Other Opinions

Legislature crawling with fake Republicans

Hey, all you Mississippi legislators who switched from Democrat to Republican. Yes, all y’all who vote the conservative party line and give Republicans super-majorities in the House and Senate. Are y’all really fake Republicans?

That seems to be the message coming from your colleague Sen. Chris McDaniel regarding another former legislator who switched from Democrat to Republican.

“Before Commissioner Hyde-Smith was elected to lead the Department of Agriculture, her only legislative experience was that of a Democrat,” exclaimed McDaniel, after Gov. Phil Bryant selected her and not him to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. “She ran as a Democrat. She served as a Democrat. She voted like a Democrat. Although her reputation in Jackson was that of a moderate Democrat, the last thing the state of Mississippi needs in Washington is another moderate Democrat."

Yes, guys, when Cindy Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi Senate in 2000, like y’all, she was a Democrat. In 2010 she switched to the Republican Party. In 2011 she ran for Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce as a Republican and won. In 2015 she ran unopposed in the Republican primary and was handily re-elected in the General Election.

Hey, Senators Terry Burton, President Pro Tempore and Rules Committee Chairman (2002), Videt Carmichael, Insurance Committee Chairman (2002), Tommy Gollott, Ports and Marine Resources Committee Chairman (2007), Gray Tollison, Education Committee Chairman (2011), and Nicky Browing, Forestry Committee Chairman (2013), y’all switched and helped give the GOP a conservative super-majority (over 60%) in the Senate in 2013. Are y’all really fake Republicans as your colleague suggests?

Hey, Representatives Nolan Mettetal, Universities and Colleges Committee Chairman, Jeff Smith, Ways and Means Committee Chairman (2011), and Donnie Bell, Workforce Development Committee Chairman (2011), y’all helped give Republicans a majority in the House in 2012. And, hey, Representatives Jason White, Rules Committee Chairman (2012), Randall Patterson, Investigate State Offices Committee Chairman (2014), and Jody Steverson, Public Utilities Committee Vice-Chairman (2015), y’all switched and helped give Republicans a conservative super-majority in the House in 2016. Are y’all really fake Republicans too?

Golly, Gomer! How in the world could so many fake Republicans get to hold such powerful positions in the Republican controlled Legislature? Surely people who switch from Democrat to Republican can never be trusted conservatives?

Or is it someone else’s rhetoric that can’t be trusted?

Perhaps the Democratic past of Hyde-Smith is no more relevant than the similar past of two ex-Democrats who became Republican Presidents – Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. And no more relevant than the past of all the above ex-Democrat legislators who now serve as prominent Republicans in the House and Senate.

Maybe the relevant questions about Hyde-Smith should be has she shown herself over the past eight years as a statewide Republican elected official to be Republican and conservative enough to be the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate.


Obviously, longtime Republican and conservative Gov. Bryant thinks Hyde-Smith is Republican and conservative enough, as do many other state conservative leaders who point to Hyde-Smith’s campaigning for Trump and serving as co-chair of his campaign’s agriculture advisory committee.

We’ll find out what Mississippi voters think in November.

Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.