Accuracy in Media

Even with the election long over and its results no longer in doubt, mainstream media continue to try to paint Republican electoral victories as triumphs of racism over reason.

Republicans might still prevail in racist strongholds, but their margins of victory are reduced by decent people doing the right thing and voting for Democrats, according to “Red state blues: Mike Espy’s loss in Mississippi still brings good news for Democrats” subhead: “What Mike Espy’s defeat can teach us about winning Senate races in deep red states” by Matt Rozsa.

Ignoring Democrat Senate victories in New Jersey, where the incumbent won despite spending much of his last term fighting criminal charges, and Montana, where the Democrat incumbent held on despite leveling false charges at Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor Trump appointed to run the VA, Rozsa attempts to make the case Democrats have to run perfect races to win in conservative states, but Republicans can make numerous mistakes – from racist “gaffes” to “controversial comments about women” – and still hold on in conservative bastions.

“There are some striking parallels between last week’s Mississippi Senate runoff, in which Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy, and two other recent Senate elections in red states in which the Democrat would up having a stronger campaign than would normally be expected,” Rozsa wrote at the beginning of the piece.

In North Dakota and Alabama, the Republican candidates were “mired in controversy while the Democratic challenger attempted to be as non-controversial as possible by identifying with the party’s centrist wing,” Rozsa wrote.

In Alabama, where Moore was accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women – “women, to be clear, who were underage at the time the alleged incidents occurred” – the problems were so pervasive “even many Republicans found it necessary to denounce him or at the very least distance themselves from his campaign, allowing for a Democrat to win a state that had gone for Donald Trump by nearly 30 points only one year before.”  

But in North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat incumbent, lost because voters there don’t care about women’s rights, Rozsa wrote. “It is not inconceivable that she could have retained her seat,” despite Trump winning the state by 36 points in 2016. She had “emerged as one of his closest Democrat allies in the Senate and “identified with the party’s more conservative wing.”

Her opponent, Kevin Cramer, had a “history of making controversial comments about women.” Those comments included Cramer, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, saying Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee of the Republican president to the Supreme Court, should be confirmed. 

The part that made Cramer’s comments especially controversial, Rozsa wrote, was when he told a North Dakota reporter “Even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?” Cramer also supposedly called the #MeToo campaign “a movement toward victimization,” Rozsa wrote.

But one mistake by Heitkamp – “running an ad that accidentally identified sexual assault survivors” – and she had broken one of the first rules of running for higher office as a Democrat in Republican state, which is that your margin for error is virtually non-existent. It also didn’t help that Cramer’s views toward women were not regarded as controversial among many of his fellow conservatives.”

Espy made no such gaffes, Rozsa wrote. But he lost anyway despite Hyde-Smith having “made a number of racist ‘gaffes’ while running against an African-American opponent in the general. These included joking with a supporter about attending a public hanging, talking about how she would support stopping liberals from voting and failing to adequately address the controversy over her having attended a segregation academy as a child, as well as sending her daughter to a school founded as a segregation academy.”

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