FACT CHECK: Distraught Joy Reid Confused About Ossoff Loss, Then Blames Demographics


MSNBC’s Joy Reid sent out a series of tweets Tuesday downplaying Jon Ossoff’s decisive loss in the “referendum” special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District and inaccurately suggesting he had made up significant ground on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance against Donald Trump.

In reality, according to a widely-cited analysis of 2016 election returns by Daily Kos data experts Stephen Wolf and Jeff Singer, President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 points in GA-06. According to a report by CNN, that result was, in fact, why Democrats thought the seat could be put in play after President Trump selected former Rep. Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Despite the national Democratic infrastructure supplying Ossoff with the largest campaign war-chest in congressional history and a slew of high-profile celebrity endorsements, and mainstream polling organizations putting the 30-year-old Democratic wunderkind ahead of Republican Karen Handel, Ossoff wound up losing the district by 3.8 points, more than twice the margin Trump managed in November.

Corrected by fellow Twitter users, Reid walked back her hot take, realizing the wide margin she cited was incumbent Tom Price’s victory over an unsupported Democratic challenger, who, while Tuesday’s vote is not yet certified, may actually have gotten more votes than Ossoff:

None of that, however, stopped Reid from disparaging Handel’s supporters as blind followers of a white Christian tribal identity who cannot be convinced by policy appeals:

Reid did not see in Tuesday’s vote, as the New York Times and many other mainstream outlets billed it, a “referendum” on Trump. In April, when Ossoff came a surprising first in the primary round of the election, the Times wrote that the election was “throwing a scare into Republicans in a special congressional election that was seen as an early referendum on President Trump.”

“High-Stakes Referendum on Trump Takes Shape in a Georgia Special Election,” read their Sunday headline on the race.

Instead, Reid took the Democrats’ loss as an opportunity to emphasize that demography is, indeed, destiny:

Reid, despite these tweets, has repeatedly mocked and disparaged efforts by the political right to bring immigration under control, characterizing it as an irrational, if not outright racist, fear of the “brown phantom menace,” or inconsequential “bread and circuses” for the “hate and fear”-filled Republican base. In May, for example, Reid used her #AMJoy slot on MSNBC to call Texas’s efforts to reign in so-called “sanctuary cities” and get local governments to enforce existing immigration laws “almost like an apartheid-era law.”


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