tv Erasing Hate MSNBC February 20, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
seconds until the top of the hour, 20 seconds until the signal goes out closing the polls in south carolina where folks have been told if you're in line by 7:00 eastern, you will get to vote. vote, rather. let's talk about what we do know. that is our call earlier tonight. the nevada race for hillary clinton. we have heard her victory speech and sanders' concession. it is now 7:00 p.m. in south carolina. we can report the following language from the nbc news election unit. this race is too close to call. the top three, trump, cruz, and rubio. the other candidates are well behind. so, too close to call at poll closing. 7:00 eastern time. it is a three-way race between donald trump, ted cruz, and marco rubio. the remaining field well behind. to chris matthews we go in las
vegas, nevada. chris, we got an interesting night still to play out here. >> you sure do. i was thinking of that old dina washington song, "what a difference a day made." and what a difference today did make here already in nevada and will make more as we get to midnight out there on the east coast. it seems to me that if you're michael bloomberg right now who's been talked about a lot as a possible third-party candidate, i think he's lost a big part of his rationale today. if hillary clinton can win it tonight, it looks like she's won, according to us she has won, if she can win next week, a week from now on that saturday and expected to win big then, she's going into super tuesday with the wind at her back, almost all those events on super tuesday, 9 of the 11 are going to be actual primaries, not caucuses. that means regular people show up, it's much less tifdifficult vote. she should do well. she's moving in the right direction. not won it yet.
still been contested by bernie. looks like she would well win the nomination. that removes a strong rationale for bloomberg to run. another thing i noticed tonight is that if this thing gets close and actually rubio looks like he's really in contention, that removes another obstacle, rationale for bloomberg to enter this race and scares the democrats. if you talk to democrats who really follow this political business, they're afraid of rubio. he's young, he's attractive, he's an incredibly good speaker. he's the right aged person to run for president. he's not old. he's not nuts in any way. he's not -- doesn't come across as an ideologue. he's good g for the country, if you're going to vote republican, you're probably a hawk. hillary versus rubio, that's a tough one, that's a real close race as i see it and no rationale for bernie sanders -- or for bloomberg. now, hillary's speech tonight i thought was very interesting. she's much more aiming toward unity. her message was unity. we can get this done if we all
work together, include everybody. very much challenging the polarization and language of bernie which is a class struggle, us against the billionaires. she challenges that. she's not offering that as her whole way of talking about this thing. then bernie came on and basically gave his speech. no change. the line about criminal justice, the line about inequality. the 1%. everything about the system being rigged. bernie, bernie, bernie. so i was surprised he didn't offer really anything new tonight except he's on to super tuesday. he made a point of not saying on to south carolina. so i think both candidates are behaving rationally. hillary thinking now to super tuesday, the general. bernie still wondering where he goes next with his speech. it's the same speech. i think that michael bloomberg is having some real thoughts tonight about whether there's a role for him, guys. >> interesting your comments about bloomberg. a lot of people still want to hear the electability case for him. and to your point about the democrats and rubio, i think
they were more fearful until the debate moment which showed them markers of his -- >> i know. >> -- communications vulnerability. chris, we'll keep coming out to you tonight. >> thank you. >> you have the first results of the evening. rachel and i welcome gene robinson and nicolle wallace. nicole, as we round the turn into having real results, i don't know why we're all staring -- as we round the turn into having results out of south carolina, fourth place is not fatal, but fifth may be. >> yeah, fifth is a -- fourth isn't so good. i think after tonight we'll be talking about a three-person race and each lane will be represented. i think we will at the end of the night have an outsider horse. i think we'll have a very conservative horse and establishment horse. what we're already reporting probably gives you a good sense of who that is. the rubio campaign is feeling great about the early signs, feel that they're outperforming everything.
