Politics could define the New Year

Published 9:22 am Friday, December 30, 2016

From a political standpoint, 2017 should be an interesting year.

We have a new president and the Republican Party has strengthened its majorities in the House and Senate.

Locally, city officials and potential challengers are gearing up for municipal elections that will be held in the summer. Qualifying for the municipal elections will begin in January according to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, although the city’s election calendar setting the primary, runoff and general election dates has not been released.

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In 2016, an unusual candidate, Donald Trump, the ultimate political outsider, was elected to office by the Electoral College; it’s a distinction he shares with three presidents, Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), and George W. Bush (2000). Trump has yet to fully reveal or explain his entire program to the people, although his nominees for cabinet posts have met with some criticism from not just Democrats, but by some people in his own party. And while Trump believes he may have a mandate from the people, he’s mistaken. He lost the popular vote to Hilary Clinton by about 2.86 million votes and won in the Electoral College by 77 votes; hardly the ingredients to claim a mandate.

And as for the Republican majority, it’s time to put up or shut up.

For the past four years, the Republicans in Congress have complained and bragged about what they could do with a Republican president in the White House. O.K. fellas, here’s your chance. If you do away with the Affordable Care Act, the so-called Obamacare, what will you offer in its place to the millions of working Americans who will be without health care coverage because they either can’t afford it or can’t get it through work?

So far, no one’s presented a viable alternative.

How are you going to create an economic structure that will guarantee the unemployed will have jobs? Where will you find the money to make up for all the tax cuts Mr. Trump is promising, and will these cuts help the middle class? How will you restore all the money the second President Bush borrowed from Social Security for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Those are big questions and they require common sense and responsible answers.

Locally, whose going to be running for the seats on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen? Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has already said he’s running. Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Willis Thompson haven’t said what they’re going to do.

The street talk throws out different candidates for each office, and there are some people in the community who are angry with the board for various reasons. Some will run for office and some will put up others to run because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude do it themselves.

The mysteries will begin to unravel themselves once qualifying begins in January and the voters will learn who’s running for what. It could be a circus.

It should all make the coming year entertaining.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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