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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

RIP Jesse Helms

In a coincidental timing that undoubtedly pleased a lot of his fans, former Sen. Jesse Helms died early this morning after a long, debilitating illness.
I don’t have much to say about Helms’ career beyond what I wrote earlier this year in a Washington Monthly review of a new Helms biography. He was a political pioneer in lots of ways, some having to do with the mechanical practice of politics, but mostly involving the racial and sexual wedge politics of the late twentieth century, which are still with us.
By all accounts Helms had his good points as a person if not as a politician, living a modest life of devotion to family and friends, and to his particular notion of the demands of God and country. That God alone can judge him now, and may he, as well as those he unjustly tormented, now rest in peace.

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