By Robert A. Vella
It’s no surprise that Mississippi elected a racist (Cindy Hyde-Smith) to the U.S. Senate yesterday which finalized the 2018 midterm elections for that legislative body. What is a little surprising, however, is the Republican’s margin of victory over her black Democratic opponent Mike Espy. With 95% of the precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith was 8 points ahead at 54% – 46%. Such a margin would be considered big in most other states, but not in deep-red Mississippi where Republicans have dominated since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. For example, Mitt Romney defeated President Obama in this state in 2012 by 12% (56% – 44%), and Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a whopping 18% (58% – 40%). Hyde-Smith’s weaker performance this year indicates that the racial controversies plaguing her campaign did have some impact on the election.
The last remaining race for the U.S. House of Representatives (California’s 21st congressional district) is still undecided, but Democrat T. J. Cox has taken the lead over incumbent Republican David Valadao. If Cox holds on, the number of net House seats gained by Democrats in the 2018 midterms will be a very impressive 40.