In response to New York Times Whitewashes Cochran’s Racial Tactics:
I agree that an important distinction must exist between “unwise” and “illegal” tactics. It was a bit disappointing to hear Chris McDaniel refusing to concede, with his camp signaling they would challenge the results – fair enough, if they think there were genuine irregularities – but then telling his supporters, “We have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters.” Sorry, man, but those were not the rules of the game.
But it does behoove the Republican Party to avoid creating rules that encourage the sort of tactics Cochran used. It matters that in a close contest between the ancient entrenched pork-armored incumbent and the upstart conservative, the former was able to tip the scales by taking that page right out of Barack Obama’s playbook, borrowing his Race Card, and summoning a legion of Democrat voters. No small part of the reason this was successful is Cochran’s ability to promise a shower of federal goodies for those voters, making it a tactic no conservative challenger could possibly answer. One of the reasons American politics have grown stagnant, after the nurture of a Leviathan State quite capable of devouring our future in its sleep, is that Party rules are too often written as incumbent-protection rackets.
But really, the story here is that the Party of the State won in Mississippi, and I find some encouragement in seeing such a close race. McDaniel wasn’t a flawless candidate (not many of those around in any event, but especially rare among outsiders, who don’t enjoy the biographical drycleaning services of Party favorites and life-long politicians.) Cochran was an awful candidate – he’d have been laughed off the stage if he was the challenger, rather than the guy backed up by a zillion dollars of federal pork and a deep-pocketed army of eager barbecue customers. But the powers of incumbency are vast, the Democrat machine in Mississippi really stepped up to the plate when Cochran sent out his SOS… and McDaniel still came within 2 points of winning.
The Party of the State counts every Democrat, plus a sizable number of powerful Republicans, under its banner. Nearly all of the formal rules and informal customs of national elections lean in its favor. The news media certainly isn’t interested in supporting people who think titans in Washington can’t address an endless series of national crises with historic billion-dollar inescapable programs. Who wants to give up those lovely news headquarters in D.C. and New York to start covering fifty states’ worth of news in a free republic? Who wants to write about the piddly little solutions Iowans or Georgians come up with for themselves, instead of the gigantic coast-to-coast plans drawn up by the central State and its host of geniuses?
There is, unquestionably and mournfully, a large population of black voters who really do think their “rights” are danger, unless the almighty State protects them from their racist fellow citizens. Election rules – in both primary and general races, both hard-coded and informal – which reward politicians for peddling that message are great for the Party of the State, but horrible for America. Especially when the media acts quickly to erase the memory of those tactics from the minds of the good and decent people who are the true targets, and victims. Race-baiting is bad. Cost-free race-baiting is worse.
We should expect the Republican Party to stand against that, or at least make sure its own internal rules don’t encourage it… because if they don’t, nothing else they have to say about freedom and capitalism will matter very much in the end. The Party of the State has many ways to keep its legion of clients in line, and it’s gathering more resources to pay them off with every passing year. I don’t just mean welfare benefits – I mean payoffs to people that would meet even Hillary Clinton’s definition of wealth. Good luck convincing them, or their army of well-compensated spokesmen, or the people they’ve terrorized into thinking the free market is a wasteland haunted by predators, that they’d be better off with more freedom under a smaller State.