MSNBC Debate Prep: How Will Dems Deal With Trump Base Craving ‘Cruelty?’

In theory, a primary debate on cable is a time to analyze the quality and suitability of presidential contenders. But then there’s MSNBC. Unhinged debate analyst and AM Joy host Joy Reid on Wednesday demanded to know how 2020 Democrats will respond to the desire of Trump voters for “cruelty” and the need to “hurt” illegals and “brown people” in general. 

Reid appeared about an hour prior to the start of the debate, focusing on the crisis on the southern borders. She said this about the suffering at detention centers, “The horror is deliberate.” Referencing Atlantic writer Adam Serwer, Reid excoriated Trump voters: “The cruelty is the point. His base wants to see this cruelty to prove to them that he is hurting the right people. I want to see how these Democrats respond to that.” 

 

 

Reid wanted to know how these candidates will fight the monstrous Republican base: “I want to see how these Democrats respond to that.” As for the administration, she declared: “This is what they want to show the world, that we're willing to be as cruel as you could possibly be, maximally cruel to children in order to scare brown people out of coming here. It's horrifying.” 

Regarding the 2020 Dems, Reid wondered: 

So explain to those people and to just anyone with a conscience how do you change this if you become president? How you undo the existential nightmarish damage that this President has done to everything about what we've said we are, everything. Even if you doubted when American presidents said that we are this shining city on a hill, even if you thought it was B.S. and a sales job, at least they said it. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

MSNBC's Democratic Debate Pre-Show
6/26/19
7:54 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Joy Reid is standing by to talk to us. I wish he we had a cheerier topic to welcome you into this conversation. But we can't pick the backdrops against which tonight takes place. 

JOY REID: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's important to actually have this conversation before the debate. I'm hoping that the debate participants get a chance to answer that question that I think the panel just threw out, which is how do you restore a sense of the America that we've said we are for the longest time? Because what Donald Trump has done is dismantle that America and replace it with this, with deliberate cruelty to children, with this hideous system that legitimately gets talked about as concentration camps. That's the debate we end up having, what to call it. What we see is horror, and the horror is deliberate. I’m going to quote Adam Serwer again. The cruelty is the point. His base wants to see this cruelty to prove to them that he is hurting the right people. I want to see how these Democrats respond to that.

NICOLLE WALLACE: Joy, do you think there is any chance —  you people today were talking today about Beto. He has spoken passionately and eloquently with a lot of expertise from that state about these issues. Do you think there is an opportunity for him to kind of have a moment or capture both the tragedy that you're talking about, the cruelty and offer some solutions? 

REID: Yeah. It's a great opportunity for him. He obviously is from a border state, a state where this is emergent and extent issue. Julian Castro also has that same opportunity as somebody whose mother came over. She is a Chicana activist. His grandmother actually came here as an orphan at six years old. He goes back generations in Texas. I think they, in particular, have an opportunity tonight to shine some light on the human toll of this Trump policy on real people. We see that horrifying photo of the father and daughter face-down dead in the Rio that's the actual picture of what the world sees when they think of America now. That's what they think of us. The world is watching us deteriorate. 

And Donald Trump is leading it joyfully. People like Stephen Miller, this is what they want, and this is what they want to show the world, that we're willing to be as cruel as you could possibly be, maximally cruel to children in order to scare brown people out of coming here. It's horrifying. I've been sleepless watching it happen. And so I'm really hoping to hear from the debate participants tonight, and not just the two Texans. Explain to us, because remember, the democratic party is utterly dependent on people of color. They're dependent on black women. They're dependent on Latinos. That is how they win. So explain to those people and to just anyone with a conscience how do you change this if you become president? How you undo the existential nightmarish damage that this President has done to everything about what we've said we are, everything. Even if you doubted when American presidents said that we are this shining city on a hill, even if you thought it was B.S. and a sales job, at least they said it. 

Donald Trump doesn't even believe it. He doesn't even want to be a shining city on the hill. He doesn't want to lie to us and tell us we're good people. He wants to be cruel. He wants to be Vladimir Putin. And that's not going to work if the United States is ever going to lead the world again. 

CHRIS HAYES: You know, Joy, you talked about Beto and Julian Castro who are both Texans. I was down at the border interviewing Beto O'Rourke and he made all this news. I said, “Look, there is a wall in El Paso. Should they take it down?” He said yeah. It was an interesting moment, because he does have —  it's an issue where he has policy command. They put out a very comprehensive policy that would essentially go back to the case management system that would not necessitate detention. He has some policy command on it. He also just has — If there is a single thing that he has genuine passion authentically coursing through him, it is on this. It is on the border. It is about immigration, migration. That is something that he can speak to I think in a fairly distinct way. 

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