The race for who will represent Mississippi in the United States Senate has gone to a runoff election, to be decided on November 27th. The remaining candidates are Mike Espy, an African-American Democrat who served as the Secretary of Agriculture in the Bill Clinton administration, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican who was appointed to the Senate seat by the Republican Governor of Mississippi, after the sitting Senator Thad Cochran resigned due to health issues.
Video has recently been released of Cindy Hyde-Smith meeting with constituents earlier this month. During this meeting, she decided to crack a joke about suppressing the vote of college students:
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
When Cindy Hyde-Smith said “other schools”, there is a good chance she was referring to HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) schools such as Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, and Mississippi Valley State University, and voter registration drives that took place at those universities:
Student leaders at Mississippi’s eight public universities are holding voter registration drives in the coming days to encourage their fellow students to get out and vote.
Below is a list of the dates, times and locations for the voter registration drives:
Tuesday, Sept. 25 and Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Alcorn State University: Clinton Bristow Dining Facility
- Delta State University: Student Union
- Jackson State University: Student Center
- Mississippi State University: Drill Field
- Mississippi University for Women: Hogarth Cafeteria
- Mississippi Valley State University: Vendor’s Square, Jacob Aron Student Union
- University of Mississippi: Business Row
- University of Mississippi Medical Center:
- September 25: Old School of Medicine Foyer
- September 26: Student Union
And when she referred to making it “a little more difficult”, there’s a good chance she was referring to a years-long effort by Republicans to craft laws that prevent students from being able to vote:
In Tennessee, a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly excludes student IDs.
In Wisconsin, college students are newly disallowed from using university-provided housing lists or corroboration from other students to verify their residence.
Florida’s reduction in early voting days is expected to reduce the number of young and first-time voters there.
And Pennsylvania’s voter identification bill, still on the books for now, disallows many student IDs and non-Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, which means out-of-state students may be turned away at the polls.
This latest video comes on the heels of another video that was recently released of Cindy Hyde-Smith meeting with constituents earlier this month. During that meeting, she decided to crack a joke about public hangings:
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
To defend her remark about a public hanging, Cindy Hyde-Smith stated that the phrase she used was just a colloquialism meant to express how much she appreciated her supporter:
In her own statement Sunday, Hyde-Smith asserted that her remark was an “exaggerated expression of regard.”
“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”
Referencing a public hanging in order to express how much one regards an invitation to a speaking engagement by a supporter seems, well, a little bit strange in the 21st Century. However, in the context of a political race against an African-American opponent, it is pretty difficult to describe her comment as being merely a strange, outdated colloquialism. Now, with new video of Cindy Hyde-Smith talking about voter suppression of students from “other schools”, it’s sure starting to seem like there is a pattern developing.