kennedy, very nice to have you here today.

REV. CARL KENNEY, COLUMNIST, : Well, it`s good to be present. First, let
me thank you, congratulate you, James and Parker, on adding a bundle of joy
to the Nerdland family.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, Reverend Kennedy. So look, I knew you during the
time that we were both living in North Carolina when I was in graduate
school and actually attending your church. And I guess part of what I`m
interested in is what is it you think that North Carolina has to offer to
Missouri in terms of political organizing?

KENNEY: Well, I think what`s taking place across the country is this moral
movement that congregations, everyone from Anglican to atheist, Baptist to
Buddhist, are beginning to question extreme politics. And I think North
Carolina offers some insight related to how to become a moral voice. In
Missouri, what we`re doing is we`re gathering this clergy to have
conversations about what it would look like to have a movement that is
structured under this principle of dignity. Every human being deserves
honor and respect.

And what will happen on Thursday is our semi -- our midterm dignity test.
We`re asking politicians whether or not they passed that dignity test, and
what we`re seeing in Missouri is they`re failing that test.

HARRIS-PERRY: So why is the language of morality, ethics, dignity -- why
is that the relevant language for the generation of this social movement
rather than words like Democrat, liberal, progressive?

KENNEY: Well, I think that`s taking place is this transcendent political
parties. In Missouri, it`s not really about Republican and Democrat; it`s
about lobbyists, and lobbyists against everybody else. And so in Missouri,
it`s the only state where there are no limits on lobbyists. There are no
rules limiting campaign contributions. And we`re discovering that the
lobbyists are running amuck in our state, and therefore, the moral
authority is needed.

You know, our state motto is "The welfare of the people is supreme law,"
and we`re discovering that that`s not the case in our state when it comes
to Medicaid expansion and when it comes to this proposal before the Senate,
Senate Bill 694, that will remove the cap on payday lending loans. And
we`re really troubled by that.

HARRIS-PERRY: I want to listen to a bit of a conversation that I had with
Reverend Barber last year in North Carolina about why Moral Mondays is
necessary and then have you respond to that.


moral strategy that would shine the light on this extreme ideological
regressive movement that`s happening in our general assembly, and to stop
it before it spreads even worse across the south.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, Reverend Kenney, he says the word strategy. And it
seems to me that there is an actual training going on here. Part of what I
have claimed about Moral Mondays is that it seems like an actual movement,
not just a hashtag, and not just outrage, but an actual movement. What
kind of strategy is important for you all?

KENNEY: Well, I think Reverend Barber would agree that every state has to
have an indigenous strategy. They have to consider the context, the
culture of that community. We`re engaging with Reverend Barber along with
the wisdom of those across the country to help inform us on how we will
develop a strategy that fits our particular state context.

It is important that we do that. I also believe that it`s important that
there be some cohesion nationally. I think what will happen, and Missouri
won`t resemble North Carolina`s Moral Monday. It will be a bit different
based on our particular concerns in our community. But I do think that we
have to claim some form of connection based on our outward cry, our
national cry, to go back to some type of moral voice. We can`t allow the
extremes to define what it means to be moral people.

HARRIS-PERRY: Reverend Carl Kenney, it is lovely to see you again. And
thank you for joining us this morning. That`s our show for today.

I have a little congratulations to send out, too. My husband James
finished his first mini triathlon this morning. Good job, hubby. See you
soon when I get home.

And I`m going to see all of you in Nerdland next Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
Eastern. But right now it is time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX
WITT". Hi Alex.

ALEX WITT, HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": And a yat to James. Good one.
All right, Melissa. Thanks.

We have a packed show on tap this Sunday. The sign-up deadline now just a
day away as the Affordable Care Act enters a new phase. What challenges
lie ahead for this White House.

Plus a word of political advice from former president Bill Clinton.

The search for Flight 370 now entering its fourth week. There`s cautious
hope that a key piece of American technology could help in the effort.

And March Madness, frustrated fans clashing with police after an overtime
thriller in college basketball. There`s some video there. We`re going to
show it to you here. Stay with us.



Copyright 2014 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>