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

All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

November 5, 2014

Guest: Xavier Becerra, Thomas Schaller, Dorian Warren, Katrina Vanden
Heuvel, Josh Barro


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

who are eligible to vote and just didn`t vote.

HAYES: Republicans regain the Senate and they`re already about to
have their first big fight.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: It`s like waving a red flag in
front of a bull.

HAYES: As the president promises executive action on immigration.

OBAMA: Before the end of the year, we`re going to take whatever
lawful actions that I can take, that I believe will improve the functioning
of our immigration system.

HAYES: Plus, we`ll look at how all politics are now national and why
obstruction works for the Republican Party.

Then, the race results you might have missed last night.

And why Vermont`s wild gubernatorial race still hasn`t been resolved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a revolutionary nonviolent socialist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I consider myself what is known as a light

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are uncivilized.

HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you very much.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

If you thought last night was ugly, just wait for the battle looming
next between President Obama and the Republican majority. It was a
historic midterm election for Republicans yesterday. They picked up at
least Senate -- seven Senate seats, taking control of that chamber and at
least 14 House seats, giving them their largest majority in the House since

Add 24 gubernatorial races, three statehouses picked up Republicans,
and you`ve got yourself a wave. But less than 24 hours after those
victories, the capital is already gearing up for the next big fight and
that will be over immigration.

Presumptive new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, warned the
president explicitly away from taking any executive action on immigration
as the president has already promised he will do.


MCCONNELL: I think the president choosing to do a lot of things
unilaterally on immigration would be a big mistake. It`s an issue that
most of my members want to address legislatively. And it`s like waving a
red flag in front of a bull to say, if you guys don`t do what I want, I`m
going to do it on my own.


HAYES: In June of this year, President Obama promised to take
executive action on immigration by the end of the summer to provide some
kind of a legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants in the wake
of the House stonewalling comprehensive immigration reform.

Four months later, he delayed that action under pressure from
Democratic senators in what they thought were tight races. Senators like
Mark Pryor from Arkansas, who lost last night to Tom Cotton by 17 points,
and Kay Hagan who lost her seat in an upset in North Carolina to Thom

And given last night`s blood bath and McConnell`s warning shot today,
it was easy to assume the president would back off. Lot of commentators
last night drew that conclusion and immigration reform or at least
executive action would finally officially be declared dead.

But here`s what`s happened today. The president came out stunning 75-
minute press conference and he did exactly the opposite of what everyone
expected, promising to, several times, absolutely act by the end of the


OBAMA: Before the end of the year, we`re going to take whatever
lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning
of our immigration system. What I`m not going to do is just wait. I think
it`s fair to say that I`ve shown a lot of patience and have tried to work
on a bipartisan basis as much as possible.

I have no doubt that there will be some Republicans who are angered or
frustrated by any executive action that I may take. Those are folks, I
just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform in any


HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Democrat from
California, who just won re-election last night. He`s chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus.

Congressman, congratulations on your win last night. Not a guaranteed
thing, given what happened to some of your colleagues.


HAYES: Here`s what Republicans will say, I don`t think it`s
ridiculous or implausible. They`ll say, we blocked comprehensive
immigration reform. Americans went to the polls and they gave us 14 new
seats in the House of Representatives, and now, you`re going to go do
executive action in the wake of one of the worst midterm losses in recent
memory, at least since 2010.

Isn`t that just a big thumb in the eye of the electorate?

BECERRA: Chris, no. That is a system in government doesn`t work
right and everyone agrees our immigration system is broken doesn`t mean you
stop wanting to make it work better. Everyone wants government to work
smarter and better. The president has been saying this for quite some
time. In fact, two years ago he did what he could to make the broken
system work better when he did the executive action for the DREAMers, the
young men and women who today are going off to college and working hard,
knowing no country other than this as their homeland.

So, I guess what he`s doing is just moving forward hoping that
Congress will act. The best way to undo executive action or make it
unnecessary is for Congress to finally get work and Republicans, as you
said, have been blocking immigration reform for quite some time. So, all
they have to do now is they`ve got majorities in the House and Senate, is
to do something.

HAYES: When the president went out there today for this press
conference, did you know what he was going to say or were you in suspense?
I mean, had it can communicated to back channels to members such as
yourself, look, we promised this, we`re going to deliver on this, I don`t
care what the election results are? Or were you, you know, flipping on
your television to see what he would say?

BECERRA: I lost, Chris.

HAYES: Actually, I think, Congressman, can you hear me?

BECERRA: I can hear you now. I heard your question.

And I did not have a chance to speak to the president beforehand. But
I had spoken to him shortly before he decided to hold off until the end of
the year and he was very clear then. He was emphatic. He was extremely
direct in saying, I`m going to act because the system is broken, I`m going
to try to make it work as good as I can.

