NOW with Alex Wagner | October 02, 2012
>>> just this morning a pennsylvania judge blocked a controversial voter i.d. law from taking effect this november, the same law that won top state republican said would help mitt romney win pennsylvania . most republicans usually don't admit as much, prefrg to frame their efforts around, quote, preventing voter fraud . but in a twist it appears that republicans may be the ones responsible for all the suspicious activity this year. last week the rnc fired a group called strategic allied consulting after accused of submitting fraudulent voter registration forms. if the republican party was shocked, perhaps it shouldn't have been. the firm is owned by a gop operative named nathan stroul sproul whose voter activities were investigated by the justice department though no charges filed. in a sign of people who want to legitimately exercise their right to vote, voters in ohio slept on the street overnight to be the first to cast their ballots when early voting began this morning in that state. joining us now is the host of politics nation, here on msnbc, the one, the only, reverend al sharpton . great to see you.
>> glad to be here.
>> let's talk about the pennsylvania decision. there seems to be an increasing tide of decisions that would favor of argument that this voter i.d. stuff is actually just a fraud, perpetrated by the republican party to disenfranchise voters. what did you make of the judge's decision in pa?
>> i think it was a step in the right direction. it's not closing the door but he clearly said with those of us that raised this issue almost a year ago, that he did not see how you can do this without disenfranchising voters. and this has been the argument we've had all along. no evidence of widespread fraud. the net impact is much more negative, risking the institute said up to 5 million voters and you can't show us what is avoiding or preventing and that's what this decision in pennsylvania did say today, it did leave the door open so we have to keep fighting and the supreme court in this session may review it. so we're not out of the woods. we just escaped this round.
>> i think the irony is so thick you can almost cut it when you hear the story of nathan sproul who is committing voter fraud , a young woman who worked for sproul caught on camera saying she was only registering republicans. now you know there are a lot of folks in the gop that try to defend this movement to have, you know, curb early voter registration and voter -- force voters to show i.d. at the polls because they put the good of the country first. but when you see this kind of naked partisanship i think it totally undermines any argument that the republicans are doing this for anything other than party benefit?
>> i think the real problem i had is, the young lady was caught on tape, she says we're here for romney, they wouldn't even register people unless they said they were for romney. but this is exa actually the thing they went after acorn about. not one major republican has come out. sproul has been suggested to be involved with fraud before. now what is interesting, alex, about this particular company, it was formed in june of this year, yet they gave them a $3 million contract. how do you give a $3 million contract to a brand new company, other than you knew the people involved, which was sproul , and sproul has a very shady background to say the least. clearly they were caught, we're in the seeing the outrage that we saw with acorn who was forced out of business and in the end, the leadership of acorn was found to have done nothing.
>> the reverend is right. where is the outrage. acorn is a missing part of this campaign, played a major role in poor minority communities in registering and movement building. but i think we have to be careful. this is an outrage and every republican should be asked what he or she thinks of it. let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. we have republican governors in major states enacting suppression of the vote. i mean, we should be at a moment in this country's history where this is not left/right issue. it's about encouraging people to vote, not suppressing the vote, it should be voters in, money out and we are not seeing that and that is the scandal and the shame of this election.
>> the huge irony and i'm glad this came out because nathan sproul was accused in florida in 2004 of doing something that is worse than fake mickey mouse people being registered they were shredding democratic registrations so people would show up at the polls thinking they were registered and couldn't vote. that is actually active voter suppression . the irony of all of this the only kinds of active fraud we've been able to uncover are things like the nathan sproul scandal and absentee ballot fraud which is going on in florida where people with alzheimer's disease are showing up with their absentee ballots filled out for them by these boliteros in voting. that's the only not regulated by the legislatures. they're leaving absentee voter fraud out completely.
>> the sort of what this means for the country at large. and we know that because of the sproul scandal, amid fraud allegations the gop has ended voter registration their voter registration push in colorado, nevada, virginia, north carolina and florida . that's not a good thing for country for people not be registering to vote.
>> it is a mostly white republican party today. looking out at a country that is changing. the demographic shifts in this country are extraordinary. and what is their means and mechanisms of control? money. and voter suppression . and they're going to see this as their last hurrah this election, do whatever they can to win.
>> i guess, though, you know, in defense of a two- party system , i just think -- someone in the republican party has to look at this and say this is not a strategy for our party.
>> the thing that scares me the most dealing with katrina's point is that you're not even hearing loud moderate republican voices saying wait a minute, putting all this aside, let's deal with the fact that we represent democratic principles all over the world and we're suppressing votes at home. when we started with nation network tour and started the rallies and marches a man told me in orlando, florida , he says, i'm 85, i cannot drive, i don't need a driver's license, that's why i don't have photo i.d. i'm not going anywhere so i don't need a passport, 27 miles to get i.d. and i don't have the money when i get there because of fixed income. that's why we started calling it a poll tax . 2012 , people can't afford to get i.d. to go vote. that should be an outrage. in the days before my time, less known your time --
>> we're just babies around you.
>> thank you.
>> that's why i come on, to get my wag on.
>> that's it. cut that tape.
>> but i think that the issue is, before my time, e eliberal republicans that stood up for civil rights in the '60s, where are those voices in the republican party it today saying i don't agree with a lot of the things, economic policies but democracy should be nonnegotiable.
>> where you know what, this gets to a larger issue. where is the leadership, where is the courage within the republican party . i mean we were talking about this at the time of the birther nonsense, where were the grownups and the republican parties saying to its own members look, you are not only questioning the legitimacy of president obama , but you're questioning the legitimacy of the president of the united states . based on nothing. based on a lie and based on a racist lie and not one person would step forward , any kind of stature within the republican party and say enough. to your point, there's no outrage over this because, you know, quite frankly i think the republican leadership is being held hostage by sort of the last gapses of the far right wing.
>> the fear based decision making .
>> and shouldn't mitt romney be that person? all the things you all said, the person who should be leading on this and who would do himself a world of good if he did stand up would be mitt romney .
>> he's not a leader. i think we have seen he will say anything and do anything in order to win.
>> and it is distressing that one of our major parties is doubling down on efforts to take away the right to vote from americans.
>> it is not a good american story. thank you to reverend al sharpton .
>> thank you.
>> powerful --
>> thank you for getting my wag on.
>> yes. nothing makes me happier than that and the grio's joy reid. thank you both. catch the rev tonight and every night on "politics nation" at 6:00 prm eastern time . coming up independence day or night in massachusetts. elizabeth warren and scott brown tried to dodge partisanship at every turn yet somehow the candidates got chippy. we will dissect and discuss round two ahead on