Mississippi Republicans feel strong, but caution against going too far right

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - This week we’re taking a closer look at how the political parties are making plans to move forward after recently polarizing elections.

Earlier this week we showed you how the Democratic Party is in the process of rebuilding in Mississippi. Now we’re talking to the GOP about how they plan to maintain and build their base.

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Frank Bordeaux doesn’t think the party is divided. But does see the value in making sure folks all along the conservative spectrum know they’re welcome.

“When I came in, and as chairman we changed our slogan to ‘We’re stronger together,’ and I truly believe that,” said Bordeaux. “And so we’re reaching out to all facets of the Republican Party and saying, ‘You’re part of us. We want to hear from you.’ We’ll get our direction from from the entire party. So we’re not a party of one, one group or another, we’re a broad party.”

We also spoke with Republican author and analyst Andy Taggart about the health of the party and how it can keep voters engaged.

“Republicans, historically, have done a pretty good job of staying center, right? We, we don’t move to the left, we say stay center, right? And when we push ourselves to the far right in the way that Democrats seem to be pushing themselves aggressively to the far left, even today, we have a hard time appealing to the heart and soul of the middle of America,” he explained. “And, of course, that’s where elections are won and lost.”

Taggart says some political consultants think polarizing the electorate is the right move but makes this note:

“Ultimately, the reason most people that I know are Republicans is because philosophically, we believe this is a better way to do the business of government. And, unfortunately, at least in recent years, Republicans can justifiably be criticized for putting our politics above our philosophy.”

Bordeaux says party donations and engagement show people are taking heart to the Republican philosophies.

“I can tell you that also all eight state-wides have been all over the state talking to different Republican groups. There’s not a person in our party right now that’s taken it for granted. And we believe that we can continue to build. And we are seeing growth in traditionally non-Republicans join our party throughout the state, and we’re gonna continue to focus in on that as well.”

Republicans say their current focus is on next year’s midterm elections and some Mississippi GOP members are asking how they can help in other states.

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