A new polling analysis published by examiner.com indicates something about Mississippi that has been in the works for a while: Based on recent elections, our state is trending blue.
Based on polling data on a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown in 2016, Mississippi is one of the few Deep South states that would go for Clinton in that matchup.
This analysis might surprise many who think that Mississippi is the reddest state of the red (especially based on our statewide cavemen, er, elected officials). But several facts make it much more complicated than at first glance:
State Democrats have provided very few even-marginally-progressive options historically, giving younger and less-conservative choices to vote for, creating voter lethargy among those who might turn out and vote "blue" otherwise. That fact is actually changing this year, with several openly progressive (and female) Democrats getting at least some party support, instead of the pseudo-Republicans the party has tended to put up in the last 20 years.
More young people of all races are staying in Mississippi, and many of them are voting Democratic, and have since 2004.
Demographics, demographics, demographics. The irony of Mississippi being the state with the highest percentage of enslaved people in 1860 is that our state still has the highest percentage of African Americans and is more likely than much of Dixie to go blue first. Put simply, African Americans tend to vote Democratic, ever since the Republican Party embrace of Dixiecrats back in the late 1960s after national Dems supported civil-rights laws, and we have the highest percentage of black residents in the country.
And, let's be honest, even many Republicans don't want bat-shit-crazy Trump running this country.
Finally, to be honest again, a lot of white people like Clinton better than Obama (even if I'm not one of them).
So, there are no surprises here: Mississippi has been steadily trending blue for a while now. The question, as always, is: Will the people who can flip the state into the blue column turn out both this November (to save public-education funding and turn out a governor who makes us look like the most stuck-in-the-past state) and next November?
Time, and voter registration, will tell. Progressive (which is easy to be here by rejecting the radical right) Mississippians must find the will to stop giving up our power to sellouts to bigotry and backward ideas (and ideologues) to lift our state up. I've watched this will grow since we started this paper in 2002—and saw serious evidence of it when we turned back Personhood, shocking the nation—and I believe in upcoming elections we may well surprise the world once again. I've believed this was coming for nearly 15 years now.
Stay tuned and register to vote.