Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Republican Senator from Mississippi running for reelection whose race has resulted in a runoff on November 27, made headlines earlier this week when she made a tasteless “joke” about a public hanging — an act that has a dark and shameful history in the state she represents in the Senate.
But despite the extremely poor judgment she displayed in engaging in that kind of talk — especially in a race against an African-American challenger — the Senator was not yet fully exposed for her awful behavior or her stunted understanding of democracy until a video surfaced from November 2 in which she is shown speaking to a group of young Republicans standing for an informal chat outside her campaign tour bus.
Picking up mid-discussion, the video depicts Senator Hyde-Smith standing among the clearly friendly (to her) young voters, laughing and talking about access to the polls:
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.”
The video has no frame of reference for what “other schools” she’s talking about here, but even if she isn’t referring to the HBCUs that dot Mississippi, this is still very much a sitting Senator talking about voter suppression, and calling it a “great idea” when the voters being suppressed are not likely to vote in a way that she prefers. This is not Senator Hyde-Smith saying “it would be okay if they didn’t vote,” a position that many Republicans have taken over the years.
Rather, she is explicitly talking about making it harder for some people who don’t share her views to have access to the polls.
Watch the video of her here:
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
One wonders how much of that her campaign engaged in this year — and whether this is why she’s in a runoff, rather than already packing up her DC office to vacate in January.
Featured image via screen capture