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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  June 24, 2014 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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but isn't doing the same thing and expecting a different result the sign of insanity? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. all eyes are on mississippi tonight. 50 years after the iconic freedom summer when organizers both white and black went out into the countryside to register black voters and bring democracy to a state under the lock and key of jim crow. tonight, 50 years later, a republican primary appears to hinge on whether mississippi's african-american voters show up and vote for a six-term incumbent white republican. in a hotly contested truly bizarre race, the challenger, tea party candidate state senator and radio host chris mcdaniel. four of his supporters have been arrested on charges related to sneaking into the nursing home of the incumbent's elderly wife
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to take pictures of her. a mcdaniel win would have consequences far beyond mississippi. in what is the last opportunity this election cycle for the insurgent tea party wing of the conservative movement to take down on establishment incumbent republican. adding another trophy to their collection so soon after taking out sitting house majority leader iric cantor will only further spook gop members of congress in both houses to never be outflanked to their right. now the incumbent, senator thad cochran who campaigned yesterday yesterd with senator john mccain has been emphasizing his ability to bring back money to the state of mississippi. mississippi ranks first in the nation of receiving federal funds as a percentage of total revenues. 45.84%. senator cochran sensing the limit of his support among perhaps the most conservative white voters in the entire nation is now reaching out to democrats for support. particularly black democrats. the ghosts of mississippi are haunting this election in form
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of poll watchers. particularly from mcdaniel tea party side who claim they want to ensure a free and fair election. you see, today's primary is an open primary, but voters who've already voted in the democratic primary are ineligible to vote today. there's also a completely unenforceable part of the state statute that prohibits people from voting in a party primary if they don't intend to vote for that party's nominee in the general election. that part of the statute, in particular, helps those in might be inclined to suppress the vote of democrats who might show up, scaring them from casting a vote. all this in a state that has the highest percentage black population in the entire country and flies this as its state flag to this day. and this just in from teddy shlifer reporting on the campaign for lts "the new york times." a picture of a polling place with the caption "first line i've seen all day at polling place serving mostly african-americans. this is a great sight for cochran." joining me now, robert costa, national political reporter for the "washington post." he is in mississippi. at chris mcdaniel headquarters.
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and robert, what's the sense, the momentum in this race in the last two or three days into election day? >> certainly chris mcdaniel has the tea party energy behind him. i've been here since friday and you follow mcdaniel around, you see a fervor behind him. speaking to black voters here, black democrats today, in hattiesburg, mississippi, and elsewhere, you sense they believe this republican runoff is the best chance for them to make a statement they're getting behind cochran. there are even lines in some precincts. >> yeah, it's fascinating because there's -- you have national democrats saying that was chitravis childers, the man nominated the democratic ticket to run against whoever wins this race, that he'd have an even shot of taking the state of mississippi. national democrats saying that. it looks to me from the reporting i've seen that mississippi democrats are kind of hardening to the message of thad cochran if they want to have influence in who the next senator from the state of mississippi is going to be, it's a choice between cochran and mcdaniel. >> that's right. especially in a midterm year
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that really seems to be favored for republicans to win, at least in red states. they believe that cochran who's been a longtime appropriator, helpful to education programs in the state, helpful to other social programs, they think he's been a voice for them and when you meet with voters today, i've met with dozens and dozens of them, they're really sympathetic to cochran's pitch. he's not pandered to the ptea party at all. he's moved toward the left. a surprising and stunning development in a republican primary. >> a lot of people outside mississippi look at this contest, particularly the notion of a debate over whether federal money should be coming back to mississippi and say, it's madness in some ways for voters in this state that is the most dependent on federal largesse to go to the polls to cast a vote to cut, to turn the spigot off. but that message has real appeal among the tea party conservative base in mississippi, i take it. >> it certainly does. i spoke with a lot of voters today who say they are on federal assistance, they're on federal disability. they're getting a lot of money
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from the federal government to survive in a state that's one of the poorest in the nation. when it comes to a republican primary, they're seeking someone who's going to be a combative conservative on capitol hill, working alongside ted cruz, rand paul and mike lee. someone to go right at president obama rather than focuses on appropriations. >> just to clarify, robert, you said you actually talked to voters, republican conservative primary voters on disability saying they're going to be voting for mcdaniel because they want someone to go to washington and fight to stop federal spending? >> that's right. they really want an ideological warrior. they're not happy with senator cochran's temperle. when i kept mentioning all the different things senator cochran has brought back to the state as a member of the appropriations committee, whether katrina aid from the hurricane in 2005, whether education for the public schools here, they shrugged me off. they brushed me away. they say that's not what's important to them this year. >> you know, cochran, it seemed, was really blind sided by this challenge in the first time around when the primary happened.
