Republicans sank to the level of the Rev. Al Sharpton in using race-baiting tactics to crush tea party candidate Chris McDaniel in his primary race against Sen. Thad Cochran, National Review columnist John Fund says.
"How you get people to vote matters,'' Fund told Westchester County Executive and New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"And if you're using race-based appeals — appealing to [voters] with a liberal Democratic message and basically scaring people – you're basically descending to the level of Al Sharpton," said Fund, a Newsmax contributor and author of the new book, "Obama's Enforcer: Eric Holder's Justice Department,''
published by Broadside Books .
"And we all know what that level is like, and it's not a level of discourse in politics we want.''
Cochran, who has spent six terms in office, overcame McDaniel's challenge in a June 24 runoff election with the support of Democrats, mostly African Americans.
Mainstream Republicans helped fuel the victory — a narrow runoff win by 6,373 votes out of more than 360,000 cast — with a campaign push that included strong anti-McDaniel messages.
Fund said McDaniel's GOP enemies used false claims, such as McDaniel supposedly wanting to eliminate food stamps.
"He doesn't want to end food stamps, he wants to end food stamp abuse. I mean that's absurd,'' he said.
Fund believes Cochran's victory could be a short one if voter fraud is proved.
"The controversy in Mississippi now is two things. One: Did the Cochran people use underhanded objectionable tactics in convincing Democrats, liberal Democrats, to vote in the Republican runoff?'' he asked.
"And two: Did they also convince people who had already voted in the Democratic primary to vote in the Republican runoff? That's illegal, and those votes should not be counted. Let's just say the civil war isn't done right now.''
Fund said Cochran's message to voters was, "I've been in the Senate for a quarter of a century, I'm the guy who can bring home the bacon, the Pork Barrel Project for Mississippi, I have clout, I have seniority.''
Fund asked: "What's that clout and seniority brought us? It's brought us a crushing national debt, it's brought us a weak economy, it's brought us politicians who don't listen to the people, and those were the public issues.
"The Cochran people came out swinging and said in fliers distributed to the black precincts, the tea party is trying to prevent you from voting, and Chris McDaniel is a racist, and Chris McDaniel has opposed things in the past that the black community wanted.
"It was outrageous demagoguery; it was race-based demagoguery, as well. If any of those tactics had been used by Democrats, of course the Republican establishment would have been screaming from the rooftops.''
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