Our senate race playing out in the national spotlight had all the makings of the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore when no one would blink until the U.S. Supreme Court had to weigh in on the matter.
Mississippi is not without its own election drama when at the same time, the Mississippi House of Representatives had to select our governor when Ronnie Musgrove and Mike Parker actually tied — sending the election to the House for resolution according to our laws.
Thankfully it does not appear that this senate race — which the Republican primary is over — will go that distance, but you would have thought it might given the cries of foul by the McDaniel campaign.
It’s a good thing Jay Leno is off the air as Mississippi probably would have made his monologue a few times, again, and not for the positive.
McDaniel really needs to stop and think about his own political future which now may be in question after his persistence over the past few weeks in challenging the results of June 24. Losing a big race such as this is certainly a hard pill to swallow, but as the 2000 presidential elections showed, voters grow weary over sore losers very quickly and are prone not to forget what happened when a candidate comes around again asking for votes.
If McDaniel really cares about the future of the Republican Party, he should concede and move on.
If he doesn’t care about the Republican Party, he should think about whether to stay in or not.
Taking the thought a step further, the Tea Party Movement within the Republican Party should decide whether it should stay with the Republicans or create its own independent organization.
As it stands right now, the Tea Party is undermining the Republican Party’s efforts to maintain control of what it has and gain what it wants. As the old sayings go, “a divided house cannot stand” and “united we stand, divided we fall.”
For the Tea Party, if the issue is more about conservatism versus liberalism, then they need to decide one way or another whether they can live with the Republican Party or get out and do their own thing. As long as the Republicans/conservatives are fighting among themselves, they stand the very good chance of seeing the Democrats hold the Senate and the White House.
Now, with all of that said, all these ideas are well and good if you’re into the party politics. But it seems to me from the number of people I have chatted with the past few weeks that voters are increasingly tired of the party politics, bickering and gridlock. No one will budge. No one will support a good idea if it wasn’t their party which suggested it. America will continue to suffer with this attitude.
Candidates are too often defined by their party label. If a candidate has an R or a D by their name, some voters automatically make assumptions about the candidate that may or may not be accurate, and they look no further into the candidate’s ideas.
In Mississippi, our judicial election laws do not allow partisan labels. Candidates cannot show affiliation with a political party, and it seems to be working. That’s a novel idea that deserves consideration on other election platforms.
But if we have to have political parties, let’s forget about the primary system and let everyone who wants to run be on the ballot with their label and let the voters decide up or down. Let them cross over to hearts’ content.
Maybe then more voters will be more interested in participating.
Chris Allen Baker is a native of Winona and serves as managing editor of The Scott County Times in Forest. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.