Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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Dec. 19

The Greenwood Commonwealth on the Democratic and Republican party:

Following every national election, America’s two political parties contemplate what the results tell them they have to do to assure their success in the future.

In 2020, the conclusions are not much different than they were in other recent elections.

Republicans need to get more diverse, and Democrats need to reclaim the working-class whites who were once a bedrock bloc of the party.

Star Parker, a conservative Black columnist, recently reiterated what GOP leaders have known for a while. As the nation becomes increasingly Black and brown, the party must change with it or find itself coming in second perpetually.

Parker cites the following presidential elections as evidence. In 1984, when another Republican, Ronald Reagan, was running for reelection, 84% of voters were white. Reagan won in a landslide.

In 2020, the white percentage had fallen to 67%, and Donald Trump lost.

The changing demographics are not the only explanation for these different outcomes. Reagan was not as polarizing as Trump, and he wasn’t running during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Still, Parker’s point is valid. Immigration patterns and birth rates both point inexorably toward an increasingly larger minority population, particularly Hispanic.

But Democrats can’t rest on Joe Biden’s laurels either. Several states that the Democrats thought they had a chance of winning stayed in Trump’s column, and a couple that Biden did win were closer than anticipated, largely because the incumbent increased his showing in rural, heavily white parts of the country, even while Biden was significantly outspending Trump on advertising. And even though Democrats won the White House, they underperformed in congressional races.

If both parties truly want to expand their appeal, however, they will have to do more than just talk about a bigger tent. They will have to moderate some of their platforms. Republicans will have to soften on immigration, for example, and Democrats will have to harden on abortion.

Both parties are presently at the ideological extremes. Their future may depend on both of them moving toward the middle.

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com/

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Dec. 18

The Greenwood Commonwealth on charter schools in Mississippi:

Charter schools overall are a good idea. They can offer an escape for children trapped in substandard traditional public schools. They can spur traditional schools, now having to compete for students, to improve. If they are poorly operated, they can be easily shut down.

Charter schools are only worth having, however, if they can provide a much better education. Anything less than that, not only are they pointless but they can do harm by taking funding and good students away from schools that may be struggling with too little of each.

Charter schools were sold on the promise that they would be held even more accountable than their traditional public school counterparts. If a charter school didn’t produce, it would have its charter and taxpayer funding yanked.

A recent report from a legislative watchdog group questions whether the board that oversees Mississippi’s charter schools is keeping that promise. Last April, that board gave a three-year extension to a charter school, Midtown Public Charter School in Jackson, that failed to get above a “D” accountability grade in its first five years of existence.

Of course there are excuses, as there always are with mediocrity. But charter schools are not supposed to be allowed to make excuses.

With the opening this year of Leflore Legacy Academy in Greenwood, the state has seven charter schools. Any that don’t provide a verifiable quality education should be told to close their doors.

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com/

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Dec. 17

The Vicksburg Post on the spike in coronavirus cases in Mississippi's Warren County:

The daily reports from the Mississippi State Department of Health have become mind-numbing. The numbers of those infected by the virus and those so tragically taken from us by the spread of the COVID-19 virus have been a part of our lives for now more than nine months.

Thursday marked the 282nd day since the first case of the virus was first reported in Mississippi. And, in that time, there have been 187,904 cases confirmed There have also been 4,320 people killed by the virus.

Sadly, now, we have started measuring the daily reports by whether the number of new cases reported is in excess of 2,000. We have reached the point where anything less than 2,000 infected, or less than 50 killed, is a “good day.”

Locally, the current wave of the virus in our community is the worst we have seen. Over the past week, each daily report pushes our active cases, average daily cases and two-week totals to record levels. It’s not a streak we would have hoped for.

As of Thursday, Warren County has reported 456 cases in December, and that is just through the first 17 days of the month. Already December is the second-worst month of the pandemic and is on pace to become the worst by this weekend.

During this pandemic, we have seen 65 of our friends and neighbors lose their life. But while we have grown numb to the numbers, we cannot afford to grow tired of the steps needs to somehow curb the spread of the virus. We cannot stop wearing our masks. We cannot stop social distancing. And we cannot stop taking the hygiene measures that have been proven effective against COVID-19.

The numbers these days are disappointing, shocking and should serve as a reminder that the virus in Warren County is as prevalent today as it has even been.

We have already lost far too many to this virus and will lose more. But, if we do what we are supposed to do and take responsibility for our actions, then there is a brighter day ahead — one where the virus is history.

Online: https://www.vicksburgpost.com/