Thin Smith

IIt’s hardly a secret that Mississippi is a one-party state. Republicans hold all elected offices statewide and a supermajority in both houses of the Mississippi legislature.

Essentially, there is no viable Democratic party at the state level.

It’s time for Mississippians who fear the excesses of one-party rule to vote like him.

On Tuesday, the two parties will hold their primary races for U.S. Representative in the state’s four congressional districts. Most of the Golden Triangle is located in District 1, where Trent Kelly is serving his fourth full term. Part of Oktibbeha County is located in District 3, where Michael Guest is running for his third term.

Both are Republicans and the outcome of the primary race is likely to determine who will represent us in Congress, since whoever wins the GOP primary will be an overwhelming favorite in the general election in November, facing Democrats with little funding or recognition of name.

So in our one-party state, the decision of who represents us in Congress will, for all intents and purposes, be made on Tuesday. If you want to vote meaningfully, voting in Tuesday’s GOP primary is your only chance.

Our state holds open primaries — voters in Mississippi don’t register as party members — so even if you identify with one party, you can vote in the other’s primary.

Regardless of the outcome, a conservative Republican (pardon the redundancy) will be sent to Washington. We should expect nothing more, nothing less. It reflects the will of the people.

That’s not to say all conservative Republicans are cut from the same cloth, however. Nor does it mean that the conservative Republicans we send to Congress shouldn’t be responsible.

Above all, that’s why — given the practical reality of the situation — those who identify as Democrats or independents should vote in Tuesday’s GOP primary.

Both Michael Guest and Trent Kelly were found to be unworthy of re-election because they failed to represent the interests of everyone in their districts, whether Republicans, Democrats, Independents or third-party supporters.

I have no problem with Guest or Kelly voting with their party on most laws. But there are instances where both have made party loyalty a higher priority than the welfare of the people they were elected to represent.

As reported recently, Guest and Kelly voted against legislation that would have capped insulin costs at $35 per unit, despite Mississippi having the highest poverty rates in the nation and our state not being the second only to West Virginia for the percentage of residents who have diabetes (14.7%). Add to that the fact that 1 in 5 Mississippians don’t have health insurance and you should immediately understand the implications. Insulin prices have doubled over the past five years even though demand has remained relatively stable.

It is inadmissible that Kelly and Guest voted against this measure.

Likewise, Guest and Kelly voted against legislation to stop oil companies from jacking up prices as gas prices skyrocket. Oil companies are posting record profits at a time when Mississippians are paying up to $4.20 a gallon for gas. Kelly and Guest voted against stopping oil companies from exploiting their constituents.

Guest and Kelly also voted against certification of the 2020 presidential election results even as mobs attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, the day the election was certified. Kelly and Guest, both former district attorneys, knew there was no legal basis to overturn that vote. This, too, did their constituents a disservice.

For good measure, Kelly also voted against reinstating the Violence Against Women law, which lapsed in 2018, even though stats show 39.7% of Mississippi women experience physical violence. , sexual violence and/or harassment of their intimate partner during their lifetime. .

I don’t know if Kelly’s main opponent, Mark Strauss, or any of Guest’s main opponents (Thomas Griffin or Michael Cassidy) will be more extreme in their partisanship than they are.

What I do know, however, is that there are times when voter interests clash with party ideology. In these cases, we expect our representatives to serve our needs and interests.

Guest and Kelly have repeatedly failed this test.

Tuesday should be a day of reckoning for both.

Slim Smith is a columnist and editor for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

Slim Smith is a columnist and editor for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]