Hostile Terrain 2019: Democrats Battle in Mississippi Against Tough Odds

Hostile Terrain 2019: Democrats Battle in Mississippi Against Tough Odds

Important information for Mississippi voters:

Mississippi is a long shot at best for Democrats. Trump won the state by nineteen points with ease. Plus, his approval rating in Mississippi is the second-highest of any state in the entire country, with Trump being more popular only in Alabama. The state has a PVI rating of R+9. The bulk of the political pundits and polls have the Republicans running, Lt Governor Reeve Tates for Governor and Lynn Fitch for Attorney General, as the favorites to win. 

But the race is still competitive, and we must never give up on our allies if they can fight.

The Democratic nominee for Governor is Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. 

Like Governor John Bel Edwards, Jim Hood is much more conservative than I would like. But then again, this is Mississippi we are talking about. 

The fact he is a conservative Democrat should not take away from his great record as Attorney General of Mississippi. 

Early in his career as Attorney General, be brought at least some long-overdue justice to murdered civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney by charging and convicting the Klansman responsible for leading the orchestration. The coward died behind bars and lived far longer than he should have. 

Andrew Goodman, Micheal Schwrner and James Chaney deserve to be remembered, the Klansman who stole their lives does not. 

Jim has gone after real bad guys like child pornographers and domestic abusers efficiently and ruthlessly. Under his watch, Mississippi went from having the fifth highest rate of domestic homicide to having the thirteenth highest. That is still inexcusably high, but it is a major improvement. 

It may be popular to go after scumbags, but it is still a noble thing to do. 

He has also done an excellent job of protecting the people of Mississippi from corporate predators, recovering over three billion dollars worth of money to the state and its people. This was especially the case when con men who preyed on the people of Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He put a stop to it. 

Overall, Attorney General Hood has a pretty good record. 

Add into the fact that he was won statewide by double digits in a state like Mississippi as recently as 2015, and Mississippi Democrats have selected a pretty good candidate for Governor. His decision to not endorse fellow Democrat Jennifer Collins is quite questionable, however, 

Hood is vastly superior to his GOP competitor. 

The Republican nominee for Governor is Lieutenant Governor Reeve Tates. He is quite an interesting creature. He is corrupt even by Mississippi standards, building a road to his own gated community while Mississippi’s infrastructure continues to crumble. Under his leadership as Lieutenant Governor, Mississippi sank even further to the bottom of the country in terms of education and healthcare outcomes

Tates is a swamp creature if one ever existed, and his record proves it. 

But it is not just the governor's office up this year. The Attorney General's race is as well. 

If the Democratic candidate wins, she will make history. That is because if she wins, civil rights lawyer and Army veteran Colonel Jennifer Riley Collins will be the first Black woman to win a statewide office in Mississippi. 

Colonel Collins truly has an outstanding record. The best I have seen out of all the Democrats running in the deep south. 

She has served her country in the US Army, rising up the ranks to reach Colonel. 

Her record of service continued working for the ACLU in Mississippi as its executive director, fighting for populations who urgently need it like children, people of color, and those caught up in the criminal justice system. 

Colonel Collins has more than earned her campaign slogan of proven protector. She is one in every sense of the word. 

Her opponent is a different story. 

Mississippi Lynn Fitch spent her primary trying to be more conservative than any of her opponents, calling herself “the original Trump supporter”. 

The Mississippi Treasurer is telling the truth, she panders to the same people’s ugliest instincts. 

Both Democrats are legitimately good candidates, and Colonel Collins is truly impressive. 

That being said, the odds are not in their favor. The Democratic Party as an organization in Mississippi quite weak, and both are operating in a fairly hostile statewide environment to Democrats. 

For Hood, things may be even tougher ironically. This is because of a Jim Crow Era law called  Article 5, Section 140 in the Mississippi Constitution, where you not only need to win the popular vote, you need to win a statewide elected electoral college in order to be elected Governor. If a candidate fails to both win the popular vote and win most of the legislative house districts, the Mississippi House of Representatives will select the next Governor. 

Yes, the law in question was designed with suppressing black voters in mind

It is going to make an already difficult climb for Jim Hood even more treacherous. 

Like I said, neither are the favorites to win. 

But there are steps we can take to help them.

If you don’t live in the state, spread the world about their races, especially that of Colonel Jennifer Collins. If you are able to, send them both money. They are both going to need it. 

On principle and pragmatism, we must give Attorney General Jim Hood and Colonel Jennifer Collins a fighting chance. 

Jim Hood:

Jennifer Collins:

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