Does one-party rule work?

Published 11:23 pm Saturday, August 22, 2015

Is the Democratic Party relevant in state-wide elections these days?

Robert Gray’s win in the gubernatorial Democratic primary suggests it is not. The unheard-of Gray won in a landslide against two better-known candidates. Most experts chalk the victory up to Gray’s name appearing at the top of the ballot.

That doesn’t bode well for the party, at least at the state level. And that may not bode well for the state.

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Government tends to work better when both political parties are vibrant and can challenge the legislation of the other. But a government run by one party is prone to “echo-chamberism” that can keep good ideas out and bad ideas in.
Mississippi’s legislature is firmly in control of Republicans, and what have we accomplished? Public education funding is a hot mess. The state ranks last when it comes to child well-being. The state’s jobless rate is down, but Mississippi remains tied for the third-highest rate among states.

Things could definitely be better. That doesn’t mean Republicans are to blame, and we would likely be worse off if Democrats were in charge. But we need fresh ideas, and one-party rule doesn’t tend to produce fresh ideas.

It likely wouldn’t matter who is on the ticket against Gov. Phil Bryant; he is almost guaranteed another term. But the embarrassment of Gray’s victory has to hurt the party’s chances of mounting a serious challenge to Republicans anytime soon.

Republicans are driving the bus and will be for the foreseeable future — it’s up to them to keep it between the ditches. Let’s hope they are up for the challenge.