It turns out the Republican Party can mobilize minority voters after all — by despicably playing the race card against its own base.
In a kamikaze move that could’ve been sponsored by the Hemlock Society, a ruling class desperate for a Pyrrhic victory decided it was better to save fossilizing Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran than preserve whatever scintilla of party unity remains.
It’s one thing to disagree with your base. It’s entirely another thing to use the most slanderous assaults on their character from their opponents for your own benefit. But that’s just what the Whig … er … Republican Party establishment did in a power play that could very well alter the history of the Grand Old Party once and for all.
If the instant reactions of several conservative leaders are any indication, June 24, 2014, is likely to be a day which will live in infamy in the GOP civil war — the day the establishment pushed the conservative base to the point of no return.
Here are just a few examples.
Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express: “If Cochran wins this race, the GOP is done. They teamed up with Democrats to steal a race. Kiss the base goodbye.”
Erick Erickson of Red State: “At this point it looks like the tea party are the ‘Republicans in Name Only’ and the establishment will use Democrats to hold on to power.”
Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works: “GOP establishment hits new low in Mississippi. I am ashamed for them.”
The normally right-as-rain Real Clear Politics polling average had challenger Chris McDaniel favored by six points heading into Tuesday’s runoff with Cochran. So how was RCP so far off forecasting this race? Because it was only polling Republicans.
Turnout in the runoff was up more than 54,000 votes from the primary, and Cochran got the majority of those voters. Guess where many of those voters came from?
In Jefferson County, which has the highest per capita black population of any county in the country, turnout was up 94 percent from the primary. You read that right — 94 percent. Cochran got the overwhelming majority of that increase.
A similar pattern repeats itself in numerous predominantly black counties across Mississippi. Take Holmes County, which voted 84 percent for Obama in 2012. Turnout in that county was up more than 40 percent from the primary and Cochran won there handily.
GOP pollster Rick Shaftan told me Cochran gained an additional 10,584 votes in the runoff from Mississippi counties where Obama got at least two-thirds of the vote in 2012. Turnout statewide was up 43 percent in counties where Obama got at least two-thirds of the vote in 2012.
On the other hand, McDaniel destroyed Cochran in DeSoto County, perhaps the most Republican county in the state, where he received about 70 percent of the vote. Nonetheless McDaniel still lost an excruciatingly close election.
Numbers never lie. The GOP establishment mobilized Democrats to cross over in Mississippi’s open primary to save Cochran. That in and of itself would be bad enough, but it’s how they did it that is an unforgiveable sin.
Consider the words of this Cochran robo-call:
“The time has come to take a stand and say no to the tea party. No to their obstruction. No to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president. If we do nothing, tea party candidate Chris McDaniel wins and causes even more problems for President Obama. With your help we can stop this. Please commit to voting against tea party candidate Chris McDaniel next Tuesday and say ‘no’ to the tea party!”
That’s not a quote from an Al Sharpton race-baiting rant, that’s a robo-call in a Republican primary in perhaps the most conservative state in the union. Furthermore, here’s a video of a race-baiting handout that was making the rounds during the run-off campaign using a whole host of Democratic talking points.
A Mississippi newspaper actually quoted a Democratic Party operative named James “Scooby Doo” Warren admitting he was putting together a statewide get-out-the-vote effort on behalf of Cochran in the Republican primary. Warren said he was coordinating with the “Mississippi Conservatives PAC” that has ties to the family of former Gov. Haley Barbour. The article said “large sums of cash are being passed around. These guys are old-school ‘walking around money’ vote buyers.”
The GOP establishment used the Obama playbook against its own base. And now my Twitter feed is full of giddy Leftists agreeing with Republicans that I’m a racist. With “friends” like the GOP establishment, who needs genital warts?
This will be a day long remembered. The day eyes were opened to the inconvenient truth that the difference between the establishment and the base isn’t principles over pragmatism as its media apologists claim, but that the people running the GOP simply don’t share our values. That’s why they come harder after us than they ever have Democrats. They have more in common with them than us.
After we fire the Bolsheviks in the Democratic Party this fall, the tensions that have been simmering within the GOP will boil over into the 2016 presidential primary, creating a new dynamic in the vetting process. It will no longer just be about who’s with us on the issues, but who’s really with us? It’s tough to heed cries of “unity” from people who use racist Democratic smear tactics against us.
Mississippi is the final proof it’s no longer Republican vs. Democrat. It’s now the ruling class in both parties aligned against the tea party — which is another way of saying it’s the government versus the governed.
I know some of you reading this are so disappointed by what happened in Mississippi you want to quit the party altogether. I get that frustration, but understand that’s exactly what the system wants. They want us to quit so that there’s no one left to hold them accountable.
If you truly want to get back at our feckless political class, let your anger motivate you to remain steadfast for American Exceptionalism and fire them all every chance you get.
(Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and the author of “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)
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