History Of The Mississippi Primary
In a state never swift to embrace democracy for all, the Mississippi presidential primary has a brief history.
It was not until 1988 that a real two-party presidential primary was held in Mississippi.
In 2008, the Mississippi primary will be held March 11.
Just over 2.9 million people live in Mississippi. 61% are white and 36% are black. That is the highest percentage of black people of any state in the nation.
In 2004, George W. Bush won Mississippi 59%-40%.
For many years Mississippi was a one-party Democratic Solid South state that used a whites-only primary.
The great Fannie Lou Hamer (photo above) led the fight for an integrated Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic convention in Atlantic City.
She had some success, but this was one event of many during the Civil Rights era that led many–though not all–white citizens of Mississippi to join the Republican party.
( President George W. Bush.)
With the Republican party in control of much of Mississippi–though Democrats still control the state House of Representatives—it could be argued that the Republican primary is an updated white primary.
A difference is that black people are legally allowed to vote in the Republican primary. It’s just that they have little reason to want to do so.
This was great progress for Mississippi. But it also showed that many Mississippi whites had become Republicans.
(Jesse Jackson in 1983)
Pat Buchanan ran poorly in both ’92 and ’96.
David Duke gave it a shot in 1996.
He was rejected by Republican voters.
Again, on one hand this was progress. Yet on the other hand, it reflected a mainstream Republican party that white voters felt comfortable with on issues of race.
2000 and 2004 produced unremarkable results in Mississippi. Republicans did not hold a primary in 2004 since President George W. Bush was the certain nominee.
(The Largemouth Bass is the official fish of Mississippi.)