Allen B. West

Cochran election shenanigans: time for a third party?

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Six-term Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran narrowly “won” in a Republican run-off against challenger Chris McDaniel. If there’s one thing the Cochran campaign learned it’s to use the tactics of the liberal progressives against their own constitutional conservative grassroots. The circular firing squad is in full flower — and the bullets are coming from the GOP establishment.

According to Human Events, Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel won the Republican vote in the Republican runoff election on Tuesday night, but it didn’t matter, because incumbent Senator Thad Cochran was able to persuade a legion of Democrats — some 35,000– to support him under the “open” rules of the race, in which any Democrat who didn’t vote in the regular primary was free to cross over and meddle in the GOP runoff.

I find it unconscionable that a Republican Senator would purposefully use this scheme to further his political career. There is nothing for Senator Cochran to celebrate.

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Cochran “won” by using a combination of race-baiting attacks on McDaniel, and touting his ability to make government larger and bring home more goodies from Washington, whereas McDaniel is one of those “kooky extremists” who thinks running trillion-dollar deficits every year means we’re running out of money. The result was an “upset” runoff win for the veteran incumbent: 50.9 to 49.1 percent – a margin of about 6,600 votes.

Human Events says the Washington Post crunched some numbers and found that “In nearly every Mississippi county, voter turnout was higher that it was for the inconclusive June 3 primary. But precinct totals show it was substantially greater in heavily African-American areas. In the 24 counties with a majority black population, turnout increased by 39.4 per cent, giving Cochran a big edge.”

The Democrats courted by Cochran certainly seemed to think their support was going to put him over the top:

NAACP leaders, wary of potential confrontations, sent their own monitors to Mississippi. Wayne McDaniels, president of Jackson branch of the NAACP, said, “If Cochran wins, it’s because of the black vote.” He said black Democrats “weighed the field and concluded that with Cochran, we know what we’ve got, and we like what we’ve got,” McDaniels added.

So Senator Cochran “won” not because of GOP votes in a GOP senatorial run-off. What is there to celebrate, sir?

Chris McDaniel won the primary by slender margin, lost the runoff by a slightly less slender margin, came so close to knocking off an incumbent who has been rolling barrels of pork home for his supporters since 1972 that reinforcements from the other party had to be called in to enable his victory. This is shameful, appalling, and pathetic.

“So much for bold colors,” McDaniel said. “So much for principle. I guess they can take some consolation in the fact that they did something tonight by once again compromising, by once again reaching across the aisle, by once again abandoning the conservative movement. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our Republican friends endorse. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our statewide officials endorse. This is not the party of Reagan, but we’re not done fighting and when we’re done it will be.”

McDaniel said that Cochran’s actions mean the “conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats” in Mississippi on Tuesday, something he argued can’t be allowed to stand as precedent. “In the most conservative state in the republic this happened and if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere—and that’s why we will never stop fighting,” McDaniel said.

The establishment GOP may have won this battle, a short-term gain, but in the long term, effects may be detrimental not just to the GOP but for America. What the Senate race in Mississippi demonstrates is that the people who gave the GOP the majority in the House of Representatives are not wanted and certainly not appreciated. Down South we have a saying, “you should dance with the one who brought you to the ball.” We see with whom Senator Thad Cochran chose to dance.

Steve LaTourette, a former Ohio Republican congressman who is currently president of Main Street PAC, a group seeking to elect moderate, compromise-minded Republicans, compared the Cochran-McDaniel race to the Battle of the Alamo, a turning point in the Texas Revolution.

“We did consider [the Mississippi Senate race] to be sort of the Alamo, and we knew if we were successful down here that the narrative would be a lot better heading into the fall and 2016,” he said. […] LaTourette admitted that if McDaniel had won, “it would have emboldened [conservatives]…and it also would have sent a message to those who serve to be obstructionists.”

Will a third party emerge? Yes, I believe it will eventually, and it will be based on America first principles — not career-oriented self-serving politicians.

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