Submitted by State Senator Chris McDaniel

Senator McDaniel expresses concerns in op-ed about Mississippi Senate redistricting linked to votes.

It’s no secret.  The GOP loves Donald Trump because he’s a fighter.  Polling indicates nearly nine-in-ten Republicans describe him as someone who “fights for what I believe in.”

Although the establishment hates Trump, rank-and-file Republicans love him because he’s a warrior.  He declared war against Democrats and battled against the rising tide of Socialism.  Trump’s reputation was forged by courage and resistance to wild-eyed liberals, and we adored him for it.

Someone should remind Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.

Instead of fighting, he joined Democrats to push for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, welfare growth, and an overinflated government.  He has worked to kill conservative legislation behind the scenes while naming Democrats as chairmen to powerful Senate committees.  And he supported a Democrat-sponsored bill to give each legislator a $6,000 pay increase.

Media outlets celebrate Hosemann for reaching across the aisle and “keeping lines of communication open,” but it’s much more than that.  Democrats have made tremendous strides throughout Hosemann’s first term.  Not only were they given numerous and more powerful chairmanships, but their projects also get funded, and goals like Medicaid expansion and boosting the welfare state are now being achieved while conservative initiatives are stalling.

For instance, Hosemann has stubbornly refused to consider eliminating the state’s income tax even though Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker Phillip Gunn, the House of Representatives, and conservatives across Mississippi have championed the effort.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.  Delbert Hosemann also refused to endorse Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.  Then later, when President Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission sought information from him to reform voting procedures and secure election integrity, Hosemann was praised by Mississippi Today (a left-leaning publication) as being “one of the first Republican secretaries of state in the country to publicly reject the [Trump] commission’s request, joining several Democratic colleagues in bucking the request.”

You may now recall Hosemann’s infamous response to the request: the Clarion-Ledger newspaper gleefully reported that Hosemann told President Trump to “Go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.” 

Even worse, his recent threats against conservative lawmakers are additional evidence of his unwillingness to defend our values.

On March 9, I offered an amendment to HB 1509.  It would have granted legal protection to any individual who expressed a sincerely held religious belief against government-imposed vaccine mandates.  The amendment, if allowed, would have codified a Constitutionally recognized right of every American citizen.

After a Democrat objected to my proposed amendment, Hosemann predictably sided with him and ruled the amendment not germane.  Unfortunately, by again aligning with Democrats, Hosemann refused to allow the Senate to consider the amendment.

My only recourse was to appeal his decision to the whole Senate, which I did.  Remarkably, many Republicans sided with religious freedom and against Hosemann’s ruling in a memorable show of individual courage.

Since then, those who voted against Hosemann have been scolded by the Lt. Gov. and his staff.  I have talked to several members who have told me directly that they have received immense pressure from the Lt. Governor’s office as a result of that vote.

Regardless, Republicans should not have their political careers destroyed by redistricting, which will take place within the next two weeks.

The next few days will define our party for a decade.  Either Hosemann will choose to respect principled conservative votes and the supermajority our party has built over the last decade, or he will decide to punish fellow Republicans for following their conscience.

It’s my fervent hope that Lt. Governor Hosemann will not threaten the supermajority our party has built by using redistricting to eliminate Conservatives who may not agree with him on every issue at the ballot box.  Conservatives must make it clear that our party platform is more than meaningless words on paper.  It’s one thing to disagree about bills occasionally; it is quite another to disagree about what it means to be a Republican.

Let me be clear.  I am writing to defend all my Republican colleagues, not just those who voted against Hosemann’s ruling.  Republican senators in the chamber should be allowed to vote their convictions without being berated or have the threat of being “redistricted” by Hosemann or his staff.

If we allow Hosemann to punish Republicans for being principled, the party is genuinely lost and without hope.

A defining moment is approaching for the GOP and Senate Republicans.

Skewing district maps against even one conservative Republican is an attack on us all.

Will Hosemann use redistricting to tell conservatives to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico” like he told President Trump in 2017?

Republicans are watching.

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Submitted by State Senator Chris McDaniel.