He didn`t say what he would do, but he was very clear. I`m pleased
that he`s going to move forward. You know, this stuff about doing
something is like waving a red flag to a bull, over the last several years,
Chris, we`ve seen a lot of bull in the Congress. It`s time to, you know,
stop the bull and let`s get some things done in Congress. And maybe then
the president doesn`t have to use his executive authority to try to make
these laws work better, that in a broken immigration system.

But I`m glad he`s doing it. I hope he goes long, does as much as he
can because it`s time for us to finally make the economy work better, make
our security work better, and make our immigration system better for all
the families that are working very hard, hoping to make this a better place
to live.

HAYES: Congressman Xavier Becerra, thank you very much.

Joining me now is former chairman of the Republican National
Committee, Michael Steele. He`s MSNBC contributor.

Here`s what struck me with the bull quote today, McConnell said it`s
like waving a red cape in front of a bull. My next thought was, yes,
that`s what you do before you kill the bull. Like it seemed like he was
almost tipping his hand, because what he was saying is, look, I`m terrified
that you, Matador President, will successfully get my caucus members so
messed up they`ll charge at you and then you could stick --

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was asking myself, so who is the
bull. Which bull are you talking about here?

Look, I think the president doing this, to be honest, and this is not
really coming from a partisan place. This is coming from an American


HAYES: My B.S. detector just went woop, woop.

STEELE: I say it in spirit of yesterday`s elections and the outcome.

But, seriously, I think the meeting between the leadership and the
president, both houses, both parties, on Friday, presents the president
with an opportunity to schmooze those guys in a way to say, look, fellas,
you got a bill, the Senate`s already passed it. I understand Speaker
Boehner in the House, you got some members who are a little bit upset about
that bill. Let`s work on that bill to get it right so we can at least
start the conversation.

It is -- it is that sweet spot. It gets us off of the trajectory of
the president doing something that is going to blow up this whole
arrangement before it even begins.

HAYES: OK. So I understand that argument and there`s no question
that if he does it, there will be recriminations and it will get very nasty
very quickly.

I still think that is likely and in some ways preferable I can explain
in a second. But let`s just play out the scenario -- the president tries
to schmooze John Boehner. If I`m John Boehner, here`s what I am thinking
to myself, we didn`t bring this up for a vote, right? We blocked this,
what, 68 votes in the Senate, bipartisan bill. Everyone after Mitt Romney
was defeated said we got to pass this thing, I said, no, you`re wrong.
We`re not going to vote for it.

I just got 15 new caucus members. So, like, what exactly is my
incentive to listen to you, Mr. President?

STEELE: You know what the incentive is? Because guess what happens
in about three or four days? Presidential campaigns begin to organize.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: And the nominee is going to be grown out of that within the
GOP. So, going into that cycle, the last thing -- and you can go through
the list of potential nominees, they will tell you privately and publicly,
they do not want this issue on the table.

HAYES: Is that true?


HAYES: People say that.

STEELE: Yes, they do not want this issue on the table. What they
want the leadership to do is get it behind us.

HAYES: So then if that`s true, and I`m talking about political
maximalism here, right?


HAYES: Then isn`t my move as the president or the Democratic Party
who is looking towards 2016 to say, OK, let`s do it. Let`s take the
executive step, right? And incite the crazy backlash that will produce
from the base because all that will do is alienate the Republican base, it
will make the Democratic Party the champion of those voters and you`ll have
this huge clarifying fight around this issue that will be good politics.

STEELE: But it`s not a clarifying fight. I see your point, but at
the end of the day, it`s not a clarifying point because what happens is it
polarizes. Because you even have Democrats, OK, whether they`re moderates
or whether they`re centrists, whatever their view, I get the progressive
position, who do not want that to happen. Why?

HAYES: Who will chafe at executive action.

STEELE: You know who`s going to chafe the most? Your potential
nominee, Hillary Clinton.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: She doesn`t want to do that dance. She does not want a
reporter coming to her face say, so, Madam Secretary, how do you want to
dance on this one?

HAYES: Right. So another political question, which is how much this
White House cares about that?

STEELE: Well --

HAYES: I mean, I`m serious, right? Because I have to say I was
somewhat surprised by the president`s sort of forthrightness on this thing.
He said I promise I`m going to do it, I`m going to do it. He could have
been cagey, look, we`re going to have -- there`s all sorts of ways. He was
clear. I think he said it four times in the 75 minutes. We`re going to do

STEELE: He drew a red line in the sand four or five times, too and he
didn`t cross it.

So, that doesn`t mean anything to me at this point. What will mean
something to me is what comes out of this initial meeting. The president,
I think, did the smart political thing and that was extend the invitation
to the leadership, come on down, to 1600, let`s sit down and talk what`s on
your agenda. Yes, come on, tell me what`s on your agenda and I`ll tell you
a little bit about what`s on mine, and let`s see what --

HAYES: Here`s the hilarious thing. I`m going to predict. OK, so we
get this --

STEELE: I think I`m going to agree with your prediction, but go

HAYES: We have this big wave election, OK? We can interpret, people
who interpret it as a rebuke of the president, people who say it was about
Obamacare, it was the president`s foreign policy, it was about too much
government, et cetera.

