This Tuesday evening at Hal & Mal’s in Jackson essentially what’s left of the Mississippi Democratic Party will gather to raise funds for the upstart Mississippi Democratic Trust, a loosely organized group whose goal is to “help elect Democratic candidates who will provide sensible and responsible leadership for Mississippi.”
Such a statement evokes memories of the House Democratic Leadership Victory Political Action Committee. Perhaps you remember this group better by its alias VPAC. This was former Speaker Billy McCoy’s political machine that helped elect and cultivate Democratic candidates for the Mississippi House.
The euphemistically named Trust was organized in February 2011 by Jackson trial lawyers Matt Eichelberger (of CottonMouth fame) and Paul Lee, Jr. Former State Representative Brandon Jones signed on to his pals’ group as Executive Director soon after losing his bid for reelection in November 2011 and has since tried to insert himself and the group into the public discussion over legislative matters issuing press releases and joining in Capitol press conferences, attempting to seek relevance and gain exposure.
According to the November 2011 finance report (the most recent listed to date on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website), the Trust raised $600 during the year, not exactly an amount that would make the other side of the aisle shudder.
The names gracing the Trust’s fundraiser invitation prove how out of touch this group and Democrats continue to be. Included are the left of the left in Mississippi politics: Jim Hood, Dick Molpus, Mike Moore, Ronnie Musgrove, Bennie Thompson, William Winter, Travis Childers, and Rickey Cole, along with a number of Democratic legislators including Bobby Moak, Cecil Brown, Hob Bryan, David Baria, and Kenny Wayne Jones.
It will be interesting to see just how much the Trust can raise in the current political reality of a conservative, ever reddening Mississippi. What will be more telling is where these funds will be utilized around the state, where Jones and company see as potential gains in coming years.
Our suspicion is that the Mississippi Democratic Trust is nothing more than a morphed VPAC, now focusing on both chambers but that will have very little impact in the grand scheme of Mississippi politics. Sure, they may direct funds to certain races and target opposition that really irks them to their liberal core, but in the end will it really matter? Will they have the voice and prominence they so desire to have in state government?
The answer is a resounding “No.” If this Trust and the Mississippi Democratic Party in general continues to promote their most divisive, staunchly liberal names, parading them out as if today’s Mississippians look fondly on their version of political powerhouses, they will not expose any chinks in the Republican armor and will continue to grasp for significance at every turn.
So party is up, enjoy your fundraiser… but when you wake up the next morning Democrats will still justifiably be in the minority and the road back to any semblance of relevance for liberals continues to be as bumpy as a Mississippi red dirt road.