COMMENTARY | Astonishingly, Sen. Thad Cochran, the senior senator from the state of Mississippi, who had been left for dead, has managed a win against his primary upstart opponent Chris McDaniel. The win was an ugly one and has alienated a great deal of the GOP base.
In any case McDaniel has refused to concede and will challenge the results of the primary on the grounds that Cochran won by garnering too many illegal votes from Democrats. The basis is a Mississippi law that creates an open primary but at the same time states that people should not vote in a party primary unless they plan to vote for that party’s nominee in the general election. The law is considered unenforceable.
Cochran’s apparent win may be a pyrrhic one considering that strategy he used to win. Essentially he won by running as a Washington insider who could bring home the bacon and buy scaring enough African American voters by called the tea party racist. Enough Cochran supporters who did not run in the primary were enticed to run in the runoff to help put him past McDaniel.
An ugly court battle that will have far reaching implications beyond Mississippi is likely to ensue, the results of which are unknown. Cochran’s ugly win is likely to turn off a lot of the Republican base and create a disincentive for it to turn out in the general election. The ugly way that Cochran won the runoff is going to crystalize the belief held by many that the Republican establishment is not responsive to the wishes of the base and will do anything, by hook or crook, to prevail against it.
This in turn complicates the drive to seize the Senate for the Republican Party in November. The GOP needs to have tea party conservatives turn out in droves to consign Harry Reid to minority status. Crushing them with dodgy political tactics is hardly a way to get them to do so. For the tea party to be set upon by the IRS is one thing. To be abused by their own party is intolerable,