May 9, 2014
Guests: Toure, Hank Johnson, Mary-Pat Hector, Nan Orrock
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening. I`m coming to you live
from the sweet auburn festival in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The crowds
are coming out and we`re getting fired up. We`re here as part of MSNBC`s
growing hope initiative to help people share their hope for change and
raise awareness of Americans giving back to their community.
Just steps away from here is Ebinezer Baptist church, the home-based for
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as he organized some of the greatest
triumph of the civil rights movement. Dr. King succeeded in growing hope
for the entire country. And it`s up to all of us now to continue and
expand his legacy.
But we start tonight with tonight`s lead. And President Obama throwing
down the gauntlet in the fight for economic fairness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Republicans who are in
charge of the house right now and want to take over the Senate --
OBAMA: Don`t boo. Vote. Work. But they have said no to every proposal
that we know could make a difference in the lives of hard-working
Americans. They have said no to proposals that would rebuild out
infrastructure. They has said no to equal pay for equal work. In fact,
they denied there`s even a problem. I`m just saying. They said no to
increasing the minimum wage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The minimum wage is a central front in this battle. Ninety
three percent of Democrats support an increase, so do 69 percent of
independence, and 52 percent of Republican voters. And yet Republicans in
Congress refuse to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They are operating on a theory that time and again has proven to be
wrong. It`s the theory that says you`re on your own. It`s a theory that
says if we just reward folks at the very top then everybody else is going
to do just fine. It`s a theory that discounts the possibility of common
action in order to make sure that opportunity is real for every American
and not just some. They have a different theory about how America moves
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A different theory and a different agenda. An agenda pushing
scandals and politicizing strategy.
Today, Republicans announced seven members of their new Benghazi committee.
Democrats are considering a boycott. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi sent a
letter to Speaker Boehner calling the new panel unacceptable. And
referring to the repeated abuses of other GOP committees.
Can you imagine if they put this kind of efforts into a jobs bill or
extending unemployment benefits or fighting inequality? Instead it`s phony
scandals and fake outrage. Why? To get attention off their do-nothing
record of obstruction.
Joining me now is Democratic congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia and
MSNBC`s Krystal Ball.
Thank you both for being here.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Reverend.
REP. HANK JOHNSON (D), GEORGIA: Thanks for having us.
SHARPTON: Well, the rain is pouring down here but it`s not dampening our
Congressman, let me start with you. Don`t we need to drop this obsession
with phony scandals on and focus on what really matters like economic
JOHNSON: Well, I tell you. The republicans want us to shift away from the
debate over the affordable care act. And so now, they have sink way into
Benghazi and the IRS. And you know, no telling what else is going to come
SHARPTON: And these are all subjects that we have (INAUDIBLE) with before.
JOHNSON: Benn investigated through the roof and haven`t found a scandal
about Benghazi, just the unfortunate death of four of America`s diplomat.
And Republicans now want to make it into a political spectacle.
BALL: That`s right.
SHARPTON: It`s really a disrespect to those that lives that we lost so
horrifically and tragically.
You know, Krystal, if you listen to some of the ugly attacks, some of the
Benghazi committee members have made on the president -- I mean, listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t do immigration when you have an
administration who doesn`t respect the rule of law. You cannot trust this
administration. They haven`t enforce the law and now we are supposed to
work with them and actually resolve things. There`s no way you can make
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are seeking to finally stop constitutional
overreaches by the executive branch. I wish President Obama and his
administration had the self-restraint to act within their constitutional
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Mr. President, you want to run roughshod over
the constitution, we have the power of the purse. We`re not going to fund
your pet projects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, they say these ugly things, Krystal, yet they say this is
BALL: They say these ugly things, they base them in nothing but their own
fantasies and they use this me about him being lawless as this excuse to do
nothing. I mean, this is their excuse not to act on immigration reform as
And I think the American people can really see such a dichotomy between
what Republicans want to focus on, these charades, these political show
trials, the investigations over, everything. Time and time again, even
after their questions have already been answered rather on the issues that
people really care about and affect their lives every day.