they think by the end of the night they'll have a great story to tell about electability, what you alluded to. i want to talk about that debate moment because campaigns are never judged by their stumbles, but they stumbles, they're judged by how they sort of recoup afterward. george w. bush lost new hampshire by 19 points. he went on to win because he didn't fire anybody. he didn't overreact. he didn't freak out. he just got better. marco rubio had an abysmal debate performance. >> catastrophic. >> the saturday before. >> unbelievable. >> and to the degree that it revealed that his knowledge was thin, it would have been fatal. but i think it revealed his tactics were wrong, being robotic in an election cycle dominated by the most unscripted political figure in american history, being robotic is not the way to go. he's made the appropriate adjustments. if he finishes strong tonight, that tells a good story about the campaign's viability and ability to react to their setbacks. >> jane, if you look at the history of south carolina in terms of the republican race, the winner of the south carolina republican primary has gone on
to win the republican nomination every single time -- >> except the last time. >> except for newt gingrich, right? the other piece of history here, we have a three-way tie, too close to call according to nbc between trump, cruz, and rubio. the other piece of history that drags itself into this, there's never been a case where a republican won the nomination without placing first or second in south carolina. it's never happened. nobody's won without winning new hampshire, iowa, or -- >> the way we have characterized the race is we've got a three-way race at the top. >> yeah. >> and everyone else quite far behind. so, you know, defending -- i mean, that sounds like a pretty big gap. so fourth, fifth, sixth, could all be roughly, you know, in the same place which is out in the -- >> presumably that has no effect on john kasich's campaign. he set expectations that he wanted to do better than squat. i register squat as approximately, i don't know, 11 votes maybe. >> you're on your own on this one.
>> does nothing to john kasich, spends $0 in south carolina, ben carson, who knows where he's at right now. the question is whether or not jeb bush drops out and if he does, who does that help? >> well, it helps marco rubio. >> it does? >> it does. >> despite the bush machine having thrown grenade after grenade after grenade into rubio's camp this entire campaign? >> to the extent jeb bush's support is establishment support, rubio is the candidate of the establishment lane coming out of south carolina. looks like that's the way it's going to be. and ted cruz is the candidate of the very conservative lane. it will be interesting to see what evangelicals do if ben ben carson does not do well in south carolina, where do his supporters go? >> how does trump with that group? >> a lot of evangelicals go to donald trump. donald trump is his own lane. we're calling it the outsider lane, but it's really the trump lane, right? >> like a trump superhighway.
>> it's a new thing. >> it's gold and beautiful and huge. >> it's huge. >> but it's real. so this sets up the kind of contest that we haven't ever seen really. >> no. >> and it could go on for a while. >> let's put some meat on those bones, though. in terms of talking about who's winning what, how this race is shaping up, steve kornacki has the second wave, new wave of exit poll data out of south carolina, who's doing well with who? >> that's an interesting discussion. this has been a surprise all along. this is the percentage of the electorate in all the early states and how many identified themselves as white evangelical or born again christian. it was big in iowa, small in new hampshire. biggest we've seen. 70% in south carolina. how are the voters casting their ballots? donald trump. donald trump right now -- >> winning evangelicals. >> this is the group ted cruz more than any other group based his campaign on. this wases his strategy in iowa. the idea was to win there, come
to south carolina and win with these voters in south carolina. right now, again, these numbers could change. this is the second wave of exit poll data. donald trump leading with white evangelicals. we can look at it this way. there's a college/non-college divide. roughly splits the electorate in half. those with college degrees, marco rubio is winning among them. trump and cruz right behind them. those without college degrees, trump is winning big, rubio falls back farther. there is also this ideology, the breakdown, how people are describing themselves tonight. again, 82% saying they're very or -- there we go. 82% saying very or somewhat conservative. look at this. see among very conservative, ted cruz is soing whkoing doing wha do, 40% of the vote. ted cruz -- it's supposed to happen. it's not moving. this is what happens on election night. the ted cruz number drops and drops. you get down to moderates, he's in single digits. ted cruz's support is concentrated there. donald trump meanwhile, he's in the high 20s, low 30s every group. >> on those cruz numbers just to
reiterate there, you're saying cruz is basically locking up very, very conservative, right? very -- everybody voting in the south carolina republican party to some degree is a conservative, people identifying themselves as very conservative, he's getting them but not getting anybody else anywhere else on the republican ideological spectrum. >> that's right. donald trump meanwhile is doing very well with moderates, beating marco rubio there, somewhat conservative and well enough with very conservative being the game. >> again, the trump split is not an ideological split. with cruz, he's getting a targeted ideological audience. trump he's appealing to a wide range of republicans. >> that's how you put together a win. >> steve kornacki at the board, once again sponsored by the steve kornacki casual collection. >> steve, did you get in trouble for the jeans now that we got khakis? >> i got my fancy khakis on. i'll have you know, this is a new sweater. >> i think you look very nice. you look like a young republican.
