Conservatives Angered By Democrats' Role in McDaniel's Loss

Image: Conservatives Angered By Democrats' Role in McDaniel's Loss

Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 02:12 PM

By Jennifer Hickey

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Conservatives were quick to express their outrage with the role Democratic voters played in the closely-fought Mississippi primary between Sen. Thad Cochran and his Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel.

Even before the votes were counted, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was criticizing Cochran’s calling his courtship of Democratic voters “shenanigans” and “old-school politics.”

The criticism continued after Cochran’s narrow 50.7 percent to 49.3 victory over McDaniel.

In a post on Breitbart entitled “This is Treachery,” conservative activist Daniel Horowitz bluntly stated that that “campaigning openly for Democrat votes in a GOP primary using issues and arguments contrary to the party platform is one thing. But the fact that they played the race card and ran mailers and robo calls in African American areas accusing their own party of being racist is downright despicable.”

Cochran, who narrowly escaped outright defeat in the June 4 primary, aggressively pursued Democratic and independent voters by stressing the experience he offered as a six-term incumbent and his ability to bring projects back to the state. Mississippi permits cross-party voting in primaries.

Elias Isquith writing in the left-leaning Salon implied that the anger was rooted not only in Cochran’s strong showing among Democrats, but  also with African-American voters.

“Even in those corners of the right-wing Internet usually more devoted to stability, calm and deference to the GOP establishment, the belief that Cochran had survived McDaniel’s challenge by relying on Democratic voters — African-American ones, no less! — inspired vitriol,” wrote Isquith.

Some political commentators cautioned against characterizing Cochran’s victory as a Tea Party defeat placing the blame on McDaniel for missing an opportunity to vanquish the incumbent in June.

“The instant conventional wisdom on the lesson here goes something like this: This race was a critical win for mainstream Republicans, and a blow to the Tea Party. But there's more to it than that,” wrote Matt Lewis on This Week.

“For starters, McDaniel probably could have won the original primary outright, and not been forced into this run-off, had he run a better campaign the first time around, and had his supporters been more responsible (for example, had a McDaniel supporter not sneaked into the nursing home of Thad Cochran's wife).

"So interpreting Tuesday's outcome as a death knell for the Tea Party is problematic. A couple smarter moves a couple months ago, and Mississippi could have been a Tea Party triumph for McDaniel,” he concluded.

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