But I think -- it was so funny to hear Mitch McConnell, well, I think
this is a marriage to work together to get the corporate tax rate down.
Now, independent of whether you think the corporate tax rate in America is
too high, and it is the highest on the books the highest in the OECD
countries but not in effective rates that`s paid. But independent of that,
the idea that the mandate was delivered by people last night is to cut
corporate tax rates or to pass a new trade deal is just preposterous. You
can already see that`s where the conversation in Washington is happening.

STEELE: No, the conversation in Washington is really going to center
on two pieces and Mitch McConnell touched on both of them. Yes, he threw
in the corporate tax rate because that appeals to some people.

At the end of the day, it`s two issues, it`s the XL pipeline and it`s
immigration. That`s the sweet point for whatever this relationship
becomes, it`s going to become whatever it is out of that. And if they get
that --

HAYES: That`s fascinating.

STEELE: If they get one or both of those right, then you`re looking
at about a six to eight month window where some of these other things like
the corporate tax rate, maybe you throw a little bit of a bone on minimum

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: That sets off negotiations. You`re talking about a group of
people that have never negotiated with each other in good faith. You have
to re-establish that. You have your view and I have mine.

HAYES: Right, right.

STEELE: So that right here show us what that was all about then.

So, now, you`ve got a new environment. You got 52-plus Republicans in
the Senate. You got go-gobs in the House, right?

HAYES: Historic.

STEELE: That`s an official term go-gobs.

HAYES: Yes, go gob it.

STEELE: So, now, the president is going to sit and ask himself, what
do I do with this? I got two years left here. Am I going to spend the
last two like I spent the past six, or am I actually going to cut some type
of a deal so I can put something on the mantel, because it`s legacy, it`s
history, all those things?

HAYES: Yes, there`s a lot there. I think that there`s an argument
that if you were to pick this fight on immigration, let`s just talk
politics, if you were to pick this fight and it`s Barack Obama is the guy
that tried to give legal status to these millions of people and the
Republicans lost their mind and came after him for it, that was the fight
from a political standpoint I think you can make an argument politically,
again, severing (ph) it with the substance, that that would be a political
legacy that would solidify the attachment to Democratic voters and Latino

STEELE: I agree with that on paper. The problem is --

HAYES: Oh, please.

STEELE: -- in practical application, too many pieces to spin off.

HAYES: Yes, Michael Steele, always a pleasure, man. Thank you.

STEELE: You got it.

HAYES: Good to see you in person.

STEELE: You got it.

HAYES: There was a lot of talk on this day after from the president
and Mitch McConnell about finding common ground, as we were just talking,
working together, perhaps even getting together for a drink.


OBAMA: I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch


HAYES: That sounds delicious. By the way, it is a reported fact that
Mr. McConnell likes his Bourbon in a Manhattan. In that, he was 100
percent correct.

When we get back, though, I will tell you why that is never going to


HAYES: An election riddle for you. What kind of person votes for
liberal ballot issues and a Republican candidate? I have a theory about
this, coming up.


HAYES: There`s a ritual we go through after elections like last
night. We face up to a divided government. We all say, well, here is a
chance for two parties to work together, show the American people that
Washington can work and bipartisanship can succeed.

But that kind of thinking completely ignores what has happened in
Washington over the course of the last few years and what unfolded on
Election Day yesterday. So, just to refresh, OK, after Republicans took
over the House in the 2010 midterms, we saw the least productive Congress
ever, followed by the current Congress which is on track to be even less

And it`s not just because Republicans controlled the House and
Democrats controlled the Senate. There are major bills that passed the
Senate with bipartisan support and could have passed the House the very
next day. Most notably as I was just talking about, comprehensive
immigration reform which passed the Senate last year, 68-32, which in the
environment of which we live is amazing. And ENDA, that`s the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act, which the Senate also passed last year by 64-32
vote, two-thirds to one-third.

And instead of choosing to pass these broadly popular pieces of
legislation, bipartisan, and show up at a bill-signing ceremony and share
the credit, John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, made a
calculation, the best thing to do was to do nothing. Boehner did not allow
comprehensive immigration reform or ENDA to come to an end in the House
because Boehner thought that doing so would alienate his base and give the
president his big political victory.

Let`s not forget, Boehner and the Republicans shut down the government
little more than a year ago. Last night after all this, the American
people gave John Boehner and the Republicans at least 14 more members of
the House, making the GOP caucus its largest since 1928, according to NBC
News projections.

So, after watching all this unfold why in God`s name would Speaker
Boehner have any incentive to do anything other than what he`s been doing?
Or Senator McConnell for that matter?

This is the new logic of obstruction. In the partisan polarized era
we live in now, it is in the self interest of political parties not to work
together. It`s in their electoral self interests and we saw that borne out
last night.

Joining me now, Thomas Schaller, professor of political science of
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, also he author of "The
Stronghold" and "Whistling Past Dixie."

