tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
standoff between mill ant ranchers and their supporters at the bundy ranch in 2014. that was 2014. now this is the ted cruz campaign for president in this state and who knows, maybe it will win him the bundy vote. maybe it will win him some other votes. it might also be possibly hard to explain in other states that the armed militants is how he put together his campaign to the nomination. we'll see because that does it for us tonight and our team coverage starts right now from las vegas. do not move a muscle. he's the won the last two states. >> we won with everything. we won with women. we won with men.
evangelicals, the military, tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people, just won. >> tonight he looks to nevada. >> if you want to beat donald trump you have go with the only campaign that has demonstrated we can beat donald trump. >> about 70% of the republicans want someone other than donald trump. >> can donald trump win nevada and extend his winning streak. >> we will win this election. >> i'm not going anywhere. >> all the way to the nomination. >> the gop nevada caucus, live from las vegas. good evening to you from the strip in las vegas and the headline is here we go again. it's not meant to express any fatigue, we may be looking at four straight record turn out in gop events and just to give you an idea of where we are, just
about smack in the middle of the strip here in las vegas this is where men with names like iron mike and the champ have fought it out, republicans with big names are fighting it out tonight and something important to remember in las vegas, the trump name looms over this city not just physically, but physically. donald trump's name on the top of a tower at the end of the strip and about the business that is being carried out here tonight, rachel, last night on your broadcast you pointed this out, tonight on your broadcast you pointed this out, shall we say they have a spotty record of compiling the mathematics as a result of the caucuses here in nevada. >> and knowing what to do about it once they have done that. >> you want to get technical. >> so there's only been two nevada caucuses before. mitt romney won both of them. the first one, the ron paul
folks after he came in second, they decided they rejected that result and they decided that they would try to award the delegates from that caucus vote to ron paul anyway and it caused upset and they thought they f fixed it in 2012. he won it again in 2012 and it took days to count the vote and they thought the got the ron paul people to cast their vote -- >> this he had a breakaway. >> they cast their votes for ron paul anyway. this year there's no mitt romney or ron paul or rand paul in the race, but there are concerns about the organizationalal capacity of the party because it looks like they're going to get a big turn out tonight. >> this could be a long and interesting night. that's the other thing. we say this not just building
succe success spence, we don't know what's going to come out tonight, we can only go by polling which is telling us that donald trump can expect another good night, but more on that after this. to the casino in the name of the city so nice they named it twice, chris matthews has spent the better part of the week at new york new york not far from us on the strip and what's the view there? >> it's a good reference, new york itself because i think that the republican party is in a midst of a hostile take over. it wasn't so clear saturday night after south carolina when trump beat cruz in his home court among the evangelicals of south carolina, among the very conservative people there, he beat them there and he may beat him nine times in the super tuesday contest, he may challenge him in texas, but from the beginning i thought trump
had second, this economical message, i never thought the republican party would fall so fast. you mentioned the organizational troubles here, there seems to be an organizational collapse of the republican party. everybody's talking about co lessing like we did the last time around rubio. that's like a thousand people squeezing into a phone booth. he's not big enough to absorb all these people. you hear all these people are endorsing him, you think they're the heavy weights. so i think trump looks very strong tonight and i think he could get three in a row and next week he could take another nine, this is moving so fast i have to tell you i'm shaken by it. >> it really is. john kasich running an all together different campaign is
fond of telling his supporters if you don't have a seat belt, grab one. the speed at which this is moving issa inspiring. the viewers that have been with us the last couple of hours witnessed quite a moment at a caucus location in nevada. jacob, bring our viewers up to speed where you are, your location and what is it you witnessed, whose arrival did you bring to us on live television? >> reporter: so we are at a high school where about 3,100 students go here which is west of where you are off the las vegas strip, if things weren't chaotic enough, mr. donald trump showed up here in the middle of glenn beck speaking. donald trump walked up to the podium, stood right there, just
about everybody in this location that was caucusing voting at one of these tables which are effectively different precincts got up, ran up to this area and it was like a rock concert basically. all people were doing is looking at trump, wanting to touch trump and voting more or less stopped. i don't think i've ever seen anything like it. we saw the iowa caucus and this was an extraordinary thing to behold. >> when you say the people got up out of the tables and ran over to mr. trump, did they then -- did they then recollect themselves? did the process go on after he was done talking? did you see people cast their vote? >> reporter: so everybody sort of went towards the door. this is the largest caucus site