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in the runoff, everyone was basically writing his political obituary. seems they made a strategic adjustment a week ago when they said, okay, we have a ceiling of conservative support, white republican voters. let's see if we can get more people in the tent. if he wins tonight, it looks like that's going to be the thing that saves him, if, in fact, he wins. >> it will. and it really is an interesting development to see cochran realize after june 3rd when they finished narrowly behind mcdaniel, mcdaniel did not have the money or organization to really survive in a three week competitive runoff. so they turned their tide. they turned their message. >> robert costa from the woest woe woe"washington post." thank you so much. senator cochran, incumbent white establishment republican from the deep south has an unlikely soulmate today. incumbent african-american establishment democrat in the north who's also facing an upstart primary challenge that may finally spell his political demise. congressman charlie rangel. plagued by ethics problems even before his re-election two years ago and challenged by a redrawn
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district also evident in the last election cycle which significantly increased the latino population in his district and who two years ago won by only 1,100 votes. the man who came within 1,100 votes of beating congressman charlie rangel two years ago is back today in a rematch. that challenger, adriana aspiat. senator rangel, quote, yes, i have attacked his record and shouldn't have because there is no record. there is no love lost between the two men in what has been a fiercely contested election. whereas last cycle it was the congressman's dominican republic villa that may have dogged charlie rangel. something under press scrutiny for years. this year, rangel is trying to introduce himself to a new generation of his district's voters. ♪ charlie, charlie, charlie rangel ♪ ♪ charlie, charlie, charlie rangel ♪ >> joining me now is azi
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pavarah, political reporter for "capital new york." one of the best political reporters we have here in this town. a lot of people have looked ace this rematch and said this is it. people have written rangel's political obituary every two years for the last three or four cycles i feel like. he's triumphed. so can he pull it out again? >> that's the big question. i spoke to an insider who said, look, if we can do better than we did in the bronx where they basically split, i think espiat won that part of the district by 200 votes. they said, if we can do better than that, 1,000 votes, even more, that's great. they also need to pick up votes in east harlem. that's a puerto rican heavy part of the district that espiat only got 20% of the vote in which is sort of shocking. >> right. >> he has the support of the local counscilwoman there and te assemblyman over there. they're thinking if they can do 35%, 45% there, and if rangel's base stays the same, that's the ball game. >> you know, we don't hear a lot about democratic primary challenges of incumbents.
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that has kind of been the tea party's game. this would be a bit of a wake-up call. rangel's case is a little particular, but it is a freshman -- i mean, it is a challenge to an incumbent in a solid democratic seat. >> right. and former governor david paterson spoke to this and paterson always is, very candid, too good for his own cause. he said, look, we've seen this before. when there was white elected officials, districts were changing, people said we thank you for your service but we want people that look like us. that's happening here with rangel. rangel unlike two years ago, he's one who noted that espiat spoke about dominican heritage. these were two years ago. >> right. >> al sharpton had to step in say, guys, stop talking about race, talk about policy. when you have someone like al sharpton making that kind of statement, it sends a message. >> i think also for those not familiar with new york politics, there is a long political feud between dominicans in the city and puerto ricans, a political
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power about political resources. it may not be surprising. ma you have here is, you know, it's not the kind of thing you see. it doesn't feature white candidates on the ballot. >> rangel has prided himselves on this. as steve kornacki wrote for "capital" he has been involved in racing like this in new jersey. >> azi from "capital new york." thank you. coming up, for a while it seemed a bridge was going to bring chris christie down, but it may not be the one you think. i'll tell you about that development ahead. plus "all in america" continues tonight. how some simple math may be able to turn a red state blue. stay with us. that we serve. people here know that our operations have an impact locally. we're using more natural gas vehicles than ever before. the trucks are reliable, that's good for business. but they also reduce emissions, and that's good for everyone. it makes me feel very good about the future of our company.
