Tea Party whiners are upset that black voters turned out en masse in Mississippi to decide the runoff between U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R), and Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel.The Raw Story reports that McDaniel said that there’s something “a little strange” (read: “wrong”) with Democrats deciding a Republican primary, but Mississippi law doesn’t require party registration, allowing people to vote in whatever primary they want.
Tea Party Nation, the group that backed McDaniel, thinks that the “establishment” cheated to win the runoff. But, even though he lost, the Tea Party is urging McDaniel to run as a write-in candidate now, because there’s no possible way he legitimately lost.
McDaniel also has some celebrities defending him, like Sarah Palin, which might not be good for his image. According to The Raw Story’s article, she said that Cochran’s campaign had offered “Scooby snacks” to black Democratic voters in order to entice them to the polls. There’s something seriously racist about that sentiment. Palin also complained loudly about wealthy donors pouring money into Cochran’s campaign at the last minute.
One thing that candidates need to think of is that, while they do represent the interests of their states and districts, what they do in federal office has an impact on everyone in the country. This is probably the biggest reason that Democrats would even consider voting in Republican primary, whether they were urged to or not. Liberal Democratic voters don’t see the Tea Party as a threat to Democratic power, they feel it’s a threat to their own livelihood. Their livelihoods are far removed from the wealth and power of Washington, but Tea Party policies will hurt them at home, and at work, and they know it. They’d rather have an establishment Republican in office, if a Republican has to be there at all.
The Tea Party is even angrier that the people Cochran courted were black Democrats. Democrats are bad enough, but black people, who are Democrats, swaying an election? That’s so unacceptable it’s practically immoral in Tea Party Land. Cochran may well be the first Republican in a long time to actually connect with black voters. For that terrible sin, Cochran should burn.
Cochran may have known he’d have trouble with McDaniel. A lot of conservatives are dissatisfied with how Cochran has done things. McDaniel, however, might not be on the ballot at all, even with a write-in campaign. Mississippi makes becoming a write-in candidate very difficult, so while Tea Partiers are pushing him that way, he might not be able to do it.
In addition to whining about losing, and possibly considering entering the general election as a write-in candidate, McDaniel might take this to court. However, he’d have to be able to prove that large numbers of Democrats who voted for Cochran also voted in the Democratic primary on June 3. The open-primary law in Mississippi makes it so that anybody can legally vote in any primary, so long as they haven’t already voted in the other primary.
Mississippi law also says that voters in a particular primary must intend to vote for the party’s nominee in the general election. Perhaps these Democrats do intend to vote for Cochran in November, feeling that Democrat Travis Childers is too conservative, or too new. Perhaps not, but it’s hard to prove intent. A person can vote in one primary, with the intent to vote for them in the general election, and then become dissatisfied with that candidate between the primary and the general election and decide to vote for the other. That doesn’t mean they set out to commit some type of fraud.
It’s too bad for the whiny Tea Party, though. McDaniel’s likely done, despite what he and other Tea Partiers might think.