After Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced his plans to run for governor last week, I asked myself only one question: why would he run as a Democrat instead of an Independent?
Presley has proven to be an effective public servant. As the mayor of Nettleton, he not only cut taxes but also managed to grow the city. As the Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District, he found ways to bring broadband internet service to some of the most rural Mississippi spaces above I-20. He listens to people and knows how to work a room.
Although my wife’s elective office is non-partisan, I heard plenty of party politics during the campaign last year. I heard folks praise Presley at length, only to end their thoughts on his body of work by saying, “Yeah, but he’s a Democrat. I could never trust him.” You can almost see them shaking their heads in regret at his party affiliation.
It would be appropriate here to weep over the straightjacket that public officials put on when they agree to serve one party or another. They’re reduced to serving ideologies before they serve the people. However, gnashing teeth over the need for a viable third party is as useful as trying to sharpen a knife with a noodle. Instead, think about this: what are Presley’s chances to topple an incumbent Republican?