All right, Tom. What do you think of that theory?

it`s essentially correct. We keep hearing all the time, I have a quote in
the new book about David Broder saying if Republicans don`t prove that they
can govern when they`re in the minority, they`ll never be given the reins
of power in the house. He wrote that in 1992.

Two years later, Newt Gingrich is running the House and, of course,
there was plenty of obstruction in the `90s, even though Clinton and the
Republicans in Congress were able to get some things done. And I think the
modus operandi right now is to never support the opposing party, to vote
against the other party, to try to block the president if the Democrats
have the White House and vice versa.

And I think that`s a lesson that was learned very hard way by people
like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry who voted for the Iraq war. Didn`t get
any credit for that vote and took a lot of blame.

And I think the Republicans know this better than the Democrats -- if
you vote with the president and things go right, for the most part they`re
not going to go down, voters won`t go down through the roll call and say
that Republican senator, that Republican House member, he did support the
president. No, the president is going to get the lion`s share of the

That`s true I think for either party in the White House. But if
things go wrong, the president is going to immediately turn and say, oh,
Hillary Clinton, she voted for the war.

HAYES: Right. And so what you have -- I mean, McConnell has been a
kind of entrepreneur in this space, in obstruction, in understanding the
political dynamics of this partisan era, again, I`m separating the
political logic from the moral logic which I actually think is odious,
because there are millions of people whose lives are on the line in all of
these and deserve full dignity.

But separating that out for a moment, McConnell said we work very hard
to keep our fingerprints off any bill because we didn`t want anyone to
think, as soon as they heard bipartisan, it was OK, there was no debate.
We wanted to heighten the contradiction at all times.

I just failed to see why the logic shifts from that two days ago to
some new logic today.

SCHALLER: No, and look at all the stories we`ve read in the last two
years about Republicans in the House or senators in the minority are
putting up another bill or trying to attach a rider to some piece of
legislation to repeal Obamacare. Why are they doing that?

They know even as they pass it through the House, which they have many
times, it won`t get past Senator Harry Reid. And even if they abduct him
and put him in a van down by the river or something, and push it through
the Senate somehow, it`s not going to pass President Obama`s desk, right?
So why are they doing that?

And the answer, I think, Chris, and as I argue in the book, is that it
signals very strongly that they don`t want to do things.

HAYES: Right.

SCHALLER: I mean, John Boehner said very clearly, we should be judged
not by the laws that we pass but the laws that we don`t pass, the laws that
we block. And there`s a philosophical reason for that and there`s an
asymmetry between the two parties.

The Republican, whatever you thing about them, they`re not necessarily
making bad strategic choices here, right? They`re the party that wants the
government to be smaller and to move slower. And they are in the perch,
the Congress, and especially in the House, to execute exactly that

The presidency from the time of Hamilton`s conceit in the Federalist
Papers, to more common political writers like my colleague Stephen Scoradic
(ph) at Harvard, this is the energy of office, this is the energy -- the
office that breaks the equilibrium in politics, only when everything is in
line, the President Obama had majority say in his first two years. It`s
still hard to break that even with the presidency.

But what you really want to do with the Congress is stop, stall,
dilute, block and maybe even repeal. And the Republicans, the moderate
Republican Party is perfectly situated to do that.

HAYES: Finally, give us a sense of the historic nature of this 250
votes in the House, because I think people, the 20th century was so defined
by a Democratic Congress by a New Deal basically through the `94 election,
we look like we might be entering era where the norm is a big House
Republican majority.

SCHALLER: Not only that, we have a big House Republican majority in
the Senate, Chris. I looked at when the Republicans took over the Senate
in the start of the Eisenhower administration, the start of the Reagan
administration and when they recaptured it in 2002 after the Gifford
switch, they went from senators in the Republican caucus who formerly
served in the House, from 20 percent, one out of five, in the `50s, to 32
percent, one out of three under Reagan, to now 50 percent. And we have
Cory Gardner coming in.

HAYES: Right. They`re all coming through the House. The House is a
birthplace and the kind of cauldron of Republican politics.

SCHALLER: And that`s where you learn your politics. Look where Ted
Cruz went for support. We went to the House, right? So, we House-tified
the Senate and shouldn`t be surprised that we see a House style politics in
the saucer that`s supposed to cool the cup moving forward. We`re going to
have a very House-like Senate majority in the next Congress.

HAYES: Thomas Schaller, thank you very much.

All right. With all of the election results we had to bring you last
night, some of the races I put into the -- what`s the technical term -- hot
mess category went underreported. Never fear, ALL IN viewer, we will fell
you in, next.


HAYES: There are so many races last night, so many results to absorb.
It was easier to miss the more colorful things that happened in this year`s

For instance, we didn`t spend a ton of time last night on the election
of New York`s 11th congressional district, considered to be one of the best
opportunities for a Democratic pickup. Why? Because a Republican
representing that district was this guy.


REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: Let me be clear to you. If you
ever do that to me again, I`ll throw you out of this (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

MICHAEL SCOTTO: Why, why? I just wanted to ask you --

GRIMM: If you ever do that to me again --

SCOTTO: Why, why? It`s a valid question.