in clark county where is which the las vegas area is. 13,000 potential caucus goerz can be at this location. there are way more people here is what people are saying than that. we'll see ultimately when the final numbers are counted, but this is a process that last time took two or three days to coun y the votes. i want to show you what happened when donald trump came in here. >> we're live on the air with rachel. >> i like rachel. i actually like rachel. >> they like you. mr. trump, you are here right now at the nevada caucus, what's the plan going forward after tonight? what are you going to do? >> basically this crowd we're doing pretty well tonight. this is amazing. it's record setting stuff already and it just started, but i think we're going do very well. we have the scc coming up and
hopefully we're going do very well. rachel, i appreciate your charts. i love looking at them. i don't like my picture that much, but that's okay. >> reporter: so to answer your question from earlier people did come back from that ordeal which was a completely bizarre experience to have that happen in the middle of a polling place which is a four hour process at this location and people did come back to their precincts -- it's strange to call a circular table a precinct. i want to talk to this man who was actually showing a map to people who walked in here pointing them to their precinct location. this feels like a chaotic process. >> at the beginning it was somewhat chaotic. we are talking about volunteers running this show so every four years it's a bit chaotic, but ultimately things settle down
and just like we did here somebody takes over, we had a great precinct captain, they take over and sign everybody in and everything works out well. it was ultimately this went very smoothly and i can say that because i ran this in 2008 when i was chairman of the party and it did not go smoothly as this with so my hat's off to the people running this. >> reporter: having the entire caucus run over to donald trump in the middle of the caucus didn't feel smooth to me. are you satisfied? are you confident that everybody's vote is going to be counted here tonight? >> absolutely, if this precinct and what i've seen around here, there's no question in my mind that's the case. we've been talking about that and we've been talking about what a smooth process it was and how we really had a lot of confidence in the ultimate result here tonight, absolutely. >> reporter: all right. again, this location, the biggest location in clark county, polls will be open here until 8:30, which is different
from the other 16 counties in the state and that's because so many people will be coming through clark county. everyone else closes at 9:00. back to you. >> appreciate that, jacob. what he was saying there about the closing times that's how things go in nevada. so all the caucuses opened at different times and all of the voting stops at a specific time, unless you're in clark county in which it stops half an hour earlier. there's a four hour window where people might vote, what that might mean to you when you go vote, good luck. it's a young process here that's yet to ripen into maturity. in terms of what's going to happen tonight, as we've been talking about there is an expectation that donald trump is going do very well. he seemed to have that belief himself when jacob was able to interview him tonight. the question is if he does do
well tonight, is he in the process of cooking the nomination for himself? is he stoppable if he wins nevada heading into super tuesday and that huge delegate prize. for more on that we go to our expert on such matters. steve, what about trump's fate heading into and out of nevada tonight? >> let's start with his place in history right now at this moment. what you're looking at ronald reagan, george bush senior, john mccain and donald trump. they all have -- the first three have one thing in common. they won new hampshire, they followed up with a win in south carolina and they ended up run winning the republican nomination. donald trump has become the fourth person in the modern era of presidential picks to win new hampshire and follow up with a victory in south carolina so that puts him in elite company when you look at his prospects for the nomination. at the same time people saying maybe marco rubio has a shot at donald trump, keep this in mind
never in the modern era of presidential primary process has a candidate not won iowa, not won new hampshire, not won south carolina and gone on to win the nomination. so donald trump if he doesn't get the nomination now would be making history and marco rubio if he got the nomination would be making history. i want to show you this process we've been going one state at a time really focusing, it's about to accelerate in a big way. this is it super tuesday. this is march 1st. these are the states in play. take a look at this. how do the polls look in these states next week. take a look. these are the most recent -- green is donald trump. donald trump is leading in almost all the states. you see rubio had a lead of about 2 points in minnesota. cruz in his home state of texas, the biggest single prize on the board next week cruz only leads
