So the teabaggers were all whiny last night because their favorite Nazi candidate, Chris McDaniel, lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in their Republican runoff in Mississippi. The outcome was something of a surprise, as polling of Republican likely voters, which I have posted here over the past weeks, showed McDaniel leading anywhere from 2 to 10 points. But that was the key: Republican likely voters. The conventional wisdom for the runoff was that if Cochran could somehow woo African American Democrats to vote for him in the runoff, he could win. It was a daunting proposition, since Cochran spent the last three decades doing everything he could to make life as difficult as possible on his African American constituents. And yet, that is precisely what happened.
Nate Cohn: “The Cochran campaign’s efforts to appeal to Democratic-leaning black voters appeared to succeed. The increase in turnout was largest in heavily black counties, particularly in the Mississippi Delta. Over all, turnout rose by 43% in the counties where black voters make up more than 65% of eligible voters.”
National Journal: “Over 347,000 voters cast ballots in the runoff, a higher total than in the primary — marking the first time in 30 years that has happened in any Senate race.”
Twitter was good fun last night during McDaniel “concession” speech, which was certainly not a concession speech but instead a temper tantrum of white conservative theocratic privilege. McDaniel did not concede, and in fact indicated that he would challenge the results over Democrats voting in the Republican primary. I am not sure how he is going to do that, since it was perfectly legal for Democrats to vote in a Republican primary as it was an Open Primary. And I am not sure McDaniel is aware of the message he is sending: he does not want African Americans to vote in a Republican primary, and he wants the votes of African Americans that were counted in a Republican primary to be thrown out. Yeah, how is that rebranding coming, Mr. McDaniel. You conservatives wonder why we all call you racists… this type of shit is why. Plus all the other racist crap you do and say.
[N]ot only did Cochran survive, but he did so after an explicit and overt campaign to win the support of African American Democrats. [...] African Americans respond to threats to their voting rights. Attempts to suppress the black vote in 2012 ended up goosing their participation. Cochran was clever to highlight the Tea Party hostility toward non-white voters.
So what now? Clearly, (party) Democrats were hoping for a McDaniels victory to put Mississippi in play this November. Cochran’s surprising victory changes that calculus. But this is a reshaped political landscape. Base conservatives are furious with Cochran. He’s a traitor to their cause. Sure, Democratic nominee Travis Childers voted for Nancy Pelosi in the House, but Cochran won with the support of black voters. They’re livid.
They’re already talking of a write-in campaign on behalf of McDaniels. And right now, they’re so angry that they’d rather walk across flaming broken glass than pull the lever for Cochran in November. The big question is: will that anger survive all the way through November? Aside from that Pelosi thing, Childers should offer little to scare conservatives. He’s all but one of them. And if those black voters who turn out today turn out in November, and the conservative base sits things out, then who knows, we’ve got a race after all.
I’ve never understood why Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, with their very large African American populations (relatively speaking) were so overwhelmingly conservative. It’s because of low turnout among those African Americans. If the African American populations actually come out to vote, and the Dems get 30 to 35% of the white vote, then the South changes color on the map. Hopefully, these voters have now been shown the power of their vote.