No, no, you`re not man enough, you`re not man enough. I`ll break you
in half. Like a boy.


HAYES: Congressman Michael Grimm who represents Staten Island and
part of Brooklyn was also indicted on 20 counts of fraud later this year,
related to his previous career as a health food restaurateur.

But then Democrats nominated a guy named Domenic Recchia to oppose
Grimm. And, well, Mr. Recchia didn`t actually distinguish himself on the
campaign trail. And so, last night, Michael Grimm broke Domenic Recchia in
half like a little boy by a comfortable 13 points. He took a victory lap,
basking in the adoration of his fellow Staten Islanders before he goes back
to face Barack Obama and a criminal trial set to begin December 1st.


GRIMM: You stand by me against all the odds. You stood by me when I
you most. Know this: I will never, ever forget, and I will never stop
working hard for...


HAYES: The New York Post reported the congressman`s body man feeling
the celebratory mood told the crowd, quote, "all members of Team Grimm,
meet me at the bar for F-ing shots."

On the flipside last night, also brought us a Republican congressman
who nobody expected to lose and in fact did, a guy you probably didn`t hear
about amid all the bad news for Democrats, Congressman Steve Southerland,
two-term representative for Florida`s second district in the panhandle who
distinguished himself in the Republican controlled House as perhaps the
most outspoken and aggressive opponent of Food Stamps, introducing a
measure to cut people from the program if they can`t find work.


REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND, (R) FLORIDA: God created Adam, placed him
in the garden to work it. Work is not a penalty. Work is a blessing. And
what we have done in this country is wrong. We have -- we have failed in
introducing the blessing of work to able-bodied people who have the
ability, who are mentally, physically, psychologically able to work and we
have robbed them of knowing a better life that they helped create for
themselves and their families.


HAYES: It`s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Food Stamps. Southerland was
targeted by Top Chef host Tom Coliccho`s nonprofit Food Policy Action, just
one of the outside groups pouring money into the multimillion dollar race
and last night he was unseated by his Democratic opponent Gwynn Gramm.

But perhaps the most interesting midterm result comes from our always
quirky, always eccentric, always fascinating friends to the north, Vermont.
Incumbent Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin failed to get the majority he
needed for reelection. But due to a wrinkle in the state constitution,
instead going to a runoff, the race will now be decided by the state`s
legislature and we here at "All In" hoped they`d pick one of the more
colorful characters we saw at the Vermont Gubernatorial debates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a revolutionary nonviolent socialist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I consider myself what is known as a light

third generation born in Vermont -- take that back, I was born in Brooklyn.

reinstate all the rest areas on the state highway that Peter Shumlin has

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Close all the bases, stop the factories that build
all that equipment and ship it off to -- um, the Zionist regime so that it
can defend itself against the gigantic Gazan military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question was about reforming the department
for children and families.

ERICSON: I want you to go out and protest motor boats on Lake
Champlain. Your kids could get killed swimming in Lake Champlain. And I
want you to go out and protest at 35 strike fighter jets because they`re
designed to be dual capable to carry nuclear bombs and we have got to stop
nuclear proliferation. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.


HAYES: Sadly, it turns out the legislature has to choose from among
the top three finishers, as you see there. And that rules out the lady in
the hat.


HAYES: So, last night when losing Kentucky Democratic Senate
candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes came out to make her fairly defiant
concession speech, I noticed a bunch of people on Twitter simultaneously
joked that maybe now she`ll tell us who she voted for, a reference to one
of the more ridiculous moments from Grimes` campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for President Obama in 2008 and to

election isn`t about the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not going to answer.

GRIMES: Again, I don` think that -- the president is not on the


HAYES: Grimes` nonanswer got a lot of attention, because it was a
particularly striking example of a tactic taken by a ton of Democratic
Senate candidates which was to distance themselves as much as possible from
the president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on
guns, coal and the EPA.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The administration`s policies are simply wrong.

MARK PRYOR: So I disagree with Obama plenty and, yes, I`ve been
disappointed in him. And I`m not going to sugarcoat that.

SEN. MARK BEGICH, (D) ALASKA: If he wants to come up, I`m not really
interested in campaigning. What I`d like him to do is see why his policies
are wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED: I`ll make sure President Obama gets the message.


HAYES: I think it`s fair to say that given the results last night,
was not a particularly effective tactic. I was discussing this with NBC
News senior political editor Mark Murray last night. We were saying that
the situation faced by Democratic political candidates was a little like
the classic thought experiment called the Prisoner`s Dilemma.

There`s a lot of variations, but here`s the basic idea. Two guys have
robbed a bank and they`re put in separate interrogation rooms. And cops
tell the first suspect if you talk and the other guy doesn`t, you go free.
And they say the same thing to the second suspect, if you talk you get to
go free and the other guy
rots in jail.