by eight in a recent poll, but the interesting thing is look where donald trump's strengths are. it's not limited geographically. this is is a candidate we just saw win rural evangelical voters in the up state of south carolina. he finished first there and first finished in southern new hampshire. usually you do not see candidates in the republican party uniting that broad of a range of people together, so that's what donald trump has going for him on super tuesday. he's winning in the south, he's winning in the north and in every single of one these states he's competitive. so the opportunity is here for donald trump to roack up a lot f delegates and headlines about winning states. >> steve who really does travel with a giant monitor where he goes, very cool if you're on a plane with him and you like his choice of movies, steve thanks. we'll be going back to you
often. to introduce or other guests is the nsce spokesperson and lawrence with us and wrote 16 episodes of the west wing. >> i once met him, but i worked for the senator. it's easy to confuse. >> lawrence, chris matthews -- >> chris matthews worked for him. >> he has been making a point for days and days and days about the difference between caucusing and going to a polling place and closing a curtain or working inside an enclosure and casting your vote. the external forces that can affected your caucus vote, peer pressure, the fact that it's
done audibly and in public like what we've seen tonight, this matters. >> the biggest thing about caucuses is it restrict the vote and it suppresses votes. if you're working right now, you probably can't vote in this thing. and so there's no absentee ballots. it's limiting in the most severe possible way so it's ul about turn out and what kind of machine do you have to get your turn out there and it's incredibly difficult to poll what the result is going do be. we are living in more spuns than we have in a long time. this is not about the people who you know for sure that are going to show up tonight. so we could have the first time for donald trump, the first time that he breaks his ceiling out of the 30s. he may get above 36%, he may get in the 40s. what will that do to the race.
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from the strip in las vegas, we are back here on gop caucus night in the state of nevada. we have nicole wallace standing by in new york. before we go back i wanted to share with you a moment that took place on the broadcast with all due respect in the early evening on msnbc and also on bloomberg television. you're going to see this moment
as it played out on live television. stewart was talking to mark about what to do as a party about donald trump. >> you all faced newt gingrich four years ago. you engaged a multi prong assault. are you suggesting that taking donald trump on would require that four prong multi effort? >> it's the only wa i to be beat trump. we did the same thing down in mississippi when we ran against mcdaniel. it's how you win races today. first when romney got trounced by newt in south carolina, he didn't pretend he won. he realized he lost because he lost and then he adjusted and matt put together a good plan.
donald trump is an easier candidate to beat than newt gingrich. i've never seen a candidate that's so easy to get inside his head and i don't understand why these campaigns aren't having fun with teams going at donald trump and i can promise you it is how you will take control of the race and get him responding to you. >> stewart stevens from an interesting moment that took place on live television earlier today which takes us to this crux which is the republicans saying we have to get to those and those saying you don't have to go with this guy. >> i can't believe we've let it go on this long. it's incredible that no one has attacked donald trump. you look at super pacs who have
spent about $215 million, only 4% of that has gone to attacking donald trump. so he really has had an easy ride and it's time for that to end or he's going to be the gop nominee. >> is that because -- my perception was that everybody thought donald trump wasn't a serious candidate, that he wasn't going to make it and then when he seemed like he was making it everybody assumed he would implode for some reason. now it feels like people don't want to attack him because it doesn't work. >> i think initially there was a lot of fear with attacking him, because senator rand paul attacked him and jeb bush didn't attacked him, they didn't fare well. it's a grave yard of candidates who dropped out. why not do what ted cruz did and kiss up to donald trump, have a rally with him, talk about how much you respect him. until now ted cruz had a problem on his hand because he didn't do well in south carolina and going
forward he has a tough path. >> does it make sense for any one individual candidate do this? should it be somebody outside the candidates? should it be the party? as a republican if you're mission was to make sure donald trump wasn't the nominee, who is the right messenger or the right sort of person to sling those arrows. >> it has to be some kind of arrow in the first place. if you're only dedicating 4% of your fire then you're not doing anything. these pacs need to get coordinated and the candidates need to step up and talk about why they oppose trump and what's that message they have against trump and so far they haven't been doing that because i think the gop has been really out of touch with the anger that trump is tapping into. >> the candidates aren't going to coordinate with each other on anything and the party is basically duty bound to support him if he's going to the nominee. >> stewart has been trying to get these candidates to do this
