Chris McDaniel lost to Thad Cochran for one reason and one reason alone: GOP elites tagged their own base as racists, and spent a lot of Republican money to convince African-American voters that a vote for Chris McDaniel was virtually a vote for the KKK.
Mississippi is an open primary state. Although voters can only vote in one primary, not both, Republicans can cross over and vote for the Democrat of their choice in the Democrat primary, and Democrats can cross over and vote for the Republican of their choice in the Republican primary.
McDaniel lost because as many as 35,000 Democrats, lured by walking around money furnished by ruling class Republicans to Democratic operatives and handed out mostly to black pastors, pulled the lever for Cochran in the Republican primary runoff.
Nate Silver, election analyst extraordinaire, calculated that without the liberal Democrat crossover vote, McDaniel would have won the runoff going away, by about eight points. “Instead of Cochran winning the runoff by 2 points, or about 6,000 votes, he loses by a little less than 8 points, or about 25,000 votes.”
An open primary is electoral lunacy on any number of levels, not the least of which it allows your opposition to select your starting lineup. The reality is that McDaniel won the Republican runoff, and Cochran won the Democratic runoff. As McDaniel pointed out on election night, the Republican nominee was picked not by Republicans but by “liberal Democrats.”
But ruling class Republicans love open primaries, for one reason: they can use them, as they did in Mississippi, to destroy pesky conservatives. McDaniel was clearly the choice of citizen class Republicans, but GOP elites were so determined to keep their grip on political power that they were willing to resort to underhanded tactics in order to submarine a constitutional conservative and keep a big government, tax-and-spend Republican in office.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that most of the Democrats who voted in this runoff likely committed electoral fraud. A Mississippi state law, drafted specifically to deal with situations like this, makes it illegal for an individual to vote for a candidate in one party’s primary if it his intent to vote for the candidate from the other party in the general election. It’s an unenforceable law, to be sure, but it’s still the law.
It doesn’t take a political Einstein to surmise that the bulk of those 35,000 Democrat voters cast their vote for Cochran with the full intent of voting for Democrat Travis Childers in November. One Democratic operative, “Scooby Doo” Warren, a veritable ATM of walking around money, openly bragged that he was a Childers supporter and he was only handing out money because he wanted to knock McDaniel out.
In other words, liberal Democrats who voted in this runoff election weren’t voting for a Republican, they were voting against a conservative. It is no exaggeration to say that this election likely was stolen from Chris McDaniel through electoral fraud, aided and abetted by ruling class Republicans.
Here’s how Erick Erickson put it:
It was the Republicans in Washington and their allies in Mississippi who distributed fliers to Democrats in Mississippi calling conservatives racists, klansmen, Nazis, etc. It was a concerted effort by the GOP to beat their own base at any cost.
And here’s the kicker — there will be no consequence if they have their way. That begs the question of whether there should be. Should the Republican establishment in Washington get away with tarring its own voters as racists? Should the Republican establishment in Washington get away with comparing its own base to Klansmen?
The shenanigans pulled by Republican power brokers has left a putrid and fetid stench hanging in the Mississippi air. This stench will hang about long after the November election. Conservatives in the Magnolia State know that this runoff election was stolen from them through fraud and chicanery, and they have had it up to here with being treated with such arrogant and condescending contempt by the leaders of their own party.
Many Republicans who voted for McDaniel will vote for Childers in November as a way of trying to check the power of the opposition party. And certainly a strong case can be made that that is the wisest and best use of the franchise.
But it will be no surprise if many grassroots conservatives in Mississippi simply choose to cast another vote for Chris McDaniel, using the write-in option on the ballot. They’ve already voted twice - in the primary and in the runoff - for the candidate of their choice, only to see GOP elites effectively disenfranchise them by consorting with their political adversaries. They will see no reason to show loyalty to the party that knifed them in the back and no reason not to vote for the candidate of their choice a third time.
Even though such a grassroots write-in effort might throw the election to Childers, voters who write in Chris McDaniel’s name might walk out of the polling place with a quiet conviction that they had cast their vote for the candidate who best represents their values.
If the GOP elites complain about such a write-in effort, it will be natural for Mississippi conservatives to say, well, if you don’t like it, don’t cheat next time.
Will a write-in campaign teach the GOP establishment a lesson? Nope. They seem perfectly willing to burn their own house to the ground if it will preserve their corrupt stranglehold on power. The only leverage some conservatives may feel they have is to write in Chris McDaniel’s name and make sure the GOP elites know exactly why.