Wednesday, June 25, 2014

An Ugly Victory In Mississippi

The Republican establishment in Washington should be ashamed of what they did yesterday in Mississippi. They certainly have other things they should be ashamed of as well but let's focus on yesterday's Republican primary election for now.

Incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran, who has been in the Senate since 1978 (a total of 36 years) ran in a primary against his challenger, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel. When the election was over, Cochran had won with nearly 51% of the vote to McDaniel's 49%. OK – fair is fair, right. Cochran won the majority even though it wasn't a large majority.

But there's more to it than that. Research after the vote showed that McDaniel actually won the Republican vote by 8 points. Evidence shows that Cochran, along with establishment Republicans, padded his voting base by getting African American Democrats to vote for him, giving him the advantage.

Cochran demonstrated that staying in power is more important than what's best for the people and that he will do anything he needs to do to get re-elected. There is evidence to show that Cochran's campaign, along with establishment Republicans and some establishment Democrats, advertised directly to Mississippi's African-American Democrats to get them to vote in the primary against McDaniel.

There were radio and TV commercials that told the poor people in largely African-American counties that if McDaniel was elected they would all lose their welfare and food stamps. Fliers, (like the one below) allegedly made up by Cochran's campaign and funded by establishment Republicans and Democrats alike, were distributed through those same counties. Notice the “code word.”

The race baiting worked. It appears Cochran picked up about 25,000 extra votes from crossover Democrats. Still he won by just under 7000 votes. The most troubling part of this whole thing is that establishment Republicans (like John McCain and Mitch McConnell, actually assisted with getting Democrat votes for Cochran because they obviously see Tea Party candidates as a threat to their livelihood. When a Republican candidate promises welfare and food stamps and his colleagues in Washington get Democrats to help out with his election where is the integrity of the election? For that matter, where is the integrity of the Republicans in general?

Of course I know that politician and integrity are oxymorons. But blatant disregard of the platform and the people simply to get re-elected is pathetic. And race baiting African-American Democrats to do it is even worse.

A Republican who promises food stamps and welfare to Democrat voters to get them to vote against their Republican opponent is no Republican. Thad Cochran will retain his seat (unless McDaniel decides to run as a write-in in November, which he is being encouraged to do.) But at what cost? Cochran has proved he has no integrity and those fellow Republicans who assisted him proved the same thing about themselves. People like Cochran and his cronies are the reason I'm a conservative but not a Republican.

Interestingly, that same Republican establishment who helped Cochran steal the election from Chris McDaniel, also helped U.S. Rep. James Lankford win the Senate nomination over House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who is an African-American conservative. They didn't use the same tactics to ensure Lankford's win. I wonder why they didn't get African-American Democrats in Oklahoma to vote against Shannon? I also wonder if those Democrats who voted for Cochran understand that the same people who persuaded them to vote for Cochran are the ones who got people to vote against Shannon? 

From John Cochran to John Boehner, from John McCain to Lindsay Graham, from Susan Collins to Olympia Snowe, I'm getting fed up with Republicans who have crossed over from conservatism to the dark side of progressivism and who will sell their very soul to win an election, people be damned. It's why I will support Tea Party candidates any chance I get.  

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