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


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?


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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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

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.

Note: Security provided by INS