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>> so the word spreading through central america is you can just come here and you won't be sent home? so how did you feel when the
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border patrol picked you up? >> msnbc contributor alexander pelosi traveled to the border to talk to some of the people who are crossing. she will be here to share their stories, next. humans. even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems.
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namely, other humans. which is why at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? we're talking about large numbers of children without their parents who have arrived at our border, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, scared, and vulnerable. how we treat the children in particular is a reflection of
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our laws and our values. >> the head of the department of homeland security, jerh johnson went before congress to talk about the continued crisis of unaccompanied minors at the border of mexico. calls to deploy national guard troops to deal with the problem. 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the border so far since october. according to the obama administration. as well as more than 39,000 adults with children. msnbc contributor alexandra pelosi has been in arizona and texas reporting on this story. she filed this report. >> we're seeing this huge influx of migrants from central america. we have about the same number of families who have been coming here for the last nine months. >> reporter: so the word spreading through central america is you can just come here and you won't be sent home? how long has this been going around?
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so how did you feel when the border patrol picked you up? the government gave you this. what is that? thursday july 17th. are you going to show up for this? what are you going to tell the judge when you show up for that hearing? are you going to bring a lawyer to that hearing? >> next scheduled stop, el paso, texas. >> reporter: are you happy? how does america look to you?
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who told you america was going to take care of you if you came here with your son? are you going to show up for that court date? how come dt they have so much fe hope? >> there's a lot of misinformation and people are
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manipulated in coming up here. sometimes it's to lure them into endangered servitude. sometimes it's to get money from them. people will do everything and anything to take care of their children. >> reporter: people are going to try to come into this country because at least there's the hope, there's the opportunity, the possibility of survival, so people would rather risk their lives and die trying than to stay and not be able to change their circumstances. >> joining me now, msnbc contributor documentary filmmaker and writer, alexandra pelosi. great to have you here. both of these women are from guatemala. they are coming -- i read other reporting that indicates people are coming and hailing the border patrol. saying to the border patrol, come take me, right? >> these are very poor uneducated women. that are told by coyotes, i'm going to take you to america and the border patrol is going to save you, rush you into america and live there happily ever after. they're being fed a lot of propagan
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propaganda. what happens is you go to the border in tucson, arizona, and see if you stand at the border presence a ladder coming from the other side of mexico and people just jumping and sitting and waiting for border patrol. >> to their mind, they've been told, essentially declare yourself. they're not, like, sneaking in, not going the way we think of other undocumenteds going. this is a distinct phenomenon. >> they've had treacherous journeys through mexico. they came from central america. by the time they get to the border, they're exhausted, dehydrated and think border patrol, hallelujah. they feel safe finally from the coyotes who are exploiting them. they're finally feeling like they've been rescued. >> what's happening is our standard policy is if these people have relatives anywhere in the country, they can go be reunited with those relatives while they await their due process essentially, right? >> right. >> these people are being released and take a bus to meet up with some relative with a paper saying, come to this court and contest your status. >> right. so, i.c.e. dumps them at the
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greyhound station. they don't speak a word of english, have no money in their pocket. i.c.e. pulls up and says, good luck. they have a piece of paper saying they have to report to a hearing somewhere in america. they have to ride a greyhound bus and change many times and maneuver their way to get to south dakota. where are you going? texas. where in texas? they don't even know the name of a town in texas and they have to call someone. they have one phone number they're given to call. they call some relative and try and maneuver to get the relative to pay for the bus ticket. a lot of people can't come up with a bus ticket and get stuck -- >> standing there. right. i want to bring into the conversation congressman jeffries, democrat from new york. he introduced a bill yesterday that will provide legal r representation for unaccompanied minors who cross the u.s. border illegally. we saw in the package there, the question of, do you have legal representation? people say, i can't afford it. what's the idea behind your legislation? >> this is not a run of the mill policy debate that we're in the