>> there you go. >> don't be creepy. he's not that young. geez, nicolle. >> this is going it be a long night. >> thankfully katy tur is hanging out at trump headquarters in spartanburg, south carolina. katy, what are you hearing from headquarters? >> reporter: donald trump has been hunkered down all day today. no public appearances. they're trying to eke out a win here, brian, which is so surprising considering that just a couple weeks ago he was up by double digits here. part of the reason we've seen a decline in his numbers this past week is attributed to his performance saturday where he accuses george w. bush of lying about weapons of mass destruction. george w. bush is still a very popular figure here. that did not go over well. sources within the campaign told me they warned him to back off of that. even phone bank volunteers who were working the phones hearing pushback from voters told donald trump to ease up on that line of attack. we did hear him ease up on it throughout the week, but was it enough? donald trump, though, has drawn massive crowds in this state.
thousands strong. most of the time. it's where he introduced his muslim ban. it's where he talks about waterboarding a lot how it's not tough enough. he spoke last night about an internet hoax, in the philippines, dipping bullets in blood in order to kill terrorists. he was trying to make the point america just isn't tough any longer and he's trying to tell voters he's the one that's going to be able to make this country tough again. we will see if they agree with him or if they want him in elected office here in south carolina at the very least, and it's a big deal if he wins here. if he wins here, he has motthe m to go on to the s.e.c. states and kneecap ted cruz. we've seen him draw massive crowds down there. got 20,000 in mobile, alabama. one other point as to what steve kornacki was mentioning about where he's doing well, we saw him doing with moderates in iowa, certainly doing very well with moderates in new hampshire. so in surprise that he's cutting across large swaths of this
party. and drawing their support there. is it going to be enough to overcome ted cruz's staunch evangelical vote? we're going to see in just a few hours. >> all right. katy tur with a buoyant trump crowd there in spartanburg. let's check in with the cruz campaign, haley jackson is in columbia. >> reporter: hey there, brian. tonight the cruz campaign has been down playing expectations of an upset victory, but cruz should absolutely finish strong here. you're seeing it in some of the numbers that are coming out already. at this point, it looks as those cruz will finish in the top tier and there's a sense in the campaign that that is enough given they've already notched a win in an early state over in iowa. cruz has to prove tonight that he can contend in the south, brian. that is key to his strategy moving forward into those s.e.c. primary states, like tennessee, texas, oklahoma, where he's been organizing and putting boots on the ground for months now. they have thousands of volunteers out there. talk about turnout in south carolina, too, the chairman of the state republican party is
telling me tonight that many precincts broke turnout records from 2012 by 2:00 this afternoon the prediction is some 650,000 voters will have cast ballots in the republican primary by the time this is all said and done. so how does this affect the cruz campaign? an aide told me a couple minutes ago that they're looking to what happened in the past. in iowa. where there were also turnout records broken and where cruz, of course, came out in that top spot. brian? >> all right, haley jackson at the cruz campaign headquarters in columbia. thanks. to repeat for viewers just joining us, our characterization at the 7:00 hour with the closing of polls in south carolina, it is too close to call. it is also a three-way race at the top. trump, cruz, rubio. the other candidates as we are saying are well behind the top three and to round out the top three, gabe gutierrez covering the rubio campaign effort also in columbia. >> reporter: hey there, brian.
the rubio campaign says they're very excited. they've been trying to bounce back from the devastating fifth-place finish in new hampshire, now they're hoping for a strong finish here. one campaign aide telling me that the finish in the top tier here would be a huge comeback. now the rubio campaign secured several major endorsements in this state including senator tim scott and perhaps most importantly governor nikki haley. together, they campaigned throughout the state over the last few days as the new faces of conservatism. now, the rubio campaign hopes as more republican candidates drop out that the gop will coalesce around one candidate, they hope it's marco rubio, to take on donald trump. now, the big question right now is where rubio will finish in relation to ted cruz and donald trump. after that devastating finish in new hampshire, the rubio campaign hopes that south carolina will be a turning point. >> gabe gutierrez covering the rubio campaign. that's where we stand at this hour at 15 after 7:00 in the
polls in south carolina have been closed for about 19 minutes, and we still remain at too close to call, three-way race, trump, cruz, rubio. other candidates well behind. exit polling sometimes extremely useful. sometimes not. a case of the former tonight in one of the subgroupings. >> that's exactly right. the race takes an interesting turn for each of the parties. at this point in the primary process. when the democrats head to nevada to get their first really racially diverse electorate. when the republicans head to south carolina, they get their state with a huge veterans population. something like 35%. i think actually that is the number. 35% of the republican electorate turning out today in south carolina are people who have served in the u.s. military.
