Cochran Wins; Tea Party Cries Foul


Michelle Togut

Michelle Togut resides in North Carolina with her husband and pets. She has worked as an adjunct professor of history, contributor and writer, and small-firm attorney, among other things. These days, she's trying to sell real estate. For fun, she reads political blogs of all persuasions, practices yoga, drinks wine, hikes, reads, and volunteers for a local animal rescue.

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62 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    Trolls 1. Tea Party 0.
    Many lulz were had.

    Neat trick, Cochran, getting some of the best folks on Team Liberal to organize for you.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Why does consider this trolling? This is old fashioned politics. Not everything is trolling.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        While what Cochran did is perfectly legal in Mississippi, it’s likely considered unseemly for someone from one party to openly court votes from members of the other party to win a primary. Usually, in these situations, it would be Democrats calling on their members to sandbag the other party’s vote.

        That’s the trouble with open primaries–you can’t keep the riffraff out.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Fair enough. CA has what is called a jungle primary that throws everyone together and the two highest vote getters go into the general election. In some circumstances this means that a general election could be two Republicans or two Democratic politicians fighting each other. In SF, the state assembly seat is between two Harvard educated lawyers named David C who went at each other in the primary and now will do so in the general.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        CA has what is called a jungle primary

        Technically, a non-partisan blanket primary.* I hate to be pedantic (or do I?), but the term “jungle” primary, although widely used, seems to me to have a racial undertone (overtone?).
        *Louisiana was the first to adopt this method, in the 1970s, Washington in 2004, California in 2010, and to date no other states.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Good point can we call it a melee primary or a free for all primary?Report

      • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

        It is, admittedly, kind of trollish when you consider McDaniel’s openly neo-confederate/white supremacist leanings.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Melee primary has a nice ring to it. It conjured up visions of candidates running aroung in a frenzy swinging swords and maces at each other.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I don’t think that is trollish. I think that is the black community of Mississippi voting in their best interest. A McDaniel victory would merely make the state almost certain to go Republican instead of absolutely certain.


        Now I want to watch the old Robin Hood with Erroyl Flynn and Olivia De Havilaand. This is the best Robin Hood.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

        @james-hanley 6:29 pm

        I hate to be pedantic (or do I?)

        No, you don’t. 😉

        the term “jungle” primary, although widely used, seems to me to have a racial undertone (overtone?).

        Since there are jungles in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, I think you are stretching on this one.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Traditionally in the US, jungle’s been a code for black. Concrete jungle, jungle ball. I’m not saying there’s necessary a connection in this case, just that it has an echo of that, so I think it’s just better avoided* since there’s actually a technically a correct term. If the technical term is too many syllables for daily usage, I think Saul’s melee primary has a better ting anyway.
        *I’ll put it this way, I avoid the term in class, just to keep life easier.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        A melee primary sounds like what they’d hold in Kuala Lumpur.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Trolling is a technique used to get other people riled up.
        In many venues, the purpose of trolling is to cause “unforced errors” — make someone angry enough, and they’re bound to do something stupid.

        Here, you’re getting a 3 in 1:
        1) Black Democrats actually get to be Important in Mississippi (fun PR for the Black Media Network [not incorporated], and a great reminder to folks to go out and vote).
        2) Republicans and Media BigMen (like Palin and Limbaugh) talking about how blacks stole the election.
        3) Tea Party folks, who can be counted on to say stupid and funny things.

        This is why you have some of the best liberals showing up to help Cochran keep his seat. Because the anger is damn funny, and because it makes excellent pr. Mississippi may be hopeless, but I assure you Virginia and North Carolina are not.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    What’d be awesome is if the TPers rose up in fury and made a Dem win, but we’re talking Mississippi. The risen Christ couldn’t win that seat on the Democratic Party ticket.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman says:

    FWIW, my twitter feed had a bunch of folks who supported McDaniel and almost all of them are saying that he needs to get over it because “open primary” means “open primary.” I don’t think McDaniel is going to get very far here.