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midst of. this is an extraordinary humanitarian crisis. it's a serious problem and requires a serious multipronged response. we believe a significant number of the unaccompanied children who have arrived in this country, chris, will not have a valid legal basis to remain. but some will. >> right. >> yet it's clear that it's virtually impossible for these unaccompanied minors to vindicate any rights that may exist under kurcurrent immigrat law in the absence of legal representation. that's why we introduced the vulnerable immigrant voice act to provide access to counsel. i should note this provision was actually in the comprehensive immigration proposal passed last year. we obviously believe that at this particular time, it's absolutely necessary to allow these unaccompanied minors to navigate themselves through the
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immigration proceedings in a manner consistent with the type of judicial system we've come to expect in america. >> alexandra, am i understanding this correctly? the congressman is talking about unaccompanied minors. your reports focused on women coming with children. that we're talking about el salvador, honduras, and guatema guatemala. that both of these strains of immigration or refugee situations are of the same kinds of rumors going around. >> right. the thing the congressman said, you can't tell by seeing a few pictures of kids in a greyhound station how desperate things are down at the border in texas and arizona. we're talking about a full-blown crisis. there are just people streaming through. and they're waiting for border patrol. so the point is that this is something they're going to have to come up with some answers. >> right. >> and, you know, we can waste our time blaming whose fault it is. wro you know what's going to happen. the republicans are going to go to the border and blame obama
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saying he's not enforcing the law. >> it's already happening. >> that's the scary part, right? what really needs to be done is grown-ups need to stands up now and say what is the law? >> right and how do we deal with this humanely? congressman, is there appetite for that among your colleagues? >> well, i'm hopeful. we've got to focus first on the origin as alexandra pointed out eloquently. the origin of the crisis. the women, these children are fleeing a highly dangerous environment in these three central-american countries. amongst the most dangerous countries in the world. they're fleeing violence. they're fleeing intimidation. they're fleeing increased gang activity. drug trafficking and sexual abuse. and in fact, several other central-american countries as well as mexico, including coaei rica, belize, as well as panama have also experienced increases in asylum applications from these three countries. >> right. >> so there's a desperate situation to which they are
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fleeing and that's why we've got to step in. >> msnbc contributor alexandra pelosi, thank you for sharing that. congressman hakeem jeffries. thank you, sir. coming up, there may be another bridge chris christie has to worry about now, and it's uglier than the other one. i mean that literally. it's literally an uglier bridge. the details are next. [ male announcer ] if you had a dollar for every dollar
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we all thought it would be the george washington bridge that could ruin chris christie's 2016.
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the scandal surrounding those closed access lanes of the infamous traffic problems in ft. lee. multiple investigations are ongoing. the fallout put a dark cloud over christie's once bright political future. but a twist comes to us today vie wra "the new york times," reporting it's not the gwb, but a different bridge that could be the real problem for the new jersey governor. far less glamorous bridge called the palaski skyway which connects newark and jersey city. a bridge in desperate need of expensive repairs for years. repairs chris christie did not want to raise taxes to pay for. so, if you're the governor, what do you do, where do you turn? according to "the new york times" he turned to the port authority and top appointee, bill baroni. according to "the times" and "bergen record" the port authority had a couple billion dollars laying around from a hudson river rail project christie, himself, canceled the year before. early 20 1 1, the zbomgovernor before the people of new jersey to announce the port authority would be footing the bill for
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renovations to the skyway. >> this is a significant commitment from the port authority, and we believe it's an appropriate one of new jersey projects to make our roadways and bridges safer as we travel through the port district and try to get to those connecters. >> so when, when, right? if you're chris christie, you don't have to raise taxes, the thing gets repaired. one problem. according to "the new york times," that announcement actually came before the port authority even agreed to foot the bill. and as "the times" reports, the age agenc agency's lawyers had concerns about the bill like the fact it might not be real. the paloski skyway is a state road. "the times" "reports after legal wrangling and pressure from the christie camp, it moved forward and the skyway closed for renovations in april. add two more investigations to the mix. both the manhattan's d.a.'s office and s.e.c. are looking into whether the christie
