Who Is?
S4 E2

Who Is Cindy Hyde-Smith? Narrated By Peppermint

Cindy Hyde-Smith became nationally known in 2018 when she happily said she’d "be on the front row" of a public hanging. She’s also a Trump-endorsed Mississippi Senator who likes to dress up as a Confederate soldier.

Cindy Hyde-Smith was born in 1959 and grew up in the southern town of Brookhaven, Mississippi. According to the Jackson Free Press, she attended Lawrence County Academy, an all-white ‘segregation academy’ set up by white parents and something called the ‘Citizens Council’ in an effort to bypass integration laws.

Not long after getting elected to the Mississippi Senate in 1999, Hyde-Smith introduced a bill to rename a stretch of highway after Confederate President Jefferson Davis. But the bill didn’t pass and Hyde-Smith left the Democratic Party because—according to the former Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman—the party had become “too closely identified with black people.” In 2010, Hyde-Smith became a Republican and was elected state agriculture commissioner in 2011 and a second term in 2015.

In March of 2018, Governor Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to the United States Senate Thad Cochran —the prior Senator—announced he would resign due to declining health. The Jackson Free Press notes that Phil Bryant, the guy that appointed her, is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It’s a group that advocates to conserve confederate monuments as well as preserving, according to its website, “the history and legacy of these heroes so that future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.” Bryant, who deemed Hyde-Smith the perfect person for the role, has designated April as Confederate Heritage Month.

When midterms came on November 6th, Mississippi was in an interesting situation. Because Thad Cochran —the senator who left his seat for health reasons—walked away, a new candidate would have to receive 50%of the vote in order to take his seat, otherwise a runoff would ensue. And that’s exactly what happened. Because no one received 50 percent – Hyde-Smith got 42 percent and her Democratic opponent Mike Espy got 40%— a special election was called. There was one lone debate where - according to the Jackson Free Press - Hyde-Smith demanded no audience and no press be present. The debate was organized by the Mississippi Farm Bureau, whose top board members all donated to her campaign. She also demanded to see the notepads the candidates were supposed to use to take notes on during the debate, an hour ahead of time. Her team seemingly used that hour to fill up the notepad with talking points. But even with her notes she stumbled.

After voting in line with President Trump 100% of the time, Hyde-Smith received his endorsement where he explained that if she were to lose, we would ‘return to the failures of the past.” It’s unclear if public hangings and donning confederate outfits are “failures of the past.”
But regardless, on November 27, 2018, Trump had his victory. Hyde-Smith won 53% of the vote to remain a senator from Mississippi.