On Tuesday, 24 June 2014, Thad Cochran, one of the sitting U. S. Senators from Mississippi finished a hotly contested run-off election with 50.8% of the vote; his opponent Chris McDaniel had 49.2% According to the Washington Post, about 6300 votes out of 375,000 separated the two candidates. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-hard-fought-mississippi-primary-cochran-fights-to-hold-off-tea-party-challenger/2014/06/24/a7262c08-fbcc-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html)
Senator Cochran is 77 years old. This is his sixth term in the Senate. According to Senator John McCain, noted progressive/ Establishment Republican Senator from Arizona, nearly 36 years in the Senate makes Sen. Cochran “proven.” Not out of touch. According to the Huffington Post, Mayors and Pastors in Mississippi lauded Sen. Cochran for bringing “Federal largess into our poor state.” Through “ear marks” and other means Sen. Cochran has brought infrastructure projects and grants to historically Black colleges to his state. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/mississippi-senate-race-mcdaniel_n_5534593.html) Establishment Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Miss. Governor Haley Barbour (neither of whom supported Ronald Reagan in 1976 or 1980), supported Sen. Cochran. NFL great Brett Favre (who played for Green Bay and Minnesota) did as well.
Chris McDaniel is a 41-year-old attorney and State Senator from Laurel, Miss. Known as a Tea Party endorsed conservative, McDaniel is supported by the likes of FreedomWorks, media impresario Glen Beck and noted Constitutional scholar and litigator Mark Levin. In his career as an attorney and a state legislator, McDaniel has strongly advocated for following the U. S. Constitution. He also filed suit against the Affordable Care Act, and stood for private property rights and freedom of religion. (http://djournal.com/news/mcdaniel-made-waves-senate/)
In the Republican Primary election earlier, none of the candidates gained over 50%, thereby forcing the run-off. But Mr. McDaniel lead Sen. Cochran by several thousand votes. Many sources, including the Huffington Post, Fox radio news and the Washington Post credited an outreach to Democrat voters, particularly African-American voters with Sen. Cochran’s over 10,000 vote swing this past Tuesday. Some conservative commentators including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have asserted that the means of that outreach was flyers, pamphlets and “robo-calls” which smeared Mr. McDaniel as an alleged racist.
Given that many Democrats crossed over, Mr. McDaniel has vowed to challenge the election results before the Miss. State Republican Committee, and in the courts if necessary, because he believes that some of the Democrats who voted for Sen. Cochran also voted in the Miss. Democrat Party primary. While Miss. has open primary election laws, a citizen who casts a vote in one primary may not legally vote in the other party’s run-off. Mr. McDaniel’s supporters can compare the voters from his runoff and the Democrat primary. If they find enough overlap, they have grounds for a challenge.
So those were the facts.
Now what can we learn from the Mississippi Run-off?
Given that neither Sen. Cochran, nor any of his Establishment supporters, have denied or denounced the racist smears against Mr. McDaniel, we can infer that they don’t oppose such unsavory tactics. We learned the Establishment supports their own against challengers who adhere to the Constitution. All the Establishment had to do was sit this one out and Mr. McDaniel would have won. He didn’t need their support. His own message of individual rights, traditional values and limited, Constitutional government would have carried the day. But they didn’t sit out. McConnell hosted a fund-raiser for Sen. Cochran. McCain spoke on Sen. Cochran’s behalf. Carl Rove’s and Barbour’s Political Action Committees donated to Cochran’s campaign.
By pouring in funds, endorsements and appearances against the candidate who stood for the Constitution, the Republican Establishment showed us what they stand against. What do they stand for? The Republican Establishment stands for their own power and little else.
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