Analysis: Confederate emblem affects Miss. election dynamic

JACKSON, MISS. — The racially sensitive topic of the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag was clearly was not on Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s agenda entering this election year.

Debate is unavoidable now, because the massacre of nine worshippers at a black church in South Carolina has prompted people to re-examine the prominence given to symbols of the Old South….

…Gunn is unopposed in his House district, so he faces less pressure than Bryant and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who are on the statewide ballot. They have to keep conservative flag supporters happy while also acknowledging that some in the state see the Confederate emblem as an offensive reminder of slavery and segregation. Bryant and Reeves have said that if the flag is revisited, the issue should be decided by voters.

Longtime Democratic state Rep. Ed Blackmon, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, said putting the issue on the ballot again would have the same result as in 2001 — a racially divided vote to keep the Confederate symbol. He said legislators should step up and change the flag.

“To do otherwise is an admission that we are incapable of doing our jobs on one of the more important issues of race relations in our state,” Blackmon said.