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administration or port authority violated securities law in the course of manking this deal. dozens and dozens after lawyer from both sides of the river approved the financing plan and approved it. i relied upon the advice of lawyers on both sides of the river to come to that conclus n conclusion. i'm confident if the s.e.c. reviews it, they'll come to the same conclusion." joining me, matt flagenheimer from "the new york times," he's been reporting on this story. okay. first of all, why securities law? why the s.e.c.? so you've got this financing plan to renovate the skyway. it's not immediately clear the skyway is in the purview of the port authority. the port authority foots the bill, anyway. the lawmakers are concerned this doesn't work. where does securities law come into this in. >> amid the pressure from the administration that's happening after the cancelation of the tunnel which was this tunnel canceled in october of 2010, he takes this money that was supposed to be set aside for that project from the port authority and diverts it to
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those road projects, the biggest of which is the pulaski skyway. in the course of the legal wrangling, "the bergen record" did a great story on this months ago, pointed out the lincoln tunnel is something they could build access roads to legally under the mandate. the problem in this case the highland tunnel is a more reasonable connection. that actually predates the -- >> they don't have the legal authority. right. and just so we're clear here, the lincoln tunnel, pulaski skyway in the middle, they're saying it's a connector to the lincoln tunnel up there in the corner of your screen. it is not in any way, shape or form, i think from a strict, you know, intuitive intense, a connection to the lincoln. >> this is not something that commuters would ever do going from the pulaski to the lincoln tunnel. >> that was the legal reasoning upon which they said they could do this. there were bonds issued to do this? >> they referred to the capital projects as lincoln tunnel
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access infrastructure -- >> wait a second, the bonds they sold to actual people are bonds labeled lincoln tunnel capital project. can we put that map back up there? they sold bonds to people and said, hey, do you want to get in on the -- lend the state, the port authority money to do lincoln tunnel projects? you can't lie on your bond issue. >> that's right. the accuracy of that characterization is at the heart of this, whether or not you can plausibly say that was not a misrepresentati misrepresentatio misrepresentation. >> this is what's fascinating to me. you have the s.e.c., you have a security that's been issued. you have the manhattan district attorney looking into that? what's that about? >> because the offices of the port authority are in manhattan and a lot of the business is being conducted, it falls under their purview. the martin act in new york, a stronger statute than you have at the federal level which allows you bring charges to immaterial misrepresentation. just any misrepresentation. >> so this is really important.
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i don't know if you've spent a lot of time reading -- >> i don't recognize -- >> they're the glossy pamphlets. you get it. this is what your offering is. the martin act in new york doesn't require there's an intent to defraud, it requires there's actually -- >> or any fraud at all. just material misrepresentation. >> material misrepresentation. if you look at that thing and says this is for the lincoln tunnel and show a judge or jury that map we've been showing you, you know, you're halfway to a case already. >> absolutely. and, you know, the issue here is really, as the prosecutor is looking at it, is this creative politicking, creative money managing or something that's criminal? >> here's the bigger context for this. you have now a special legislative committee looking into the bridge-gate scandal. you've got reporting that the u.s. attorney in new york and the u.s. attorney in newark with both looking into this. you've got the manhattan district attorney and now you have the s.e.c. it seems to me that if you're betting on just the odds, the more investigators you have looking into something, the more odds someone's going to come up with something. >> in here tiheory.
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these were prompted by the revolutions at the gwb but this something happened the beginning of 2010 and has no connection whatsoever so the george washington bridge and all these issues are coming to the fore. >> the more investigators look, the more they're going to find stuff. that would be true of anyone in the country, right? just start adding investigators, you start adding headaches. matt flegenheimer from "the new york times." great piece. thanks a lot. coming up on tonight's "all in" it used to be georgia was part of the south. that's not the case anymore. what i told you it could be that way again? more of our exclusive on the road reporting, ahead. [ woman ] i've got someone who understands my sensitive side.
