GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Hilarious Again, 'Let's Not Let Black People Vote' Edition

Post-Racial America

This is the third time this week we've covered the mixed up files of Mrs. Cindy Hyde-Smith. I'm as happy about it as you are, but the US Senator from Mississippi has a bad habit of confessing to bad things in front of cameras. She's clearly a politician best suited for a simpler, more racist time, or at least an alternate reality where cameras weren't invented. Even the most detailed sketch of her saying stupid stuff wouldn't have the same impact.

Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election on Nov. 27. Video surfaced Thursday of her at a recent campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, promoting the practical benefits of voter disenfranchisement.

"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."

Starkville is home to Mississippi State University, and I presume she still wants students and faculty there to vote. Hyde-Smith refers to "liberal folks in those other schools." There are quite a few historically black colleges in Mississippi because the state didn't allow black people to attend their world-renowned institutions until the 1960s. Professional election stealer Brian Kemp from Georgia had also expressed concerns about too may people voting. How can you unfairly win a race under those conditions?

The senator's campaign spokesperson Melissa Scallan responded to the incident in a brief statement yesterday before easing the pain with sweet liquor: "Obviously Sen. Hyde-Smith was making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited." I'm surprised Scallan didn't try to claim it wasn't Hyde-Smith in the footage all all, just some other blonde bigot. Hyde-Smith's "joke" took place literally the day after she'd "joked" about attending general admission lynchings. Maybe she's missed her true calling and should just quit the Senate and tour comedy clubs across the state: "If you've ever been too drunk to fish, you might be a redneck. And if you've ever checked your makeup in a country club bathroom mirror and seen my reflection, you might be a racist."

Espy's campaign doesn't find Hyde-Smith that amusing, but in fairness black people never got "Seinfeld," either. Danny Blanton, Espy's spokesperson, called the senator a "walking stereotype who embarrasses our 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," Blanton said in a statement.

Black people in Mississippi had been cut off from voting for the first half of the 20th Century due to segregation laws and outright fear tactics. This only ended through fierce effort on the part of Civil Rights activists. The black and white volunteers who worked to register as many black Mississippians to vote as possible during 1964's Freedom Summer faced harassment from both private citizens and the police, as well as outright violence. Eighty volunteers were beaten, four Civil Rights workers were killed, and 30 black homes and business were bombed or burned. If conservatives believe kneeling during the National Anthem disrespects veterans, they should also agree that "joking" about the "wrong people" voting disrespects the veterans of the cold war for equality that was waged on Southern streets.

It's one thing for Hyde-Smith to not honor the sacrifice of true American heroes. Maybe it was raining. I don't even expect her to feel a smidgeon of shame for the state's not-so-ancient history. But voter suppression is a very real, ongoing Republican tactic to retain power. Hyde-Smith just said the quiet parts out loud. She can also use the "liberal folks" as a code all she wants, but any serious look at voting patterns in Mississippi reveals that the threat to Hyde-Smith's seat comes from black people voting in significant numbers.

CNN Mississippi Senate Special Election Exit PollCNN

Lamar White Jr., who runs the Louisiana commie site the Bayou Brief, caught both Hyde-Smith's public hanging and voter suppression yukfests on tape. Presumably, Hyde-Smith's campaign will keep a watch out for him until the runoff is over. White Jr. will just have to invest in multiple hats and shirts to disguise himself. Keep up the good work, sir.

Oh, and everyone throw some greenbacks to Mike Epsy here.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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