FiveThirtyEight reports that after a preliminary look at the numbers, Thad Cochran probably won his Mississippi run-off election because of a cross-over vote from Democratic African-Americans:
It’s clear that Cochran’s vote increases were correlated to the percentage of African-Americans who live in each county. The 10 counties where the incumbent senator improved most were those where blacks make up 69 percent or more of the population.
In this regard, John Fund points to the flier being passed out by the Cochran campaign, and asks if it is what helped push Cochran over.
If this was indeed the main pitch Cochran made to the African-American community, it would appear that it won him the election.
(Full version via Charles C. Johnson)
- The flier is absolutely despicable. It knowingly makes the false accusation that McDaniel and the Tea Party in general are racists, in order to pander to the African-American community and win votes. This is the kind of thing Democrats do, not Republicans. If this is the true heart of the GOP establishment–that they should say and do anything to get their way and protect an incumbent–then the GOP establishment is no better than Al Sharpton.
- Having said that, if it were a closed primary, this would not have happened to begin with. GOP grassroots voters have a right to demand that from now on, all primaries (including presidential primaries) be closed.
- However, as the old cliche goes, it is what it is (or was what it was?). If McDaniel knew that Cochran was pulling this stunt (and he did), then he had a responsibility to reach out to the African-American community and combat what Cochran was doing. Now, all the complaining in the world will not change the fact that Cochran simply ran a more effective campaign, and McDaniel failed to reach out to an important segment of Mississippi voters.
- The Tea Party in general needs to reach out to the African-American community to combat this kind of bat guano. While few if any Tea Party members are overtly racist, it needs to be recognized that the idea that African-Americans cannot be reached by the Tea Party message because they are (insert any number of options here) is racist. People vote in their self-interests. Getting the government off the backs of wage earners, having policies that support families and small businesses, etc., are policies that are in the self-interest of many African-Americans. There is no reason why this group cannot be reached.
- Finally, if McDaniel stays in the race and runs as an independent in the general election, the only role he could possibly serve is as a spoiler. This would be the worst possible outcome for an already bad situation. Our primary mission at the moment should be to make sure that Harry Reid loses his position as Senate Majority Leader. While it may be painful, Chris McDaniel should go home and lick his wounds in private.
UPDATE: As pointed out by Charles C. Johnson, the flier does not contain the legally mandatory disclosure as to what group or entity produced and distributed it. Based upon the fact that the flier not just maligns McDaniel, but praises Cochran with talking points that would be favorable for him in the general election, it is highly doubtful that this was a false flag operation. It had to have been produced either directly by the Cochran campaign, or by someone aligned with it. The lack of disclosure gives them the luxury of deniability, however.