Don’t Sleep on Mississippi Democrats

More proof that Democrats are not “in the wild,” — they just aren’t waiting for a Messiah at the top anymore.

Big picture Democratic electoral strategy hasn’t changed much since 2012:

  • Bank on the core “Blue wall” in the Midwest (or rebuild it)
  • Follow demographic trends to GA/AZ/TX
  • Fight like hell for NC/FL/IA
  • Solidify grasps on NV/VA

These aren’t bad strategies, but their place as the Democratic national narrative tends to consolidate media coverage around a few states. Our goal here at a Adopt-A-State is to be a gadfly, that stinging little reminder that Democrats are EVERYWHERE, that a true 50-state strategy is necessary to rebuild the party from the ground up, and that we can see make gains without waiting for the DNC.

Mississippi — alongside many “Red States” — is traditionally written off or at least rarely discussed by Democrats as a place of investment. Too conservative, demographics don’t align with Democratic strengths, fewer urban centers and entrenched political machines are just a few off the off-hand analyses people share about Mississippi. That’s changing.

In the last few months we’ve seen Mississippi’s gain a brief foray into media spotlight and while also grabbing some great Democratic successes:

  • The Danny Glover/Bernie Sanders/NAACP March on Mississippi to support Nissan autoworkers and their attempts to unionize brought national media coverage to Mississippi.
  • On a state and local level, The GOP in the MS State Legislature lost their supermajority status as legislators have jumped ship from the party and office to shield themselves from disastrous budget and social policies.
  • MS Democrats occupy Mayoral seats in many of the largest cities and in the last few years gained ground by taking and holding seats in Tupelo, Oxford, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Starkville, and Meridian.
  • Attorney General Jim Hood — the only Democrat in statewide elected office — is mulling a bid for governor in the 2019 election.

Looking at some of the past presidential election data, Mississippi voting margins are not as wildly lopsided as one might expect. In 2012 the statewide vote was 55–43 in favor of the GOP, and 58–39 in 2016. This is by no means a horse-race, but those margins are narrower than places like Alabama, Oklahoma, the Dakotas or Wyoming. Moreover, Mississippi’s U.S. House delegation includes a Democrat (and 3 GOP). Again this might not be something to write home about, but that’s a better mix than states like Utah or Arkansas where there’s not a single Democrat in the Congressional Delegation.

We’ll be keeping an eye on Mississippi for more advancements in their party. As we always do here at Adopt-A-State we’ll be looking for Mississippi Liberal Expats to help us build a virtual community of support for the state party and local/state races coming up. If you are that person or know of those folks — send them our way! We’re here to help!