Rep. Clyburn Knows What 'Killed' Jaime Harrison's Campaign Against Lindsey Graham

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Posted: Nov 08, 2020 11:15 AM
Rep. Clyburn Knows What 'Killed' Jaime Harrison's Campaign Against Lindsey Graham

Source: AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

With the Democratic Party's lackluster showing in congressional races across the country last week, lawmakers haven't been afraid to speak out against certain radical policies and certain leaders. Looking at you, Nancy. The Democrats failed to flip vulnerable House seats while the GOP picked up a few and shrunk the Democrats' majority. And Republicans appear to be on track to maintain control in the Senate, if the two remaining Georgia races go their way. One case in point where the Democrats had a chance was the Senate race in South Carolina. For months Sen. Lindsey Graham's Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison gave him a good run. But when it came time to vote South Carolinians re-elected the incumbent.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" that he knows exactly what "killed" Harrison's campaign.

"Jaime Harrison started to plateau when 'Defund the Police' showed up, the caption, on TV right across his head. That stuff hurt Jim. And that's why I spoke out against it a long time ago. I've always said that these headlines can kill a political effort."

Clyburn argued that the same issue cost Rep. Joe Cunningham his seat. The Democrat lost to conservative Nancy Mace. 

Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who is currently in a tough re-election battle of her own, agrees that this kind of rhetoric cost them precious seats this year. And she told her fellow Democrats that in an animated phone call last week.

Since the tragic police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, progressives have responded by demanding not just police reform, but the defunding of or even the abolishing of the police. It's a radical stance. But loud figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez insist that there's nothing wrong with the word "defund." Or "socialism" for that matter. 

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Rep. Clyburn can only shake his head.

"I just hope that going forward, we will think about each one of these congressional districts and let people represent their districts," he told Todd. "Let's recognize that people should reflect that diversity in our country."