1)Whither Alabama and Mississippi?
Although I am sure that there are many reasons that Georgia voted for Biden and then elected two Democrats as Senators, the mobilization of Black voters is seen as a cause, and surely Stacey Abrams must be given considerable credit. The voting in Georgia might herald an important path for Democrats: Set a ten-year goal to make Mississippi and Alabama politically competitive. Of course, even though Democrats can now compete effectively in Georgia, it does not mean that Alabama and Mississippi can ever lose their deep red status. All three have large Black populations—Georgia at about 30% Black is in between Alabama at 26% and Mississippi at 38%–and that is a reason to believe that Democrats could compete better in Alabama and Mississippi. However, Georgia’s political shift may not be a roadmap for Alabama and Mississippi. Even though all three have large Black populations, Georgia is more dynamic than the other two. Georgia’s population grew about ten percent in the last decade with both Blacks and whites attracted there from the north. That shift has not been true for Alabama which grew only about three percent and Mississippi whose growth has been stagnant. There is little to attract people to these states. Mississippi ranks 50th among the states in household income and Alabama 46th. On most measures of health, the two states have dismal rankings. For example, only West Virginia has a lower life expectancy than Mississippi with Alabama only two states above Mississippi’s ranking. (Both Blacks and whites in Mississippi and Alabama have life spans shorter than the national average.) Similarly, most measures of education place those two states right at the bottom of the country.
Georgia does not have particularly impressive rankings on such metrics either—33rd in household income and 39th in life expectancy—but it is significantly better than Mississippi and Alabama on such measures. Georgia is admittedly ahead of the other states, but even if Georgia has become politically competitive, it does not necessarily indicate that those other states can become so, too. Nevertheless, because of their low rankings and meager population growth, these states ought to become targets of Democrats. Alabamans and Mississippians might be made to realize that a political change would be good for them. And, of course, Democrats should want to make lives better, and here are two states where living conditions have no where to go but up.
2) Sue the Hell Out of Him
As I have said on this blog recently (see post of January 13, 2021), I have mixed feelings about trying Trump for criminal charges after he has left office. I also have mixed feelings about an impeachment trial. But I am hoping for all sorts of civil trials against him, both because he has regularly used litigation as a bullying tactic and because some suits might make him accountable for words and actions for which he has taken no responsibility. For example, I hope Ruby Freeman sues him. Freeman was just an ordinary worker in the Georgia election process, but Trump named her as the person who put 18,000 “fake” ballots through a scanner producing 54,000 bogus votes for Biden. Even though this was conclusively proved false, our then-president said about her, “She’s a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler.” This slander no doubt produced death threats against her and required her to go into seclusion. Normal life may never return to her. I hope that she can get enough money from Trump at least to receive a fraction of the security that Trump expects Americans to pay for him.
3) A Republican Conundrum
Here’s an interesting dilemma for some: The Republican Party might be helped if Trump is convicted in the Senate of the impeachment charges and barred from future public office. If he remains free to run for president again, he will probably act as he did in the ten years before he ran for the presidency and make frequent noises as if he will run in 2024. Instead of Republican officeholders dominating Republican politics and policies, Trump will. This can make it an interesting wire-walking adventure for some who want to be president. Let’s just say this includes Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Cruz and Hawley will want the backing of the Trumpistas, but as long as there is a chance Trump himself will run, the first question those two Senators will be asked is, “Do you back Trump for president?” It will be interesting to hear their replies. In fact, Cruz and Hawley will be better off if Trump is barred from taking office again. Then they can pledge allegiance to the Trump flag, tell us the election was stolen, and how they should be elected to continue on with the Trump legacy. But, of course, they can’t do that if they vote to convict on the impeachment charges. Instead, they have to hope that enough other Senators will vote for conviction so that Republican paths to the Presidency don’t have to step over a possible Trump candidacy.
Words to remember on Inauguration Day. “Visits always give pleasure—if not the arrival, the departure.” Portuguese Proverb.