An extremely good idea: Starting in March 1999 (at which point he suddenly flipped in his views about Gore), Chris Matthews worked extremely hard to get George W. Bush elected.
He savaged Gore from that point on, often in blatantly crazy ways. His aggressive loathing of Hillary Clinton (AKA Evita/Nurse Ratched) continued through 2008, when a few women's groups finally managed to notice.
After Obama was elected—and after MSNBC had become an officially pro-Democratic channel—he flipped completely on HRC, becoming her biggest fan.
Matthews' conduct in 1999 and 2000 was truly appalling—and he was much more influential back then than he is today. The fact that no liberal so much as said boo about his endless misconduct during those years is a tribute to human ineptitude—and, of course, to journalistic careerism, and to human deceit.
That said, Matthews is doing a good thing tonight—be's visiting darkest PA. He's holding a town hall meeting with Trump voters in Wilkes-Barre, in a part of the state which went for Donald J. Trump.
This behavior is long overdue.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Trump by almost 3 million votes. That said, next year's Democratic nominee will probably need to win some Trump voters back.
(Repeat: Some, not all.)
It's astounding to see how little interest MSNBC has ever shown in trying to understand the way such voters see the world—in trying to understand what such voters think, understand and believe. That may be because we think we know who Those People are:
We think Those People are racists.
It's amazing to see how often we state and signal this view. It's based on the oldest pre-rational belief of them all—the belief that Those Very Bad People Are All Exactly Alike.
Those People aren't all alike. None are as fine as We are, of course. But politically and morally, it's a very good idea to ask people what they think.
In March 2017, Bernie Sanders and Chris Hayes staged a televised town hall meeting in West Virginia coal country. Sanders started like this:
HAYES (3/13/17): So Senator, coal, I think, is on a long-term decline. What do you tell the folks here for whom...that is the one job that pays a decent wage and gives benefits?Sanders started his discussion that night with words of admiration, gratitude, respect. He told the people in the hall that their parents had kept his boyhood home warm. He told them they aren't his enemy.
SANDERS: Well, let me be honest and say two things. I think—and disagree with me if you think I'm wrong on this—but coal in this area has been in decline I think, since the '70s and the '80s. It's not anything that's new.
And I think— And second of all, and I know not everybody, you know, will be happy with me saying this—but I happen to believe, unlike the president, that climate change is real and it is a threat to all.
But having said that, I don't hold this gentleman and the coal miners responsible for climate change. In fact, in fact, these guys are heroes.
I remember, I grew up in a rent control apartment house in Brooklyn, New York, and I will never forget the piles of coal. I don't know if it came from here or wherever it came. You kept my house warm. Thank you. So you're not— You are not my enemy.
But what we have to do, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, what we have to do is to say the choice is not transforming our energy system to protect the planet and throwing people out on the street. The choice is reinvesting in communities that have been devastated by changes in energy and make sure folks have decent paying jobs and we can do that. We are not a poor country.
You don't win back every voter that way. But you don't have to win back every Trump voter. You have to win some, not all.
Night after night, we marvel at MSNBC's lack of interest in what Trump voters think. Why did people vote for Donald J. Trump? In some cases, could it possibly be because they've seen the weird ways we behave?
Bill Clinton [HEART] Pentecostals: Bill Clinton once wrote a very long book. He even quoted us at one point, though sadly enough not by name.
In our view, the most instructive part of the book was his discussion of Arkansas' Pentecostals. They tended to vote against him, he said, but he admired them all the same.
To review what (President) Clinton said about those who aren't just like him, you can just click here. We think that part of the book helps explain how he got to the White House.