for a couple of months now and he means the ones who are in striking distance of trump. rand paul did it but he wasn't in enough altitude to have any meaning. donald trump managed to dominate the news yesterday by saying he wanted to punch somebody so all the news was about donald trump. there was no news about ted cruz and marco rubio. what stewart is saying is you have to jump into that circus right there and say something that controls trump so that what he is saying is he wants to punch marco rubio or ted cruz and then you have your response back to that. none of them have managed to engage trump that way yet. >> just a quick update for our folks at home, on the various sounds you are going to be hearing, we are outdoors exposed to the elements. you've already heard an ambulance. our good friends have reversed operation tonight, that means we're going to hear jets taking off so we have that added
nevada presidential caucuses tonight. nevada is a big state that kramz all of its people in one tiny part of the state. and particularly in clark county where all the people are things are different. there's about 2.8 people in the state, 2.1 million of them are in the las vegas metro area and in clark county they're going to try to stop the voting earlier than everywhere else than the rest of the state to give them time to vote. so statewide voting is due to go on for another hour and a half, but it's due to go on for another hour in clark county to hopefully early up the count for when we get a result. chris is at a high school here in las vegas. how are things? >> reporter: things right now
are fairly chill. there's been a big crowd and general an air of confusion among caucus goers here. a lot of spirited political conversations happening around tabl tables. i have the chair of the republican party who is overseeing this caucus site. i talked to a lo the of people who were unclear about what the process is tonight. you have changed things here right. >> this is an new caucus in the state. this is the third time around so we've kept refining it as we go. >> reporter: people voted, right? >> yes. >> reporter: they gave these ballots. those are going to be photographed and counted, but then they're having these conversations here about electing delegates to the county conventions, right? >> yes. >> reporter: you had an issue where you had a hostile takeover of your party conventions? >> i think there were passionate groups that got the job done, you bet. >> reporter: so now you have a
rule that the vote tonight has to correspond to the delegates you send to the convention. >> yes. if a candidate wins 60% of the vote they get 60% of the delegates. >> reporter: people take the ballots wearing the gear of the candidates, they are the ones taking the ballots, is that allowed under the rules? do you understand why people think that's strange. >> yes. everyone is supporting a candidate. so we have a team of two. so wherever possible we have two people from the campaigns monitoring every process. >> reporter: county chair, appreciate it. >> thanks. >> reporter: things are starting to wind down here. that does not mean we will know anything about the results for a very long period of time. back to you rachel. >> thank you very much. that guy, ed williams, part of
the counting process here, all 36 caucus locations in clarks county, what is supposed to happen is once they tally up the votes is they're supposed to put them in an envelope and mark the outside of the envelope and then the official process is that people at that caucus site are then supposed to take a picture with their cell phone of the writing on the outside of the envelope and then text the picture to that guy ed that chris just talked to and that's how we're going to get the vote count tonight. >> to which i say what could go wrong? >> also, america. >> it's a very -- it's disturbing to people who were born and raised in voting booths non-caucus states because we're all used to rules about election hearing and things like that and it's just different. >> it's losy goosy. the parties change the rules and they adapt over time and i'm a
big proopponent of the parties being big organizations that can do a lot in terms of promoting democracy there and you have to deal with the crazy on the way. >> as i said, this is not, especially this early in the evening, is not a science. it may be science later. we try to apply science to it and among those things we have asked people on the their into caucus to fill out entrance polls as they go in. the first wave of those has come out now. >> so what we're getting right now is the look at the composition of the electorate, what sorts of people are showing up to take part in the caucuses. this is the first wave. there will be a few waves of these. we're not going to give away the breakdowns in terms of these groups, but what we can tell you from this first wave one of the key questions we're looking for is white evangelical christians, a huge part relevant republican
electorate, how big a share? you're seeing a small number here, 32%. compare that to the 67% we saw in south carolina, over 60% in iowa, nevada a much more conservative electorate. when you break this down 40% call themselves very conservative, a combined total of 83%. that's the same number we saw in 2012. 83% calling themselves very or somewhat conservative. in 2012 that combined total was one of the highest totals in the country so that gives you a sense of the flavor of the republican electorate in nevada. it is not particularly religi s religious, but it's conservative. ron paul did very well out here in 2008, 2012.
