The Cochran Mississippi Republican primary victory is a week old and almost everything that could be written about has been written. It was eye opening in several ways. I have to say as a tactic, going after Democratic Black voters to vote in the Republican primary, was a brilliant one. It’s probably one of the most original campaign tactics I’ve heard of in years.
But that shows the depths of the hatred that the Establishment Republicans have for the Tea Party. This seat wasn’t in danger of going Democrat if McDaniel won, but the establishment so didn’t want another Tea Party candidate in office that they would rather smear their own base as racist and take a chance that the seat would flip to Democrats after these sorts of tactics. Think about that. The national party would rather a safe senate seat go to the other party than to the Tea Party!
Republicans are not usually this dirty towards Democrats. Can you imagine Republicans sending out defamatory fliers like this out on a Democratic candidate?
Considering the dirty pool involved, I wouldn’t be surprised if a fair amount of Tea Party votes stayed home in November, putting the seat at risk. But that was a risk the establishment was more than willing to take.
But the race was revealing in another way that I have not seen remarked on much since last week. I often debate and view political debates online and a consistent charge from the right is that the Democrats win by promising “free stuff.” This is of course highly insulting to Democrats since they think voters are attracted to the great ideas of the Democrats, not mere voter bribery, but in this case for the runoff, Cochran ran as the guy who could bring home the bacon and McDaniel would cut spending (insert shocked moan of the crowd here), yes cut it! Promising to cut spending is usually one of those things that goes over well in a Republican primary or runoff, but in this case Cochran bet correctly that the new voters he was bringing in wouldn’t find that an attractive policy. So in the war between “free stuff” and fiscal discipline, free stuff won hands down.
Normally I would at least enjoy the comfort at having been proven correct on many Democratic voters’ intentions, but it’s a rather sad commentary that voter bribery can still sway enough votes to swing an election. And it’s dangerous for the future of the country. This runoff was a pretty good test case that free stuff is sweet candy and fiscal discipline is castor oil. But if I had my way, I would rather take the castor oil now than the chemotherapy later.