Instead of acknowledging the historic nature of Mayra Flores’ win in her South Texas special election, Joy Reid and her guests on Wednesday night’s ReidOut instead chose to discount the win, saying Democrats hadn’t really tried in the race and tarring Flores as part of a group of “Qanon-curious” Republicans hell-bent on destroying democracy.
Reid began by going over the results of Tuesday’s primaries, concluding it with, “a victory for Mayra Flores, the QAnon-curious Republican who flipped a House seat in the Democratic stronghold of South Texas.”
Apparently, Reid still thinks Q is relevant — which is hilarious on its own — but what makes her claim all the more ridiculous is that the only connection between Flores and Q seems to be, according to The Texas Tribune, the use of Q-related hashtags in social media posts already containing a shotgun blast of conservative hashtags meant to generate clicks on the right, such as putting #secondamendment on an Instagram post about COVID-19.
Flores herself has said, “I’ve always been against any of that [QAnon]. I’ve never been supportive of it,” but of course, that’s just smoke and mirrors. After all, everyone knows a hashtag equals full and total endorsement (#sarcasm).
The majority of the discussion was a typical sackcloth-and-ashes affair, with MSNBC political analyst Fernand Amandi expressing his terror at the number of conservatives running for office who express concerns about election integrity:
Joy, it's a lot like that zombie movie, World War Z. You run enough of these zombie election denier MAGA candidates — you know — it's tough to pick ‘em all off when they’re all coming at the same time, and it only takes a few of them to get through to oversee the elections in some of these critical states and you have democracy at the — the barrel of a gun as we’re seeing right now.
Insults notwithstanding, if the best analogy you can come up with for the state of your political party — which is what any discussion on MSNBC about "our democracy" really means — is a zombie apocalypse, odds are your party isn’t doing very well.
Reid followed this dumb analogy by citing a Yahoo/YouGov poll which found that half of all Americans think America will cease to be a democracy “in the future,” and that, “What's not asked there is whether you’re glad about that because I think some people who are not unhappy with that outcome, that not everyone is — is committed to the idea of this being a democracy.”
Instead of pointing out the vague phrasing (how far in the future?) or the incorrectness of the question (America is a constitutional republic, not a democracy), Reid decided that this poll clearly means that portions of the electorate are actively trying to destroy the American system. Somewhere, Joe McCarthy is smiling.
Reid concluded the segment by returning to the topic of Flores’ historic win, which she promptly downplayed, “Democrats didn't even play. There are 711,000 people in that district, only 29,000 voted.”
Amandi played the role of yes man, saying, “this is what I call an AstroTurf barrage victory by the Republicans, because they threw 8 or 9 million dollars to capture this seat. Joy, the Democrats are going to regain this seat in the November elections. There is no doubt about it.”
Given the rest of the discussion’s nonstop fear porn, perhaps Amandi was trying to reassure himself in the face of what appears to be, in the words of Barack Obama, a midterm “shellacking” for the Democrats.
Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.
MSNBC’s The ReidOut
07:22:04 PM ET
JOY REID: And then a victory for Mayra Flores, the QAnon-curious Republican who flipped a House seat in the Democratic stronghold of South Texas. Joining me now is Fernand Amandi, MSNBC political analyst and pollster, and David Pepper, former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and author of Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call From Behind the Lines. Well that’s a book that was certainly timely.
07:23:40 PM ET
REID: Uh, David Pepper, what do — do these two races say anything about the future of our country and whether — uh, democracy can hold?
DAVID PEPPER: Uh, well, I mean, they're obviously mixed. Um — I mean, I really respect what the Congressman said at the end there, that there’s sort of a bigger legacy you have when you’re in office and he’s trying to leave one that he can be proud of.
Uh — I'll say bigger picture though, the really troubling — maybe of all the races last night, the one that should really worry us most — it’s sort of the canary in the coal mine is that secretary of state's race in Nevada.
You have all around this country election deniers — uh, you know, the people who — who like Jim Marchant who wouldn’t have ceded that Trump — the Biden delegation. Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, all over, they're the candidates running for secretary of state. They're also running for State Houses and, regardless of the Federal ones which are also important, these are folks who are mostly winning these primaries. And when you’re looking in '24, they’re gonna write the rules of the elections in '24, and then they’re gonna be the ones running the elections.
So the thing we really have to watch out for, the people attacking democracy, the front line for them is states. In State Houses, in secretaries of state, that's where they're really being aggressive, they’re putting much more money than they ever have, and that should be a real wake-up call going forward, is all these state-level races that will shape the '24 election as much as anyone on the Federal level.