one other thing we can show you, nevada as a state this is one of the oldest states in america in terms of age of population. we are seeing that here in the entrance poll, nearly 40% over the age of 65. that is a higher number than we've seen in other states. so the composition of the electorate, we'll have more waves of these things and we'll be able to tell you how some of these groups voted. >> we do entrance polls on the way into the caucuses, not exit polls on the way out of the voting booth, another quirk of the caucus process. that's interesting that 32% evangelical turn out. that's just a bit higher than it was in 2012. it was 28% evangelical in 2012, but we may yet get a different demographic here if they do get a much larger number of people turning out than they have in previous years which is one thing party officials have told us to expect. one of the things that everybody
else told us to expect is confusion at caucus sites particularly in highly populated areas. jacob, one of the things we've been hearing about is some confusion at site. i understand you have some reporting on that. >> reporter: that's right. this is jim small. jim is the site manager here at the caucus and jim, rachel m maddow was talking about confusion about what's going on across the city and across the county right now with the different caucus locations. earlier you had mentioned you expected about 10 to 15% turn out here, you said you expected it to look like this all night, but it didn't like like that when mr. trump showed up. what do you think about the turn out? >> the turn out was higher than we anticipated and the people came overwhelming at the
beginning of the session. as you see behind us now the room is controlled and we were in anticipating people would be coming in during a three-hour voting period. it seemed like almost everyone came in during the first half hour and we were a little overwhelmed. >> reporter: i saw a woman holding a sign that said we need ballots. when mr. trump came did anyone say they were disturbed or not able to cast their ballot? >> not a person said that. we did have a delay in a precinct where ballots were short in that precinct. ballots were delivered by the party. all ballots arrived very quickly. >> reporter: that's jim small, site manager at this precinct. >> thank you. thanks your guest for us. and the rest of us are looking at the size of that
land mark in its own right. chris. >> it sure is. who a temptation it is. i'm here with john who knows this town. let's talk about the political parties because rachel and brian were talking about the -- i think people talking about the republican party today, i don't think there is such a being, here there is clearly a democrat party. this saturday night when we were out here, all the people out here, the worked people, black jack dealers, every kind of person, i sat here for two hours with a waitress, real party people and harry reid is a real party leader. >> he created the early caucus. he went to the dnc and made the pitch to come here no nevada because it's diverse and he controls it with an iron fist and i talked about the caucus on saturday he gemmed up the
unions. >> for hillary. the days of the old political reality of a party like rachel was talking about a political party that organizes and creates -- creates caucuses, does all these things that a party is supposed to do. >> that's what harry reid has done with that party since 2008 and it wasn't just about 2008, he was being strategic because he was up in 2010. that's what the democrats do. that's why they like to caucus. it has nothing do with democracy. they want to use it as a vehicle to register voters. they registered 30,000 voters in 2008, 14,000 here a couple of days. it gives them a big advantage going forward. >> let me ask you about -- debbie has been accused by the bernie sanders people by putting a fix for her in all these debates which is 3:00 in the morning saturday night. >> it's obvious. >> so there still a national
democratic party? >> i think the republicans are rifen here in the same way that they are nationally with all this fighting, there's the anti-tax -- >> evangelical. >> not so much here. >> 22%. we just counted it. one party still functions as it has since jefferson time and it opposes the outsider, although it's not clear who is going to win. look at the republican party here. i said a hostile take over by trump, it does seem like he's -- he's almost unstoppable. when you hear that name you get afraid. >> they koddleed him. ted cruz, ted cruz strategically handled this thing wrong. early it was donald is my friend
and i'm glad he's here. you know that's what was going to happen to ted cruz and he doesn't s didn't see it coming. >> knowing trump's appeal to the working class white guy, he goes against immigration, trade, stupids wars, in confronting trump's appeal and him and bernie had this angry anti-establishment appeal why did this he step aside and not attack him. >> i think they didn't take him seriously. >> why not. >> he's a reality show. he's a showman. >> that's what democrats used to say about ronald reagan. he had been on prime television for nine years and everybody knew who he was. >> donald trump is different in that reagan was the actor and he had all that, donald trump is so over the top he changed the rules. >> so basically you agree there's a democratic party
