Now that the GOP primary in Mississippi has been settled by a strong infusion of Democrat votes it is time for conservatives to make their decision on what to do next. In my view, the only conservatives or anyone concerned about the direction of the country is to support, actively or passively, Travis Childers, the Democrat candidate for Senate. This is not to say Childers is a conservative, he isn't. But he is the best choice for conservatives in this specific instance to advance the nationwide cause of conservatism.
Chris McDaniel is no longer a candidate
The first issue to address is Chris McDaniel. The fact is that he cannot appear on the Mississippi ballot as the deadline for running as an independent has passed. Yes, you can write in his name but even if write-in votes are a majority under Mississippi law he can't win as a write-in unless either Cochran or Childers dies, resigns, etc. This doesn't mean you can't write in McDaniel but it does mean he can't win. If you are holding out hope that McDaniel can wage a successful legal challenge you are grasping at straws. Even if every instance of impropriety alleged is 100% true, and I have no reason to doubt that based on the Cochran-Barbour performance, you aren't going to find a judge with cojones big enough to declare a re-vote. In fact, I don't even know that such a thing has ever happened. In truth, do we really want a system where Eric Cantor could have gone to court to have his loss overturned because of alleged voting improprieties?
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander
Since the Tea Party burst on the scene in 2010, the GOP establishment and its owners have carried out a three pronged strategy:
- Do whatever it takes to defeat conservative candidates in the primary,
- If the conservative wins, declare the conservative to be unelectable and not support him or her, and
- If the empty suit wins, demand that conservatives support him or her because WE HAVE TO BEAT THE DEMOCRATS AT ALL COST.
See what is going on here? The GOP establishment and moneyed classes don't really care about beating Democrats, what they care about is electing compliant candidates who will take their allocated place at the public teat and not upset the gravy train. If they can't make their candidate win, they'd just as soon deal with a Democrat. Who do you think has caused Mitch McConnell more problems, Ted Cruz or Harry Reid? For instance, in the 2013 Virginia governors race when a state convention nominated Ken Cuccinelli instead of establishment favorite Bill Bolling:
McAuliffe outraised Cuccinelli by almost $15 million, and he used the cash advantage to pummel him on the airwaves. A lack of resources forced the Republican to go dark in the D.C. media market during the final two weeks.
The Republican National Committee spent about $3 million on Virginia this year, compared to $9 million in the 2009 governor’s race.
The Chamber of Commerce spent $1 million boosting McDonnell in 2009 and none this time.
“If the Republicans would have rallied around the nominee instead of refusing to support Cuccinelli, he would have won,” said a GOP source involved in the race.
Do you really think Haley Barbour, the lobbyist, cares if it is Thad Cochran or Travis Childers in the Senate? Of course not. The money remains green and the slop will keep flowing into the trough. His principles are cash and access. When you hear people, like Barbour, telling you that you have to vote for the establishment guy because replacing Harry Reid is so important, you need to ask yourself why they don't vote that way. The reason is simple, they are treating you like a mental defective.
A Senate led by Mitch McConnell is a good thing?
Arguably a Senate led by a Mitch McConnell looking over his shoulders at a Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, etc., might move the nation in a positive direction. A Senate led by a Mitch McConnell who has beaten Matt Bevin and allowed the apparatus of the NRSC to engage in scurrilous attacks on Chris McDaniel will go out of his way to attack the conservative agenda. Remember:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed any tea party candidates challenging establishment Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections would not just fail — but fail miserably.
“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” he said, The New York Times reported, “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”
Notice he isn't concerned about crushing Democrats.
Am I concerned about judges? Of course. But the question you have to ask yourself is which liberal judge confirmed by the Senate has come with a price extracted by McConnell. The answer is none. McConnell talks a big game on judges but when it comes down to, as they say where I grew up, nut-cutting time, he's nowhere to be seen. If a Supreme Court nomination comes up with Mitch McConnell in charge, having "crushed" conservatives, you will get the same person you'd get with McConnell as a minority leader. Because he thinks you are mental defectives.
Travis Childers is a self-correcting problem
Unlike a state like Virginia where declining to support the GOP establishment candidate could result in a permanently ensconced Democrat, Senator Travis Childers will be a one term senator.
Everyone must vote
The one thing conservatives in Mississippi must do is vote. And vote in large numbers. You have three choices which all have the same impact:
- Under vote the senate race. That is leave it blank.
- Write in Chris McDaniel or anyone else. Maybe write in the name of Cochran's "executive assistant."
- Vote for Travis Childers.
I'd be the last to encourage anyone to ever pull the lever for a Democrat but it is imperative that you not pull the lever for Thad Cochran.
The important thing is that you show up to vote. There are two reasons for this. First, there are important races down ballot where you can help choose the next generation of conservative leaders and flush out the deadwood. Staying home deprives Cochran of a vote but it also deprives deserving candidates of your support. Second, a high turnout with a huge numerical anomaly in the Senate race means that no one can accuse you of staying home and the your disapproval of Cochran will be registered.
Bullies can't be allowed to win
This should go without saying, but it is apparent that it needs to be said again. As much as it irks the GOP establishment and their moneyed puppetmasters it is is people, not dollars, that vote. The raging butthurt over Eric Cantor's loss is a case in point. Money is owned. Free men and women are not. This is not a call to vote Democrat if our candidate loses in a primary. I don't see the a way forward for a third conservative party in the United States, given our winner takes all electoral system. Our best bet is to operate within the GOP, elect our candidates where we can and extract concessions for our support. We can only do that if there are visible and painful consequences for unethical and churlish behavior.
Conservatives are not sheep
In a just world, Thad Cochran's abandonment of his wife would have banned him from polite company. But we don't live in such a world. Cochran was entitled to run for office but he was not entitled to either troll for Democrat votes, which is in direct violation of Mississippi law, and he was not entitled to falsely characterize Chris McDaniel as a racist. We have no reason to expect all candidates to be saints or conservative, but what we do have a right to expect is that they are not senile adulterers and that they do not break the law and offend the conscience in their quest for re-election.
Though our best bet for influencing the direction of the country lies within the GOP (tell me, do you really want anyone you know who is running a Tea Party related organization determining the direction of the conservative movement? I don't. They are indistinguishable, in the main, from the GOP and the NRSC, they simply are poorer), there comes a time when it must be made clear, to ourselves and to the GOP establishment, that we are independent and we cannot be abused and denigrated with impunity.
So long as they can pull stunts like this without repercussions, they will. The only way we will stop this behavior is by extracting a price. The price of electing a Senator Childers is nothing as compared to the cost of seeing Thad Cochran re-elected.