There were two interesting stories out in the last few days regarding the elections. Deborah Barry, who is Gannet’s DC wire reporter, wrote a piece called “State’s Clout in House takes a hit“. It featured several political scientist types talking about Mississippi’s diminished capacity to “bring home the bacon” that will automatically result from the last election. Specifically to Steven Palazzo’s defeat of Gene Taylor,
“We really lost a lot of clout,” said Mark Wrighton, associate professor of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi. “It’s somewhat of a significant hit.”
Not to be outdone, Emily Pettus talks of Alan Nunnelee’s win in less than glowing terms.
Alan Nunnelee is receiving a promotion and a demotion at the same time as he moves from the Mississippi Senate to the U.S. Congress.
Nunnelee is clearly moving to a more prestigious Capitol, but he’ll be on the bottom rung of seniority, along with dozens of other House freshmen. He’ll be a face in the crowd.
Remember that when Travis Childers got elected, the media said that never had someone with so little seniority had so much clout. My how the narrative has now changed.
I think both articles miss the largest point. Namely, what good is clout if you don’t represent your voters? Travis Childers got trounced by 15 points. Gene Taylor, an eleven term incumbent, got beat by 5 points. Nowhere in either article was the point nailed home that Childers and Taylor had functionally stopped representing their voters. All the “bacon” in the world doesn’t fix that problem. The voters at the ballot box made the point that the larger media establishment seems unwilling or unable to make.
Though you wouldn’t know it from the political science elite in Mississippi, the voters can weigh the benefits of seniority and being right on the issues. Mississippi voters did, and the results speak for themselves.