On Tuesday morning, MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle seemed worried about Democrats possibly failing to win the runoff Senate elections in Georgia even more so than her Democratic guest, Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams, who is also the Georgia Democratic party chair.
In an interview that lasted more than four minutes, while asking no questions about policy issues, Ruhle repeatedly pressed her guest to be more concerned that Republicans will succeed in defeating Democrats by attacking their views as "radical," and using advantages like fundraising.
After a report on the upcoming Georgia Senate elections scheduled for January 5, Ruhle brought aboard Williams and began by asking her if she is "worried" that Democratic voters will not be "energized" enough to win the special elections, citing the long record of the party losing presidential elections in the state prior to 2020.
After the Democratic Congresswoman-elect was upbeat about her side winning, Ruhle then fretted over Republican fundraising in her second question:
Georgians may be turning out in force, but Republicans are busting out their checkbooks. Republicans have a 400 percent cash advantage over Democrats. At this point, is the game plan to try to close that gap or not even focus on fundraising? You ain't never going to catch up to them.
Williams brushed off the fundraising issue and again talked up the Democratic candidates' chances of winning, leading Ruhle to continue show worry as she brought up Republicans portraying Democratic candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock as extreme:
For those of us who watched the debate the other night, Kelly Loeffler has taken the approach that we saw the GOP do in this last election that was successful -- attacking Reverend Warnock, making him out to be a radical. It worked in other down ballot races. How can Democrats combat this?
After Williams was dismissive of those criticisms of Reverend Warnock as a "tired argument," Ruhle followed up by pressuring her to be more concerned about the election's outcome:
But is it fair to say it's a tired argument? It did work. Jaime Harrison will tell you it did work. Amy McGrath would say it did work. You know, we heard that from the likes of current elected Democrats who said that argument that the GOP made helped Republicans win seats. To say, "Oh, well, that's a tired argument," aren't you risking something that could be a real vulnerability unless you attack it head on?
This heavily slanted episode of MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle was sponsored in part by Nuts.com. Their contact information is linked.
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant segment:
MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle
9:33 a.m. Eastern
STEPHANIE RUHLE; I want to dig deeper and bring in Georgia Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams. She is the chair of Georgia's Democratic party. She's got a serious job to do these days. Thank you for joining me. Let's talk about the history Shaq (NBC News correspondent Shaquille Brewster) was just mentioning. Democrats haven't won a statewide runoff in Georgia since 1988. And it's -- people just don't seem to get that enthused. Are you worried that people just aren't that energized because it's not the presidential election?
CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): You and Shaq got it exactly right. This is a turnout election. We might have not won a runoff since 1988 but it's a new day here in Georgia. If you look at what we were able to accomplish in the November election, Donald Trump lost not once, not twice, but three times -- three times -- right here in the state of Georgia. And we hadn't done that since 1992. The last time Democrats won a presidential election, I couldn't even vote. So we are making progress here cycle after cycle, and I have to remind people that this election was never just about Donald Trump.
So it does not matter that trump is not on the ballot. His Republican party is still on the ballot who has not looked out for everyday Georgians. We have two United States senators who line their own pockets and looked out for their own stock portfolios instead of everyday Georgians in the midst of this pandemic. So we know what's at stake this election cycle. Georgians are turning out in force to vote for our Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
RUHLE: Georgians may be turning out in force, but Republicans are busting out their checkbooks. Republicans have a 400 percent cash advantage over Democrats. At this point, is the game plan to try to close that gap or not even focus on fundraising? You ain't never going to catch up to them.
WILLIAMS: We're absolutely focused on fundraising, but what we know is that people won elections, and we are turning out our people. We're talking to everyday Georgians making sure that they understand what's at stake. If we want to get this pandemic under control, we have work to do, and that means we need to get two Democrats elected to the United States Senate. We've seen what has happened with Republicans in control of the United States Senate. It's gridlock after gridlock, and people are not getting the help that they need in the midst of a global pandemic. So, yes, money is absolutely important -- people can go online and donate to the Democratic party or to our candidates today, but we need them to turn out to vote, and that's what we're focused on.
RUHLE: For those of us who watched the debate the other night, Kelly Loeffler has taken the approach that we saw the GOP do in this last election that was successful -- attacking Reverend Warnock, making him out to be a radical. It worked in other down ballot races. How can Democrats combat this?
WILLIAMS: I mean, I don't know that it's worked. I think the verdict is still out on that. Early voting starts December 14, and I think people saw what we saw was you want authenticity in your candidates, and what I saw was someone on repeat after repeat using a tired line that national Republicans continue to use. But what I know is that Raphael Warnock preaches from the pulpit of Dr. King every Sunday. I saw Kelly Loeffler sitting in the pulpit behind him on the King holiday just in January. So I know the man of integrity and the man of faith that Raphael Warnock is, and I cannot wait to call him my United States Senator.
RUHLE: But is it fair to say it's a tired argument? It did work. Jaime Harrison will tell you it did work. Amy McGrath would say it did work. You know, we heard that from the likes of current elected Democrats who said that argument that the GOP made helped Republicans win seats. To say, "Oh, well, that's a tired argument," aren't you risking something that could be a real vulnerability unless you attack it head on?
WILLIAMS: What I do know is that our candidates have been going back out and making sure that voters understand exactly who they are. No matter who our candidate is, you are going to hear the same argument. It has nothing to do with the candidates that we have on the ballot. It has nothing to do with the work that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are going to do when they get to the Senate to represent everyday Georgians.
It has everything to do with Republicans being scared and using fear tactics to try and keep people away from the polls. And that's just not what we're about here in Georgia. We're looking forward. We're moving on to make sure that we can get this pandemic under control, we can get our children back to school safely, get our health care on the right track, and get people back to work here in Georgia.
RUHLE: Amen to that. Thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.