In Mississippi, Hyde-Smith tries to crawl to the finish line as bad news mounts
Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is desperately trying to hang on to her Senate seat, as tomorrow’s runoff election looms. She’s been avoiding the press and keeping a low profile, and it’s not hard to see why: Every passing day brings more bad news.
On Saturday, it was revealed that Major League Baseball had donated $5,000 to her campaign. Donating to a Mississippi lawmaker with an apparent soft spot for both the Confederacy and her state’s racist past turns out to be a bad look for any major American entity that wants to not be associated with such things, so as soon as that news broke, MLB asked Hyde-Smith to return their money. Oops.
Also on Saturday, a 2007 bill Hyde-Smith promoted honoring the last surviving daughter of a Mississippi Confederate soldier was resurfaced. The resolution, which heaped praise on the soldier as a man who “fought to defend his homeland” in the “War Between the States,” had kind words for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group devoted to the display of Confederate symbols, monuments, and glib revisionism.
This is after a photo surfaced of Hyde-Smith beaming brightly while displaying Confederate gear, and after her “public hanging” comments, and so on. All of this has led her fellow Republicans to begin the process of preemptively hedging their bets a wee bit, even as Donald Effing Trump jets down to Mississippi today to sell Hyde-Smith to his hard-right supporters. If the results from election day are repeated, she keeps her seat, but three more weeks of public exposure has done her no favors and folks like RNC committeeman Henry Barbour are ominously warning that “we don’t want to have an Alabama” on Republican hands.
That would be a reference to Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who was rejected by Alabama voters in favor of Democratic now-Senator Doug Jones. Yes, Barbour is comparing Cindy Hyde-Smith and her candidacy to that of a man exposed during his own campaign as a banned-from-the-mall child molester. He did indeed just do that.
Hyde-Smith is still favored in the race, because you can do almost anything and still be elected as a Republican in the deep south. But as her fellow Republicans are noting, Hyde-Smith certainly seems intent on testing those limits.