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venus embrace sensitive. explaining my moderate to severe so there i was again, chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist. it was a total embarrassment. and not the kind of attention i wanted. so i had a serious talk with my dermatologist about my treatment options. this time, she prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin by actually working inside my body. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority of people were clear or almost clear in just 4 months. humira can lower your ability
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to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer have happened. blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure have occurred. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live in or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make the most of every moment. ask your dermatologist about humira, today. clearer skin is possible. we're going to bring you a special investigative report. a look into the reality of the numbers underlying what some have called the murder capital of america. among the people i spoke to for this report was chicago mayor rahm emanuel.
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i lived here under mayor daley and chicago had a crime rate, specifically a homicide rate that was stubbornly higher than new york, l.a., other cities. it never seemed to me to have the level of political -- no, seriously -- explosiveness around it that it has in your tenure. >> well, here's how i would think of it. you are right. i minean, the truth is in 1974, you go back now 40 years, it was a little over 900 homicides. when mayor daley was mayor and have a situation like at the high school, it got not only local, national, you may be right that it may be more intense now locally, but i have a response, that doesn't matter to be because i have a responsibility to work on it every day no matter what. the police are going to be as strong as their partners are in the neighborhood. it's not about how many police
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you have. it's what the police are doing when they're there. classic example, let me give you a tactic way of showing that. in these areas we call impact zones, 3% of the city's geography, 20 areas, 20 blocks each for a better way to think about it. we have a saturation of officers. those were the worst areas for shootings, homicides, and robberies. we've seen a dramatic decline since we've done that saturation. >> that was tomorrow on "all in america: behind the color line. pt" tonight's report on a simple math that could turn a red state blue is just ahead. stick around. of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain,
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tonight on "all in america: behind the color line" we take a look at the solid south. for generations it was a truism about american politics the
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democratic party had the lock on the south. now we think of the south as the opposite, the modern geographical base of the tea party led gop. it's a historical shift that's made the south the reddest part of the country. where republicans rule and can count on dozens of electoral votes in election after election. the state of georgia is poised for a possible political transformation. the tipping point may be hiding in plain sight. >> to run billion dollar presidentials and not take back a state like georgia is almost criminal. i mean, it's just, think about it, it's a rounding error in a billion dollar presidential. we can't do that anymore. >> what if i told you that georgia, deep red georgia, could be a blue state? and it's all a matter of simple math. georgia has always been a conservative state, but it was conservative and democratic. >> congress passes the most sweeping civil rights bill ever to be written into the law. >> the civil rights act did a lot to change how georgia voted
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in presidential elections. since 1964, georgia has voted for republicans in every election with four exceptions. infamous segregationist george wallace in 1968, local boy made good jimmy carter in 1976 and 1980 and bill clinton in 1992. on a state level, georgia, like much of the south, remained under democratic control. where civil rights leaders and segregationists worked together in the same legislature and the same party. everyone's the same party, but you're in a political coalition with people that are, frankly, avowed white supremacists. >> but you quickly learn that there were people there who were good people and not so good people. people who wanted to do this, good things, and people who didn't want to do this. >> of course, that alliance wasn't going to last, and it didn't. in 1995, a white democrat named nathan deal bolted the party. today he's georgia's republican governor. democrat stacey abrams, georgia's house minority leader says the party really broke apart in 2002. >> georgia had for a longer time
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than a lot of states had this unholy marriage of convenience with dixiecrats, northern white liberals, and black civil rights leaders. in 2002, we decided to split up and go our separate ways. >> ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the conscience of the democratic party, the honorable zell miller. >> there was one proud georgia democrat of the old tradition, but then he did this. >> kerry would let paris decide when america needs defending. i will push to -- >> it's a tough question. it takes a few words. >> get out of my face. if you're going to ask me a question, step back and let me answer. i wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel. now that would be pretty good. >> the collapse of the old democratic party led to an entirely different kind of politics in georgia and throughout the old confederate south.
