Wow, the tea-partying conservatives are super ticked off about the stunning loss they suffered Tuesday night in the Mississippi Senate GOP contest – mostly because lots and lots of blacks had the temerity to participate at their expense.
As it became clear yesterday that imperiled establishment incumbent Thad Cochran had successfully importuned blacks to vote for him in the open primary – in sufficient numbers to clinch his victory – loser Chris McDaniel and his aggrieved tea-party allies got madder and madder. McDaniel refused to concede the race, and threatened to challenge the results in court. Rush Limbaugh assailed “black Uncle Tom voters.” Sarah Palin, the former half-term governor and troll heroine, crayoned on Facebook that Cochran’s huge black vote was “potentially illegal.”
In translation, the sore losers’ message: How dare Thad Cochran bring all those blacks into our white party!
Do these people have a tin ear, or what? They do themselves no favors, and alienate themselves from the American mainsteam even further, by equating robust black turnout with voting “irregularities.” It’s nutcase rhetoric to suggest that when blacks vote in great numbers, surely something stinks.
Here was McDaniel yesterday: “It is paramount that we ensure the sanctity of the election process is upheld….Our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted. After we’ve examined the data, we will make a decision about whether and how to (proceed).”
What “irregularities?” McDaniel didn’t offer a shred of evidence that “the sanctity of the electoral process” had been breached. Nor did Palin, who fumed haplessly that “the irregularities must be fully investigated….I told Chris McDaniel last night that I stand with his effort to get to the bottom of this….Voting shenanigans never cease to amaze, but they had better cease altogether for the sake of ethical elections.”
(They apparently think that hordes of blacks voted illegally in Tuesday’s primaries, because supposedly they had voted in the Democratic contest earlier this month. Under Mississippi rules, you can’t cross over if you voted in the other party’s earlier contest. But McDaniel has no proof that anyone voted twice.)
Actually, to borrow Palin’s phrase, we can “get to the bottom of this” very easily:
Everyone in Mississippi – including McDaniel – knew the rules long in advance. Democrats were free to vote in the open primary (unless they’d voted in the earlier Democratic primary). Cochran simply worked the rules to the fullest, inviting Democrats to help him on Tuesday.
In Mississippi, Democratic voters are disproportionately black. Cochran during his 36 years has brought home scads of federal dollars that have benefited the black community. He ran ads in black newspapers and on black radio stations, reminding voters about all the programs he has voted to fund; he ran TV ads that showed him conversing with blacks. McDaniel, by contrast, had pledged to do nothing in Washington (apparently a point of pride for someone who hates government), and, indeed, as a state senator, he had voted against black interests.
The Tuesday night result: Unusually strong turnout in the state’s 24 predominantly black counties, where Cochran got 71 percent of the vote – a major factor in his two-point victory over McDaniel.
But McDaniel’s conservative allies didn’t like this at all. They like their primaries white. I wouldn’t be surprised if the future tea-party rallying cry is “Remember Mississippi!”
Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich denounced Cochran’s “nefarious campaign tactics.” Matt Kibbe of tea-partying FreedomWorks said the tactics were “disgraceful.” Milton Wolf, a tea-partying Senate candidate in Kansas, said that turning out black Democrats “to manipulate a Republican primary” constituted “all-out war on conservatives, and our country is at stake.”
And Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger and tea-party agitator, fumed that the GOP might be imploding: “As grassroots activists feel further and further removed and alienated from the party, it will become harder and harder to win….When the GOP inevitably caves on repealing Obamacare, opting instead to reform it in favor of their donors’ interests, we may just see an irreparable split. Then, and even worse, if party leaders and party base voters cannot reconcile themselves to a common candidate in 2016, God help us.”
Whoa, guys. Take a chill pill. Didn’t Cochran play within the rules, which allowed him to broaden the Mississippi primary electorate? And, come on, isn’t GOP outreach to black voters supposed to be a good thing? Would it really help the party’s national image if sore-loser McDaniel goes to court and tries to equate strong black turnout with “irregularities?”
It’s like what Sen. Lindsey Graham said yesterday: “Republicans should celebrate the fact that African Americans felt good enough about a Republican to think he’s a fair man. If we start making that a bad thing, we’ll be the authors of our own doom.”
Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1