If mean, if you passed a minimum wage increase today, it would impact the
lives of tens of millions of Americans. I mean, it would have a huge
effect on our economy. It would be so important to people who are
struggling to get by today. And Republicans don`t want to talk about it.
They don`t want to think about it. They don`t want to even put it on the
So, while Democrats are out there and while the president is out there,
fighting for people, looking at issues that are going to affect not just
today but the future of America, Republicans are having show trials and
trying to score political points.
SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, this week, Congressman Trey Gowdy, who
chairs this Benghazi committee, he made a big show of claiming that he is
against fundraising off of Benghazi. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC), CHAIRMAN, BENGHAZI SELECT COMMITTEE: I have never
sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.
They are troops (ph). Still, and even in a culture of hyper partisanship,
certain things that ought to be above politics, like the murder of our four
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Should be above politics. Never did fundraising. But last
year, the Lancaster news in South Carolina reported that Congressman Gowdy
attended a fundraiser and talked about Benghazi, quote, "referring to the
scandals surrounding the murders of four American citizens in the
Benghazi." Gowdy said, quote, "it is a scandal."
That`s what he was saying at a campaign fundraising, Congressman Johnson.
JOHNSON: Well, I`m sure the Republican party and my friend Mr. Gowdy will
continue to raise money and stoke up public anger about this false
narrative that they`re projecting on Benghazi. It just seems to be a
scheme to help drive out those most extreme voters who want to hear about
this and you know, and collect money at the same time. And then get those
voters out and try to win the Senate.
SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, the Republicans keep going on these scandals,
scandals, scandals, yet the president is seen focused on the economy, on
the upcoming midterm elections. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And so the question is, what are we going to do about it in this
midterm? The choices couldn`t be clearer. The choices could not be
clearer. As Democrats, I believe that we should be fighting for equal pay
for equal work. They do not. That`s a choice.
As a democrat, I believe that opportunity for all means that if you work
full time, you should not be in poverty, we should increase the minimum
wage. It`s the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Is that what is going to be critical in these midterm elections
that Democrats should remain focuses on these economic issues, Krystal?
BALL: Absolutely. I mean, this is what people really care about. This is
what they want to hear about in this election. And even in red states like
Arkansas, like this state here in Georgia where we are right now.
You know, people are looking for a fair shot. They understand the country
has gone in the wrong direction. With all the money going to the top and
the people, the working class, the middle class, not getting a fair shot to
be able to provide for their family,. to make sure their kids can succeed
going forward. Those are the issues that people really care about.
So I have to think about at the end of the day, that`s going to be the
message that wins because it is where people are heard. Republicans try to
play on fear, right? They try to play on hanger and hate and fear, these
ugly emotions. And that`s what they`re appealing to with Benghazi. That`s
what they were appealing to before with their health care attacks.
SHARPTON: Yet, Congressman, two Republicans this week came out again
talking about the minimum wage. Speaking out against it when we need help
with our -- those that are suffering economically, including right here in
JOHNSON: Two-thirds of the minimum wage workers are female. And it is
really a shame that these caregivers and caretakers, they are taking care
of their children and the elderly, have to try to squeak by on $7.25 an
hour. Or string together maybe two or three part-time jobs if they can`t
find a full-time job. And just plain that`s what they work hard and
they`re still eligible for public assistance and that`s wrong.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there.
Congressman Hank Johnson and Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time
BALL: Thanks for having us.
SHARPTON: have a great weekend.
We have rain here tonight, but it won`t let -- we won`t. We are determined
not to let it get us down. We`re growing hope right here in Atlanta.
SHARPTON: Coming up right now, Republicans governors are turning down
money that can literally save lives. We`ll show you how the Medicaid fight
started right here in Georgia.
Plus, the Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions on elections. But
just wait until you hear what they have planned now.
