I don’t dislike Cindy Hyde-Smith personally. I have never met her. I have observed her political career for several years and have seen a few things that give me pause.
One is her switching parties from Democrat to Republican in 2010. As the political winds began to blow into 2011, voters across the state were put off by the National Democrat Party and politicians from constables and sheriffs to judges and legislators switched to set their sails into the prevailing wind. Hyde-Smith was no different. She could sense the changes in the attitudes of the electorate and took the opportunity to change her party, but not her principles.
Second, and a more recent concern, is the backing she is getting from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. To date, the U.S. Chamber has spent roughly $1 million in either support of her candidacy, or to slander her opponent, Chris McDaniel, with countless more dollars to be spent as the election nears. Earlier this year, a $375,000 smear campaign attacked and out-right lied about Sen. McDaniel on television stations across the state for a two-week period. Then, the Chamber released a poll conducted during this negative bout that showed Hyde-Smith in the lead, followed closely behind Mike Espy, the Democrat opponent. What wasn’t revealed openly is that the poll was conducted in Hinds County and the Delta to voters primarily 60+ years of age. McDaniel’s base of support was completely avoided.
Of course, the media ran with the story without ever looking into the details that led up to this absurd poll. This was a U.S. Chamber of Commerce tactic used to discredit a threat against their preferred candidate. This is the same tactic used against Gov. Matt Bevin, then-candidate against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 election cycle in Kentucky. Any opportunity to shed a negative light on Sen. McDaniel is seen as golden to a crony, power-hungry political system that fears the people regaining control of its government.
Too often, the electorate sees these slanderous ads, fabricated poll numbers, and adverse media spotlight and assumes the worse about a candidate without ever looking beyond the surface. Many voters feel it is the candidate’s job to rebut any negativism against them. And that may well be the case.
However, organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have untold millions of corporate dollars at their disposal. Reform candidates like Sen. McDaniel rely on the goodwill of citizens who are fed up with the status quo to donate small amounts to his campaign. It is hard to fight a five-alarm fire with a water pistol. And everyone says they hate negative ads. But, sadly, they work.
Our local chambers of commerce have a very loose affiliation, if any at all, with the national U.S. Chamber. Locally, these groups work with local business owners to promote commerce in local communities. They work with developers to prepare sites for new industries that may want to locate in a particular area. Their concerns lie with making the local community more vibrant and economically viable.
But, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is far from concerned with local communities. They are a lobbying organization for large corporations that want to continue the flow of money through government regulations, skewed trade deals, corporate handouts, and the like. They are the neck of the funnel for undesignated corporate donations to protect political candidates that they can persuade to stifle unregulated growth.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made no qualms about being against President Trump’s America First agenda. One headline on TheHill.com, written by Chris Riedel, states, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce the Big Loser of the Presidential Election,” referring to Trump’s stances on various issues being counter to those of the Chamber. In a Breitbart column, Warner Todd Huston writes, “U.S. Chamber Admits It Stands Against President Trump on Immigration.” And, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times says, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Demands Amnesty for 1 Million Migrants.”
Still more troubling is an article written by the Chamber’s very own J.D. Foster, Senior Vice President, Economic Policy Division, and Chief Economist. In this piece, the title says it all: “It’s Time to Scrap the Debt Limit.” The Chamber’s position on the ever-moving debt limit is that it should be abolished, allowing the federal government to borrow as much money as they feel necessary, or as much as the Chamber wants. Ordinary Mississippians understand that without a limit to one’s debt load, even a government’s, financial collapse would be imminent. Of course, the desire to keep the unfathomable flow of money in the hands of its corporate cronies is the ultimate goal, with you and me as the debtor.
Open borders, unlimited debt, amnesty, corporate profits by moving jobs overseas – these are the principles of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Profits over people. Corporations over citizens. A government ruled by greed.
Before the kings of the Chamber would spend a dime on a candidate, they must ensure said candidate will vote in the Chamber’s favor. The money spent on Hyde-Smith’s behalf comes at a price. She is now beholden to the Chamber’s principles, not those she claims are conservative Mississippi values. And they coat this bitter pill with a Brett Favre commercial.
She can claim she is with President Trump, but her financial backers are not. She can claim she is conservative, but her financial backers are not. She can vote, for now, for seemingly the right things, but the Senate’s super majority rule gives her cover. She will play one role during the race, but will inevitably be forced to play a different role should she win.
Make no mistake, I question the associations of all candidates that I follow, including Sen. McDaniel. Politics can weave a tangled web of allegiance, favors, and associations. I have found that more politicians are willing to sell out their principles to heavy-handed power brokers than to stick with those who once shared a like mind.
But, I haven’t found that compromise in Chris McDaniel. I have not seen him waver in his commitment to a government that protects the freedom of its citizens rather than controlling them. His associations are with you and I, not the infested, stagnate, sullied swamp.
I don’t think I can say the same thing about Cindy Hyde-Smith.