In addition to the rank and toxic politics of ‘vote fraud’ bamboozlement and voter suppression of African-American votes from the likes of J Christian Adams and crew (remember, this was actually what was at the heart of the US Attorney firing scandal), you’ve also got a completely different, but related story, which is that Democrats at the national and local level are furious that local Dems are working to get Dems to crossover and save Thad Cochran’s bacon in tomorrow’s run-off.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that Mississippi has no party registration. So technically (and in many ways really) there are no Democrats or Republicans. And because of that there actually cannot, by definition, be cross-over voting – a point which will become significant later.
So while you have McDaniel-Adams and crew trying to trot out the usual anti-black voting toolbox, you have Democrats who are furious that members of their team are risking tossing away a once in a generation opportunity to have a fighting chance to win a Senate seat in Mississippi.
I hear different things about whether we should see a win by Democrat Travis Childers as at all realistic. On the one hand, Childers isn’t just some nobody cued up for a suicide run against an entrenched incumbent. He won a House seat in a Republican district in a special election in 2008, won again in the 2008 election and then got walloped in 2010. So he has a record of winning elections in GOP-leaning parts of Mississippi. On the other hand, he came in at the high tide of anti-GOP and pro-Dem sentiment across the country. And now you’ve got a black guy named Obama in the White House who every Republican by definition gets to run against. And without putting too fine a point on it, in Mississippi, that kinda matters.
(Jamelle Bouie makes a decent case that the state’s African-American voters should de facto cross party lines and vote for Cochran. It’s a good argument. I only say ‘decent’ because it rests on the crucial premise that the Democratic candidate cannot win. I don’t doubt that premise. But I’m not sure. I don’t have enough data. So that’s the wildcard.)
So here we have a tacit alliance between the McDaniel/neo-Confederate/Tea Party and the Democratic party – or at least a commonality about what they’re pissed about – to give Dems at least a fighting chance of putting this seat in play in November.