And major victories in the fight for voting rights this week. Here in
Atlanta, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach about the
fight for voting rights at the Ebinezer Baptist church. Why his words ring
It`s a big Friday show. We`re growing hope. Live from the sweet auburn
festival in Atlanta.
You`re watching a special edition of "Politics Nation" only on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: We are here at Atlanta and part of MSNBC`s growing hope
campaign. We are have now facebook family to share their hope. It got
some great answers.
Douglas hope is restoring and improving voter rights. I agree, Doug.
Tom says I hope as a look at the mirror that I can make a difference in a
young person`s life that will help them to be a better person. Great one,
And we want to hear from you. What`s your hope? Please go to
MSNBC.com/growinghope. And let us know.
My hope is that Republican governors start playing politics with people`s
lives. It`s happening right here in Georgia and it`s truly shameful.
SHARPTON: Now to the shame of some politicians playing politics with
Right now, there are Republican governors turning down Medicaid money under
the affordable health care act. Money that could be saving lives. Think
about it that for a second. Turning down money that helps their own
constituents. And it`s happening right here in Georgia with Governor
Nathan Deal. But the people here are fighting hard in protest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Medicaid expansion now!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Inside the Senate chambers, and outside the
doors, dozens of people erupting in cheers, chants and sat down on the
floor. Some were arrested this morning and even more late this afternoon
during coordinated protests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Thirty nine people were arrested at that protest here in Atlanta
in March. Since January, demonstrators have taken action in the state
capitol as part of the moral Monday movement, refusing to stand by while
governor deal and the Republican legislature continue to block the Medicaid
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really a small price to pay, given the fact
that there are a lot of people handcuffed to poverty and unable to get
basic health care in the richest country of the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t mind going to jail if it would mean 650,000
people might get health care to makes a deal. The real criminal act is
Nathan Deal not doing the right thing by people of the state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The state senator calling a quote "criminal act," a criminal act
by governor Deal for denying 650,000 people coverage. And he is not alone
in this shame. Texas governor Rick Perry and Louisiana governor Bobby
Jindal are among those in 24 states denying care.
But that is why the fight continues here in Georgia. That is why people
are demonstrating. And that`s what gives me a lot of hope.
Joining me now are Georgia state senator Nan Orrock and Mary-Pat Hector the
national youth director of my civil rights organization the National Action
Network, who was one of those that were arrested here in Georgia.
Thanks for, the both of you, being here.
Senator, we just mentioned this but refusing the Medicaid expansion in
Georgia denies coverage to 650,000 people and the governor has gone so far
that he signed a law giving the general assembly the power to expand
Medicaid. So even if democrats elected, the legislature still can block
this. How can they justify this?
STATE SEN. NAN ORROCK (D), GEORGIA: I think it`s hard to justify,
Reverend. We know that when our state strive (ph) and prospers with share
prosperity and working families supported, when dignity and respect being
accorded to everyone, that`s a win-win. This move on the refusing Medicaid
federal dollars is foolish, shortsighted, hurts our economy, hurts our
families and I think they`ll have to come off of that position at some
You know, we are -- you`re absolutely right. There will be $30 billion
federal dollars, already allocated, already in the federal budget that
would come into our state`s economy, that would help our hospitals, that
would restore hope to families who have access to health care for the first
time many of them in their lives, and also that family that loses a job,
loses that health insurance.
We have an option for them. I don`t think that is it`s a defensible
position in any way, shape or form. We`ve spoken out against it, supported
SHARPTON: You know, talk about moral Mondays, Mary-Pat, you were one of
those that helped lead here were arrested and some the youth department on
National Action Network with you. The health care law still isn`t very
popular in Georgia, but the medicate expansion is.
A poll from the Atlantic Journal constitution found that 57 percent of
Georgians want to expand Medicaid. Why would the Republicans go out
against what the people want?
MARY-PAT HECTOR, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I think
it`s with a lot of things they don`t push through. I think a lot of
Republicans do not understand or don`t remember how it was to be a normal
person or understand the issues that affect everyday people.
SHARPTON: You know, representative Orrock, you have a life-long commitment
to social justice. You were at the `63 March on Washington and you were in
(INAUDIBLE) go way back and you`re still here fighting. You were there as
a young person. You`re now a seasoned activist like me. She`s only 15-
years-old. Does it encourage you with the hope when you see teenagers
going to jail like we did? Though, we had no influence on her going
ORROCK: That`s right. My son is at every moral Monday demonstration that
they have as well. And so, yes, the youth are our hope. And you and I
know that it`s the young people that have the vision, that look ahead. I
mean, right here, this incredible gardens that are all around us, truly
living well, that`s the energy of youth, you know, with the guidance from a
very senior --
ORROCK: That`s right, seasoned experts in the agriculture and urban
farming. And we, you know, transformed city blocks here. So yes, the
youth are the hope of the future. And this battle around medicate and
accepting those federal dollars into our economy covering almost 700,000,
that`s more than half a million Georgians right now that are being denied
by this move. We need to threw out the, you know, the elections are going
to make a big difference in November. We have got a great candidate for
governor that can take governor Deal sending back home and fix this.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, what inspires young people? You marched with
voter ID with all over the country, a lot of young people. What makes you
and other your age, teenagers, come out and fight this fight?
HECTOR: Well, I mean, we fight this fight, reverend Sharpton, because it
really does affect us. I mean, young people, millennials, who graduate
from college and are working minimum wage jobs. And the last thing that
they want to do living below the poverty level is worry about if they`re
going to have health insurance. And so, giving us the opportunity to stay
on our parents` health insurance until we are 26 helps us a great deal.
And so, we care about this new fight. We fight this fight because it
directly affects us. That`s why we go out to the rural Mondays. That`s
what we partnered with organizations other than National Action Network,
like Generation Progress, (INAUDIBLE), Million Hoodie Movement, and we just
continue to fight.
SHARPTON: Let me say this. We might be seeing some cracks, Senator. In
Montana, Coalition of Health care and business lobbies, state lawmakers and
the governor`s office has been quietly discussing options to expand
Medicaid in Montana, hoping to craft a compromise. So, they`re working
towards a deal in Montana. Is that a good sign?
ORROCK: It`s a good sign. It was a good sign. There are many Republican
governors that realize this is exactly where they need to put their state.
They need to be part of the economy. They need to be part of having
federal dollars in their state.
Right now, we`re wasting taxpayer dollars by the millions, treating people
that are uninsured in emergency rooms. It`s just common sense that they
move in the direction of accepting these federal dollars. And I believe
that the pressure is going to mount and build and grow here in Georgia
because it`s the right thing to do. `
SHARPTON: Senator is a politician. You are young activist, you are not in
the partisan politics, what do you hope will happen and why?
ORROCK: What I hope will happen is that millennials can get jobs. I mean,
and I know, you know, I`m not a politician. I hope to be one day. But
still, you know, millennials can get job. I mean, if we, half a million
people don`t have health insurance in the state of Georgia. That not only
makes it morally right to make this happen, but it also makes it
economically right. That`s 70,000 jobs that will be created. That
millenials can have. That`s, you know, more nurses and doctor jobs, more
insurance jobs, that millennials can have, one day, leave college.
SHARPTON: The president is fighting hard, Senator. Do you feel that as we
keep fighting that people will understand this is not about just partisan
politics? It is also the moral thing to do?
ORROCK: I think you hit exactly the right note, Reverend Sharpton. That
is exactly the case. And right here, we`re in the shadow of Ebinezar
Baptist Church. Pastor (INAUDIBLE) has sounded that message loud and
clear. He`s gone to jail. He`s standing up. He is speaking out.
And it is a moral question. Are we going, as a nation, move into the 21st
century providing health care coverage for all God`s people?
Well, I thank both of you, State Senator Nan Orrock and Mary-Pat Hector,
15-years-old and you are director. Some say she`s another Sharpton. I
wasn`t nearly there at 15. Thank you both for being here tonight.
ORROCK: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Atlanta was the home base for reverend Martin Luther
King Jr. He organized some of the greatest triumph of the civil rights
movement here. What his words mean today in the fight for voting rights.
And a confidential memo from a Koch-backed conservative group reveals a
secret plan, one that we haven`t seen before.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" live from Atlanta. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: I`m here in Atlanta. Let`s go out to the people as standing in
the rain. Why are you out here with me tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I`m a faithful follower of y our show and I
am huge political junkie. I think the issues you talk about are very
important. And I wouldn`t have missed the opportunity to be here.
SHARPTON: All right. Why are you out in the rain (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I enjoy your show, Reverend Al. And I would like to
know what you think about these gun laws in Georgia?
SHARPTON: I think the gun laws the worst in the country of Georgia.
Look at here, look at this sign. You helped make this sign, what`s your
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isiah.
SHARPTON: And the sign says Al Sharpton, MSNBC, the magical super nice
blessed and cool guy on "Politics Nation." I like that. You got a
"Politics nation" head on. And you`re out here growing hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SHARPTON: All right. All right. You brought him out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I didn`t. She did, Reverend Al.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I brought him. I`m the grandma.
SHARPTON: Well, happy mother`s day grandma. What`s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) and we love you. We watch you every day.
And we`re taping you right now.
SHARPTON: OK. Growing hope! Growing hope! Growing hope!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Grover Kendrick (ph), Reverend Al. Thanks
so much for coming to Selman. We were at breakfast when vice president Joe
Biden was there.
SHARPTON: Fighting for voting rights In Selma. That`s where it started.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to vote, people. We got to get some of these
people health care, get our rights back. Stand your ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to definitely focus on our women`s rights
right now here in Georgia.
SHARPTON: What`s happening with women`s rights in Georgia?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they are trampling all over our rights right
now. Basically, they`re -- that`s Jane Crow down here. It is -- they are
sending us back to the past in Georgia. And Governor Deal is nothing but
pure evil, absolute pure evil.
SHARPTON: Jim Crow Jr., now Jane Crow. You gave me a new one. I like
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to start infrastructure back in all of the
southern state and get the union more involved.
SHARPTON: All right, infrastructure development.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need help. We need to help, Nigeria, please, the
SHARPTON: yes, we are talking about the Nigerian girls. We are doing a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. The whole country, not just the girls.
SHARPTON: God bless you. Thank you.
Well, it is in the rain we`re growing hope, Atlanta Georgia. We are
growing hope right in the shadows of where Dr. King started a movement that
is still going on.
"Politics Nation" will be right back.
SHARPTON: Today, more proof this election will be battle against big
money. "Politico" has obtained a confidential memo from the Koch-backed
group Americans for prosperity. It says the group plans to spend more than
$125 million in the midterm election. The article goes on to say that a
source familiar with the group says that a figure is, quote, "very
conservative estimate. We are on track for more than that."
A very conservative estimate? An AFP spokesman declined to comment, but
did not dispute the authenticity of the memo. But if you need a sense of
just how much money that is, look at this chart. Combined the major party
campaign committees have about $109 million in the bank. The Kochs blow
that figure out of the water. The billionaire brothers are pouring money
into battles all over the country, including the state I`m in tonight,
As the president reminded us last night, we can`t be complacent in this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In this midterm with the stakes as high as they are, with the
progress that needs to be made, with families out there who are desperate
to see a Washington that is on their side? With we`re going to have to
make sure that we are coming out with the same urgency and the same
enthusiasm that we typically show during presidential years. That`s what
we`re going to need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We beat back the big money interests in $2012. The Koch
networks spent $400 million, but couldn`t beat people power. Let`s send
that message to them again this year.
Joining me now are Toure and Cynthia Tucker. Thank you both for coming on
the show tonight.
TOURE, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thank you.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Toure, with the news of the Koch spending, it almost makes you
feel like they`re a political party all on their own, doesn`t it?
TOURE: Absolutely. There are the most influential unelected force in
American politics. It`s the volume of money they spend and the
transparency or lack of transparency with which they`re able to spend.
The thing that I find dangerous is that they spend money as a business
gesture. So everything they`re doing is to do better for their business.
So, when they want to keep the minimum wage low, their taxes low, less
environmental reform regulation, these sorts of things. This is all
constructed to make Koch industries a bigger than better industry. And
that is the perpetuator of inequality.
SHARPTON: You know, Cynthia, they are major figures in the GOP despite
what Toure is saying that defend the Koch brothers. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The Koch brothers, because the two of them have
stood up and expressed their views are subject to vilification and personal
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I just thank God there`s a
billionaire or two on our side. All the billionaires seem to be on the
radical left so I`m glad that we have got a couple on our side.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Two American entrepreneurs who have
built a business, created jobs and created wealth and philanthropy in this
country, Harry Reid should get back to work and stop picking on great
Americans who are creating great things in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They seem to be very animated in their defense of the Koch
TUCKER: Well, of course. The Republican Party is a wholly owned
subsidiary of the Koch industries. I mean, they have -- The Republican
Party has dedicated itself for decades now defending the interests of the
richest people in America. That`s why the Republicans want no regulation.
They want taxes as low as possible.
And despite the fact, you know, the thing in my view that`s sad is there
are a number of older working class whites who vote Republican in cycle
after cycle, but the Republican Party is doing absolutely nothing for them.
Because those working class whit white whites need the minimum wage
increased. They need better regulations in the industries where they go to
work every day. But the Republican Party is busy defending the rich.
SHARPTON: You know, the Koch brother memo says they have to at least
create the image that they care about the poor. This is the quote from the
Id the presidential election told us anything it`s that Americans place a
great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the
Now, the Koch brothers at American for prosperities are against minimum
wage, Toure. That means the Koch brothers who are worth a combined $80
billion are opposed to full-time minimum wage workers earning about $21,000
TOURE: Right. You know, as you said, they are a prime driver of the
inequality that the 1 percent of the 1 percent can make more money and keep
it for themselves and it doesn`t spread around. And one thing that Ted
Cruz, I think, referenced there was this idea of meritocracy, right? That
there are the rights who believe that, well, the people who make the most
money are the smartest. This is meritocracy so they should have the
But even if we accept that bogus argument, these guys are heirs. Their
father, one of the founders of the John Burkes society founded this company
then gave them $300 million upon this death. So they started with a
massive advantage. And when we have folks like them, who are heirs, who
are able to perpetuate wealth, well, then we have an aristocracy.
SHARPTON: How do you fight it, Cynthia? What is the thing that could beat
all this money?
TUCKER: Well, as you said, progressives beat it in 2012. The good news
is, all of the oligarchs are busy trying to make sure that average people
can`t vote. We still can in this country. They are putting up barrier
after barrier after barrier to voting. But in America, every man and woman
over the age of 18 still has a right to vote. And that`s how they got
defeated in 2012. And that`s how they`ll be defeated in 2014. The Obama
coalition absolutely has to go to the polls.
TOURE: Well, I think part of the answer to the question also is
significant campaign finance reform. And when we allow people to donate as
much as they want from super PAC via the (INAUDIBLE) decision via Citizens
United, then the rich have a much larger say.
But I mean, it is not just that the rich are on the side of the right.
They are also on the left side. Obama had 50 percent of his money from big
donor, right? Romney had 80 percent. So it is that the wealthier having
their say on both sides at are the largest -- largely on the right.
SHARPTON: How are they going to get their vote out on the left?
TUCKER: Well, that`s an excellent question. That is up to every right
thinking American to make sure that people know how important it is to go
to the polls in the midterms. You know, one of the things that the Koch
brothers do is absolutely focus their advertising in important races.
And it`s not just the big races we think about. It`s not just the Senate
races. It`s the smaller races, too. They are in the state legislative
races all over the country. That`s the way we ended up with a
TOURE: But when you`re drenching people with advertising, it`s too easy to
confuse them. And not enough to say well, we have more votes than they
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Toure and Cynthia Tucker,
thank you`re your time this evening. We`re going to continue this
Be sure to catch Toure on "the Cycle," weekdays at 3:00 right here on
Ahead, Dr. King fought for voting rights from his home base right here in
Atlanta. And this week, we`re reminded that his struggle is still alive
and well. But there`s a reason to be hopeful because of a new victory.
That`s coming up as we continue live from the sweet auburn festival in
downtown Atlanta. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, ACTIVIST: One of the most significant steps that the
Negro can take of this hour in order to achieve the purpose of freedom and
human dignity is that short walk to the voting booth. So this must be done
on an extensive scale throughout the south.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Dr. King in 1959 walking about our right to vote. Fifty five
years later, that right is under attack. Since the Supreme Court gutted
the voting rights act, politicians have been trying to roll back the
franchise all across the country, including right here in Georgia. Voter
ID, early voting, even the number of polling sites have all come under
assault. But we`re fighting back and winning.
The Pennsylvania GOP governor just dropped his legal bat toll keep the
voter ID laws. And voter ID laws in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Missouri and
Texas have all been struck down in the courts. Joining me now is the
Reverend Markel Hutchins, a prominent Baptist minister from here in Georgia
and a civil rights activist.
Thank you for being here, Reverend.
REVEREND MARKEL HUTCHINS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me,
SHARPTON: You know, it`s fitting to be in Martin Luther King`s birthplace
and talking about the fight for voting rights. Tell me about the fight now
because the fight is not over.
HUTCHINS: You know, Reverend Sharpton, it`s interesting that we are in
this space, which is really a sort of ground zero for the fight for civil
rights and social justice, the same for voter rights acts of 63. So many
greats walk this court that made it possible for us to have the voting
rights act. And now, we`re having to fifty years later deal with the
concerted attack on the efforts on the heart one gains of people like
Reverend Jose Williams and Joseph Lowry and Andrew Young and so many others
that really made it possible.
SHARPTON: You grew up here. I grew up in the movement, but in the north
where Reverend Joseph Lowry and others have such influence, yet, all that
they fought and put on the books is at risk if we don`t preserve it is this
year. Black, white, Latino, young people, all over the country, do they
understand the intricacies of how these new voting laws impact the vote
rights of all American citizens?
HUTCHINS: I think Reverend Sharpton, what you raise is an excellent
perspective and that is, do we have in this generation in this era the
growing hope, if you will, that is necessary to make sure this concerted
attack on the hard line gains of the 50s and 60s is not rolled back. But
there is another generation on my view that is standing up of Latinos,
Hispanics and other, joining with the African-American and progressive
communities to fight against what we know is a concerted attack.
SHARPTON: This is Georgia`s current voter ID law. If someone goes to the
polls and doesn`t have a valid ID, that person will vote on a provision of
ballot and has to return within three days to show a valid ID.
The demographics in Georgia are rapidly changing. Take a look at this.
Georgia`s percentage of eligible African-American voters has more than
doubled the national average, 30 percent in Georgia to 12 percent
nationwide. In your opinion, is this why Georgia is ground zero for a lot
of these voter suppression laws?
HUTCHINS: What the right has figure out that we are on the left still have
to figure out, and that is the more we open up ballot access, the more
people that go for the polls and vote, the more progressive, liberal and
Democrat candidates that are elected. That`s what this whole fight is
about. It`s about denying the basic and fundamental right to ballot access
because of the greed and power grabbing we see on the far right.
SHARPTON: But these people claim to be patriarchs. They claim the stamp
for the principles of the country which supposed to be a Democracy. How
can you move to suppress and bring down the number of voters and at the
same time claimed to be the patriarchs of holding the principles of
HUTCHINS: Rev., it is interesting. Now the whole right is upset and still
engaged in this ridiculous conversation about Benghazi. The question we
must ask is how can we say we are promoting democracy and freedom and
Benghazi and Iraq and around across the world when we seek to deny the
basic right of democracy to people right here in America. It`s an immoral
and illogical conversation that is count in two up to the very democracy we
SHARPTON: What is going to make turn out happen that will demand that
people stand up. We saw line, as many of us are organized around voting
rights, in `12. Will we see those lines again and what will be issue in
2014 to make people line up and wait hours to vote.
HUTCHINS: I think Rev., in some real sense, that`s going to depend on how
aggressively democrats go out and talk about issues that are important to
the American people. We can`t be scare to run on the success of the
Obamacare. We can`t talk about these ridiculous gun laws like we see here
in Georgia. If the candidates at the top of the ticket are not strong and
aggressive, we won`t see the kind of turnout we saw in 2012.
SHARPTON: Reverend Markel Hutchins, thank you for being here tonight.
I disagree one thing, you say the right at the left. You`re on the left.
I`m on the right. I`m on the right side of history.
Coming up, on a night when we`re celebrating hope, it`s very kiting. We`re
celebrating a major milestone for Nelson Mandela. That`s coming up as we
continue live from the sweet Auburn festival in downtown Atlanta.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Tonight, we`re here in Atlanta at the sweet auburn festival for
growing hope. Looking at ways we can give back to our communities and
improve the lives of people around us. And we`re on the site of the center
for natural urban agriculture. And it`s a great organization. Their motto
is they grow Atlanta, they grow jobs and they grow children. But perhaps
nobody gave back more or helped improve more lives than Nelson Mandela.
So it`s fitting that 20 years ago today, Mandela was officially chosen to
be the president of South Africa by the first ever parliament elected by
voters of all races. That night, he ushered in a new era for South Africa
and the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: Today, we enter a new
era for our country and its people. Today, we celebrate. Not the victory
of apartheid, but a victory for all the people of South Africa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The very next day, he was sworn in as president. And in his
inaugural address, he spoke of healing after decades of apartheid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANDELA: The time for the healing of the wounds has come. That was
(INAUDIBLE) to society in which all South Africans, both black and white,
will be able to walk through without any fears in their hearts assured
(INAUDIBLE) human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: On tonight, we talk about hope. We should remember man whose
life will forever in inspire hope.
SHARPTON: Come on, Isiah. Let`s go see the people. Let`s go and see the
people. It`s time for the people to speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks a lot for coming, Reverend Al. Hope to see you
in Selma again.
SHARPTON: I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love what you do on TV every day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re doing a great job. So proud of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Reverend. Keep fighting for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Al. We love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great job. Keep fighting.
SHARPTON: Growing hope, growing hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you Reverend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep fire on the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to see you.
SHARPTON: Prices go up but wages don`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SHARPTON: Sound like a slogan to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you think about the drug test?
SHARPTON: I think that is archaic. I think we should be drug testing some
of these big guys spending money on Wall Street that broke the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the economy need to be lowered. I think the
people in African-American heritage and culture are treated badly on their
finances and opportunities on unemployment, too. That needs to change.
SHARPTON: All right, thank you, young people out there. Let me say this.
Sunday is mother`s day. My mother was born and raised not far from here in
Alabama. She raised me in the north. Many mothers had to use what they
could, initiatives and innovation and determination to raise us. They did
not raise us to de-shrink from the responsibilities of continuing to fight
for fairness for everyone.
I will celebrate mother`s day standing up for mothers all over this country
being denied Medicaid expansion. My mother raised me to stand up and I
won`t sit down for anybody.
This is "politics nation" growing hope. Where we refuse to have despair.
We`re growing hope from Georgia.
"Politics Nation" with Al Sharpton. "Hardball" starts right now.
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