By: Mike Biggs, MSPoliticalPULSE
The latest party switch by Sen. Nickey Browning of Pontotoc has garnered much of the same Democratic response; good riddance. While I agree that is a response I usually immediately arrive at, albeit worded a little differently, that reaction usually does more harm than good. Browning is the latest good ol’ boy who has had a coming to Jesus moment and realized he was no longer comfortable with being a Democrat, so he says. I’m sure redistricting and an eventual match-up with Sen. Bill Stone (D-Ashland) had nothing to do with it.
I have long held the view that politicians who run for office, win, and then switch in the middle of their term were opportunistic cowards who betray the trust of the voters that elected them. With that said however, I recognized that as these elected officials switch political parties so does voters who supported them and that creates a problem. The majority of these party switchers give ideological reasons that your average Joe can relate to which enables he/she to reach the same conclusion even if the politicians motives are more of convenience.
The Republican ranks have more room to grow in Mississippi because there are scores of disgruntled Reagan-Montgomery-Whitten Democrats who no longer feel at home with the Democratic Party for their own various reasons. The Republican Party has historically done a better job with messaging and defining Democrats and the MS GOP is no exception and have done a yoemans job in peeling away Democratic elected officials since the era of Jim Herring.
We as Democrats are fighting hard to defend and protect the interests of middle class Mississippi families who have suffered at the hands of Wall Street. We Democrats support Medicaid expansion, fully support the full funding of MAEP and continue to stand for progressive ideals including a woman’s right to choice and privacy, and worker’s rights.
Political parties do matter, and we take our Democratic values very seriously. Moreover, party loyalty should matter as well and elected officials who decide that they no longer want to be a part of the political party they were elected to, should be forced to resign from office, return the political contributions and run under their new party affiliation.
I remember when Brad White was elected chair of the MSGOP in 2008 and hearken back to a quote he gave; “We are the party of ideas and I want everyone who shares our values and vision for the future to know they have a home in the Republican Party”. White, Nosef, Hederman and now Payne have used that idiom to swell their ranks with current and former Democrats. Consequently, I am concerned that the cavalier “to hell with you” attitude that we take towards these party switchers sends more and more of our voters to the GOP thus insuring that we continue to be the minority party.