the exit poll data in terms of the way veterans broke down in south carolina is kind of mind bending. look at these numbers. among south carolina republicans who served in the military again, more than a third of today's electorate, they're going 35% for donald trump in our exit poll data, 25% for marco rubio, 23% for ted cruz, and jeb bush way back there at 7%. nicolle wallace, that is a shocking number to you. >> you guys saw me jump out of my chair when i read this number. we saw this. this is in part because the veteran population of south carolina is age diverse. you know, they're veterans of all of our wars. >> yeah. >> i watched the debate last saturday night on a jetblue flight literally screaming and hoopering and hollering and said, trump, you can't echo rosie o'donnell and michael moore on 9/11 and win a republican primary -- >> when he said the world trade center came down when your brother was president. >> he said specifically is bush lied about wmd.
he had before said that the iraq war was in a mistake. that wasn't the whopper for me, but saying that bush lied about 9/11 and was to blame for 9/11 i thought would damage him with that group. i thought that would give jeb bush an opening, thought it would give marco rubio who's really touted his military record, stronger voting record. the fact he dominated that group -- >> my theory on that is that a decade -- more than a decade of war has taken a real toll on military families. >> clearly. >> it really has. a lot of south carolinians feel that and so it's possible to have admiration for george w. bush, to even have thought it was a good idea to invade afghanistan, a good idea to invade iraq. but still to have had it, basically, and to respond to donald trump playing on that issue. >> and it was interesting to see
the jeb bush campaign after the same debate you watched on that flight, the jeb bush campaign was so boy yauoyantbuoyant, tho done well on their own terms and thought they vanquished donald trump, thought trump stepped in that, thought he'd never escape that in south carolina, they thought jeb bush nailed him coming out of that and had a special response, especially in a week he was campaigning with his brother and everything, it's true in jeb world but not in the rest of the world. >> 12 recipients of the medal of honor. countless generals, admirals. >> who would have thought a candidate in the republican race could have a week where he goes mano a mano with the pope, basically goes rosie o. on 9/11. >> rosie o. on 9/11. he wasn't saying 9/11 is an inside job. >> let me defend rosie o. >> your old colleague. >> when we think of someone blaming 9/11 on bush, we do not
think of a republican party standard bearer. >> right. >> we think of the far left fringe of the democratic party. >> the specific claim on wmds i think is not -- right now is not a far left democratic -- >> that's super fringey. i'm saying the blaming of 9/11. the words in the debate -- >> which he did. trump did. >> he didn't walk them back but he didn't repeat them. it's been fascinating. >> it will be interesting to see. i think gene is right to point out there may be a generational change among veterans as well. iraq and afghanistan veterans may have a different view on this than an older generation of veterans. i would love for groups to poll the veterans community specifically enough so we can talk about -- >> all year. >> that would be great. >> it's going to be really interesting. >> south carolina, you could always say south carolina was going to pick the establishment pick, pick the nominee and south carolina veterans would pick a pro-military mainstream republican hawk candidate, none of those seem to be true tonight. we'll see. >> also keep in mind south carolina is changing. there are candidates in south carolina where, you know, over a
ten-year period, population increased 30%, 40%. a lot of northern transplants coming down, coming from, you know, diverse places in the country. but you can't count on the republican electorate in my native state being what it used to be. >> fun fact, i also watched the debate on a jetblue flight but ours was six hours delayed. >> oh, god. thank god -- why can't everybody put satellite tv on their plane? >> i know it, it makes the flight go like that once you get in the air. chuck todd standing by to talk to us. chuck, piggyback on this conversation about south carolina. changes in the state. this next exit poll information about the military vote. >> no, there is, but one thing you have to remember about why this south carolina primary has been so predictive for republican nominees going forward is the overall electorate, republican electorate in south carolina, it is the one that most closely
matches the national republican electorate. sort of the split between people who identify themselves as very conservative voters, versus somewhat conservative versus moderate, and so the one thing that is different in south carolina than the rest is that high veteran population than in other republican electorates, but beyond that, what makes it such a perfect snapshot in time, usually, as a presidential primary predictor, is because of its ideological makeup closely mirrors the national republican makeup here and this, to me, is where you're seeing how this race is going to play out now over the next kcouple of minute. ted cruz is the candidate of very conservative voters. that hasn't changed. didn't change in iowa. it seems to be the case here in south carolina. donald trump is now the candidate of both moderate voters and somewhat conservative voters. now, what does that mean? marco rubio is second in both categories, but that means if this is the three-way race we're about to see happen, if this is what the news of tonight is,
