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BILL CRAWFORD: GOP leaders call Democrats dangerous enemy

BILL CRAWFORD

Mississippi Democrats are a scary, dangerous enemy.

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves set the stage in Neshoba County Fair speeches. Gunn focused his speech on stern warnings about Democrats, according to a Y’all Politics report. Reeves claimed he had been “under attack from Democrats and their liberal allies in the media,” reported the Meridian Star.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel delivered the punch line when he said the Democratic Party has become an “enemy” and “dangerous” to the country, as reported by the Clarion-Ledger.

Chuck, Nancy and Bernie may be a little scary, but calling our neighbors and friends who happen to be Democrats enemies? Come on. ISIS, the Taliban, Iran, North Korea, and such are enemies, not Mississippi Democrats.

McDaniel used the anti-Democrat set-up to whack Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, his Republican opponent in the special election to fill Thad Cochran’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

“She’s a Democrat,” he proclaimed proudly.

Interesting.

While McDaniel was clobbering Hyde-Smith because she was a Democrat turned Republican, he was also praising Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Uh, both were Democrats turned Republican too.

Hyde-Smith was a conservative Democratic state senator from Brookhaven. Eight years ago she switched to the Republican Party and has twice won election as Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, a position she held until Gov. Phil Bryant chose her to fill Cochran’s seat until the special election.

Reagan and Trump were not-so-conservative Democrats who became Republicans and won the presidency. Reagan was a union leader and Democrat for years until he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. From 2001 to 2009, Donald Trump was a Democrat and supported New York Democrats among others.

While Gunn and Reeves warned voters about Democrats, both have sought out numerous Democratic legislators and recruited them to switch parties. Those former Democrats give Gunn and Reeves the Republican super majorities they now use to control the Legislature.

So, let’s see. Democrats are the scary enemy except when they can be recruited to become Republicans. But even after they switch, it’s okay to castigate them for being former Democrats.

Makes a lot of sense, huh?

Voters might be better served if our political leaders focused on the policy differences between Mississippi Democrats and Mississippi Republicans rather using dangerous enemy rhetoric to stir emotions.

But it seems that reasoned debate and common sense are just not in the works.

No doubt because I occasionally make small contributions to Republican candidates, I received a fundraising package from a group called Judicial Watch. It included a special report entitled “Exposing the Deep State Threat to America.” Turns out the heart of the Deep State conspiracy beats deep within the FBI. This is right up there with other enlightening conspiracy sources like QAnon and Infowars.

“Knock it off!” said Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich last week after a Republican nearly lost a special election in a heavily Republican district. He sees deceit and discord driving voters away from the party.

But, as long as enough Republicans respond to ludicrous propaganda, weak GOP candidates will make up conspiracies and enemies ad infinitum to stir up the base and enhance their election chances.

That there are equivalent Democratic propagandists is no saving grace.

» BILL CRAWFORD is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

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