Saturday, 11 January 2003

Are the Democrats abandoning Mississippi?

Hattiesburg American opinion editor Rich Campbell asks and answers that provocative question in a column in yesterday's paper, in response to the national Democrats' opposition to the Pickering nomination, supported by many Mississippi Democrats (seen at How Appealing).

It's a pretty good question, and one that reveals the friction in the median voter problem: Mississippi Democrats like Mike Moore, Ronnie Musgrove, and Ronnie Shows have very different interests in getting elected than many Democrats in other states, much as Republicans in New England aren't well-served by being associated in their voters' minds with the Christian Coalition wing of the party. In the long term, this may lead to either realignment or the development of regional or state parties; at some point, except in the Delta, no Democratic candidate will be able to appeal to a median voter simply due to the association with the national party — Gene Taylor could conceivably be the last white Democrat the state elects to Congress ever, and at the state level a similar phenomenon could easily emerge.