less about who's one, two, and three, and more about it's just down to three, then we have some weird fights that are are going to -- trump and rubio are going to be fighting for the same territory. those two are going to be the setup, and cruz is the guy that probably has the most solid base of everybody because he's got this devoted very conservative evangelical following. but he's got to figure out how to build. the other two, rubio and trump, are going to be fighting for the more moderate or mainstream voters and we're going to have a wild race. that's what i meant when i was talking to you earlier about this is going to be a wild night. i think a wild night that's going to set up a wild four months. >> i think you're probably right about that. to our viewers, by the way, while chuck was talking the numbers on the side of the screen and side of the screen, just keep in mind 1% has come in. so, yes, there is a finishing order, running order. we, there are percentages assigned to this. all of 1% is in. chuck, don't go far. i want to bring in an actual
south carolinia south carolinian, old friend of ours. john huey. not to say he's old. we've known him a good long time. he's a former east coast time, was with "time" inc, saw the light, went back done to south carolina. john, one thing we don't talk about is what it's like to live in one of these primary states. how would you sum up the south carolina of 2016 and this race you have just lived through? >> well, hi, brian, hi, gene. an authentic south carolinian. it's great. i'm not on a jetblue flight. it's great to be away from home right now to get away from the robo calls which have been vicious and constant for the last three days. nothing extraordinary. >> hey, john, let me cut you off. as soon as i asked you, i have to cut you off. we have a projection. donald j. trump is the projected winner of the south carolina
primary. again, a comparatively low percentage of the raw vote in. but nbc news is projecting when all of the votes are counted, donald trump will win the south carolina primary. the rest of the race we've been saying too close to call, though we've been characterizing it as a three-way race with rubio and cruz. cruz/rubio all evening. there you have it. the check mark next to trump. we have a new ball game. >> this is -- there's two interesting things here, right, so now we are looking at a tight race for second place. >> that's right. >> we don't exactly know what second place will mean in south carolina but that's what they're fighting for. obviously at the bottom tier, jeb bush, john kasich, ben carson fighting for survival. most particularly jeb bush. but there's one concrete consequence of this call for donald trump tonight and that's in delegates. the way the south carolina delegates work, there's 50 overall, you get 29 of those 50
just for winning. after that, the rest of them get allocated according to who wins the various seven congressional districts in the state. donald trump won a big chunk of delegates following the big chunk he won in new hampshire as well. in terms of the actual race toward the nomination, this gives donald trump a big leap forward. >> with apologies to our real life south carolinian who was just talking, john, let's go back to you. because you were so patient, you get to be our first reaction as part time east coast -- >> i'm shocked. >> -- media type. what do you think? >> i'm shock eshocked. no, i'm not. i don't think anyone is surprised donald trump won the south carolina primary. couple of things, you have to remember the republican primary in south carolina is a pretty white event. i mean, if you ride around and look at polling places, you don't see a lot of people of color. if you look at these results now, if they were to hold and rubio were to really be number two, here's rubio who is a
latino immigrant, son of latino immigrant. you have him endorsed by nikki haley of asian descent and our governor and tim scott the only african-american republican senator in the united states who is appointed by nikki haley. so he got a little rainbow thing going there in an all white -- not all white, but a largely white primary. now next week, of course, we have the democratic primary and you can feel sort of the air coming out of the balloon and the media looking for ways to -- we only get to do this once every four years with our nine little electorate votes, yuan, peop you know, people don't come here unless there's tragedy or hurricane or disaster. every four years we're a big deal and there's this always -- this wisdom, these laws about south carolina primary. like the winner always is the republican nominee. last time out, it was newt
gingrich. how'd that work out? so i don't know, i sort of feel like the circus is in town. the trump -- trump has won which is not a surprise. but i do think if rubio holds on to the number two, there's a little bit of a story there. also, i don't -- in a state as conservative as south carolina, i'm slightly surprised that cruz isn't running stronger than he -- i'm not real impressed with what he looks like now. of course, i know these are very early. so that's my initial reaction, but, again, south carolina is the last of the boutique primaries. it's the last of where they're on the streets tracking you down for your -- now you guys go into the big time and we see how those guys hold up. >> john huey, recovering east coast media time zksouth caroli. thanks for being with us. sorry to interrupt there briefly.
