Time continues to tick past the end of October timeline that State Senator Chris McDaniel gave his supporters for announcing whether or not he intends to seek a US Senate seat. I’m still on record as saying he won’t get in against Republican incumbent Senator Roger Wicker and there are several reasons I still believe that. One of the biggest and more recent reasons is that President Trump has clearly signaled his support to Wicker after specifically knowing that Bannon was trying to recruit McDaniel to run against Wicker. Trump is certainly one to shoot straight with voters, which is what so many people (especially in Mississippi) like about him.
But why would Trump do that so early?
I think the first reason’s pretty self-evident. Wicker has been a reliable vote for the Trump agenda in the US Senate. 96% reliable, in fact.
The second reason is that he may be trying to freeze out folks like Chris McDaniel, who had a pretty demonstrable track record of not flattering things to say about both President Trump and his supporters when it served him to do so. From the award winning Y’all Politics Memory Division, we find that in the 2016 primary, he flat got it wrong about Trump and fought for Cruz all the way to and through the convention where the #NeverTrump crowd was still trying to strip Trump of the nomination. At the same convention, Wicker was supporting the nominee. Don’t think for two seconds that Trump’s political apparatus wasn’t aware of a lot of these positions when Trump made the public show of support for Wicker.
McDaniel says Trump isn’t a constitutional conservative
On a facebook rant in February of 2016, McDaniel said, “Trump is not a constitutional conservative, he’s just not”.
McDaniel got it wrong. This is the same President Trump that appointed Neil Gorsuch. The same President Trump that has cut thousands of federal regulations. The same President Trump that’s pushing for the border wall. The same President Trump that’s pushing for limits on immigration from dangerous countries. When asked whether or not he’d endorse Donald Trump if he won, instead of just saying “yes”, McDaniel hedged . . . “I am deeply concerned about some of Donald Trump’s past positions. Umm, there’s no doubt that he’s said things in the past that are not conservative, at least traditionally speaking, and that does concern me some.” –
Later on, he goes on to say that he would endorse Trump if he won (though he preferred Cruz), but it’s interesting to note that he has a history of statements both in his own race and other statewide races since where he’s regularly implied that he did not or would not support the nominee of his own party.
Or here where he inferred that Trump was “thin-skinned” only to be called out by Trump supporters.
Who knew New Yorkers were so thin skinned?
— Sen. Chris McDaniel (@senatormcdaniel) January 16, 2016
He later went on to say that some Trump supporters of being “delusional, detached from reason and sanity” and said “Such reckless and blind loyalty to a personality concerns me greatly”.
He doubled down on some Trump supporters a few weeks later saying there was an “inclination” by some Trump supporters “to promote wild-eyed conspiracy theories and flat out lies is incredibly disturbing”
The net of all of this is that McDaniel has not been wholeheartedly there for President Trump nor the Republican Party. And it appears that from his criticisms of the President’s supported Tax Plan to his criticisms of the President’s supported Repeal and Replace plan on Obamacare would make him a less than reliable vote for the Trump agenda. Everything seems to be “in the moment” and that there’s not a core discipline to the party he wants to advantage himself from. It’s a switch that it seems that he believes that he can turn on and off when it suits him. However, that’s not how politics tends to work. People remember stuff. And I could certainly see campaign ads and third party ads (with Trump backing) that would be cutting, slicing and dicing McDaniel’s statements on these Town Halls he did through the 2016 primary season and beyond and really driving a wedge between him and the Trump supporters in Mississippi that he would so desperately need if he jumped into a Senate race.
Though McDaniel still likes to tout that Trump backed him in his 2014 primary against Thad Cochran, when it came down to it, Chris McDaniel didn’t reciprocate in 2016 when Trump was in a primary fight of his own. Absent a real change in the political climate relative to President Trump, that’s just kryptonite in a Republican senate primary.