Now that the legislative session has concluded, here’s my biggest “take-away” on how the GOP was successfully able to increase its numbers in the Legislature, while simultaneously assuring itself that it’s redistricting plan would be approved by the Department of Justice: divide and conquer.
The strategy was masterful, and it worked to perfection: facilitate a slight increase in minority districts, increase Republican districts to ensure Republican majorities in both houses and emaciate white Democrat districts. The result is that while DOJ will maintain its traditionally-mandated focus on black voting strength, it will be much less concerned about white democratic voting strength, and will likely not challenge the Mississippi House and Senate plans.
Bear in mind that while black Democrats will conceivably have more seats in both houses – Lee County comes out with its own majority-minority House district – they didn’t support the plan. And for good reason.
Black Democrats are acutely aware that despite their increases, they’ve been further marginalized in the political process and fellow white Democrats are all but eradicated. Black Democrats in the new-constituted Legislature may have more seats, but with fewer white Democrats with which to join forces. Thus, they will have very little impact on final votes. The result is Republicans will be able to steamroll their agenda through (insert charter schools here) with little resistance.
What I see is a definite negative and a possible positive coming out of this.
The definite negative is that the state’s two political parties will become much more racially polarized, with the Republican Party becoming the party for whites and the Democratic Party becoming largely the party for blacks. Even moderate white Democrats who abhor this kind of separatism will have no other choice but to join the Republican Party to have any hopes of being elected (insert Oxford’s Grey Tollison here)
The possible positive is that those moderate Democrats will make enough of an impact in the Republican party that their presence will make it more tolerable for blacks to conceive the inconceivable: Vote in Republican elections in large enough numbers that Mississippi may, one day, once again, have a two-party system.
Counterpoint - Ed Holliday
James, you do make poignant observations but allow me to further paint the picture of Mississippi politics. You wrote, “… white Democrats are all but eradicated.” Yes, there are diminishing Democrats in Mississippi, but why? Look no further than this week’s news. With leadership comes responsibility and direction. President Barack Obama, leading from behind, finally joined his vice-president to declare that he is now for same-sex marriage. James, this position flies in the face of 5,000 years of human history. Same-sex marriage is a radically extreme position! Add to that the exploding national debt, our lackluster economy, and the Democratic Party’s pro-abortion stance and people should wonder how the Democrats get over 10 percent support in Mississippi.
What the far left political pundits have for years characterized as wedge issues are now becoming bridge issues. The Democratic Party is making stumbling blocks from the past into building blocks for the Republicans. You wrote, “… tolerable for blacks to conceive the inconceivable: vote in Republican elections” now, James, that is bridge building!
Is there even one national democratic leader publicly denouncing same-sex marriage? No, not even one. Kindergartens are being taught that they can grow up and marry either a man or a woman in states where it is legal. Parents can do nothing to stop it no matter what their faith says. Sad for our nation, disappointing that its led by Democrats. The far-left policies of the Democratic Party are causing it to lose members both black and white. Just ask African-American Bill Marcy who is running against Bennie Thompson in Mississippi’s second congressional district. You cannot ask people of faith who believe in a real Judgment Day to vote for politicians who promote policies against their faith.
In closing, I will say that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has positioned himself as the go-to guy to get things done in Mississippi. He made it abundantly clear that he has a big dog in every hunt. If he plays his cards right, Reeves could have a major say in all Mississippi legislation until 2027. Democrats are giving away the store.
Dr. Ed Holliday is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. James Hull is an award-wining journalist and a political consultant. Contact him at email@example.com.