>> good to see you, thank you. >> all right, nicolle, you were nodding about the point he just made about ted cruz. >> ted cruz is running the best operational campaign. he's running a traditional strategic targeted organization. he had that decisive -- >> matrix. >> yeah, decisive, you know, former rnc chairman who really evolved the democratic party -- or the republican party the same way that obama's team, david plouffe and david axelrod evolved their party for those wins. and cruz has built on that. he's used technology to his advantage, had an aggressive pained and earned media and lines up with his message. if he falls behind trump and rubio, questions about whether he is the candidate who only appeals to the extremely conservative vote. >> one point about that, the way you build a winning campaign on social kconservative and evang l
evangelical support, you win all conservative and evangelical support. you're never going to put together a working majority with just that community but must have that community and start building on it from beyond that. right now when you look at the demographics of south carolina in terms of the evangelical vote, it's iowa, not new hampshire. ted cruz did it in iowa. he was able to win there. he -- if that was going to be his way to win, he had to have won the entire evangelical vote and should have been enough for him to win this state. >> but i think the states are really digit andfferent. in south carolina, it's less than a community -- >> evangelical means different things in different states, that's a good point. >> we talked a lot over the months about whether donald trump has a ceiling. i think one question that could come up tonight is whether ted cruz has a ceiling. and it's just a very, very conservative part of the republican party. and can he break out of that? >> that's something that good organizing can't get him past. >> right. he's also had a terrible run of media. i mean, the attacks from his opponents between iowa and south
carolina are about his character. they're about playing dirty tricks against ben carson on the night of the iowa caucuses. they're about his morality, about being a liar. i mean, trump could not have let -- and the other guys -- we talked about how he's not well liked by other republicans. it has hurt him. it has cost him. >> well, there's -- so south carolina famously is the land of dirty tricks, right, this badge of honor, the land of lee atwater, the -- >> the john mccain robo calls. >> here's the thing about dirty tricks in south carolina in this primary. there weren't as many as there have been in previous years. almost all of them that became known and discussed by the national media were attributed to ted cruz. whether or not he actually did them, it was the robo calls that the rubio campaign was complaining about. it was the photo shop of marco rubio as if he were -- as if he were shaking hands with president obama. i mean, everything that was described as a dirty trick thus
far in the campaign was basically put on cruz. now, does that hurt cruz? i don't know. but it certainly turn s all th other candidates against him. if there's a coalition effort to knock off trucmp, nobody wants o coalesce around ted cruz especially if they think he's the killer in the room. >> it was a record clean year because a record high number of people are watching. everyone's been deputized to look for it. it's not as fun as it used to be in the atwater era. my job here is to get us to a quick break. 7:35 p.m. east coast. we already have a projected winner in south carolina. it's the rest of the race that becomes so interesting as the hours roll on. stay with us.
this is only 3% in now. to see how the rest of the field shapes up. in terms of how this dronald trump victory came together, steve kornacki has a look. >> we're looking at the map here, counties shaded in right now, trump is green. these are counties where he's leading. we don't have full results from anywhere. we'll see how this changes as the night goes on. something you can look at right now, basically divide south carolina into three regions roughly. that arrow went too high. the coastal region, moderate, most liberal part of the state to the extent mitt romney did well in 2012, it was here. then you look sort of the mid-state, the state capital, the suburbs around it, this f the area marco rubio was looking to do well tonight. if marco rubio is going to get second place, you're going to see especially in this county here, trump is leading, but this is suburban -- this is sort of lexington county, sort of a bedroom community. this is where rubio is looking. the key in south carolina is always up here, the upstate. when we talk about the huge number of evangelical christians, white evangelical christians, you are really especially talking about this
part of the state, especially rus rural up here. greenville county. this is the area ted cruz has been counting on to car rry himo victory in the state. again, what you're seeing the story emerging right now, green up here, green here and green down there. you're not seeing the other candidates coloring in counties in all three regions. you're only seeing donald trump do that. so in terms of that battle for second, you look for rubio, he's got to score, cruz has to score up here. >> again, looking at ted cruz unable to consolidate and lock up the voters he needs the most as he's getting cut in there by both rubio and trump in areas where he expected to do strongest. >> is chuck todd standing by for us? okay. katy tur at trump headquarters. katy tur? >> reporter: you don't need chuck, you got me. >> there you go. what do you have to tell us, though? >> reporter: don't tell chuck i said that.
the huge, huge cheers just erupted here at trump headquarters as they heard the race was called for him. obviously a very excited crowd. exit polling showing that terror is the number one issue for voters. also that a majority of voters here in south carolina support dronald trump's muslim ban. terror has been something he's been hitting really hard on the trail throughout the states but especially here in south carolina where he knows he's talking to a lot of veterans and a lot of those who serve in the military currently. so the muslim ban was -- this is actually where he introduced the muslim ban to resounding cheers. it's where he talks about waterboarding all the time, not tough enough. talked about the story dipping the bullets in blood as i mentioned a little bit earlier. donald trump has been banking on proving himself to be the toughest on terror, hardest line when it comes to keeping this country safe, building a border wall, keeping the others out. the ones that could do us damage. the ones that could come out and hurt us. that is what he's staked his
campaign on and south carolina voters clearly are liking it because they've come out and decided that he is the winner of this race here in south carolina. it's certainly not as big of a win as the candidate or the campaign may have expected just a week ago. he was up by double digits here. still a very early call. there was some indication that his attacks on george w. bush hurt him here. george w. bush is still a very popular person in this state. jeb bush brought him out a number of times. even brought out his mother trying to curry favor with voters in order to bring him up. that didn't seem to work. it did seem to take donald trump down a notch, though. they didn't necessarily like he was going after george w. bush. claiming that he lied about wmds to go into iraq. he eased up on that in the last week. he also stopped swearing. heard indications the swearing was hurting him in the state. nonetheless, regardless, he goes on with a big win in south carolina. guys, remember, this is a candidate that everybody took to be a joke in the early stages.
this is a candidate that people thought would be in and out of this race within six weeks. then just a couple months. even in december, as late as early december, people were saying that voters were going to get their heads on straight and they were not going to vote for donald trump. well, he has just won south carolina. he's won south carolina, he has won new hampshire, and he is going into the south with a lot of momentum behind him. and a lot of -- a lot of fight left in him. especially when it comes to ted cruz who is supposed to do well among the evangelicals in this state. without doing well here, donald trump could potentially have a much easier path to the nomination. guys? >> katy tur, we can't say that enough. you're absolutely right. no one, no one predicted the path of this campaign or donald trump's candidacy. katy tur at trump headquarters. we'll obviously cut there when donald trump appears. we want to get reaction tonight from a former republican member of congress, oh, look at that, it's joe scarborough.
hey, joe, what do you make of the results so far tonight for donald trump and the interesting part which is the rest of the gop race? >> reporter: well, i tell you, this is unbelievably significant for everybody. jeb bush is going to have to get in double digits. a lot of people right now think he may be in single digits. he could have to get out of the race. the talk all day today was marco rubio was going to finish strong, that chamber, rubio's camp were expecting a strong second-place finish, so we look at that. i will tell you the trump camp was increasingly pessimistic as they saw exit polls today showing that three out of four voters were evangelical voters. more evangelical voters in the south carolina republican primary than even in iowa. and also, of course, very conservative voters accounted for nearly one out of two primary voters in south
carolina. gene robinson is right. this is a different south carolina, but it's -- actually the gop primary this year, even more conservative than it was four years ago when newt gingrich won. that a new york billionaire, thrice married, could do this well, given all of that is pretty shocking, and i agreed with nicole's assessment of last weekend's debate. i thought as a traditional republican, it was a disaster. i was just as sure as a lot of people that donald trump would stagger out of that debate and possibly finish in second place. when we saw some of the early exit polls today, it was looking that way. the fact that he's wrapping this up in south carolina, certainly has to concern everybody. and the big fight now for second place is especially significant for marco rubio who had every
important endorsement that he needed including a really big endorsement from nikki haley, but, again, donald trump winning this year, four years ago newt gingrich winning. this is not your father's republican party in south carolina. this is a party at war with itself. and in this case, it seems like the outsiders have taken over at least for now. >> joe scarborough in charleston. joe, thank you for that. and nicolle, let's go debate rules. if your name was mentioned in the previous answer, you get 60 seconds to respond. >> i give my time to ben carson. >> i watched all the punditry after that debate. people described that debate in materials of a demolition derby, in terms of championship wrestling. people thought they had just witnessed a disaster and certainly the self-emulation now deemed impossible of donald trump. >> everything i learned from politics i learned talking to my smart parents who are very rational voters in normal times.
they vote republican but they're moderate republicans, california republicans. they picked me up saturday night after my jetblue flight in reno andtotally -- >> they like trump. >> my mother changed her rej stati registration from independent to republican to caucus for him last week. they were so demoralized. by the time he was talking with the pope, they were, who does the pope think he is to question trump's religious, you know, his faith belief system? i'm like, he's the pope. but the trump supporters see trump as political chemo. he may be toxic, he may kill every healthy cell in the bloodstream, but he is the only cure for the cancer that is washington establishment. >> so the bigger the fight is that he gets in, the more it makes him stronger? whether he wins the fight or not, whether the night is appropriate or not -- >> they have accepted -- >> he likes that he's in big fights. >> they have accepted the toxic nature of his speech. they have accepted sort of the
warts and bumps, mentioned everything joe scarborough mentioned about his marriages and -- he arguably held the most positions on abortion -- >> immigration. >> you name it. health care. he came out this week saying he didn't mind the mandate, but they stick by him because they think he is the cure for -- >> that's the whole party, though. since joe mentioned my name, too. >> yeah, you don't have to yield your time to us. >> here's the most obvious prediction. we're going to hear three victory speeches tonight on the republican side. right? obviously donald trump, ted cruz for finishing what he will characterize as a strong second or third, and marco rubio -- >> donald trump field. >> marco rubio the same. >> they both will, that's right. >> we should listen to those speeches as sort of templates for what's to come. how they're going to try to expand beyond their narrow aims. we so have three lanes now and
this is the knowledge proed winner tonight in south carolina. there's the first three. it is the race for third. and now let's show the entire field. cruz, rubio, jeb bush, john kasich, ben carson. let's see all of their names on the same page, for example. come on. we can do it. there we go. >> thank you, control room. there's the gop field. and remember, 8% of the vote in.
all we have done thus far is call this for donald trump at the top. the remaining part of the race that is so interesting and we'll hold that the rest of the night. to chris matthews we go. we have not asked you to react to the story in chief here. donald trump has won the south carolina primary. >> you know, despite making every mistake by every book we all keep. we all keep our books on what you can say and he broke all the rules. i looked at the numbers. there was a large male component. 57-83. the men went for him much more than the other candidates in that field. so men seem like the john wayne, i'm the boss, who is the top of the hill. still a macho thing he's into. i think there's a buried treasure in trump that you may not like. i'm not sure he fully
understands. there's a line he uses. even. either we have a country or we don't. it is nationalism. it is not a word we've used, nationalism. it has to do with losing our best jobs to china, our lower jobs to illegal immigrants, fighting wars we should not be fighting. it was the last one that was tested very much if he wins here in south carolina. very much tested. he came out against the iraq war. not only did he say it was a mistake. which most people think it was in both parties. but that it was based on a lie. that's really tough. i think there's an argument that it was. we've interviewed people on our program and other folks and certainly, rachel and the others have said, the evidence coming from the intelligence committee said there was no evidence of a nuclear weapon. so you can call that a lie if you want to get really tough. but i was really -- then he went even further and said, the fact is that we had 9/11 itself on bush's watch. on a republican president's watch. well, that's going really far. will they be able to accept
that? if he wins tonight, i think the message is they're willing to take a pretty good punch at what they did. they did not keep us safe. they're not willing to brag that anymore. i thought that was very chancy for him. so if you put together immigration which he started with. in a rough way, building the wall and all that. then you go to free trade and his opposition to that saying we're losing our best jobs to china. then you throw his opposition to the wars that has really broken the spirits of the working white class in a way. minorities, too, of course, who go in for these prolonged redeployments. the veterans go back over four time to fight these wars. people who are class saying what is this republican party done for us? have they forgotten that we're a country? when he says things like, either we have a country or we don't. i think it hits so hard that it makes up for his rough edges, guys. >> rachel maddow, your name was
invoked. >> in a very nice way. >> that was nice of chris. i will agree. the veteran community is different than previous generations of the veterans community. and i want there to be big nationwide polling of veterans in this country so we can start talking about that in a more informed way. that's one thing. the other thing that will be really interesting to see unfold with donald trump ahead of this. if authenticity is what we're talking about in this race, if that's the appeal of bernie sanders on the democratic side and the appeal of donald trump on the republican side, why is it that his previous liberal positions on so many issues don't undercut his perceived authenticity? everything has now been thrown at donald trump. you can no longer say that the field has been holding their fire on donald trump. they have been and they've been hitting him for having been previously liberal. it doesn't stick. >> it is a rhetorical question
at the top of the hour, here's what we know on this saturday night election night. that is donald trump, the projected winner of the south carolina republican primary. as we've been saying, it has almost become a cliche. completely impossible to predict just months ago. there is the rest of the field. earlier today in a very different operation, a party-run caucus in the state of nevada. hillary clinton got the victory she desperately wanted and