Democratic candidate Mike Espy is facing some tough racism in his campaign to become the next U.S. senator of Mississippi. Facing off against Cindy Hyde-Smith—who was appointed by soon-to-be-leaving Governor Phil Bryant—Espy has already had to deal with the general racism any person of color has to face in the country. That has been compounded by the fact that Hyde-Smith and her Republican support system have decided to lean into using racism, or “economic anxiety” as some traditional media outlets like put it, as their main political platform.
On Jan. 2, Gov. Bryant tweeted out: “I intend to work for @cindyhydesmith as if the fate of America depended on her single election. If Mike Espy and the liberal Democrats gain the Senate we will take that first step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Media outlet Deep South Voice reports that Espy sent out an email that used the Bryant tweet as a rallying cry against the kind of conservative ethno-bullshit people like Bryant and Hyde-Smith have been running on, saying “Cindy Hyde-Smith said her 2020 campaign ‘will be meaner this time.’ Based on this statement made by the Governor of Mississippi, we can all see where this is going. If we want a leader who aspires to bring us together and who will work on both sides of the aisle, rather than divide, we must elect Mike Espy this year.”
Hyde-Smith was able to beat out Espy in the 2018 special election runoff for former Senator Thad Cochran’s seat, even after “joking” about being all gung-ho for a “public hanging,” in Mississippi. She was able to hold onto to the seat gifted to her by Gov. Bryant even after images of her rocking Confederate gear surfaced. In fact, Bryant’s defense of Hyde-Smith, after her public lynching joke debacle, was to hold a press conference, with Hyde-Smith on the stage, where he spent most of his time calling abortion “black genocide.”
And so, Bryant and Hyde-Smith, and Trump — the white supremacist in chief — will continue to run on racism. Good old classic, easy to understand racism. These aren’t dog whistles. This is the Republican Party becoming more of what it is. A political organization built to preserve white male hegemony, and more specifically, wealthy white male hegemony.