MSNBC Guest Blames Landrieu Loss On White Racism

On Saturday night, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) lost her bid for reelection to Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-La.) by nearly 12 points and some liberals decided to blame her defeat on white racists who hate President Obama.

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart on Monday morning, Aisha Moodie-Mills of the Center for American Progress insisted that “the reality, and every single poll shows this, is that Democrats have completely lost the south because white people are running away from Barack Obama and this African-American man who is occupying the White House.” 

The liberal MSNBC guest continued to blame white racism for Landrieu’s loss:

Mary Landrieu only got something like 18 percent of the white vote. You're seeing that more and more and more white people are voting for Republicans. And I talk about that because we can't discount the idea of the racial politics that are playing out down there. People hate this president, southerners hate the president more than they’ve hated any other Democratic president. And so we have to look at that.

Host Jose Diaz-Balart seemed only mildly interested in pushing back at his guest’s claim that racism was to blame for Landrieu’s loss and asked “is it all about racism? Is the fact that white people have not voted for Democrats is because, as you said, there's a black president?”

Predictably, Moodie-Mills doubled-down and maintained that “in the south now, every single poll shows that absolutely white people are running away from the Democratic Party because they hate the president.” 

While the MSNBC host seemed less than enthusiastic about challenging his guest, GOP strategist Alice Stewart condemned Moodie-Mills’ decision to play the race card: 

Playing armchair quarterback, to play the race card on this is pathetic and actually insulting to the voters to say that the people of Louisiana's country are rejecting the Clinton/Obama policies because of racism. It's pathetic and it doesn't do anything to help real race issues in this country. And the fact of the matter is, this has nothing to do with the color of Barack Obama's skin. It's the content of his policies.    

The segment concluded with Moodie-Mills bashing the GOP one final time but Ms. Stewart was not given time to respond to the attack: 

It’s not sad and pathetic. It’s actually looking at the polling. If you look at the polling, you can see how these votes are breaking down by the people and the people that matter. And if you look at what the Republicans are doing in terms of manipulating the electorate around voting rights that's actually falling along racial lines as well. They’re trying to keep people of color from the polls. 


See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC's The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart

December 8, 2014

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: And now time to frame the debate. And as this congressional session winds down, we now have a better look at the next one. Republicans delivered their final blow to Democrats over the weekend. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu got clobbered in her runoff election. She lost by nearly 12 points to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. 

Her loss means come January Democrats will not have a senator or governor across nine states in the deep south from the Carolinas to Texas and that will strengthen the GOP’s hand in Washington. With me now is Aisha Moodie-Mills, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and radio talk show host and Republican strategist Alice Stewart. Ladies, thank you both for being with me. 

ALICE STEWART: Great to be here. 

DIAZ-BALART: Alice, no one really surprised by Landrieu’s loss, but this was just a pretty bad year for Democrats, I guess. But to this degree, down by 12 points and, you know, the fact that that seat had been in the hands of Democrats since the 180's. It's a pretty big blow. 

ALICE STEWART: It certainly is and having been born and raised in Georgia, currently living in Arkansas, I can tell you firsthand that the policies that the Democrats have put forth don’t help people here in the south or across the country. And Landrieu was doomed from Election Day with the overwhelming Republican victory. But her policies, while she can hand out millions and billions of dollars in federal grants and aid and loans and contracts, that helps a few people but the middle class people of Louisiana they're concerned about their own pocketbook. 

They're concerned about someone who will go to Washington and create jobs, and lower health care and Bill Cassidy is someone that will do that. And this is just a microcosm of what we saw across the country on Election Day and the Democratic policies that hurt middle class. People are speaking out and they’re sending an overwhelming resounding no thank you to Democrats across the south and the country. 

DIAZ-BALART: Aisha you heard that’s pretty much the standard explanation by Republicans of what’s been going on, specifically in the south, but I'm thinking for 2016, I mean, the fact that Republicans have such a big block of voters in the south, do you think this is going to be a problem, for example, for Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat who runs in 2016? 

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Well sure. The south is going to be a tough nut to crack. But I actually disagree with this idea that it’s, that the reason why Democrats have completely lost the south is because it's about policy exclusively. The reality, and every single poll shows this, is that Democrats have completely lost the south because white people are running away from Barack Obama and this African-American man who is occupying the White House.

Mary Landrieu only got something like 18 percent of the white vote. You're seeing that more and more and more white people are voting for Republicans. And I talk about that because we can't discount the idea of the racial politics that are playing out down there. People hate this president, southerners hate the president more than they’ve hated any other Democratic president. 

And so we have to look at that. And we also have to think about the demographic shift that is impending in the south as well and who is going to capitalize on that. The reality is that African-Americans are growing in number there. They're the strong Democratic base. You have Latino vote that’s growing as well. And so, the candidate that’s going to be able to reach those voters is the one that’s ultimately going to be able to prevail. 

DIAZ-BALART: But Aisha, is it all about racism? Is the fact that white people have not voted for Democrats is because, as you said, there's a black president? 

MOODIE-MILLS: I think that in the south now, every single poll shows that absolutely white people are running away from the Democratic Party because they hate the president. Secondly, I think a key piece, and this was just alluded to, is that Democrats need talk more about economic opportunity and how they can provide economic opportunity for voters.

If you look across the country at what happened in November, while Democrats themselves may have lost, progressive messages and progressive issues won at the ballot. So, we’re talking about making sure that women make equal pay, we’re talking about issues around Medicaid expansion, we're talking about gun control, these progressive issues and the economic ones, definitely sin. 

DIAZ-BALART: So--

STEWART: Can I say one thing? 

DIAZ-BALART: I think there's an agreement on both of you. Very quickly, there seems to be an agreement among both of you that messaging is important. 

STEWART: Messaging is key and that's critical. But for now, playing armchair quarterback, to play the race card on this is pathetic and actually insulting to the voters to say that the people of Louisiana's country are rejecting the Clinton/Obama policies because of racism. It's pathetic and it doesn't do anything to help real race issues in this country. And the fact of the matter is, this has nothing to do with the color of Barack Obama's skin. It's the content of his policies. 

They have failed the American people, and they are not creating jobs. They are increasing the cost of health care. And the people have spoken. And we're going to see, fortunately, with large majority in the Senate and the House we’re going to see the will of the people will be carried out in Washington starting in January. And that's the way it should be. And to pull the race card it's sad and pathetic, but we're going to look at the policies and we're going to look at what the people of America want.

MOODIE-MILLS: It’s not sad and pathetic. It’s actually looking at the polling. If you look at the polling, you can see how these votes are breaking down by the people and the people that matter. And if you look at what the Republicans are doing in terms of manipulating the electorate around voting rights that's actually falling along racial lines as well. They’re trying to keep people of color from the polls. 

DIAZ-BALART: I’ll tell you what, we’re going to have this discussion and continue to have this discussion. I think it's an important one and a vital one in many ways. I appreciate both Aisha Moodie-Mills of the Center for American Progress and GOP strategist Alice Stewart for being with me this morning. Thank you.

STEWART: Thank you, have a great day. 

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you.

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Congressional MSNBC Other MSNBC Aisha Moodie-Mills Jose Diaz-Balart Alice Stewart Mary Landrieu

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