Here in the MidSouth change of some sort is around the corner. Term limits are reshaping the Shelby County Commission, while the Trump presidency has created a flurry of activity within the Republican Party and amongst the Democratic Party opposition. While no third party has emerged as a force in this region, dissatisfaction with conventional politics suggests the potential for new conversations in the 2020 Presidential race. With so many new candidates entering the fray, the question for their supporters continues to be where to expand.
So many of the issues we debate have well established battle lines. In the current environment, few major party candidates will find new voters through advocating those subjects which most motivate their base. Key issues such as abortion rights, taxation, charter schools, immigration, historical memory, policing, and racial bias are what have brought so many citizens out to work for their candidates of choice. In fact, these are often the issues that led the candidates themselves to seek office. However, these are familiar subjects, and they bring out few new voters when the familiar party candidate promotes them – however young or novel.
But in parts of Shelby County, trash is piling up and taxes are rising on middle class voters. The tax increase comes from the repeal of the Hall tax on interest and dividend income by the state legislature. These revenues helped support local municipalities and counties and the loss hit Shelby County suburbs. Where Republicans have voted to recoup losses by raising property taxes, Democrats may find an opportunity to accuse Republicans of betraying their own principles while offering solutions that appeal to both sides.
The trash, and recycling, and yard waste, appears in Cordova and Hickory Hill. Service disruptions associated with a contractor have led to crowded curbs and angry residents. The loudest complaints come from Cordova, especially the areas where de-annexation is a popular cause. Both Cordova and Hickory Hill are home to young families renting or buying their first homes. They may not have voted before or developed a strong party affiliation. But a candidate willing to offer solutions be it education, property taxes, or dependable trash pickup, might that greatest prize: a new voter.