The primary election in Mississippi may turn out to be a watershed moment for the Republican party. Evidence? Even a self-proclaimed “candy-ass RINO” like Allahpundit at Hot Air is talking up the virtues of voting for the Democrat to teach the Republican establishment a lesson:
If Cochran trounces Childers in the general election, the lesson learned by Republican incumbents will be that there’s no cost to beating conservative challengers by any means necessary. You guys will always turn out for them in November on the theory that the Democrat is worse, no matter how nasty to you they are in the primary, so they might as well be as nasty as they like. The question is, is the Democrat worse this time? He may be worse than Cochran on policy, but is he worse than the filthy patronage system that supports Cochran and which he supports in turn? That’s what you’re voting for, whether you like it or not, if you vote for Thad.
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The counterargument is simple, though: If not now, when? The GOP might do well enough in the fall to retake the Senate even if they lose Mississippi. If they don’t retake it, that’s not a disaster — this is, by Nate Silver’s estimate, the “least important election in years” because control of the upper chamber matters so little. The GOP will have more leverage over Court confirmations if they have a majority, but who knows if there’ll even be a vacancy on the Court? And gridlock on legislation is a fait accompli given Obama’s standoff with the Republican House regardless of what the Senate does. If you’re unwilling to risk a protest vote for a Democrat after the grotesque spectacle of a group of GOP cronies using liberal votes to prop up an elderly man whose heart isn’t in it anymore, you’ll never be willing. And if you’re unwilling, maybe it’s time to stop complaining about Cochran and cronyism and the rest of it and accept that this is who we are and who we’re going to be.
I know many of you see this as playing into the Democrats’ hands. But at this point, people who believe in limited government have no recourse to the Republican party. What have they done for us lately? Nothing. So we have to flex our muscles. The GOP has essentially declared war on us. If we have to respond, rather than roll over, then that’s what we’ll do. What practical difference does it really make if the Senate remains in Democrat hands from 2014 to 2016 anyway? Is the genteel wing of the GOP going to block an Obama nominee to the Supreme Court? Nope. So the answer is: it makes no difference.
I am disgusted by the tactics used by Cochran supporters in this election, and I want to know who is behind it. I have already posted circumstantial evidence suggesting a possible connection to the Barbour super-PAC. As some have pointed out, that evidence is not a smoking gun. The anonymous flyer appealing to black people on the basis of race was not necessarily put out by the super-PAC; there are other reasonable theories for the similarities between that flier and the super-PAC fliers. (Maybe somebody copied the super-PAC arguments, for example.) I put up that post because I want reporters asking questions. And I know some are.
I’m going to continue to work on this story. Some have even doubted whether the racist flyer was actually distributed. That much, I know happened — and I will be doing a post about it. Stay tuned.