    As far as open primaries go, this is the sort of result I can get behind. Not because the more “moderate” guy got elected, but because the Democrats who crossed over to vote did so because they preferred the guy they voted for. Where I start leaning more towards closed primaries is where they cross lines to pick the guy they can’t stand on the basis that it increases the chances of their preferred party winning the general.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      So, like, the way that Cantor got primaried out?Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      FWIW, from the research I’ve seen, people tend to cross over to vote for a preferred candidate, and voting strategically for a despised candidate is rare, although there’s a popular belief that it’s common. My interpretation is that people are wary of the idea that Mr. Despicable isn’t electable, so they’re nervous about helping put him in the general election.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        Sounds right to me.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Voting for preferred candidate is what happened with Obama and Clinton in PA — huge, huge campaign by Obama to get anyone registered (lot of Republicans reregistered as Democrats).
        It’s a 30 day waiting period before the primary if you want to switch parties, for PAReport

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      @will-truman The one real Tea Party friend I have has posted two or three things about how McDaniel should soldier on and push for an investigation of irregularities and illegal voting activity. Her argument is that even the chairperson of the Mississippi Democratic Party thinks there was some kind of irregularities going on (or, as Sarah Palin would say, “voting shenanigans”) and is calling for the integrity of the voting process to be protected.

      Of course, the Democratic chairperson is also delusional enough to believe that the Democratic nominee has a good chance of winning if he’s up against McDaniel. Yeah, right.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        . . . McDaniel should soldier on and push for an investigation of irregularities and illegal voting activity. Her argument is that even the chairperson of the Mississippi Democratic Party thinks there was some kind of irregularities going on (or, as Sarah Palin would say, “voting shenanigans”) and is calling for the integrity of the voting process to be protected.

        They just need more voter ID laws; McDaniel’s loss proves it!Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        That’s probably not delusional. That’s like a coach telling his team they can win. It’s about morale, motivation, and the like.

        He might be delusional, but even coldly rational he’d go fire up the troops anyways and act like it was all possible. It’s his job.Report

  4. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    1) I don’t think it’s appropriate for Democrats to vote in a Republican primary. Having said that…

    2) The way to stop them is to change the law, not to complain afterwards.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      3) In case anyone didn’t realize, conceding has no legal meaning. Once Cochran is declared the winner, he is on the ballot in November; he doesn’t need McDaniel’s concession.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        No but it’s generally considered good form in the politics not to act like a screeching toddler when things don’t go your way.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I thought acting like screeching toddlers was a governing strategy. At least, that’s how certain politicians seem to behave.Report

      • Avatar Lain Truman says:

        Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Strategically speaking concessions are important. If the second place finisher doesn’t concede there’s ongoing wrangling and a serious danger that part of the winner’s base will sit out the actual election. Concessions are important parts of winning the whole election.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      Realistically, all you can really do legally is prevent folks from voting in both primaries. Nothing can stop a Dem from registering as a Rep or vice versa. And of course you can vote for whoever you want in the general. Good way to mess up the pollsters/prognostigators.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        You can switch registrations back and forth, but it’s probably too much of an annoyance for most people to bother. Only the true believers are going to do it.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        POTUS is usually enough of a big deal for folks to bother (particularly if your state is going to be uncontested). After all, it only takes 10 minutes to reregister — and if someone’s standing at your grocery store, you don’t even need to mail it in (or find the form).Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        I’ve done it (registered back and forth).Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      1) I don’t think it’s appropriate for Democrats to vote in a Republican primary.

      Mutatis mutandis?

      I’m inclined to agree. It was over a half century that the report “Toward a more responsible two party system” was released, and all we’ve done is move toward a mess responsible two party system, in part due to opening up primaries.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

        Mutatis mutandis?

        Correct, I don’t think its appropriate for Democrats to vote in the Republican primary either. I only used my example because it related directly to the topic.

        mess responsible two party system

        Freudian slip?Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        I can’t get behind that. in Mississippi, the republican primary is the election that decides who the winner will be, and the general is just a formality. By saying “I don’t think dems should vote in the republican primary”, you’re basically saying that you don’t think a significant chunk of actual voters should have any say in their representative, for reasons of theoretical fairness toward abstract political identities. With the Mississippi case in particular, the chunk of voters that wouldn’t get a vote is a minority population with a strong history of disenfranchisement.Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        The thing that gets me is that open primaries basically make the political parties incoherent. The point of a primary is for a party to nominate a candidate, and the point of parties is to nominate candidates. If party membership and primary voting are unrelated, then what exactly are the parties for? Its just “gGreen Must Fight Purple” isn’t it?


