Democratic candidate for Texas governor Wendy Davis takes part in a interview, Jan. 21, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP

The January 26 ‘MHP’ Syllabus

Updated

We were reminded this week of how complicated political campaigns can be as the gubernatorial campaign for Texas Democrat Wendy Davis took its first blow. Davis, the state senator whose life story has helped bolster her political ascent, came under scrutiny in an article by the Dallas Morning News which questioned parts of her narrative. While the article doesn’t call into question the truth behind Davis’ biography, it does draw attention to a few details which are more nuanced than originally stated.

Biography is essential to any political figure. For candidates like Davis, it is particularly so. But pouncing on a candidate’s narrative is not a new tactic. (Remember when the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” questioned John Kerry’s war record?) Biographical attacks aren’t launched solely on one gender over the other, but when women run for office, the line between gender-based characterizations and legitimate criticism can get blurry.

On Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, we’ll discuss the oppositional strategies launched at women who run for office.

As New Jersey governor Chris Christie continues to address the ongoing Fort Lee traffic scandal and subsequent allegations made by Hoboken’s mayor, a previous controversial claim is gaining new life. The New Jersey based Fair Share Housing Center reported data that shows African Americans and Latinos who applied for Hurricane Sandy relief funds were rejected at higher rates than white applicants. What’s more, the Latino Action Network alleges that incorrect information was posted on the Spanish-language version of the state’s Sandy website and the administration has done nothing to help those who were affected.

Host Melissa Harris-Perry will also address the controversy surrounding NFL cornerback Richard Sherman, who made the decisive play to help lift his Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVIII next Sunday against the Denver Broncos. But the story surrounding the 25-year-old Pro Bowler has less to do with his performance on the field than comments he made, and the gusto with which he made them during a post-game interview with Fox Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

A panel that includes Jelani Cobb, John McWhorter, Laura Flanders, and Jonathan Capehart will discuss how race and politics played into the the reaction Sherman has received in the past week. (You can hear Sherman wired during last Sunday’s game here, and read Sherman’s own response to critics here.)

This week, members of the House GOP hinted at what their immigration reform bill is expected to look like. While they are holding fast to the piecemeal approach strategy, the third-ranking House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, has said he will support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants – a big step towards bipartisan consensus. But the goings on of the Capital is only one part of the immigration debate. To understand the full scope of the effects of immigration in America, you have to look at what’s happening on the ground.

On Sunday’s show, we will be joined by filmmakers Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval who’s new compelling documentary The State of Arizona chronicles how Arizona became ground zero in the great immigration debate.  

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.

Melissa Harris-Perry

The January 26 'MHP' Syllabus

Updated