March 23, 2016
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What's the Matter with Kansas? author Thomas Frank has turned his critical eye from Republican politics to those of his own party, the Democrats. In an interview with's Kathy Kiely, Frank slammed liberals for their educational meritocracy, which he claims has betrayed the working class. "One of the chronic failings of meritocracy is orthodoxy," Frank explained. "You get people who don't listen to voices outside their discipline."

Frank, who identifies as a Bernie Sanders supporter, went on to say that if there was a villain in his theory, it would be Bill Clinton:

[…] If you look just back to the Bill Clinton administration: In policy after policy after policy, he was choosing between groups of Americans, and he was always choosing the interests of professionals over the interests of average people. You take something like NAFTA, which was a straight class issue, right down the middle, where working people are on one side of the divide and professionals are on another. And they're not just on either side of the divide: Working people are saying, "This is a betrayal. You're going to ruin us." And professional people are saying, "What are you talking about? This is a no-brainer. This is what you learn on the first day of economics class." And hilariously, the working people turned out to be right about that. The people flaunting their college degrees turned out to be wrong. I love that. []

Read more of Frank's interview here, or pick up his new book on the topic, Listen Liberal. Jeva Lange

12:25 p.m. ET

Michael Jordan is famously private — so private, in fact, that he has been accused of being too quiet about social justice issues. "He took commerce over conscious," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accused in 2015. "That's unfortunate for him, but he's got to live with it."

No longer. On Monday, Jordan released a statement about police violence against the black community. "I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late," he said. "I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent."

Jordan cited the death of his father, who was killed in a roadside robbery in 1993. "I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well," he said.

In an effort to help Americans come together and "achieve constructive change," Jordan said he is donating $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as well as to the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Institute for Community-Police Relations. "We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers — who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all — are respected and supported," Jordan said.

Terrence Cunningham, the IACP president, was so surprised that he said his team actually vetted the money to confirm it was coming from Jordan, The Undefeated reports. "What an interesting piece: police, race relations and athletics," Cunningham said. "I'm thinking many of the 800,000 police officers were at some point athletes. I'm a white guy from suburbia, and I remember that when I played football it was all about the sport, and racism melted away."

Read Jordan's entire statement here, and more about the impact of his words and donations at The Undefeated. Jeva Lange

12:19 p.m. ET
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Evidence is mounting that the two Russian intelligence agencies behind hacks at the White House and the State Department last year are also responsible for the release of 2,000 stolen Democratic National Committee emails last week.The New York Times reported Monday that the FBI would be investigating the breach, and researchers say there's evidence the documents were accessed by computers with "Russian language settings." Experts believe the two Russian agencies may have been working separately, without knowledge of the other.

However, it remains unclear how WikiLeaks may have obtained the documents for release, and whether the hacking was done at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a supporter of Donald Trump. The emails, which revealed Democratic leaders' bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), prompted DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce Sunday that she would resign following this week's Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Becca Stanek

10:38 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton's campaign is confident there won't be a repeat of Sen. Ted Cruz's surprise endorsement refusal at this week's Democratic National Convention. In fact, the campaign is so unconcerned, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta admitted Monday on Morning Joe that Team Clinton still hasn't even taken a peek at the speech Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is scheduled to deliver later this evening. "The short answer to that is no, we have not," Podesta said, in response to the whether they'd reviewed Sanders' speech.

Podesta said Sanders' previous remarks at the primary rivals' joint rally earlier this month was evidence enough the Vermont senator wouldn't pull a Cruz and refuse to endorse Clinton. "We already saw what he's going to say when he stood with her in New Hampshire, endorsed her, was full-throated, said this is a campaign that he wants to be involved with," Podesta said about Sanders. "He wants to do everything he can to elect her and defeat Donald Trump, and that's what we're going to get tonight."

Watch Podesta's take on Sanders' coming speech, below. Becca Stanek

9:53 a.m. ET

If the Democratic National Committee wants to give chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz the boot, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough thinks they should just get it over with already — before even more attention gets taken away from Hillary Clinton. "I think it's political malpractice on the Clinton camp to let her open the proceedings and close out," Scarborough said Monday. "But also, why would Debbie Wasserman Schultz want to help Donald Trump? Because that's all she's doing is helping Donald Trump by getting in the way of Hillary Clinton."

In Scarborough's opinion, if the Democratic Party truly wants to ensure its nominee gets elected, all eyes need to be on Clinton this week and not on Schultz's impending departure. The Florida congresswoman announced Sunday she would resign after this week's Democratic National Convention, following the leak of internal emails indicating her bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "The convention is all about Hillary. It really is, it has got to be all about Hillary," Scarborough said. "If Democrats want to win in the fall, everything they do over the next four days needs to be focused on getting Hillary Clinton elected president of the United States. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is getting in the way."

Watch the exchange below. Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET

Loud, chaotic booing temporarily prevented Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz from addressing her Florida delegation at a breakfast Monday morning in Philadelphia ahead of the Democratic convention. An event organizer eventually had to take the mic to try to calm the crowd, which waved signs that said "emails" and "Bernie Sanders."

"I can see there’s a little bit of interest in my being here, and I can appreciate that interest," Wasserman Schultz said.

Still, the DNC chair will reportedly not be speaking at the convention after it was announced Sunday that she would resign, following the leak of internal emails in which several party officials appeared to reveal a bias against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton's primary rival. The Florida congresswoman came under intense criticism after WikiLeaks released more than 19,000 leaked emails. Jeva Lange

9:31 a.m. ET

If you are Team Clinton or Team Never Trump, Monday morning offered a brutal wake-up call. Since the Republican convention, Donald Trump has now passed Clinton in two national polls (and in the RealClearPolitics average), and is projected to win the election were it to be held today, as shown in FiveThirtyEight's models:

Particularly concerning for the anti-Trump crowd are the projections for the swing states of Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, which the model shows going for Trump.

There is a sliver of good news for Clinton supporters, though; FiveThirtyEight's poll-plus model, which corrects for Trump's post-convention surge, shows her still in the lead:

FiveThirtyEight's leading statistician, Nate Silver, accurately predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 election and correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states in 2012. Last week he tweeted, "Don't think people are really grasping how plausible it is that Trump could become president. It's a close election right now." Jeva Lange

9:08 a.m. ET

The Republican National Convention proved to be a hilarious heyday for late night comedians, but John Oliver's Sunday evening episode of Last Week Tonight might truly be a case of saving the best for last. Oliver didn't focus on some of the convention's easier targets, such as Melania Trump plagiarizing Michelle Obama or Ted Cruz's mutiny. Rather, Oliver went right for the jugular by acutely illustrating that the Republican Party is giving more import to "feelings" than facts.

Example No. 1: Antonio Sabato, Jr., who declared with no evidence that President Obama is a Muslim — something he claims he knows to be true simply because he believes it to be true. "What is truly revealing is [Sabato's] implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true," Oliver points out. "Because if anything, that was the theme of the Republican convention this week."

Oliver has a sobering number of examples of other Republicans "bringing feelings to a fact fight," which you can watch him list, below. Jeva Lange

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