MSNBC Analyst: 'Systemic Racism' and 'Kids in Cages' Explain Iowa Caucus Fiasco

February 4th, 2020 4:29 PM

MSNBC political analyst and former Clinton campaign aide Zerlina Maxwell claimed first time caucus-goer turnout in Iowa was low Monday night because white people don’t care about “brown kids in cages.” She also blamed “systemic racism” for Iowa having a white voter majority.

On Tuesday's MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin, the host asked his guests why caucus-goer turnout was lower this year than in 2016, since President Trump was a "motivator" for the left to get out and vote. Maxwell complained it was both racist white people's fault and also a racist voting system:

Yes, but I think for a different reason than a lot of folks probably will think. Maybe I'll be the only person to say this today. The Iowa Caucus is essentially the perfect example of systemic racism. 91% of the voters in Iowa are white. The reason you see a drop in turnout, I’m just speculating here, it could be perhaps that white children are not in the cages. So when you're talking about the tangible pain that black and brown people are feeling, they feel a sense of urgency because their kids are being put in cages, right? So if you have 91% white electorate, that sense of urgency may not be reflected in the turnout numbers. I'm not saying that's the reason for this. It could be a factor.


It’s not entirely clear whether Maxwell realized she was calling Democrats, racist.

However, she repeated her “systemic racism” line later in the show, this time, to discount her entire argument she made just 30 minutes before. While, at the top of the show, she claimed that white people didn’t come out to vote because of their racist apathy for brown kids, she then flipped the script, saying not enough black people came out because the caucus process was “fundamentally undemocratic":

“It's an undemocratic process. You need to be somebody who can take the time off to go and caucus on a Monday night for several hours. If you have kids, who is going to baby-sit?” she asked, adding, “Structurally it's very undemocratic in a country where people of color are historically marginalized...What you want is more people participating in the process. That’s the foundation of democracy. So what you want to make it easier for people to participate.”

Maxwell wasn’t the only one blaming racism on the Democrats’ caucus chaos. On The View Tuesday, the hosts also bashed white people and suggested racism was at play for the problems.