        Democratic voters in red states have exactly the same ability to alter the election results as any other voter – basically none.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        “mess responsible two party system”

        Freudian slip?


      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        @james-k , by participating in the open primary, democratic voters caused the more liberal candidate to win. The fact that the more liberal candidate still has an R after his name doesn’t mean the dem voters didn’t have a say.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        open primaries basically make the political parties incoherent.

        Yes, but in the U.S. we think we don’t like parties. We like candidate-centered politics. Of course the vast majority of us, even nominal independents, are in fact overwhelmingly committed toward one party or the other. But we tell ourselves it’s not so much that we like parties, but those guys always no nominate such terrible candidates.

        It may be slightly more than Green vs. Purple. Americans do tend to emphasize their ideology, if not their party identity, and there is enough overlap between parties and ideology–although nothing like in a European context–that they choose their side and hate the other side for a reason.

        But as far as allowing the parties to have real coherence, that’s undermined by a combination of the two party system, by self-nomination of candidates in the primaries, and by open primaries, so it’s a pretty deep structural problem. But most of us don’t recognize incoherent parties as a problem, even as we complain about Congress being disfunctional. We dream of Washington’s politics without faction, of Congressmembers setting aside party differences and working across the aisle (although it’s generally the other side we want to do the crossing).

        So as much as we are dour about politics, it’s because we have a rather naive and romantic view about it, and the reality doesn’t live up to our expectations.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

        Ugh, I MEANT to say “I don’t think its appropriate for Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary either.”

        ScarletNumbers regrets the error.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        most of the Republicans around here aren’t so bad (Wander excepted. Leaving the country for Russia while you’re supposed to be campaigning…)… I’ve voted for them when they’ve deserved it. But I can’t vote for a Republican for the legislature, because “the other republicans” really suck.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        I honestly don’t see a downside to open primaries.

        I look at the D/R party dichotomy as an unwelcome additional layer of abstraction between myself and my representatives.


      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        You shouldn’t have a representative; you should have a party. Individual representatives that create weak parties fragment responsibility. So no matter what happens in Washington, there’s no effective way to hold anyone responsible. “My” rep, even when I’m peeved at my party, is rarely the problem (E. Cantor being a rare exception).Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        I agree, @james-hanley , the framers were being weirdly idealistic with their rejection of parties as a structural element of governance. It’s natural to form political affiliations around shared interests and values. District representation should fill an ombudsman role, like the current constituent services thing reps do. Geography can constitute a legitimate facet of “shared interests” but only weakly and mostly around pork. Besides, gerrymandering sort of blows shared geographical interests all to hell anyway.Report

  5. Avatar Delta Devil says:

    I’ll be interested to see how Cochran acts toward the black community going forward. Though I doubt they would poll it, I would also be really interested to know how Cochran does among blacks in the general election. No doubt most will vote for Childers, but I want to see if there is any positive feedback loop here.Report

  6. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    As a contrast, New Jersey has a closed primary. However, if one is not a member of a political party, one can declare himself at the polls and immediately vote in that party’s primary.

    If someone wishes to change political parties, he must file the proper paperwork 55 days before the primary election in order to vote in his new party’s primary.Report

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    What do you think is going to happen when Cochran says “I’ve been bringing home the pork for decades, now my opponent wants to end that. Cross the party lines and defeat him for me and I’ll bring more pork.”

    Party smarty. If there’s one thing the american electorate can agree on is “don’t cut my pork”.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Well, given that reminding voters how effective he’s been in bringing federal money back to the great state of Mississippi was part of his successful runoff strategy, it’s a good bet that he’ll do the same in the general. It’s not like the Democrat has a chance of winning short of a miracle anyway. Winning the primary was the big prize.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    New definition of chutzpah:

    Have your henchman break into a courthouse where election ballots are stored, and then complain about “irregularities”.Report

  9. Avatar Michelle says:

    McDaniel still has yet to concede and is doubling down on the “stolen” election meme:

    Apparently, he’s not a very good lawyer because he doesn’t understand the meaning of the court ruling that determined the law requiring people to vote for the same person in the general election as they did in the primary is completely unenforceable.

    What a whiner!

    And of course the always classy Rush Limbaugh chimed in on the matter today, describing the African-Americans who voted for Cochran as “Uncle Toms.” The right wing outrage machine is working overtime on this one.Report