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where party and race have come to be almost completely aligned. in georgia, the majority white population largely elects republicans. conversely, the minority african-american population largely elects democrats. as a result, in georgia and across the south, the white democrat is an increasingly endangered species. of the 157 republicans in the georgia general assembly, 155 are white. of the 78 democrats in the assembly, only 16 are white. state senator nan oreck is one of five white democrats in the senate. >> i wonder when is america going to wake up and be astonished and ashamed at the fact that of our two major political parties, one of them is almost virtually entirely white? with rare exception. >> georgia's democratic party now faces the mere opposite situation as national republic chance. instead of looking for candidates of color in a country that is getting less white, democrats in georgia are acti
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actively recruiting white people to join the party. >> as a minority, i know what it means to not make the minority feel oppressed. you have to create a space so their values are recognized because their values are not that divergent from everyone else. >> julian bond, civil rights icon today with me in front of martin luther king jr.'s boyhood home and told me that black democrats need to make room for more white candidates. >> you got to convince these black legislators they have to give up something. not everything. they don't have to give up all their seats but they have to give up something and say i'm to going to share this. i'm in a power position, i can afford to give this up. >> by share this, share voters to get white democrats elected. >> yes. >> whether it's electing statewide democrats or turning georgia blue in a presidential election, the state needs more democratic voters. it turns out they're there. in georgia. hiding in plain sight. >> demographically, we are moving faster and faster toward having multiple communities of color that have electoral power.
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it's a simple matter of arithmetic. ben jealous, former president of the naacp, walked me through the math. >> there are 600,000 unregistered black people in the state and 230,000 unregistered asians and latinos on top of that. and if we could just sign up 7 750,000, it would be impossible for the republicans to win again. >> in 2008, john mccain won the state by 204,000. in 2010, republican governor nathan deal won by 258,000 votes. in 2012, mitt romney won the state by 304,000 votes. organizers say there are roughly 830,000 unregistered voters of color in the state. they can register 90% of them and 70% of those people vote, that's over 520,000 new voters. and if 80% of those voters go for democrats, which is not an unlikely rate based on recent election results, democrats
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could wind up netting just over 310,000 new votes. enough to beat nathan deal in 2010, enough to give barack obama wins in both 2008 and 2012. according to that math, georgia turns blue. after signing the civil rights act of 1964, lyndon b. johnson reportedly remarked the democrats had lost the south for a generation, and they did. but if democrats can register enough voters across the south, they might just win it back. coming up, i'll talk to someone who spent years organizing to increase african-american turnout. one of the only white members of congress who represents a majority african-american district. this year, once again, he's facing a primary challenge. stay with us.
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we're back. talking about how some simple math can turn the state of georgia from red to blue. joining me now, congressman steve cohn, democrat from tennessee. he's one of the few white members of congress to represent a majority black district. steven walker, executive director of i-vote, democratic pac and former african-american vote detector for dnc organizing for americans project. steve, let me start with you. having been around organizers, spent a lot of time, i know there is a huge, huge distance between numbers on a board and how many people are out there that might be able to be registered, and actually doing that work. how do you close the gap between those two. >>? is it plausible to register the number of people you'd have to
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register and turn them out to give georgia a shot at being a competitive state? >> absolutely, chris. first of all, it's a multipronged approach. as you know, registering people to vote requires an investment in resources, in time and energy. one of the things we have to make sure we have is a sustained and working democratic party in the state of georgia which we have a great party led by porter and his fantastic staff and other members. it requires ongoing investment of engagement in the communities. what tends to happen is we think about voter registration only around election time. >> right. >> it's going to require ongoing engaged with the community on a regular basis. >> okay. so that -- let's say you had that. what would the price tag for that be? what are you talking about? what kind of organization, what kind of dollars would have to be spent as someone who has learned the lessons of the obama campaign which is probably more successful in doing this than anyone else ever? what would that look like? >> well, you know, it depends. it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. but i think one of the things that the obama movement has shown this party, and our community in general, is the value of grassroots community
