Prager: Open Primary 'the Original Sin' of the Cochran-McDaniel Outcome

Prager: Open Primary 'the Original Sin' of the Cochran-McDaniel Outcome

In an appearance on Tuesday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, talk show host Dennis Prager along with Michael Meyers of the New York Civil Rights Coalition took on last week’s outcome of the race for the Mississippi Republican nomination for U.S. Senate between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and State Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Host Sean Hannity raised the point about some of the objectionable tactics used by the Cochran campaign to defeat McDaniel, which included radio ads targeting black audiences, which as Fox News had earlier reported were tied to former Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS).

Prager blamed the open primary system in Mississippi, which he call the “original sin.” Meyers, however, was less willing to dole out blame and attributed the acts to doing what it took to win in accordance with the rules of the game.

Partial transcript as follows:

HANNITY: Here with reaction tonight from the New York Civil Rights Coalition, Michael Meyers, and radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network, nationally syndicated Dennis Prager.

All right, let me put up on the screen again — let’s look at — let’s look at these flyers that were distributed in predominantly black neighborhoods that the Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday. And then the details are even worse, and they basically portray McDaniel as a racist. Tea Party intends to prevent you from voting, and then you have the robocalls.

I — this was done by Republicans to Republicans here! I couldn’t — if I lived in Mississippi, I would not vote for Thad Cochran under any circumstances! This crosses a line for me. Democrats play this against the Republicans all the time and it infuriates me.

PRAGER: It’s infuriating on every level. I share your fury if I don’t get that furious. But number one, there’s an original sin here, and that is these open primary type things where anybody votes in the other guy’s primary. This is a way to destroy the parties. That’s what really was the intent in many like in California. There’s — all it does is invite mischief. I can vote in your primary or general primary to undo the guy I think will win.

HANNITY: I totally agree with you, but here’s the point. Thad Cochran saw the polls and was going to lose.

PRAGER: Correct.

HANNITY: So he made a conscious decision, his campaign and supporters, those around him —

PRAGER: To smear.

HANNITY: — to smear, besmirch, race bait.

PRAGER: That’s right.

HANNITY: I look at that as the tactic right out of the Democratic playbook, Michael Myers, and I can give you case and point of when they’ve used it.

MICHAEL MEYERS, NEW YORK CIVIL RIGHTS COALITION: Look, when you got to win, you got to win, and you play to keep. You got to know the rules, and you got to know the loopholes. When Thad Cochran —


MEYERS: Let me speak please. Thad Cochran and his supporters knew the rules, they used the rules. What they did was, they said, hey, black Democrats on radio — the radio ads were terrific by the way. They were not hateful. They were motivational. It said —

HANNITY: Was it race-baiting?

MEYERS: No, wait a minute. No, it wasn’t race baiting. It was condescending.

HANNITY: Was it —

MEYERS: Let me finish my point and you’ll understand it. The radio said, you have $5 for gas money. Don’t sit on your butts and accept being lazy. Get to the polls. If you vote on June 3 you can’t do it. If you did not vote on June 3, come and vote.


HANNITY: We don’t have a filibuster here. Let me play this.

MEYERS: I was just going to say to you, that in the culture, in the water, in the air, Julian Barnes said it, the chair, he said the Tea Party is the Taliban wing of American politics.

PRAGER: That’s disgusting.

HANNITY: Do you believe that?

MEYERS: No, I don’t believe that, but that’s in the air, it’s in the culture. And that’s why they —

HANNITY: You said there’s not race baiting. Let me play another radio ad here where they mention the Ku Klux Klan.

MEYERS: It’s motivational. It’s black talk radio. It’s condescending.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — the group of Tea Party radicals scares him, we should listen. Last with the “Clarion Ledger” was able to tie McDaniel’s campaign to an ally of the Ku Klux Klan. And this supporter of McDaniel’s campaign was a Klan lawyer that represented Sam Bauers. If we stand by and don’t go to the polls and vote today, do you understand what we could lose?


HANNITY: Motivational or race baiting?

PRAGER: No. It’s the agenda of the left adopted by a Republican.

HANNITY: Well said.

PRAGER: And that’s what’s — it’s vile.

HANNITY: Would you vote for Cochran if you —

PRAGER: This is a terrible tear in my heart because the thought of losing the Senate because of Cochran to the Democrats who have done so much damage in the last six years, that’s actually even more painful than allowing the guy who has done terrible things. I think this can be undone. If you check all of the voters, I’ll bet you McDaniel was able —

HANNITY: I agree with that. And I also agree with your analysis about the original sin and you should not be allowed to cross party lines.


HANNITY: I am a registered conservative, but if Republicans want to be Democrats and run campaigns like the Missouri radio ad, if you elect Republicans, black churches are going to burn, or the NAACP ad, the James Bird ad, I’m not going to support them. This is a bridge too far.

MEYERS: Sean, you are really overestimating these voters. They were told on black talk radio you don’t want to lose your food stamps, you don’t want to lose your government program. You don’t want to lose your free breakfast. Get to the polls. That’s motivation, it’s not hateful. It’s condescending.

PRAGER: That is condescending.

MEYERS: And it’s condescending. And that’s racist.

PRAGER: Saying the Tea Party is racist, that’s not condescending.

MEYERS: Nobody believes that who has any good stance.

PRAGER: I wish that were true. I would say 90 percent —

MEYERS: They say the Tea Party finds Barack Obama objectionable, that they disrespect him. So do, I, but I’m not the National Tea Party.

PRAGER: And 90 percent of college professors believe the Tea Party is racist.

HANNITY: That’s interesting, too. You’re wrong on this one Mr. Meyers.

MEYERS: No, I’m not.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor