tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC June 28, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT
here with us. good night from msnbc headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in"-- >> i just want to thank justice kennedy for the years of tremendous service. >> a supreme court earthquake. >> justice anthony kennedy announcing his retirement. >> the supreme court's swing justice announces his retirement. tonight as democrats vow to fight. >> our republican colleagues in the senate should follow the rule they set in 2016. >> can they use mitch mcconnell's tactics against him. >> give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. >> plus, it the massive implications kennedy's retirement will have for reproductive rights and beyond. and last night she shocked the world. tonight, alexandria or casio
cortes joins me live. >> can you put it into words? >> no. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. if robert mueller eventually reveals that donald trump was actively conspiring with russia to sabotage it the 2016 election, if we find out from the president's tax returns that he's been laundering money through his real estate projects if when all is said and done the rank criminality currently surrounding this president turns out to be even worse than we know, it will all have been worth it to the republican party and the conservative movement because of this day. supreme court justice anthony kennedy, the frequent swing vote on the bench on certain crucial matters has announced his retirement and the man who will choose his replacement tipping the political balance and shaping the court for decades to come is donald trump. a president currently under
investigation for collusion was a foreign add ser vary and obstruction justice. his lasting legacy will be this supreme court. this will be his second appointment after senate republicans hijacked the previous vacancy by refusing to hold hearings for the nominee of president barack obama. mitch mcconnell infamously argued although did he really believe the argument, of course not, that the supreme court could not be filled in an election year. it was a preprosperous and invented argument. today 131 days till the midterm election mcconnell predictably will plow ahead. >> the senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on president trump's nominee to fill this vacancy. we will vote to confirm justice kennedy's successor. this fall. it's imperative that the president's nominee be
considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks. >> my goodness, yes. no personal attacks considered fairly, abso fricking luteally. the question now is how democrats will respond. how much will they fight against the president's nominee being confirmed to the court before vote are have their say an the polls, how much will they fight the into know of a president the subject of a criminal probe. when aspects may be decided by the supreme court. will they fight to uphold the mitch mcconnell precedent. >> our republican colleagues in the senate should follow the rule they set in 2016. not to the consider a supreme court justice in an election year. >> we should postpone any hearings for the next nominee until the new congress because that is exactly the position that is mitch mcconnell took when he held up the process for merrick garland. >> i believe in the golden rule.
i think everyone should be calling mitch mcconnell and telling him to do unto others as he has done to himself and we need to make this decision after this election. >> we should expect he be consistent if he wanted the voters to weigh in on the supreme court, in 2016, he should allows the voters to weigh in on the court in 2018. >> i'm joined by a member of the senate judiciary committee set to hold hearings on the new nominee. amy klobuchar of minnesota. you do understand, i understand this argument and obviously if there's a rank hypocrisy. mitch mcconnell and all those folks don't care at all about that. >> first of all, this is a historic moment like we've ever seen. i know understand that. instead of just thinking about what they care about, i want to think about the american people first of all. you look at the decisions 5-4, 5-4, 5-4 decisions about refugees, decisions about who can marry, decisions about
safety at work. these cases affect real people and their lives. that's a case we're going to have to make because you've seen people organize like never before. they have to understand the implications of this appointment and how much it means. and that's where we are right now on this. we've got to make the case to some of our republican colleagues if in fact the president puts someone forth who is an ideologue instead of someone who is a independent thinker. we want someone that respects precedent. you look at you know, justice kennedy at times could be very consecutivetive, at other times he showed this incredible spark of independence like when he wrote the decision for marriage equality or the vote he took an if i wering roe v. wade. >> but i guess the question is, like, it looks to all of us watching this like there is all of this is pure political power, right? no one's making argues or
persuading here. they use pure political power to block merrick garland despite the fact there was no actual precedent for that and will use all the political power they can martial to try to overturn rowe. what power do the democrats have to stop it. >> the power of the people. there is an election coming up. i believe strongly we've got to hold them to the mcconnell rule and that is the rule that you don't have a vote on a supreme court justice during an election year. that is number one. the second power that we have is that some of our republican colleagues very few, susan collins, lisa murkowski, john mccain's vote on that health care bill, when they see a nominee, there have been times where they have either quietly said we don't want this person or they voted against them. it is our job and you've seen a number of nominees in the judiciary committee that he have
fallen apart that have been taken off the agenda. so i guess i could just say this is impossible but i'm not going to do that, chris. it is too important. i just think when you look at the political power of the people out there in the country right now, what they care about, this idea that with a situation where you've got one party that blocked another nominee and said you can't do it in an election year and they could potentially put someone through that will change the rights of women across america that could change the rights of you and your health care to allow to you get insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, ta case is coming up from texas. those are all things that are going to be for the court and it's our job to make that case to the american people. >> you just mentioned reproductive rights. we dope know who the nominee is. we know the vetting process happening and the tradition that person will flow out of. do you think if there is a vote this summer or fall, it is fundamentally a vote on rowe?
>> it depends on who the president nominates. part of our job here is to make that case and to get some of those republicans to have a spine and to call up the president and say -- and there are a number of them that wouldn't want to overturn roe v. wade and they have to make that very clear, they want a nominee that's going to respect precedent. that's different than what he has said. we do have one, the power of the upcoming election and people have to remember that all these rights are at stake. and then we have secondly, is the power of persuasion and the power that we have as elected senators to whoever he nominates to ask question after question after question. to get out the answers to show what kind of person this is. again, we have no idea who he's going to nominate but we can do everything in our power to try to influence that decisionis. >> senator amy klobuchar, thank you. >> thanks for having me on. >> for more on the fallout from kennedy's retirement, jim manley.
and republican strategist stewart stevens. a never trumper who ran mitt romney's 2012 presidential campaign. stewart, let me start with you. this is the bargain that folks who don't like donald trump in your party and the republican party and the conservative coalition have made. basically look, yes, he praises neo-nazis and refers to 11 salvadoran children fleeing horror and violence as vermin but we got gorsuch and now we'll get the court. does that argument work? >> well, look, i think that the argument should be just for the most quality justice that can be nominated. i think actually the gorsuch nomination was one of the better moments in the trump presidency. it was a fairly dignified process. i think he was recognized as someone if you didn't agree with him was still qualified to be on the court. this is a hopeful moment where you could have someone nominated that gets respect across the
aisle which doesn't mean you get unanimous support across the aisle. but it could work. it -- you're going to have a conservative on the court. it's like the james bond series. you can have good and bad movies but james bond is not going to die at the end. there's going to be a conservative on the court. the focus should be less on process and more on the quality of that person. >> jim, what do you make of this as someone who worked with harry reed and watching mcconnell come down to the well of the senate and say what he said today? >> sheer utter disgust at the hypocrisy of it all. you know, the reality as you yourself have said, he made up a phony artificial rule that never existed before to block president obama from you know, getting his supreme court nominee. what do i make of it? i make of it the fact that he is not going to listen to the will of the people. he can't be persuaded. and he's going to plo forward. i expect that trump is going to
nominate the most extreme person possible. that's traditionally the way republicans have gone. and they're going to try and jam it through the senate. the math will get really, really tricky. as you know and as your viewers know, you know, even if you hold all the democrats together and that's a big if, you have to pick up a handful of republicans. i'm so old, i've given up on believing that someone like senator collins or senator murkowski is going to do the right thing. >> but why? >> they have failed to stand up to the internal pressures repeatedly before in the past. i don't expect anything to change this type around. they are going to come under enormous pressure not only within their own caucus but also from all the high minded and heavy spending interest groups to vote for whoever the president selects. i just don't believe they're going to be able to stand up to it. like stewart, i hope springs eternal but based on what i've seen so far, i don't think it's
going to happen. >> stewart, it struck me today today was a perfect example of the sort of transformation of the republican party or the full trumpfication of it. anthony kennedy which is a man who is nothing if not toweringly morally vain who would almost certainly be almost certainly be like a never trumper writing his jeff flakesque speeches i don't liking this rhetoric and that rhetoric. what he did today was say that guy over threw calling immigrants vermin, that's the one i want replacing me. it is in some ways a united party, the gop. it is a united movement and caucus at this moment. >> well, you know, i think it will be striking to compare whoever the next nominee is with one who is a pointed by the conservative giant of our time, president reagan. and i think that contrast will be very interesting. look, i think in these moments where you have a lot of lack of civility and a lot of process
and norms getting challenged, that the way to deal with that is to try to focus on trying to make things as normal as possible, try to make them as open and as dignified as possible. i really think that something about the supreme court might just make that possible. we've had very ugly nominations in the past. that i don't think anybody looked back at and felt good about. i hope this is a process that reflects our better angels rather than worst. i have no idea which way it will go. i'm shocked all the time. i think there is a chance if there's a quality nominee that that person could be recognized as someone who should be on the supreme court whether or not you agree with them. >> that is always this question. the reason these battles are picked because there's huge issues at stake and everyone runs around particularly on the biggest issues sort of pretending we don't know how they'll come down when people do. we got all the 5-4 cases on the
voting rights. and today's janus case, if you had asked me is alito going to rule against public employee unions, of course, he is. that's the reason fights are so brutal because they're fights about the stuff at stake. >> not to belabor the point, what i find troubling is that republicans have always taken supreme court nominees and judicial nominees much more serious than democrats have. for years, democrats have nominated moderate mainstream, largely mainstream judges in order to try and get them confirmed. republicans oftentimes pick the most extreme nominee possible and try and jam it through. i hope like senator klobuchar said earlier, this will be as a wake-up call for folks in november. unfortunately, that's going to be too late for this nominee because mcconnell is going to move by the fall to try and confirm whoever the president nominates. >> jim manley and stewart
did the betting odds in the wake of justice kennedy's bombshell announcement he will retire is that mitch mcconnell, one of the most ruthless political figures in all of washington will succeed in getting president's nominee jammed through the senate. but should be clear, it is by no means a done deal. it as election year. republicans hold a razor thin
majority in the senate. one of the most explosive issue north korea american politics the right to a legal abortion is hanging in the balance. here to assess the battle ron klain, former supreme court law clerk, and former chief counsel to the senate judiciary committee. national political director for the aclu and advisor to harry reid and share lynn isle president of the naacp legal fund. all right, ron, you wrote a piece a few months ago that basically said republicans think the next supreme court nomination fight will help them. that's wrong. what's your case? >> here's my case. justice kennedy was not the swing vote on the supreme court for 31 years due to some kind of immaculate conception. it happened because a super popular republican president, ronald reagan, named an eminently well dedrengsed judge,
robert bork to the supreme court and democrats fought like hell. they fought an uphill battle and in the end, they held their people, they won over six republicans and they beat bork and president reagan had to put tony kennedy on the supreme court. democrats have to fight just as hard, even harder right now as if the constitution was at stake because it is. if they make this about rowe and take this fight to susan collins and lisa murkowski, they can beat trump's nominee. >> share lynn, you're nodding. >> i'm nodding my head because this is no time for leaning back and reclining and doing milquetoast politics. this is about the future of our democracy. this is very serious. this is about the most serious moment i've seen in our democracy in a very long time. it's time for every american to wake up. it comes two weeks after this country has been roiled by this crisis involving migrant children. i think many americans are recognizing now what is truly at stake that we truly are hanging
on the precipice. counting numbers is not strategy. strategy is not saying wow, there are 51 republicans and 49 democrats. it's that's not how it works. strategy is how you mobilize people to understand what is at stake. for african-americans in this country, this is about our children and grand children. and whether the doors that were reluctantly opened for us with the blood, sweat and tears of our forbears who came before the supreme court and depended that the words of the 14th anticipate which we celebrate the 150th anniversary this year would be true. that is how many of us were able to be attend the schools we were able to attend, purchase the homes we purchased, marry who we want to marry and so forth. we recognize what is at stake for our children and grandchildren. so the question for americans who are looking at this issue is, what had you do for your children and your grandchildren? and if you can't pick up a phone and stand outside an office, if you can't demand that senators take seriously this
constitutional advise and consent authority, then you are abdicating your responsibility as a citizen, as a parent and i think that's the message that has to be conveyed. this is what's at stake. >> my question to you is about the cultural predisposition of senate democrats. how worked among. so amy klobuchar, extremely accomplished member of the senate with an supremely accomplished resume and real knowledge of the law and fair minded individual. was just on. she said look, it depends on who the nominee is basically. mitch mcconnell put out a statement one hour after scalia had died, one hour saying nobody, no one, no nominee for president obama will get a hear. just to me it illustrates the radicals a smetory how these two sides think of the problem. >> there's a reticence there. this circumstance is different. the playbook has been laid out for senate dras.
they've gone through it one time. the affordable care act posited the same issues that are going to be presenting themselves. access to abortion, access to planned parenthood clinics, access to birth control. if you cared about them just in the context of health care, for the love of good, do you care about them whether they exist in perpetuity? this is a referendum on whether women can have access to reproductive health services. we're thinking about criminalizing women who are raped and seek access to abortion. women are thinking should i hoard birth control pills because i won't have access? when women starred marching january 21st this is what it was about. i think the game that is so different is going to be run by the people out there. and the votes in the senate are going to reflect that. >> that's an interesting point. chaff share lynn is saying and we saw with the aca fight, the pressure was coming from outside in. obviously senate democrats in the aca fight hung together
which is another key part of this. can chuck schumer keep this caucus together on this vote? >> i know he will fight very hard to do so. i hope he can. but in the end, you're right. it has to come from the outside. let's be very direct about it. it comes down to use and collins and lisa murkowski. they say they are pro-choice. if they vote for any person on trump's list, they are voting to end a woman's right to choose. donald trump has told us that. he said in the campaign if he got two votes on the supreme court, he would reverse roe versus wade and end a woman's right to choose. we have to put that in front of collins and murkowski. they have to be more worried about getting eelected than getting a primaried by a trumpite. that's what our forces have to bring to this fight. >> cheryl lynn. >> i'm not a politico. i concede i don't have all of the numbers. i don't want to put it down it
these two senators. we're in a moment in which every senator has to confront himself. i understand it the power mitch mcconnell has. you heard him in the top of your segment. he said we will confirm president trump's nominee this fall. he hadn't looked at what the nominee is or what the qualifications are of that nominee. he's going to confirm. that's astonishing for the senate majority leader to say. president nixon advanced two candidates in two years. you may remember this. haynesworth and carswell. both of whom were dinged in the senate judiciary committee and the full senate because they were so unqualified. this is 1969 and 1970 when nixon lost two supreme court nominees because he selected people who were incompetent and could not have done the job and who were proven to be racist. this is a process that is a constitutional process designed to protect this country for generations to come. and to have the senate majority leader, that's why when i hear this matter of raw power, he's
going to insure the confirmation of whoever the president puts forward, every senator should bach at that. every senator should recognize that individually they have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent. >> not only that, fez, share lynn makes a key point, as well which is the difference between blocking and getting someone through. what mcconnell had to do with garland was basically having one conversation with chuck grassley and that was don't have a hearing. and he agreed. and between the two they could block it. here they've got to go through the process. they can't short circuit it the way they did with gar hand. >> it's not clear the democrats have to allow a quorum to be created to even have hearings. there are all kinds of things they could do. we shouldn't let the republicans off the hook either because they're republicans. they have a constitutional authority to do their job and the people in america can make them do their job if they choose
to do so. >> fez. >> i think there's going to be an argument for doing to mcconnell exactly what he did to us. i would argue there's an argument for waiting because the american people need to make a verdict on one of the core civil rights and lishes of our time. certainly roe v. wade is one of them. lgbt. there should be thoughtful deliberation about that question because as i said, this is going to be a national referendum. there's an argument to ensure that the american public have a voice to see where they are on this. >> all right. >> go ahead, share lynn. >> there's one other thing. the president who will nominate this person is under a cloud. you mentioned this at the top of the segment, chris. a president who is under investigation, his campaign is under investigation. high level officials in his campaign are under indictment. we don't know what's going to happen with the mueller investigation. it would be tragic for the
president to nominate somebody have, that person go through and have the mueller is investigation reveal itself to implicate the president. this is another reason why. this is not the same as president obama nominating merrick garland. we're in a different situation. we should pause for that reason. >> ron klain, share lynn, thank you all. how donald trump's next choice for the court could change account future of reproductive rights in america. what the kennedy retirement means for roe v. wade next.
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as of today, there is most likely a five majority -- 5-4 majoritien the supreme court to preserve a constitutional right against forced pregnancy. that is very, very likely to change however with justice kennedy's retirement. kennedy has enraged anti-abortion activists for years as did david souter and sandra day o'connor. the white house and the federalist society will be carefully screening to establish where a prospective justice will be on the issue. even as they protest there are doing no such thing. it will be a vote whether to overturn abortion rights. nina totenberg, nancy northrop. how central has kennedy been to the current jurisprudence. >> he and justice o'connor were critical. when o'connor retired, kennedy
became critical. for a while, he seemed to wait and sort of see how bad really a lot of the restrictions on abortion rights were. in the end he came down very firmly saying that what texas had done and there is in the case a year or so ago, what texas had done was in fact detrimental to the health of women and did not do what claimed to do which is help the health of women. i think he was quite clearly concerned that especially poor women have access to abortion. with him gone, i wouldn't guarantee that roe versus wade is reversed. but i would pretty much guarantee ta access to abortion would become rather difficult and that the deck would be stacked pretty much against women getting information that allows them to make choices about how to handle their reproductive health.
>> that case which is the women's health case which struck down a suite of texas loss restrictions on clinics in 2016. he's part of a 5-3 majority. the big one that is the post-rowe holding that preserves rowe is casey in 1992 where he's part of a 5-4 majority there. to nina's point, there's a kind of death by a thousand blows ways in which abortion can be restricted. we've seen a lot of that in the federal courts even with this current majority. how do you interpret the effect of today's decision on the area that you spend all your life working on? >> i'm terrified by the news that justice kennedy is retiring. as we've talked about, he was the in the majority of two of the most apportion rights cases, planned parenthood versus casey and the case two years ago, the case which the center for reproductive rights brought. and to have him retiring and the president having promised he's going to appoint. >> explicitly. >> promised he's going to
appoint justices who would quickly reverse roe versus wade means the whole fight will move to the senate. and we have to be worried both that a justice would overturn roe versus wade but also that threw gut it so badly that almost any law would be upheld if the court had upheld that texas statute, 75% of the clinics in the state would have closed. women would not have had access having to drive many hours to get access. whether it's gutted or reversed,'s critical to american women they not have someone put on the court who is going to take away rights from more than 45 years recognized since roe versus wade. >> nina, how do you think about this process in terms of the ideological vetting? there's a game where no one will say how we'll rule and i don't know, and i call balls and strikes but everyone understands what's at stake. in this case, the president has
promised what the outcome of the votes of the justices he appoints will be which is fairly unprecedent. we can see who his potential nominees are. the first list he put out was so well received by the for want of a better expression the christian right, social conservatives that list was so well received he did it a second time during the campaign. and it's been expanded every so slightly. however, so we see what kind of judges are on this list. some of them are actually very distinguished judges. but they share one thing in common. they are so far to the right of anthony kennedy there is no comparison. and it's not just abortion. it's lots of other things. some of them that kennedy would have agreed with and some he would not have. >> how do you understand this debate now that we're going to have and rowe's and abortion centrality to it.
>> the debate is we want to make sure that the nominee answers the question on where she or he stands on roe versus wade. there's nothing inappropriate about that question. this game that keeps getting played that they don't need to answer questions about roe versus wade. another jurisprudence is fine to answer questions about it's settled law. it's perfectly appropriate to ask a nominee, what is your view, do you believe the constitution protects the individual right to make the decision of ending a pregnancy as recognized in versus wade. that question should be answered. >> actually, the nominees these days don't answer questions about anything. >> they won't even answer questions about their own conduct sometimes. off the bench conduct. and so until and unless i think some republicans on the judiciary committee and some democrats, if the shoe is on the other foot say i'm not voting to confirm you unless you answer this question and the last
person i remember saying that was actually arlen specter, republican moderate republican from pennsylvania who wanted an answer about -- it was not about rowe. and he just simply said to then justice rehnquist, i'm not voting for you for chief justice unless you answer this question. and he eventually answered the question. >> that's a good point of leverage. nina and nancy, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> ahead, senator bernie sanders joins me to talk about the massive implications of kennedy's resignation. alexandria ocasio-cortez is here at the table just ahead.
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she first grabbed my attention back in may when she released this pretty amazing campaign ad. >> women like me aren't supposed to run for office. i wasn't born to a wealthy or powerful family. floer puerto rico, dad from the south bronx. i was born in a place where your zip code derps did your destiny. every day gets harder for working families like mine to get by. the rent gets higher. health care covers less. and our income stays the same. this race is about people versus money. we've got people, they've got money. it's time we acknowledge that not all democrats are the same. that a democrat who takes corporate money profits off foreclosure, doesn't live here, doesn't send his kids to our excuse, doesn't drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us. what the bronx and queens needs
is medicare for all, tuition tree public college, a federal jobs guarantee and criminal justice reform. we can do it now. it doesn't take 100 years to do this. this takes political courage. >> that progressive message which did not include any mention of the president propelled ocasio-cortez to victory. after a day like today, the question is -- is that still a viable path for democrats. she will join me in a moment. don't go away.
i can't let you go. she's looking at herself on television right now. >> how are you feeling? >> can you put it into words? >> no. i cannot put this into words. >> that is what shock genuine and real honest shock looks like in the upset win for nom neef for congress in the bronx and queens. alexandria okaysio cortes, forrer bartender, working class
new yorker as shekaus herself and democratic socialist who ran one of the most incredibly impressive campaigns honestly in recent memory. to pull off the biggest upset in congressional politics since tea party candidate david bratt defeated eric captor. she defeated joe crowley, the number four democrat in the house. she refused corporate money and outspent five to one. but in the end, she garnered 57% of the vote if she geets the republican in november she will become the youngest woman ever elected to congress. a reminder of the power i've grassroots campaign and how much elections matter. joining me now, democratic nominee for congress alexandria ocasio-cortez. that was something else. >> it really was, wasn't it. >> so here's the thing i found fascinating. you had a game plan very early and stuck to it. it was a very strategic campaign. i saw it unfold as a watched.
i'm a bronx native. i pay attention to your politics. what was your theory of the case? >> you know, from day one i have been an educator in this community an organizer. i knew the people who lived here. i knew our community. i knew that in this election, our main tack was to educate and expand the electorate. folks say that's the hardest thing to do to get people to turn out to an off year midterm primary. i knew if you could inspire and educate people and stick to issues and do the block by block door knocking and phone calling that you can get it done old school meets new school digital. >> did you do door knocking yourself? >> yeah, absolutely. i've knocked on a bunch of doors in the district. >> one of the ironies here, this is fascinating. new york has this screwy primary system designed to decrease turn outout so that machine party candidates and incumbents can win. they figure they're the only ones who show up. it shot them in the foot.
>> there are notorious political machines. the chicago, the illinois, be brp contended with. they are turnout machines. those are people that can no how to you turn out 40,000 people for a given candidate. with the snap of a finger. new york relies on voter suppression and voter depression as we joke about. and what it does is, you know, it means that sometimes a congressional race can be decided with less votes than a city council. >> turnout in your district was like 12%. in some 10, 5%. 12% is higher than it would have been if you were not in that race for sure. you call yourself a democratic socialist. you're a member of dsa. there's so much interesting diabetic what that term means. what's it mean to you? >> to is i think it's a big tent term. and for me what, it means is
that in a modern and moral america, a modern and moral and wealthy america where we have the capacity to insure that every american can have health care and education and access to dignified housing, we should be able to try to do that as a society by whichever means we can. >> that's it? >> yeah. >> that's an agnostic read of the term. >> you know. >> methodologically. >> at the end of the day, it boils down to the basic elements required elements that are required for an economic and socially dignified life in the united states at a very basic means we should aim to guarantee those things. i don't think any person in america should die because they're too poor to live. >> when did you have the idea i'm going run for congress? what was the -- >> you know, i was nominated to run by a phenomenal organization called justice democrats. so i'm actually one of 60 candidates nationwide just like
me, candidates like iona presley, ing in hawaii. i was actually just getting off of the camp at standing rock two years ago and i received a call from justice democrats, and they were seeking essentially noncorporate candidates with the history of community service to run in the 2018 midterm elections to try to get money out of politics. >> and there you are. probably soon to be congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez. i hope you'll come back to the show. >> absolutely. i hope to be back. thank you so much. >> don't go away. senator bernie sanders on today's massive news on the supreme court and why elections matter, right after this.
