On the day of the gubernatorial primary elections, conservative group Mississippi Strong released an attack ad against Jim Hood. It worked to portray the attorney general as a Washington elite, “standing with the radical liberal resistance.” The ad ends with an image of Hood surrounded by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Similarly, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves has taken to Twitter to lament the dangers of the radical liberal agenda.
Anyone who possesses a vague understanding of the politics of AOC, Pelosi and Jim Hood understands that their commonalities largely begin and end with the letter “D” beside their names. These characterizations, like most discussion in our current political climate, lack the nuance necessary to capture Attorney General Jim Hood and his campaign.
Hood’s campaign platform does little to give away his political affiliation. Watch one of Hood’s 30-second campaign videos, and you will find a life-long Mississippian who loves the outdoors, Sundays and the value of hard work. You will find support for the most sensible of policies such as combating domestic violence and raising teacher salaries. You will also find a shot of the attorney general alongside Gov. Phil Bryant.
There is not much about the former attorney general that makes him akin to a particularly mainstream national Democrat. He supports Medicaid expansion (which Republican Bill Waller does as well), free community college tuition, and gender-based pay equality. Yet he is distinctly pro-life and is unlikely to be a champion of gun-control, pre-requisites for any national Democrat. But, again, Hood is not running a national campaign.
For many Democratic voters, being pro-life alone would be a deal-breaker. If not a deal-breaker, a reason to refrain from actively supporting the campaign. Perhaps, if this were a different state at a different time, Hood would be any another Republican on the ballot.
Regardless of whether or not he fits into the ideal Democratic (or Republican) mold, Jim Hood is the candidate poised to do the most tangible good in the state of Mississippi. Expanding Medicaid would improve access to healthcare for rural communities and cover 300,000 Missisippians in need of health insurance. The least we could ask of our elected officials is to invest money in, instead of funnel it away from public education. These are distinct, sensible, pragmatic policy proposals that would be the change for which Mississippi is long overdue.
Jim Hood may not be the idealistic candidate for either party, but he certainly is the candidate with the most equitable vision of Mississippi, and that is exciting. While he makes no claims of running on Obama-esque hope, he is running a competitive statewide campaign that is certainly hopeful. As a Mississippian and as a Democrat, it is refreshing to support a candidate who requires and acts with the same degree of nuance and pragmatism demanded by our state.