If you were still under any illusion that NBC News Washington correspondent and PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor was an objective journalist, the following segment will quickly disabuse you of that notion. During a discussion on MSNBC's The 11th Hour on Wednesday, anchor Stephanie Ruhle asked Alcindor a leading question about Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signing into law a ban on puberty blockers for minors, to which Alcindor accused the GOP of waging a culture war, while Democrats are focused on the economy.
“Is the state of Alabama in such great shape? They’ve got huge issues with poverty, water problems, voting rights” Ruhle snarked. “How is it that an anti-LGBTQ legislative agenda is more important than issues that are impacting the daily lives of thousands of people in that state?” She then asked “How does this become their number one priority?”
Alcindor responded by claiming “critics of what's happening in Alabama say this is all about politics. It’s all about an election year.” She then accused Republicans of playing politics by protecting children from abuse: “Republicans in some ways understand what really motivates their base.”
She then sought to contrast the differences in priorities between Republicans and Democrats:
They want to talk about crime, they want to talk about critical race theory. They want to get people feeling like America is slipping through their fingers. And Democrats, in some ways, are trying to focus on the nuts and bolts. They’re trying to focus on inflation, they’re trying to tell people that their student loans are deferred, they’re trying to say look we are doing something for you.
Alcindor chalked it up to “a messaging war” between the two parties heading into the midterms, and whichever party wins that war will win in November.
If that’s the case, and it’s a choice between Democrats who are “focused” on the economy that has led to 40-year high inflation, or Republicans who seek to protect children from sexual abuse and grooming, the contest won’t even be close.
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To read the relevant transcript of this segment, click “expand”:
MSNBC’s The 11th Hour
11:41:21 p.m. Eastern
STEPHANIE RUHLE: All right, Yamiche without getting into specifics of the law. Alabama's Governor signed an anti-LGBTQ law. Alabama, along with a bunch of other Republican states doing this, here's what I don't get. Is the state of Alabama in such great shape? They’ve got huge issues with poverty, water problems, voting rights. How is it that an anti-LGBTQ legislative agenda is more important than issues that are impacting the daily lives of thousands of people in that state? How does this become their number one priority?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well Stephanie, it's such a great question. Because critics of what's happening in Alabama say this is all about politics. It’s all about an election year. And that Republicans in some ways understand what really motivates their base. It’s that they make this argument about culture wars. They want to lean in on transgender rights. They want to talk about crime, they want to talk about critical race theory. They want to get people feeling like America is slipping through their fingers. And Democrats, in some ways, are trying to focus on the nuts and bolts. They’re trying to focus on inflation, they’re trying to tell people that their student loans are deferred, they’re trying to say look we are doing something for you. But this is a messaging war. That’s what a lot of election years are about. But James's frustration, the idea that it’s like Democrats need to make sure that they have a message that’s clear. That frustration is a frustration going across the Democratic Party.
Just last week, President Obama, former President Obama, at the White House told our Peter Alexander at NBC News, that Democrats have a message, and they need to be able to tell that message, they need to be able to tell their story in this election. If they can't do that they're not going to be able to win. And that is the message of Democrats. And Republicans have their own message, and it is that America is changing too much. Your kids are at risk, and here is what we're gonna do to try to help save your kids. It might be a message that’s problematic, It might be a message that’s even filled with some falsehoods, but it’s a message that is riling up their base and getting them to the polls.
RUHLE: James, I would guess jobs, health care, education. That would get Republicans to the polls. Why is an anti-LGBTQ agenda such a win for them?
JAMES CARVILLE: First of all, they don't have any other agenda. Mitch McConnell says see me after the election. They’re not running on anything, so let's take six-tenths of one percent of the population. These children who are, I don’t know, five times more likely to commit suicide, have mental health problems. Why are we picking on them? Unless they're trying to help these trans kids. Try to have them get along in the world. And not have the terrible mental problems that they have. It's just, the point of it is just cruelty. It's just to be mean, to hear some people that are vulnerable, and let's just go out and put them front and center. Make them the issue in the election because we don't have anything other to run on than Rick Scott and Ron Johnson’s plan to raise taxes on 40 percent of the people in America who can’t afford it.
RUHLE: And that gets Republicans excited to vote?
CARVILLE: I'm not a Republican. So what would get me excited to vote, I'm a Democrat, what gets me excited to vote is to see the way that Judge Jackson was treated. What gets me excited to vote is to see hourly workers now have some options in front of them and more of them have healthcare. But I can’t explain it to you. Because I'm a flawed person in many ways, I'm a bad person, I don't think I'm a cruel person. And this is just being cruel to people that need our compassion and do not need our cruelty.
RUHLE: Well, it sounds like you’ve got a lot to be excited about come the midterms. James Carville, good to see you. Yamiche Alcindor thank you as well.