Now the problem is that each of them has incentive to talk, to rat out
other guy. But the problem is if they both talk and they both rat out each
other, they both go to jail, whereas if they both just shut up and they
trust the other
person will also shut up, they both walk.

This campaign ended up being a big prisoner`s dilemma for a
whole bunch of Democratic Senate candidates. And I understand why Kay
Hagan and
Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mark Pryor all made the individual rational
decision to distance themselves from a president whose approval rating is
low. I get it.

But the problem is that the collective result of all that, of all
these Democrats acting like Barack Obama was totally politically toxic was
to reinforce
the notion among voters that Barack Obama is totally politically toxic
leading up to an election where they were tied to Barack Obama whether they
liked it or not

In other words, they all ratted out Barack Obama and they all went to

And let`s remember Republicans were not about to let voters forget
just who the president was or what his party was. I mean, Tom Cotton, the
winning Republican Senate candidate in Arkansas reportedly said the
president`s name 74
times in an October debate. Here`s just a little bit of what that sounds


TOM COTTON, (R-AK) SENATOR-ELECT): Barack Obama. Barack Obama.
Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama.
Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama. Barack Obama.
Barack Obama. Barack Obama.


HAYES: The Republican strategy, that was it this election, it was to
nationalize the campaign around Barack Obama and the Democratic strategy in
response was pretty much every man for himself. And it`s pretty obvious
which of
those strategies worked.

Joining me now to talk all of this is our all-star political panel,
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation Magazine; Dorian
Warren, associate professor at Columbia University and MSNBC contributor;
and Josh Barro national correspondent for the Upshot, New York Times and
MSNBC contributor.

I just think in retrospect proved disastrous. I mean, you can`t pull
it off. I mean, everyone understands you`re a Democrat, Barack Obama is a
Democrat. You got to make a forthright defense of the guy`s record.

fundamental divide in the Democratic Party, but you also saw a map, right,
with these are
states Barack Obama lost in 2012, right? So, you`re already playing on a

HAYES: Right. So those ones are -- exactly.

VANDEN HEUVEL: No, but you could see it with the coal and the guns
and the
issues that are really tough for a national Democratic Party because there
are factions within this party. This is not a new problem. There is a
Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, there is an establishment wing,
there is a more conservative wing.

The question is...

HAYES: There`s also geographic...

VANDEN HEUVEL; But Elizabeth Warren would go into states like West
Virginia and if you speak -- I`ve always believed this, if you speak with a
strong economic populist message -- and a consistent one and point,
president`s not been a great
salesman, but point to some of those achievements.

HAYES: Well, particularly on Obamacare.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Oh, Obamacare.

HAYES: I mean, the three states that have had the biggest gains from
Obamacare where what -- they were Kentucky...

VANDEN HEUVEL: run away from it is a disaster.

So -- but it`s a fundamental divide.

JOSH BARRO, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think it`s just we`re in this weird
middle position with the economy where things have gotten better but they
haven`t got so much better where you can credibly run on the idea of, hey,
all this good stuff has happened. Look at this good stuff. This is what
we want to continue doing.

I think they sense...

HAYES: Yeah, the top line data is amazing. But the fact of the
matter is, median incomes, personal income is underwhelming.

BARRO: Well, the top line is good. I won`t -- it`s not amazing. But
that`s the thing, people feel like we should have had a better recovery
than we did. So, they`re not in a position where they feel like they can
defend the record well
and so they`re sort of throwing their hands up.

But I also think there was a time when this strategy worked. The
political parties used to be a lot less ideologically coherent. You could
be a Republican Senator from Connecticut or a Democratic Senator from Texas
and really be very different from a president of your party and oppose him
a lot.

But now like if you`re electing a Democratic Senator, you`re electing
someone really to push the president`s policies.

HAYES: That`s right. We have a parliamentary system in everything
except the actual constitutional structure of the country.

DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Let`s also remember -- so we`ve
been talking about Democrats who distance themselves from President Obama,
let`s not also forget that the Democrats who called in the Clintons to help
them out, see
how that worked out.

I don`t thing the Clintons had the magic touch either.


But that`s because he was -- here`s the problem. Republicans have run
four races against President Obama: 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014. They`ve lost
the two times that Barack Obama ran a race back against them. And the two
other times when no one ran back to defend Barack Obama, the Republicans

I mean, that to me seems like the basic thrust here, right? Is that
if you have one side saying Barack Obama is terrible, he screwed up
everything and the
other side saying to me, like, I sort of agree but I`m go to Washington and
vote with him anyway.

VANDEN HEUVEL: There was a really interesting story in August about
President Obama. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi come to him and say, you`ve
to help us with this bill, this bill and he says it`s yours.

So, I think there`s a lot of resentment in a party where the president
hasn`t stood with the party, fought the party battles.

And also the president hasn`t been someone who is going to inculcate
fear in some of these people. So they`re ready to diss him. And I think
there is no -- I haven`t seen hard evidence, but I do think significant
components of the rising
American electorate -- African-Americans, young people, single women, they
may not have liked the dissing of a president that they...

