2020 Voter Guide for Mississippians

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Carter Moore

Here’s The Vision’s guide on all the candidates in this upcoming election. Get ready to cast your vote by Nov. 3!

Gracie Rowland and Luke Bowles

In a year full of social unrest, division and a literal pandemic, the presidential election is bound to be highly contentious. This year, Mississippi also has a Senate seat up for election as well as multiple ballot initiatives proposing changes to drug laws, the state voting process and the state flag. With The Vision’s mock election approaching, here is your guide to the November 2020 election in Miss.

 

President

Donald Trump- Republican

Donald Trump is currently the incumbent President of the United States. Trump’s COVID-19 plan consisted of pushing therapeutic treatments, supplying testing, providing relief to workers and businesses and speeding up the process to an eventual vaccine. However, his chief of staff recently stated, “We’re not going to control the pandemic,” and Trump has also criticized mask mandates and lockdowns. A strong critic of Antifa and the “radical left,” Trump also believes in trickle-down economics and wants to cut taxes for large corporations. He has stated that humans do play a role in climate change “to an extent” but does not want to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. He believes that life begins at conception and wishes to defund abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. He is a strong believer in border security and wants to place stricter immigration laws. He would also like to repeal the Obama-administration Affordable Care Act and is known for his “America First” policies. Trump wants to significantly reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan by Christmas this year. Lastly, he believes strongly in the right to gun ownership, opposes stricter gun laws and wishes to get rid of gun-free school zones. 

Joe Biden- Democrat 

Joe Biden is the former Vice President of the United States under Barack Obama. His COVID-19 response plan aims to reduce risk and increase treatment until a cure comes to fruition. He wants to increase financial support to workers who have become unemployed as a result of COVID-19. His plan also aims to make testing and care more available to all Americans and protect frontline workers. Biden has also showed a degree of support towards the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, acknowledging that there are systemic issues with policing and racism in America. However, he does not believe in defunding law enforcement. He wants to end travel bans and child and parent separation at the border. He wants to instate a $15 minimum wage and tax larger corporations to fund more education projects. He believes that fossil fuels strongly contribute to climate change and wants to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. Biden believes the choice of having an abortion is a human right and supports the healthcare coverage of birth control. He also wants to reduce the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan and host a global summit for allies. Biden wants to ban assault weapons and require background checks on all gun purchases. 

Jo Jorgensen- Libertarian

Jo Jorgensen is a lifelong libertarian, and she has formerly run as the Libertarian Party (LP) nominee for Vice-President. A staunch critic of the two-party system, Jorgensen believes it “attempts a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.” She is strongly in favor of lowering national debt and ending all “expensive and deadly” foreign wars. Jorgensen is also a proponent of free trade and pro-choice abortion policies. She has spoken out against systemic racism as well as spoken in favor of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. Jorgensen also wants to slash federal taxes and legalize recreational marijuana. 

Howie Hawkins- Green Party

Howie Hawkins has run multiple times for multiple positions under the Green Party’s name. Hawkins is a strong proponent of the Green New Deal and much stronger COVID-19 restrictions. He wants to cut the military’s budget by 75% and is also opposed to “endless wars.” Hawkins wants America to have 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, a $20 minimum wage and economic reparations for African Americans. Lastly, he is in favor of legalizing marijuana and sex work and instituting higher taxes on the wealthy. 

Senate Seat

Cindy Hyde-Smith- Republican 

Cindy Hyde-Smith is the incumbent Senator after winning a special election in 2018 after the retirement of long-time Miss. Senator Thad Cochran.  She also strongly supports the second amendment and is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). A lifelong farmer as well, Hyde-Smith was the former Miss. Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. Hyde-Smith has consistently argued for fewer regulations to “ease the financial burden on Miss. farmers and small businesses.” Hyde-Smith possesses a 100 percent pro-life voting rating by the National Right to Life Committee. 

Mike Espy- Democrat 

Mike Espy was the first Black Congress member in Miss. since Reconstruction and served in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. He is a member of the Democratic Party but holds more centrist values. He believes in the Second Amendment and appeared in an advertisement for the National Rifle Association (NRA). He believes that separating children from their parents is “misguided” and wants to increase the minimum wage and teacher’s salaries. He also wishes to expand mental healthcare, Obamacare and Medicaid and supports medical marijuana usage in Mississippi. He identifies as pro-choice. 

Additional measures Mississippians will vote for

Statewide Ballot Measure 1

Voters will have the option of choosing whether to legalize medical marijuana and to choose what plan they want executed if it is legalized. First, voters will have the choice of selecting whether to reject both plans or whether to approve one of them. If they choose to legalize one of the plans, they will then be presented with the following two options: Initiative Measure No. 65 and Alternative Measure No. 65A.

Initiative Measure No. 65

Initiative Measure No. 65 would allow “qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions, as certified by Mississippi licensed physicians, to use medical marijuana.” It was initiated by a petition with over 200,000 signatures and lists specific amounts for projected costs and revenue.  The overall annual revenue per the initiative is anticipated to be $10,662,000.

Alternative Measure No. 65A

The Alternative Measure would “establish a program to allow the medical use of marijuana products by qualified persons with debilitating medical conditions.” The key difference here is that the wording states the people determining the use of medical marijuana would be “qualified persons” rather than the “Mississippi licensed physicians” of the Initiative Measure. The section for projected costs and revenue states, “The cost or revenue impact associated with this initiative is undeterminable.”

Statewide Ballot Measure 2

Voters will have the option of voting “yes” or “no” on Statewide Ballot Measure 2. If enacted, it would amend the state constitution and change the way statewide offices are elected. Currently, those running for statewide office must win the popular vote and a majority of the House districts. Miss. is the only state to require a dual-step process. The measure would remove the qualification that statewide candidates win a majority of the legislative districts and instead require a popular vote majority. 

Statewide Ballot Measure 3

After the current state flag was removed due to its contentious racial and political legacy, the state government held a multi-stage contest to determine the next potential state flag. Voters will be able to vote “yes” to adopt the new flag, titled “The New Magnolia” flag, or “no” to reject it. The design can be seen here