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The right party?

MBJ Editorial

Mississippi Democrats, like their national party, are in sad shape.

One expects the Dems’ “Big Tent” tendencies to lead to diversity and spirited debate among their ranks, but the drifting chaos that has marked most of their efforts recently is surprising. And it won’t help them win many campaigns.

In fact, it’s not helping them keep elected officials, leaders or rank-and-file members. Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck’s departure for the Republican Party last week is one more step in the Democratic Party’s decline in Mississippi.

At best, Mississippi Democrats are unfocused. The worst? Increasingly irrelevant.

In making her move to the GOP, Tuck takes her pragmatic conservatism away from the political party that desperately needs it. More and more Mississippians, especially those in the business community, are writing off local, state and national Democrats. Their message isn’t resonating. The issues just aren’t there.

Of course, the two-party political process tends to balance itself over time. Mississippi Republicans — disciplined and well financed for now — can expect to see their party’s power and influence grow in state government. What remains to be seen is how long it will take for the Democrats in the state — years? decades? — to realize just how far back they are in the race for Mississippians’ money, votes and minds.

For political junkies, the catching-up should be fun to watch.

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