on an extraordinary day when a supreme court vacancy creates likelihood the court will shift even farther right ward by yet another president who lost the popular vote, a reminder, as if we needed one, of how much elections matter. joining me now senator bernie sanders of vermont, democratic outreach committee. and first, let me start with your reaction to the announcement of the retirement of anthony kennedy. do you think democrats should even consider the nominee or should they pledge to vote no now? >> i don't think you vote no before the nominee. but i suspect the nominee will be just another right wing disaster. and our job is to mobilize the american people who overwhelmingly, among other things, do not believe that we should overturn roe versus wade, who believe that our gay
brothers and sisters are entitled to be treated with dignity. and all of those rights and all of the advances that we have made over the years are now increasingly in danger because while kennedy was certainly not a liberal or progressive in any sense of the word on some issues, he was decent and voted to protect human rights. >> what is your read? last night alexandria ocasio-cortez, who we just had here at the table, won her primary, she was bernie sanders organizer. ben gel liss won in maryland. also, someone i think you had endorsed there is a lot of candidates who have not won, who have lost to candidates -- you're already nodding your head. i'm stating a fact. so i'm asking you how you understand where the sort of primary of the democratic party is at right now. >> it's not a question of winning and losing. you can win 100% of the time by backing candidates with 50 points ahead in the poll that
can outspend their opponents 10 to 1. what alexandria is about is exactly what the political revolution is supposed to be about. a year ago she was a waitress. then she got involved in politics. she ran on a progressive agenda, medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making public colleges and universities tuition-free. ben jealous did the same. took on the entire maryland establishment and styled a democratic candidate for governor. the point to be made here is when you have candidates in both instances, chris, these are first-time candidates, first time they've run. when you have candidates fighting for a progressive agenda, working at grassroots organizing, knocking on doors, which is what both of these candidates did, you know what? you could take on the establishment and you can win elections that people never dream you'd could. you're not going to win it every single time. great people have lost. but this is an example of what
politics, real grassroots politics is about. and i think we're seeing this all over the country. and it's a great thing. >> you know, there is this question about sort of mobilizing right now and tactics. there has been this discussion about the legitimacy or the acceptability of not serving someone in a restaurant, heckling someone in a restaurant. i saw an interesting quote that you gave, that you thought it was bad idea. you did not approve of the restaurant owner -- >> that's not exactly what i said. >> senator, let me finish the question. the quote appeared that you said that you thought it was bad idea. and i'm curious what your feeling is about this kind of direct action or verbal confrontation that we're seeing in so many instances. >> look, what i want to do is win. i want to move this country in a radically different direction than donald trump is. and i'm not sure that yelling at somebody in a restaurant is the way to do it. the way to do it is exactly the way alexandria did it. it's the way that ben jealous did it.
it's getting involved in grassroots politics. it is supporting president -- it is supporting progressive candidates. it is mobilizing people, and it is winning elections. that's hard stuff to do. alexandria ran a brilliant campaign. she had a lot of support from people who were volunteering to help her. ben did the same. that, to me, is what the future of progressive politics is about. >> what's interesting to me is i hear from you i want to win. and i don't think that's the way to do it in the first part of the answer which is i think the shared view of chuck schumer and nancy pelosi. the voters won't like this. it's going to turn them off. and then there is people who hear that and say i need to do something because of the crisis the country is in. >> well, if you need to do something, and god knows this country is in a terrible crisis, what you need to do is defeat one party rule right here in washington. that means we've got win the house. we've got to win the senate. we've got to get a new president in 2020. that's hard stuff.
it's harder than just yelling at somebody. it means alexandria was involved in the campaign months after month. i suspect she had hundreds of volunteers knocking on doors. and the end result is you're not going to have a fight congresswoman from the bronx who is going to be one of the progressive leaders in congress. that is what we've got to do. so people want to vent their anger in this way or that way, fine. i don't stay up nights worrying about it. what i'm saying is what we've got to do is mobilize people in a productive, effective way. and that is to win elections so that we can end the disaster that's taking place here in d.c. right now. >> quickly, are the senate democrats ready for the fight that is going to happen right now over the supreme court nominee? >> well, we just learned about kennedy's decision today. and i've not yet been in any meetings. i think what we've got to do is a couple of things. i think we have to rally the american people around roe versus wade. overwhelmingly, the american people support roe versus wade, and we have to make it clear, everything being equal, a trump nominee is going to overturn that decision.
and that means mobilizing millions of people to put pressure on the republicans. >> all right. senator bernie sanders, thank you very much. >> thank you. that is "all in" for this evening. tonight, what could be the most consequential day of the trump presidency as justice anthony kennedy announces his retirement from the supreme court, leaving an opening for a nomination that could shape american life for a half century or more. the fight has already moved to the hill where mcconnell says they'll vote by fall. democrats say it must wait until after the midterms, but they're in the minority. meantime, the white house says the trump meeting with putin is on. they're just waiting to work out the details. all part of our world as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a wednesday night. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. this was day 524 of the trump