REID: Well, I mean, and to that very point, Fernand, Jim Marchant, there’s — he’s one of 23 election deniers — um, who were running in the 2020 elections in 17 states, in 17 states across the country per an organization called States United Action.
So, that is a really good point, right? I mean, Democrats tend to really fixate on the White House and on the Presidency. Republicans have fixated on these states, and they're doing quite well in doing that.
FERNAND AMANDI: It’s exactly the point. Joy, it's a lot like that zombie movie, World War Z. You run enough of these zombie election denier MAGA candidates. You know, it's tough to pick ‘em all off when they’re all coming at the same time, and it only takes a few of them to get through to oversee the elections in some of these critical states and you have democracy at the — the barrel of a gun as we’re seeing right now.
Even in my home state of Florida, you know here that the Secretary of State is a QAnon supporter.
AMANDI: He is also appointed by Ron Desantis. So, this is the hack of democracy we are seeing. And candidly, the problem here I think still continues to come down to the Justice Department. Until indictments start to come down on the perpetrators of criminal activity by elected office holders that we’re seeing — Joy, this is just gonna be dismissed as political back-and-forth.
I am seeing it in focus groups around the country. Uh, everyday Americans are saying well — you know, if there were really something serious you would see these people get arrested, get indicted. It's just politics as usual in the minds of many. And it's becoming dangerous because right now elections cannot be a remedy to deal with criminal activity in the United States. That's what the rule of law and the Justice Department is for.
REID: Well — I mean, David Pepper we are in a situation right now where half of Americans — and that means Democrats and Republicans — have just told a poll recently — um, a — a Yahoo/YouGov poll that America will cease to be a democracy in the future. What's not asked there is whether you’re glad about that because I think some people who are not unhappy with that outcome, that not everyone is — is committed to the idea of this being a democracy.
PEPPER: No, I mean, look at CPAC was in Hungary, that’s a comparative autocracy. Peter Thiel literally says that democracy is inconsistent with freedom and he’s supporting all these candidates. Uh, these people are running to run elections who are election deniers. So — so clearly once, not all Republicans, but there’s a chunk of people who literally are now saying that they don't want to see the results of our newer diverse democracy.
And — and I'll say — you know — we have to have accountability through the DOJ. I completely agree for anyone who tried to undo the last election. But Democrats have to start opening their eyes beyond the Federal. The other side knows the key to democracy is shaped in states, in State Houses. And until we know as — every Democrat can tell you the swing Senate races, right?
PEPPER: They need to know the swing Secretary of State races, they need to know that we’re only two seats from winning the Arizona State House, and only three from winning the Michigan State House. The other side, the Koch brothers and ALEC, they know this stuff like the back of their hand, and all we do is get excited about a few Senate races while they're destroying democracy in states.
So we’ve gotta be account — we need accountability at the legal level, but we need to be much savvier politically and go to where democracy is most fiercely being attacked, which is in state after state after state.
REID: Yeah, indeed. And to that point, let’s talk about Mayra Flores. And by the way — um, one person who doesn't believe that we should be a democracy is Mike Lee. He now has a much tougher race. Larry Sabato’s actually downgraded that race a little bit, so there are some people who do care in some states.
Let's talk really quickly, we don’t have a ton of time, Mayra Flores. This was a race which was — in a tiny turnout, like less than — fewer than 30,000 people voted. She flips the seat that had been traditionally Democratic, its an 85% — um, Hispanic, it’s the second-most Hispanic — uh, apparently congressional district in America. She picks it up.
But can you talk a little bit about this? Because Democrats didn't even really compete. She ran these really compelling personal ads about being born in Mexico. Her husband is a — a member of the Border Patrol. Democrats didn't even play. There are 711,000 people in that district, only 29,000 voted. This is a problem, right?
AMANDI: Well, let me just say this is what I call an AstroTurf barrage victory by the Republicans, because they threw 8 or 9 million dollars to capture this seat. Joy, the Democrats are going to regain this seat in the November elections. There is no doubt about it.
Now, in the short term, it's good for the Republicans in the sense they'll be able to say look at what we've done, we've elected the first Mexican-born member of Congress, but this is short-lived and Democrats should not go into a panic and recognize the broader picture. This is still about November, and it’s about holding onto the House and the Senate.
And I really do believe based on the numbers of what I’ve seen for November with higher turnout, this seat will revert back to the Democrats.
REID: That’s it, that’s the ri — don't wet — don’t wet the bed, turn out the vote — uh, especially in state races, not just Federal and not just Presidential.