OPINION: Mississippi Not a ‘Lost Cause’; Build and Fight


On election night, as results confirmed the sweep of one party in all statewide races, predictable bromides began appearing on social media; "Mississippi is a lost cause" sums up the gist of them. Many shared their plans to move out of state, their grief and anger.

I get it. I really do. I chose to make my home here 23 years ago. Mississippi has broken my heart on many more than one occasion. So, I hope everyone who worked hard will take the time to regroup and repair. 

We must remember that, as of 2016, Mississippi had more than 445,000 unregistered voters. They lean toward voters under 30, black, brown and poor. By comparison, Trump beat Clinton by fewer than 214,000 votes in the U.S. But our candidates and campaigns do not generally appeal to a broader, younger generation.

Too many Democratic candidates lean so far to the right to appeal to some magical swing voter that they seem to cease being Democrats. We've yet to have enough progressive candidates whose campaigns might compel Mississippians who have been hurting to get out to vote in the numbers needed to change the power structure.

It will not matter how many progressive candidates we may have if we don't do the everyday, unglamorous work of registering voters, educating voters and mobilizing voters to vote. We can't only care about Mississippians' lives for the five days before an election, if that. The small but mighty progressive community in Mississippi is 
doing its damndest on shoestring budgets and prayers but are far and away under-resourced, understaffed and overwhelmed.

Trump won Mississippi by almost 18 points in 2016. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Hood closed much of that gap to within six points. Mike Espy worked to within four points last fall for the U.S. Senate seat. That, my friends,

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