I have highlighted a good bit lately about the digital strategy that the Mississippi Democrats have taken on as of late. The ghosted up HOME project combined now with the KeepYourPromise.MS site both have PERS squarely as a focus. Of course, there is also the Mississippi Democratic Trust, which seems to have some message coordinating between some of these projects. Mike Biggs over at MS Political Pulse yesterday talked about a new initiative, which is a 501c4 called South Forward. South Forward is an initiative for candidate recruitment and messaging to support Democrats which are really on the decline in the South. From Mike’s telling, they’ll focus on public education (anti-charter schools), pro-choice and labor issues. Not exactly a recipe for winning elections in Mississippi.
The source of funds for all of these 501c4 organizations is something the operators desperately want hidden. All of this cutesy digital and soft, secret money strategy (which by the way has gotten ZERO ink in the state’s print media) is great to line the pockets of political consultants and sucklers at the political teat, but it doesn’t move the needle. Why? Democrats are so completely and totally out of step on policy with their southern constituents that no amount of strategy can bail them out. They’re still fighting charter schools with their dying breath after decades of unfettered control of the existing system, which has failed hundreds of thousands of kids in our state. State Democrats are so dependent on special interests (unions, trial lawyers, etc.) for money that have no real connection to the average Southerner.
Today, Philip Thomas at Mississippi Litigation Review had a good article about PERS and how the Democrats are playing it. He points out the problem is math, but the real problem is not the math of fund contributions. The math that doesn’t work is the election math. PERS is a loser politically.
Let’s talk plainly. The only people that care about PERS are the people who have it. No one else really does. Using political bandwidth to fight the PERS fight makes no political sense whatsoever. The Democrats problem in the Mississippi legislature is that the people who do care about PERS seem to be about the only source of money they have, so they have to care and spend time on it rather than crafting a message and strategy that might win an election in three years.
The party of Obama in Mississippi will continue to have a heavy burden and they’ll carry that in 2015. There are only three people in the state with any modicum of success as a Democrat. Bennie Thompson is in a permanently safe district. Jim Hood functionally has very little to do with the Democrat party and doesn’t publicly identify with them very much. Brandon Presley is certainly a populist, but doesn’t seem to have much political upside from where he currently is.
Again, Democrats, it’s not your strategy. It’s your policies that you gotta fix.
And by the way, Republicans have a card to play in all of this. I’ve been pretty vocal about finding some consensus across the aisle particularly in the black community on charter schools. Republicans must do more to try and convert existing black legislators and recruit and really support black candidates at all levels. There are pragmatic and reasonably conservative black Democrats out there that don’t have much of a voice in the Democratic party and Republicans need to prioritize finding those people and making a home for them. Do it while you’re way ahead. That’s the recipe for staying way ahead.