Republican senator’s provocative ‘jokes’ jolt key US Senate race | MSNBC

Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for Mississippi talks to supporters following the 2018 mid-term general election in Jackson, Mississippi, November 6, 2018. Chris Todd/EPA Republican senator’s provocative ‘jokes’ jolt key US Senate race 11/16/18 08:00 AM By Steve Benen
When putting together a list of key U.S. Senate races in 2018, few included the special election in Mississippi. It’s a state where Donald Trump won his election by 18 points, and where Republicans tend to dominate.
But in this year’s final major contest, election watchers suddenly have a reason to keep an eye on the Magnolia State.
It was earlier this week that we learned about comments from incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), who recently joked about attending “ a public hanging .” Given the state’s history, and the fact that she’s running against Mike Espy (D), an African American former congressman, the Republican’s comments struck a dissonant note.
Yesterday, the story took another unsettling turn.
A video surfaced Thursday of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi saying it might be a “great idea” to make it harder for some people to vote, and her campaign quickly responded that she was “obviously” joking.
Hyde-Smith, who is in a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy on Nov. 27, made the remark at a campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, on Nov. 3. It was posted to Twitter on Thursday by Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief. Smith earlier this week posted video of Hyde-Smith making a comment on Nov. 2 about a “public hanging” that started a controversy.
“And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who … maybe we don’t want to vote,” Hyde-Smith is heard saying. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”
In a Twitter message posted late yesterday, the GOP senator wrote , “It’s ok to still have a sense of humor in America isn’t it?”
Of course, while having a sense of humor is a good idea, it’s also a good idea for political leaders in a state with a troubled history on race to avoid “jokes” about public hangings and deliberately making it harder for certain people to vote.
A spokesperson for Mike Espy’s campaign called Hyde-Smith a “walking stereotype who embarrasses our state,” adding, “For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter.”
I’ll leave it to local experts to say whether, and to what degree, this might affect the upcoming election, but at a distance, there’s reason to believe the race may be more competitive than many first assumed.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a television ad campaign in the state this week, and if Hyde-Smith was a shoo-in, the party probably wouldn’t have bothered. The White House, meanwhile, is reportedly weighing a possible presidential pre-election visit to Mississippi.
The Republican senator launched a new ad of her own this week, and one of the first names mentioned in the commercial is financier George Soros – which is hardly evidence of a candidate confident about her chances of success.
Last week, in a multi-candidate field, Hyde-Smith finished with 41.5% of the vote, to Espy’s 40.6%. Because neither candidate reached the 50% threshold, there will be a special election on Nov. 27, which is just 11 days away.
The two candidates are also scheduled to participate in a debate on Nov. 20. Explore:

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GOP Senator Says Voter Suppression Is A ‘Great Idea’

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) appeared to endorse voter suppression during a campaign stop this month, saying efforts to undermine voting among liberals at certain colleges would be a “great idea.”
“And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote,” Hyde-Smith can be heard telling a small crowd of young people outside her campaign bus in a video taken Nov. 3 and posted on online Thursday. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate in April following the retirement of Thad Cochran, faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff election. The Trump-backed Republican also came under fire last weekend for apparent racist remarks, joking with a crowd about attending a public hanging .
Campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan insisted Hyde-Smith was joking as she talked with students in Starkville, Mississippi, and claimed the video had been edited.
“It’s ok to still have a sense of humor in America isn’t it?” Hyde-Smith tweeted after the video circulated. “These students enjoyed a laugh with Cindy despite out of state social media posts trying to mislead Mississippians.”
Cindy Hyde-Smith on voter suppression: “And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.” Nov 2nd in Columbus, MS. pic.twitter.com/OxNY77XCft
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 15, 2018 It’s unclear which “other schools” Hyde-Smith referred to in the video. There are several historically black colleges and universities in the state.
“For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter ,” Espy spokesman Danny Blanton said of Hyde-Smith’s remarks. “Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state.”
Related… Mississippi GOP Senator Jokes About Public Hangings

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GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith: ‘Great Idea’ To Make It Harder For Liberals To Vote

0 Comments {COUNT} GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith: ‘Great Idea’ To Make It Harder For Liberals To Vote November 16, 2018 Michael Stone Patheos Explore the world’s faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world.
Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is caught on video endorsing voter suppression, saying it’s a “great idea” to make it harder for liberals to vote.
Recently Hyde-Smith was caught on video telling supporters that she believes it’s “a great idea” to make it “just a little more difficult” for “liberal folks” to vote.
Speaking to a small gathering of young people outside her campaign bus in Columbus, Mississippi, on Nov. 2 the GOP senator said:
And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea. Cindy Hyde-Smith on voter suppression: “And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.” Nov 2nd in Columbus, MS. pic.twitter.com/OxNY77XCft
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 15, 2018
Hyde-Smith’s campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan insisted her candidate was only joking in the video. And Hyde-Smith tweeted the following after the video advocating voter suppression went viral:
It’s ok to still have a sense of humor in America isn’t it? These students enjoyed a laugh with Cindy despite out of state social media posts trying to mislead Mississippians. It’s ok to still have a sense of humor in America isn’t it? These students enjoyed a laugh with Cindy despite out of state social media posts trying to mislead Mississippians. @espyforsenate https://t.co/dcObRfHpMi pic.twitter.com/nfOi3ifekq
— Cindy Hyde-Smith (@cindyhydesmith) November 16, 2018
Because laughing about voter suppression is just good clean fun.
Note: The “other schools” Hyde-Smith is talking about are historically black colleges. Thus, Hyde-Smith is not only endorsing voter suppression for liberals, she is also giving a not so subtle wink and nod to racists who want to prevent black people from voting.
However, this is Mississippi, and the not so subtle dog whistle racism may be a feature, and not a bug, of the Hyde-Smith campaign. Danny Blanton, communications director for the Espy for Senate campaign, responded with the following statement :
For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter. Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state.
Indeed, the damning video concerning voter suppression appeared on social media Thursday, only days after another video was released showing Hyde-Smith joking about attending a “public hanging.”
In a video made public Sunday the Republican senator said that she would be happy to attend a lynching, claiming that if a prominent cattle rancher she was campaigning with invited her “to a public hanging,” she’d be “on the front row.”
On the video Hyde-Smith can be heard saying :
If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.
Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff election. The Trump-backed Republican was appointed to the Senate in April following the retirement of Senator Thad Cochran. The winner gets the final two years of a six-year term.
Bottom line: Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is caught on video endorsing voter suppression, saying it’s a “great idea” to make it harder for “liberal folks” to vote. GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith: ‘Great Idea’ To Make It Harder For Liberals To Vote (Image via Twitter) {COUNT} Shares

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