structure with leadership like harry reid loyal to hillary and in the republican party there's no counterpart? >> loyal party structure that would do what reed was willing do here, put their finger on the scales and say -- there's no republican version. >> i think the difference it's not the chaos that you see in terms of process, there's a chaotic political party without a head, a strong head, and without a real favorite candidate and i think that's become pretty obvious to me just now in these last days. when you hang out here you get a sense of the class difference here. the working people you see them working at low wages and then you see the well turned out people in those caucuses tonight where jacob is, very suburbanite. >> it's the shift workers, three shifts a day around the clock that make this city go and it's
the union efforts often on the democratic side to get that entire day shift. another thing people, especially from the east are used to is state run, government run elections. these are party functions. these are public forums where election hearing is not only allowed, it's welcome. everyone comes in for a certain candidate. >> in a state like iowa even they sometimes screw up, but it's basically considered to be a state institution that a lot of people pitch in to make sure it works well. the microsoft corporation pitched in with iowa. in nevada there's no microsoft helping. the party itself is not a strong party. just doesn't -- it isn't organizationally a strong party. there is no natural leader that everybody knows in the state.
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built for business. from the strip in las vegas we are back. our coverage of the nevada caucuses continues tonight. again, we don't have hard results yet. we don't know when they're going to walk in the front door. a lot of the talk has been about the race for second, a lot of the talk has been about what passes for the republican establishment looking for an alternative to donald trump. the cruz campaign tonight is hoping for a very good result here in nevada. their headquarters is at the ymca in las vegas. hally jackson covering for us. >> reporter: senator cruz and his campaign looking for a top three finish here in nevada and at least if the polling holds likely to get it. ted cruz has spent a lot of time
in the northern part of this state, not so much in clark county where is where the majority of the population is, hoping that his message of conservatism with the caucus goers there. cruz really looking ahead now to the all important march 1st states. tomorrow morning this race turns a page and becomes national. instead of being able to come to one state and put boots on the ground, you're looking at a different way of running the campaign. so it's three pong, make sure you're putting positive messages out, second go after trump in some of the congressional districts where you think you're neck and neck and third in areas where it looks like marco rubio way not meet delegate thresholds, try to make sure he doesn't do that. so the campaign strategy is drilling down not state by state, but in these congressional districts, that's
the plan moving forward. to talk about tonight, we've been hearing and seeing reports on twitter of possible disorganization. the message in the party is saying there have been no official reports of any irregularities at this point. they add that folks wearing campaign gear is allowed. there's no rules against it. >> i've got to say in our interviews with republicans here in nevada last night and talking to folks here today, the attack on cruz, the dirty tricks theme, obviously this dismassal of his communications director yesterday, that seems to be effecting republicans here in nevada. >> reporter: that's something that we'll find out when the results start rolling in tonight, but the cruz campaign feels that these attacks from donald trump are a way of deflecting from talking about trump's record and on a way of
running on something that allows trump to talk about ted cruz and not for example the issues that cruz wants trump to be talking about which is planned parenthood and some topics that the cruz campaign believes trump is too liberal on. my colleague has talked to folks on the his rubio events that say we're here now supporting him because we didn't look those attacks against ted cruz, we didn't like what he was doing. >> and again at the ymca election night headquarters here in las vegas. this is unusual in so many ways and we don't have a specific closing time tonight so we're doing our dead level best to find out entrance poll information and obviously pass along the first hard numbers we get to give you results from the nevada caucuses. our coverage will continue after a short break.
♪ from the strip in las vegas, we are back with our live coverage of the nevada caucuses. the city that really never sleeps. we've just entered the 11:00 hour on the east coast. the 8:00 hour here in las vegas. they're really just getting started. >> that's correct. >> and as they are with the tabulation of the