HAYES: I 100 percent agree.

I think I agree.

BARRO: But I think the president also put himself in a position for
to happen. I mean, Barack Obama wasn`t exactly a fierce advocate of Barack
Obama`s agenda over the last couple of -- not just a bad salesman, but also
like seemingly disengaged. He wasn`t out there being a cheerleader for

HAYES: I don`t think that is true about two things. I don`t think
that`s true about the economic record, which I think -- look, I mean,
because we, look, we get the rundown every day. We come into this room,
you think what is the president doing? And it`s like, oh, he`s giving a
speech somewhere about economic record.

And the other thing I don`t think that`s true about is the Affordable
Care Act. I mean, the idea that hasn`t been out there selling it is just
not true. He`s been out there selling it.

WARREN: But on this point about the Affordable Care Act. There was a
key institution organization building element to that that the president
and the head of the party and the party as a whole did not pursue, that is
when you have navigators who are signing people up for health care, you
could also register them to vote under the `93 motor voter law. And the
president and the party refused to actually do that. They refused to pick
that political fight out of fear Republicans were going to come after them
for it even though it`s already the law to sign people up at a federal
agency when they`re getting a service.

That would have created -- imagine that, you`re getting health care
and you`re registering to vote. What signal is that sending you?

BARRO: That`s right. That`s right.

HAYES: Hold that thought because I want you to stick around and I
want to talk about this result out of Arkansas, which to me sort of
epitomizes some of the
paradoxes of last night`s electorate. Don`t go anywhere. We`ll be here.


HAYES: As I was watching the results come in here last night, I
started noticing something that seemed really odd at first but actually
makes perfect
sense and I will explain next.



OBAMA: And in the five states where a minimum wage increase was on
the ballot last night, voters went five for five to increase it. That will
give about 325,000 Americans a raise in states where Republican candidates
prevailed. So, that should give us new reason to get it done for everybody
with a national increase in the minimum wage.


HAYES: And therein right there lies a bit of a paradox.

Back with me at the table -- Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Dorian Warren and
Josh Barro.

All right, so the president mentioned this last night and every
liberal website -- and I`m sure I think I saw this article today...


HAYES: ...but the minimum wage. The minimum wage guys.

Five for five, right. And the best example of this is Arkansas.

So last night Arkansas voters 65.9 percent to 34 percent approved a
minimum wage hike in Arkansas, which is great. Good for the workers of

Now in that same race Tom Cotton beat Mark Pryor, by about 17 points,
absolutely drubbed him, 56.5 to 39.5, OK. That`s the same electorate.
It`s not like, you can`t say like, oh, turnout is the issue. It`s like the
same people.

This is my favorite thing. Back in May when the Senate took their
minimum wage vote, who was absent from that vote but none other than Mr.
Mark Pryor who was strategically absent, conspicuously absent when fellow
Democrats tried to unsuccessfully to advance a White House backed bill
raising the rage to $10.10 an hour.

Now, I think some liberals look at this and they think, well, what the
heck is going on, right?

So, here`s my explanation, first of all, if you`re looking -- if
you`re saying I want a higher minimum wage and I`m going to vote for Mark
Pryor, you`re not -- that`s not going to matter. Like, seriously, it`s not
going to pass.

And I think the dysfunction, the level of dysfunction in congress has
seeped down long enough, far enough, that people are like, well, I can vote
Mark Pryor, I guess who supports minimum wage, although he didn`t even
really campaign on it, or if I vote for the minimum wage to raise in
Arkansas, causally enough people vote for it, that will be raised.

So, this difference between what people vote for a ballot initiatives
when there`s a one to one causal relationship between -- if this thing
passes it goes to law and I`m going to send this guy who is going to go off
to then do some stuff in congress to pass some law? It`s like, no, that`s
not going to happen.

WARREN: I have a slightly different interpretation of this, because,
one, remember this is the Wal-Mart state, the nation`s largest low wage
employer. So...

HAYES: Which is part of the reason Pryor...

WARREN: So, Senator Pryor has been opposed to the federal minimum

But secondly the Republican Party for several of their candidates --
you have Cotton in Arkansas, you have Sullivan I think in Alaska, you have
Rauner in Illinois who all backtrack and basically don`t oppose -- some of
those even support the minimum wage.

HAYES: Tom Cotton said he was going to vote for that initiative in

WARREN: Yes. So this is interesting now. Now, this is the
Republican Party
moving to the center on the question of wages for working class and poor
people, which is interesting as a strategy.

And third, Democrats forget that you can`t advance a policy for people
without a narrative around it.

BARRO: That`s right.

WARREN: And so you can`t separate -- what`s the story about the
minimum wage? There has to be a broader...

HAYES: Josh, Josh, your response.

BARRO: I have a third theory of this.


BARRO: Which is that I think Democrats have really misread the
politics of the minimum wage. They`re right, minimum wage increases are
popular if you put modest minimum wage increases on the ballot, they`ll
pass almost anywhere, that doesn`t mean people really care about the issue
a lot necessarily...

