Judge candidates as individuals
If some local Democratic Party leaders have their way, the Yazoo County party may follow the lead of the party on the state level.
Attorney General Jim Hood is currently the only statewide elected Democrat. The party’s chances aren’t looking much better considering it failed to even field a candidate for leiutenant governor’s race and Hood is the only candidate who’s not considered a serious underdog.
A lot of the party’s woes on the state level have been the number of candidates seeking to distance themselves from the national party, and of course the number of Mississippi voters who are turned off by the national party’s policies.
The party has fared much better on the county level.
Sheriff Thomas Vaughan is the only county-wide elected Republican in recent memory. Every member of the board of supervisors, the circuit clerk, chancery clerk and both Justice Court judges are Democrats.
It would seem to me that the party would hope to keep it that way, but at least some of the local Democrat leaders seem eager to follow the course outlined on the state level.
On Wednesday local Democrat Party leaders and candidates met with visiting party representatives in an emergency meeting that was necessary because the local party leaders appeared to also be imitating their state counterparts in another fashion – poor organization. The local leadership failed to certify the candidates and had to scramble to get them on the ballot for the upcoming election.
The state representatives made it clear that there was no time to spare, and yet local Democrat Party leader Willie Brown was very concerned about determining whether each candidate was actually a “true blue” Democrat. He wanted to know if they’ve voted for Republican candidates or planned to vote for any.
On one hand I can see where Brown is coming from. He’s a party man, and he wants to support it. But let’s face it, if having ever voted for a Republican would disqualify a candidate most of the candidates on the local ticket probably would have to withdraw.
The same thing would be true if local Republican Party members were held to the same standard. Lots of Republicans crossed over and voted for Jim Hood. Lots of Democrats voted for Haley Barbour. Lots of people in Yazoo County who identify more with the Republican Party on the national stage vote Democrat locally.
And of course there are plenty of people like me who judge every candidate as individuals. I vote for the person, not for the party.
I’m not going to support a candidate I don’t respect just because of a letter behind his name on the ballot, and I’m certainly not going to vote against a candidate I do agree with just because of party allegiance. Blind support to parties is one of the reasons this country is in the mess it’s in today.
Real leaders think for themselves and stand by their principles, even when it might not win them any popularity contests.
Unfortunately those kind of people are getting harder and harder to find on the national stage these days.
Independent thinkers who only seek to serve the people they represent are still plentiful on the local level, and we should be grateful for that. Local party leaders on both sides would be wise to keep that in mind before they start establishing any loyalty tests.