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Can’t Get Around The D Next To Their Name

November 22, 2011

You knew it was coming the moment Johnny DuPree secured the Democratic nomination. In a Clarion-Ledger article looking at the issue of race in the gubernatorial campaign, Leslie McLemore made the comment, “Historically, whites don’t vote for black folks. There are exceptions, but those exceptions are few and far between.” I’m not a professor like McLemore so I’m not here to talk about history, but about the present.

Shortly after the election we looked at Phil Bryant’s win, and the transition to where the Democratic candidate was relegated to Hinds county along with Delta and River counties and a few other majority-black counties sprinkled in. About ten years ago, Democrats were competitive in Northeast Mississippi. They no longer are.

To see what kind of factor race may have played I then decided to look at an all-white matchup. For this I looked at the treasurer’s race, an interesting all-female contest between Republican Lynn Fitch and Democrat Connie Moran. Many of the same factors from the Bryant-DuPree were in play, especially the big GOP money advantage.

Traditionally, Republicans had been held in the low to mid 50s in their first term, but Fitch pulled 59 percent of the vote. She won by 21 points. Bryant won by 22.

The counties each candidate won were nearly identical although Fitch actually pulled in two that DuPree carried. This includes Adams and Marshall. Fitch’s family is from Marshall county so that likely helped her squeak out a 100 vote win there. Bryant lost the county by about 100 votes.

McLemore chose to say that whites won’t vote for blacks. A more accurate statement is that whites generally don’t vote for Democrats. Whites are generally Republicans. Blacks are generally Democrats. That is just the way it is and while 37 percent is a strong minority; it is indeed a minority if you can’t pull white votes as DuPree, Moran and other were unable to do.

The bottom line is Mississippi is a Republican state and the fact the state elected a Republican governor is no more shocking than New York electing a Democratic governor. Sure, Democrats aren’t going to win when they are outspent 7-1, but they generally aren’t going to win if they have a D next to their name. That is the biggest problem. If it was believed that they could win, they would raise more money. Money generally follows winners. See Jim Hood.

Scott Colom has an interesting read in the Commercial Dispatch on where the Democrats can go from here and how they can rebrand themselves.

By the way, this racial polarization that liberals and professors love to talk about seems to be the norm nationally. Barack Obama, the first “post-racial” president, has awful numbers among whites. They disapprove of his performance by a 61-36 margin while non-whites approve of the job he is doing by a 2-1 margin. It will be very interesting to see if you can win the White House with only one in three white votes nationally.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott Colom permalink
    November 22, 2011 10:01 am

    Hey Brett-

    Thanks for the shout out. I’m a regular reader. Always informative stuff. I particularly agree with most of this post.

  2. Vanguard of Democracy permalink
    November 22, 2011 10:30 am

    “Historically, whites don’t vote for black folks. There are exceptions, but those exceptions are few and far between.” Prof. Leslie McLemore.

    See! That proves it! Barak Obama is a white guy after all.

  3. kippost1306 permalink
    November 22, 2011 2:05 pm

    To be clear and fair, there is nothing in your article, Brett or in Scott’s article that says anything about ‘the people’ of Mississippi. Unfortunately, everyone is stuck on ‘party’. Yes, the people voted but what did they vote for? I find it interesting that all the southern states are boasting of conservative leadership from the governor’s mansions to the legislatures and they all have the same things in common. The majority of ‘the people’ both white and black are relegated to low paying jobs (barely minimum wage) with no benefits,high unemployment, no healthcare and no prospects of coming up from the bottom. I can go through your list of ‘recent stories’ and not find one that talks about ‘the people’ and how all these changes will actually benefit them. Yes, the names have changed, but from what I see, nothing will change.

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