HAYES: Or that the vast majority of voters care.

I mean, the people making the minimum wage care.

BARRO: And I think there`s been a -- when the president goes out and
says it`s time to give America a raise, talking a minimum wage increase,
how does that sound to a voter who makes $20 an hour or $30 an hour,
someone with a middle income who is not going to get a wage increase from
that. They probably support a minimum
wage increase. They think people making $8 an hour deserve to make more,
but that`s not what`s going to directly affect their family`s economic
circumstances and they may -- they can vote for a minimum wage increase and
then go vote for a governor candidate who is against it because that`s not
the issue they really care about.

VANDEN HEUVEL: All right, but I do think, you know, the best of
politics is about improving the condition of people`s lives. So you start
with that.

The problem I have -- and I don`t have any big theories -- is that we
face a huge structural issue economic problem in this country and in the
world and we have an embattled, besieged middle class in a globalized, de-
unionized, far from full employment economy and what are the structural --
is there a political system even
capable of dealing with the structural changes and reforms that need to
happen to tackle staggering inequality and all of the economic pain.

HAYES: That`s true. And I think that underlies a lot of the results.
And I want to talk about that and talk about something the president said,
I think in
some ways relates to that, which I was sort of shocked he said right after



OBAMA: Part of what I also think we`ve got to look at is the two-
of people who are eligible to vote and just didn`t vote. One of the things
that I`m very proud of in 2008 and 2012 when I ran for office was we got
people involved who hadn`t been involved before, we got folks to vote who
hadn`t voted before. And sustaining that, especially in midterm elections,
has proven difficult.


HAYES: The president talking about the two-thirds of people who
didn`t vote, but he mentioned in the sort of opening part, sort of an aside
-- I couldn`t tell if it was like throwing shade at the Republicans to say
like you don`t really have a mandate or throwing shade at people that
didn`t vote to say why didn`t you vote?

But this is this fundamental thing we`ve got now, right. The two
electorates, right. There`s the midterm electorate and the presidential
electorate, and
people, they look very different. We have the -- you know, one is younger
less white, that`s the presidential electorate; one`s older and whiter,
the midterm. And we get the results.

And I think one theory for that, this is a great chart, right, 60 year
old or under 30. 37 percent of the electorate was 60 or older. Part of
that is what are you giving people in those places like tangibly that`s
going to happen?

BARRO: Although I mean, I think -- and this is part of a genre of
response to losing an election that is thing is very dangerous where you
come up with theories other than our policies were rejected by the
electorate. Republicans are the kings of
doing this. It`s always after every election, well, if we nominated a true
conservative, we would have won.

Democrats are going to have to run in a midterm election every four
years and political engagement is always going to be higher among people
who are older, people who are wealthier, and so you have to find a way to
win elections in that environment.

You can change turnout at the margins, but that overall dynamic where
the electorate...

HAYES: Well, there is a question, though, is can you structurally --
here`s what I would say, people used to say that about the presidentials
and something
was unlocked by the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012 that really did change
who showed up to vote in a way that hadn`t been the case before. And so
the question is can you do the same for midterms?

VANDEN HEUVEL; But it was a formidable coalition, but precarious,
right. I mean, this rising American electorate, we see how precarious it
is -- young people.
I mean, what have they confronted in the last two years?

Now, the fact that the student debt is higher, that they`re not
getting relief, that they don`t feel their problems are being addressed,
single women have not turned out in the same rate, and African-Americans
turning out...

HAYES: They did turn out.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But they did turn out, but the voter -- the fact that
haven`t -- I haven`t seen good studies of voter suppression yet. There`s
more evidence that in some places, but just the fact that we`re not in this
trying to, as you said, register, make it easier to voting.


HAYES: Right. And that`s true. So the Democrats could be as in favor
of opening access to franchise as Republicans have been in...

VANDEN HEUVEL: ...but civil rights struggle.

WARREN: But remember what happened after the 2008 election, the Obama
campaign organization was essentially demobilized, right. There was an
explicit decision to shut it down.

HAYES: I think it`s more complicated than that being true.

WARREN: But then the second thing is those annoying e-mails from the
DNC every day didn`t help things, right.

But third, political organizations have to figure out a way to engage
people every day, every week, beyond cycles. It cannot be about electoral
cycles, it has to be about what are the issues in people`s lives...

HAYES: I agree with you, but here`s the thing that blew my mind --
North Carolina, 2010, 2.7 million people come out. 2014, 17,000 more
people come out, OK.

Now, that`s...

WARREN: That`s movement building.

HAYES: That`s movement building, but that`s also not that many --
like given the amount of moving building that happened in North Carolina,
the amount of mobilization, the amount of money, it just shows it`s very
hard. This goes to Josh`s point, getting people to change behavior is very
hard, much harder than it looks I think a lot of times to writers and
commentators who like to look at politics.

Josh Barro, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Dorian Warren, thank you. That
is "All In" for this evening.


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