Haley Barbour recently told a black audience at Jackson State University that his goal was to see more racial diversity in the state’s two political parties. “Pepper and salt” is the way he described it.
What a laugh. The state’s master political engineer couldn’t be better satisfied with the current shape of the two parties. In the Legislature, he has virtually wiped out rural white Democrats and marginalized the reliable black Democratic strength.
Controlling the redistricting process, he has overseen gerrymandering of districts to a point able white Democrats see no chance of winning if they run. Barbour’s chief legislative foe had been Democratic House Speaker Billy McCoy, who he narrowly failed to oust in 2007. McCoy’s race to hold his position was so exhausting the veteran northeast lawmaker voluntarily stepped down in 2011.