Mike Espy is a black Democratic former Congressman and Agriculture Secretary from Mississippi who is running to fill Thad Cochran’s seat in the U.S. Senate. His opponents are Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (who was appointed when Cochran stepped down) and Chris McDaniel, a Republican whose yard signs feature a Confederate flag.
Mississippi is among the last states to feature Confederate imagery in its state banner, and McDaniel has made supporting that flag—along with Confederate war memorials—part of his campaign. The Washington Post profiled the Mississippi Senate race on Sunday, and reporter Cleve R. Wootson Jr. got a photo of a the aforementioned yard sign (see it here).
It’s unclear whether this is an official yard sign—the only design on McDaniel’s website is this one. But it’s hard to see McDaniel having a problem with it if it is, seeing as this is the sort of thing he routinely says in public about the black constituents he wants to represent.
It’s a message he’s comfortable driving home. As The Root reported last month on McDaniel’s appearance on Morning Joe:
[Eddie Glaude Jr.] pressed McDaniel on how he planned to represent the 38 percent of the Mississippi population that is African American, asking: “How do you convince black folks in this state that you’re not a danger to them? ... How do you speak to those 38 percent?”
“I’m going to ask them, ‘After 100 years of relying on big government to save you, where are you today?’” McDaniel responded. “‘After 100 years of begging for federal government scraps, where are you today?”
“Mississippi politics is black and white,” said Joe Thomas Jr., the Democratic county chair from Yazoo County, which includes Espy’s hometown, Yazoo City.
“Nobody will come out and say that, but everybody knows it,” said Thomas, who is African American. “We’re 50 years removed from the civil rights movement, but it’s still Mississippi.”
McDaniel, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be trying particularly hard to appeal to that 38 percent at all.