Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sid Salter: Education, Healthcare, Roads and Taxes, As Usual, Will Dominate 2019 Elections

My active observations of Mississippi statewide elections stretch back to the 1970s and what remains fascinating to me is how little the issues have changed since those days.

 When flamboyant Democrat Cliff Finch and moderate Republican Gil Carmichael squared off in 1975, Finch used a black lunch box to symbolize his slogan as “the working man’s friend” along with stints driving a bulldozer or sacking groceries while the cameras were rolling.

Carmichael offered progressive policies and railed against entrenched Democrats while calling for a more businesslike approach to the operation of state government. Black independent Henry Kirksey was on the general election ballot as well and was a credible candidate.

Finch shocked the Democratic establishment by upsetting William Winter in the primary, then beat Carmichael in the general election with 52 percent of the vote. Carmichael’s 45 percent showing against Finch signaled a coming end to the single-party dominance enjoyed up until that time by Mississippi Democrats.

But the bedrock issues of that campaign, sans the lunchbox antics, were public education, healthcare, roads and taxes. Now some 44 years later, the bedrock issues of the 2019 gubernatorial campaign are virtually the same issues.
Now, as then, public school teachers believe they are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. Now, as then, a sizeable segment of Mississippi’s population are either uninsured or underinsured and lack access to rudimentary healthcare other than hospital emergency rooms.

The difference now and then is that now, rural Mississippi hospital are in crisis mode and there are fewer of them. The confluence of federal health care finance woes with the state’s issues make Medicaid a polarizing issue.
Now, as then, the condition of Mississippi’s highways and bridges are a deep concern. But today’s concerns are perhaps exacerbated by technological changes that have negatively impacted Mississippi’s antiquated method of road fund finance.

Taxes – the usual tug of war between the haves and the have-nots – is a constant political issue. Taxes are the most partisan of issues from a national perspective and with the advent of social media, the 24-hour news cycle and other technologies, it is impossible for Democrats to make the pithy claims that Finch and other Democrats once made when their party’s platforms were out-of-step with Mississippi voters: “I’m a Mississippi Democrat.”
Of course, for Republicans courting millennial voters, that’s a sword that cuts both ways. Distinguishing “mainstream” Republicans from those with Tea Party allegiances or merely Trump backers is also a hard political tightrope to walk.


What has changed in Mississippi since Carmichael-Finch in 1975 is that it is now the case that the GOP is the entrenched, monolithic party that exerts enormous courthouse-to-statehouse control. Where Republican Carmichael beat the drum for the benefits of a more vibrant two-party system in the state in 1975, look for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jim Hood to play that card in 2019 as the only current statewide-elected Democrat.
There will be other issues that will surface in the state’s 2019 elections. Special interests will certainly see to that. But at the end of the day, the elections will come down to voters choosing candidates who can most effectively connect with them about education, public healthcare, roads and taxes.

There’s one caveat to that and it comes down to the two names Mississippi voters are likely to hear most in the 2019 elections – President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sprinkle in some Mitch McConnell and some Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well.

Who can be linked to whom by attack ads? When the opposition research accusations start to fly, what sticks? The primaries are less than four months away.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

bla, bla, bla

Anonymous said...

Too much taking with no accountability by those who make the decisions after a free meal and drinks. It has gone on way too long!

Anonymous said...

So far has been amusing watch the Democrat-loving media pretend that Foster is a viable opponent to Reeves while doing everything they can to ignore the challenge presented to Hood by RSS.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last two paragraphs more than 99% of the things Sid writes/has written. I personally don't think Hood can separate himself from the Dem party "personalities" or their socialist leaning policies. I know I cannot vote for ANY Dem at this juncture...

Anonymous said...

proving only the names change here in the backwater republic[an] of mississippi. in contrast the BS political reteroic never does. mississippi , the only state in the union where the leading growth industry is government. california has 40 million people and a legislature of 120 members. mississippi has a population of 3 million and has a legislature of 174 members. all brought to you by your precious mississippi republican party. the party of 'limited' government.

Anonymous said...

11:16, honest question - what democrat loving media are you talking about in Mississippi? Care to cite a couple articles?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:24

Yea...let's be more like Cali...That's the ticket !!!

Anonymous said...

Reeves owns wasting the first Republican super majority ever, and Bryant/Gunn didn't have the guts to rein him in. So all these issues that Sid states belong to these three so-called Republican leaders and their minions. Pathetic....

Anonymous said...

to 11;29....... 11;24 here.. my post was meant to prove the out of control governmental growth here in you soybean republic. its not meant to be more like cali. but, like most commentators here, you are to stupid to get the point.

Anonymous said...

You are part of the problem Sid, you regularly encourage folks to vote against their own interest.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi teacher pay raise: Where do candidates stand?

Reeves
Waller
Foster
Hood

Anonymous said...

12:20 PM I would love to be like Cali. They have this neat thing there called an economy and people have education and healthcare and high paying jobs and all of that.

Anonymous said...


The Republicans have been in control of the state for years now. Who are they going to blame for the deteriorating infrastructure, the only state to lose population while our neighbors grow, teacher raises that are laughable? Since Sid is discussing political strategies used in the past, people in MS need to ask themselves "are you better off after years of Republican leadership?" And yes, I'm a lifelong Mississippian.

Anonymous said...

The only people who come to Mississippi are retired folks looking for the 0 taxes on retirement benefits. They could careless what they do or don't do in Jackson. Most of them travel outside the state often and when they leave Madison, Clinton and Flowood they don't ride bad roads. That's what I do.

Anonymous said...

6:41, we can also ask ourselves if the state is a better place after the few years of Republican leadership than it was during the prior century or so of Democrat leadership. I would rather try to improve the Republicans than turn it back over to the Democrats.

Rod Knox said...

Mississippi's 1960s Democrats and 2019 Republicans are all the same old families. Hair styles, fashions and trends in automobiles have changed but the White Citizens' Councils still rule by whatever name they currently choose to call themselves.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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