/Prohibition Party persists; picks Mississippian for VP

Prohibition Party persists; picks Mississippian for VP

HATTIESBURG — Mississippians recently criticized their state legislators for many things. However, being too liberal is not a common complaint. “But they keep leaning less and less left and I keep going,” said Bill Bayes, Hattiesburg resident. This was the reason why the state party voted for John McCain in 2008. Hattiesburg resident Bill Bayes said that although he may have a ‘R’ after the name of his candidate, everyone knows he is a liberal Democrat. Bayes was fed up with the party that he claimed had abandoned small-government principles and joined the Prohibition Party. In less than a month, Bayes was elected vice-presidential candidate by the party. “They wanted someone a bit younger, but I turned 65 yesterday. Many of them are older. Bayes smiled and said that they wanted to bring in young blood. Bayes also stated that it was possible to forgive people if the word “Prohibition Party”, conjures up images involving women wearing bustle skirts, high neck blouses, and pickingeting saloons. Bayes claims that the party has progressed since the repeal of the 18th Amendment 83 years ago. Prohibition is not the driving force behind the Prohibition Party today. It is one of the planks. It is one of the planks. It is the third oldest party in the country and third-oldest, after Republicans and Democrats. According to Rick Knox, the party chairman, it has been searching for political relevance for a lot of the past century. Knox stated that the repeal of the prohibition amendment was “a major blow to the party.” “We know that we won’t be able to pass prohibition again. We can only hope to get stricter drunk driving laws passed.” However, reform advocacy requires members which the party has struggled to attract. Although the party enjoyed a brief second wave popularity in the 1940s their numbers have declined steadily since 1952. Only Louisiana was the only state where the Prohibition candidate made it onto the ballot in 2012 and received 518 votes. Knox stated, “Let’s put it this way.” “They nominated a West Virginia gentleman, but he didn’t have a computer or a cell phone. Communication problems were a problem. There were communication problems. He talks about the past when he speaks about politics. “When you read about our founding, and see where we are today you think, “Wait, a minute.” Bayes leaned forward in his chair and asked, “How did we get here?” What was the Civil War all about? It wasn’t about slavery. It was about an ever encroaching federal government.” While today’s Prohibition Party is more conservative and older, its roots are progressive. The party was the first to allow women members and the first woman elected to office in this country on the Prohibition ticket. This was more than 30 years ago, when women could legally vote. The party lost members in the 1950s and shifted its platform to advocate social conservatism and states’ rights. Knox and Bayes agree with the idea that young voters and women can give the party an energy boost. It is not clear if the party is able to do this realistically while still maintaining its conservative platform. “I will admit that I am pro-female. But, females make many decisions based upon emotions. Bayes stated that you are more emotional than most people. Bayes stated that while men think more logically than women, they think more emotionally. The Democrats have always played with the emotions.” Bayes doesn’t know any other Mississippi Democrats, but the legacy of prohibition is still alive in Mississippi. 36 of the 82 counties in Mississippi are currently dry or partially dry. Bayes might feel Mississippi’s Republicans are moving to the left, but he stated that he is comforted by Mississippians’ commitment to their ideals more than any other people. House Bill 1523, which Governor Phil Bryant signed into law in April, was an example Bayes cited many times. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law in April. Opponents of the bill say it encourages discrimination against gays, lesbians, and other forms of discrimination. The bill advocates say is expands religious freedom. Phil stood for individual rights. He was a great man. Bayes stated that it was brave of him to make this decision. However, he believed he had done the right thing. “Mississippi has been at least more conservative than many of the other states.” The Prohibition Party currently holds seven state ballots, including Mississippi. Bayes stated that joining the party gave him the chance to vote for a candidate he believed in. “I am sick and tired voting against the Democrat. Bayes stated that Reagan was the only president for which I have ever voted. Bayes said, “I better vote to my ticket.” To help us continue this important work, you can support this work by making a recurring gift today.