Jim Hood, the former Democratic candidate for governor and self-described moderate, was nothing more than a local Bernie Sanders, according to Governor-elect Tate Reeves. In a recent campaign video, Reeves gives credit to Sanders for acknowledging tax increases and demands the same from Hood. The caption, “Bernie Sanders or Jim Hood? They’re both planning to raise taxes. They’re both coming for your money. Jim Hood is Mississippi’s local liberal,” pegged Hood as something he has said time and time again that he isn’t: a liberal.
This name-calling is abundant in elections all over the country. However, in sharp contrast, the race for lieutenant governor has shown to be one that did not include partisan banter and created opportunities for collaboration across the aisle.
The campaign websites of Jay Hughes and Delbert Hosemann, the two candidates for the Mississippi lieutenant governor race, have many commonalities. For instance, under “issues,” their websites have almost identical pictures of them reading to children. But the similarities don’t stop there. Hughes and Hosemann have both been soldiers, lawyers, husbands and fathers, and based on their websites, most of the items in their campaigns align as well. Hughes and Hosemann also have the X-factor that is missing from most modern elections: respect toward their opponent.
A quick Google search reveals that Hughes and Hosemann tend to agree more than disagree, even on issues that, today, are seen as one-sided. Their stances on the state flag is just one example.
The worst aspect of politics is when politicians refuse to collaborate with the other side because the aisle seems too big. I’m a Democrat, but I was impressed when I saw this quote from Hosemann, “We can do this. It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing. We just need to get away from saying, ‘Well, I’m just absolutely not going to do anything that has to do with anything.’”
In today’s political climate, politicians seem to put up their party as a defense. They won’t vote for something because it was brought forward by a member of another party, and they refuse to acknowledge that what benefits Democrats can also benefit Republicans because we’re all people who just need a little help.
Hughes, with his campaign of transparency in government and promises for local businesses, took hints from the gubernatorial candidate, Jim Hood, whom, through Hood’s commercials, you might not even know is a Democrat. Hughes said, “I want to join people together. I believe in compromise, humility and respect, not ‘my way or the highway.’”
Refreshing is the only way I can describe this phenomenon of Mississippi politics. It shows that you don’t have to be so entrenched with your party that you can’t work with others. As someone who has volunteered in elections before, I heard from most people that they are pledging to vote with their respective party, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can have a multitude of opinions that span multiple parties, and as long as you vote for the person you believe will get the job done, well, that’s all that matters. I never thought I would say it, but this example of Mississippi politics gave me hope for the future.
Emily Stewart is a freshman international studies and Arabic major from Columbia, Tennessee.