Ted Cruz has been reelected. The moment was greeted on MSNBC with a somber tone, extended moments of silence and a bizarre analogy from liberal host Chris Hayes. Reporting live from the Beto O’Rouke “victory” party, Hayes repeated this ugly comparison: “Someone earlier tonight, a Texas Democrat who is elected, described the math in Texas like being in a prison and trying to get over a wall.”
Continuing the prison break imagery, he added, “It's a tall wall and it’s really hard. And Beto has done a lot to get up over that wall. It looks like he's going to fall short.” Offering the old Texas Democrat excuse of moral victories, Hayes spun, “I also just talked to a Texas source who said already it's the best night, to put this in perspective, for Texas Democrats in a generation.”
Watch the video below to hear the silence as the MSNBC crew processes the Cruz victory.
Rachel Maddow mourned the Texas loss: “For it to be called at this point after watching it on such a knife edge is a blunt ending to this.” She described the MSNBC reaction this way: “We’re absorbing this news.”
For more on media predictions of an O’Rourke win, go here.
A partial transcript is below:
MSNBC Live election night coverage
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Hey, guys, I got to interrupt. We have a big call. This is out of Texas. NBC News is projecting Ted Cruz will return to the Senate from Texas, and Republicans will be guaranteed control of the Senate as a result.
RACHEL MADDOW: Let's go to Chris Hayes who is in El Paso at Beto O'rourke headquarters. Chris Hayes, we've been going back to you all night long as we've been watching this almost unbelievably close race unfold. NBC now projecting that Ted Cruz will be reelected. I've got to ask you about how it feels in the room and whether or not people in the room have absorbed that call.
CHRIS HAYES: I don't think they have absorbed it at all to be totally honest. Loud music playing. It's filled. Someone earlier tonight, a Texas Democrat who is elected, described the math in Texas like being in a prison and trying to get over a wall. He said you could try a million different ways. It's a tall wall and it’s really hard. And Beto has done a lot to get up over that wall. It looks like he's going to fall short.
I also just talked to a Texas source who said already it's the best night, to put this in perspective, for Texas Democrats in a generation. They're looking at probably ten state rep pickups, a bunch of congressional competitive seats. So, the race that Beto ran here had a lot of down ballot effects. And after an extremely devastated , moribund Democratic Party, I think there is a generally a fairly optimistic feeling with Beto coming up short in the Senate race.
MADDOW: We have been talking about this all night, about how remarkable it is that Beto would be this close. For it to be called at this point after watching it on such a knife edge is a blunt ending to this. But let’s go to somebody who knows this stuff inside and out. Evan Smith is the CEO just as we’re absorbing this news. Thanks very much for being with us. We know this is an incredibly critical night in Texas. Let’s get your top line reaction to how Beto O’Rourke did in this race against Ted Cruz. NBC now projecting that Cruz will be reelected.
EVAN SMITH: I'm a little stunned. I've been absorbing it myself. I'm stubbed the race would be this close. I thought Cruz was going to win this race all along, but would win it by mid single digits or high single digits. Understand that Republicans typically win in state-wide races by 15 or 20 points. So, the fact Beto O'rourke got it this close was the news today. Getting it to a point or two or three, whatever it ends up being is really an extraordinary feet in a state that has not been hospitable going back to Ann Richards. And what you heard Chris say is true. He will lose, but Democrats will have a fantastic night. They'll pick up a double digit number of seats in the Texas House. They'll win some congressional seats. There are statewide races that have no business being close that are tight as a tick right now. It's a good night for Democrats even if Beto O'Rourke loses.