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organizing. so when we're getting people engaged on a neighbor-to-neighbor level talking to their friends and being the voice persons out there for making sure people are registered to vote, it can make a difference. but something like this is an investment in thousands of dollars to make it an ongoing process. >> congressman, you're proof positive of the fact the politics in the south don't have to be this kind of strict kind of racial black and white cookie where, you know, it's white folks voting for white republicans, black folks voting for black democrats. but what is the case is that redistricting increasingly, particularly run by republicans, has sort of moved more and more black voters into smaller and smaller concentrations of the seats and has meant that we see less and less white democrats in the south. >> ari berman did a column in "the nation" that was perfect on redistricting. the republicans had a program in the south, i can't repeat the words, it was rat something, and they wanted to get rid of all the democrats really and
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redistrict -- in tennessee, the next election there may be only 5 of 33 state senators who were democrats, only one of whom was caucasian because they tried to draw the districts in such a way the black vote was spread out and the white vote was also spread out in certain ways. redistricting made it very difficult. but what steven's talking about, what ben jealous is talking about, is what mohamed ali talked about, one of my how rer. the fight is not won under the lights before the reporters. it's won with miles and miles and miles of roadwork and lots of punching the bag when nobody s 's viewing. get out there, register people on the off years and get prepared. that's when the elections are won. you toil the soil. >> steve, what have we learned about the likelihood of someone turning someone to vote out once you registered them? because i remember reporting on this during 2008 and i was surprised at how high the
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percentage was that the obama campaign was seeing in the folks that they registered and stayed in contact with them and were able to actually get to the polls. >> right, chris. that's what the meant by the ongoing investmeninvestment. it is figuring out a process for regular communication with them. whether sending them an e-mail, whether calling them on the phone, whether sending a canv s canvasser to knock on the door or getting them to commit to vote and sending them a reminder card in the mail prior to election to remind them that, we, you registered to vote and also committed to vote, so now election day is here and so now it's time for you to go ahead and cast that ballot. evidence shows when we get someone to commit to vote, they actually sign and say they're committed and we send back the commitment, it definitely increases vote r turnout. >> that's a great point. this is something that was found actually through experiments, right, the commitment, signing the pledge and sending it back to the person saying you promised to do this thing that actually statistically in experiments conducted, controlled experiments, you see
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that that actually does bump up the rate of folks that vote. >> right. because what they get back in the mail is the pledge card that they signed with their signature on it that says, you made this pledge back on "x" date and now it's election day and now go out and cast your ballot on election day. >> so, congressman, there's two ways i think to think about the democratic party and the future democratic party in the south. one is the current status in which you basically have white majorities that elect white majorities that are republican and conservative in statehouses across the south and in terms of the presidential electoral votes. now, that's growing. in the future you can imagine a majority/minority coalition that takes over. in the interim, there isn't this question of getting, recruiting enough white democrats to build a majority in the south. how do you see that process unfolding in the near future? particularly amidst the tea party anti-obama backlash? >> it's going to be real tough in tennessee, i think, the state
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has gone so far to the right. and when the republicans did the redistricting, i mean, they were very, very devious, particularly in my district, they took a certain section of people out that would cross over and vote for me because they supported me though it was a moderate to republican area. they took them out of my district because they didn't want them to be voting in the elections where they vote for other democrats. now they don't have a reason to vote, so they're not likely to vote at all in august. i think there are places like georgia where there's been a large population shift in the urban areas around tlapt aatlan other areas with registration and maybe bringing home, particularly the refusal of southern governors to extend medicaid under the affordable care act formula to people have really hurt people both white and black. this isn't a white and black issue. and the republicans have been refusing people basic health care throughout the south and many red states. the republicans know it's about this getting people to vote. otherwise they wouldn't be passing laws to take votes away from people which really, you
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know, they're trying to stop people from -- these i.d. laws are to keep the vote quelled and stalled. >> i'm glad you brought up the medicaid expansion. we have a story later in the week on that issue. congressman steve cohen, steven walker from i-vote. thank you. that's "all in" for vis evening. "the rachel maddow show" begins now. good evening, chris. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy election night. if you live in the middle of a state somewhere, if you live far from any other state's border, this might be hard for you to visualize, but there's a part of kentucky that is basically suburban ohio. part of the greater metropolitan area of cincinnati, cincinnati, ohio, is across the stateline in the northern part of the state of kentucky. lots of people live in kentucky and commute back and forth every day across the ohio river. but in order to do so, they have to cross state jurisdictions. and of course, even though these