We interrupt this coverage for a special report.
Chris McDaniel’s two favorite words these days seem to be ‘fight’ and ‘race-baiting.’ He’s used them almost daily in the month since he lost the June 24 Mississippi US Senate Republican runoff to keep the hype and hope alive in his most rabid supporters.
It is bordering on hysteria for some, with one mother admitting on Facebook that she ignored her children to follow McDaniel’s actions.
It became clear over the last week what McDaniel means by ‘fight,’ that is he wants to purge his adversaries from the Republican ranks.
Red blooded Southerners relish a good fight especially when they feel put down, overshadowed and picked on. McDaniel was just smart enough to mix that old Southern attitude with some constitutional sounding talking points while pandering to the fears of hopeful right wing voters.
However, the rhetoric of fight isn’t principled at this point; it’s personal. He’s as mad as Hell and he’s not going to take it anymore (for whatever that’s worth).
But what is race-baiting and was it used to defeat McDaniel by Thad Cochran’s campaign?
Race-baiting, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the unfair use of statements about race to try to influence the actions or attitudes of a particular group of people.”
A Jackson State political science professor was recently asked if he considered the materials McDaniel claims Cochran used in the run up to June 24 as race-baiting. The professor, a black man, said what he saw would not be considered race-baiting.
I went back and reviewed the flyer McDaniel continues to hold up as evidence in his war on Republicans and blacks. It would seem nowhere on it was McDaniel or his supporters called a racist; it portrayed him and the Tea Party as not African American friendly by way of McDaniel’s voting record, a tactic McDaniel himself employed against Cochran by spinning the senior Senator’s voting record and labeling him as ‘liberal.’
By no means is Chris McDaniel the second coming of David Duke, but a reasonable person could look at a snapshot of votes that McDaniel has cast and some things he has said and conclude that at best he would be indifferent to the needs of people of color or to their potential inclusion in the Republican Party.
Let’s look at some of those votes…
He voted against funding for the Civil Rights Museum and went out of his way by pairing votes after the fact to vote against this year’s bond bill that prominently featured funding for HBCUs in Mississippi while previously voting for funding of Civil War preservation areas like Beauvior and Shiloh.
On his former radio show, he railed against Latinos and chose to talk derisively about reparations, a subject he alone chose to go out of his way to engage in without prompting.
He said hip-hop promotes the “destruction of community values.”
He was scheduled to speak at a rally with a White Pride vendor, which he later tried to two step around, but never disavowed the vendor or the rally.
None of the above listed facts are up for debate, and McDaniel has not one time tried to clean any of this up or made any sort of programmatic outreach to the black community in the wake of their revelations. The crocodile tears he’s crying seems to indicate that he’s a lot more concerned now about white folks thinking that he’s a racist than black folks. Otherwise, he would have truly cleaned up some of these issues months ago and made a real effort to court black voters.
In fact, he’s still saying in one breath how offended he is of being portrayed as a racist and in the next bemoaning ’40,000 liberal Democrat’ illegal votes, votes he clearly lays at the feet of black Mississippians.
It is not a stretch, then, for a reasonable person, particularly an African American, to look at all of those facts and conclude that in relative terms McDaniel would be worse for black voters than Cochran. That was obviously the calculus at play whether he wants to admit it or not.
Again, McDaniel’s campaign assisted in doing a similar thing to Cochran, labeling him as liberal, out of touch, old, senile, and worse.
When you add in McDaniel’s fight rhetoric it’s becomes even easier to see why black Mississippians would want to have their voices heard for Cochran.
McDaniel and the social media trolls may not like it but when you flip the script what his campaign did and had they won it would have been they who set race relations back 50 years in Mississippi out of their want of exclusiveness.
Having people crossover vote just to mess with the other party is certainly not a good thing but McDaniel is certainly not the first “victim” of crossover voting. And the alternative of making people register forever attempts to freeze and trap voter bases making it difficult to grow the party.
Whining and wailing isn’t going to change the outcome. That’s why in our system having a broad appeal, inclusive of blacks, is a winning strategy.
Let’s be honest. McDaniel used white Southern fear to divide Mississippi’s Republican Party during this primary, deftly playing off the emotions that some still keep buried deep down inside. And it almost worked. But it is McDaniel who is accusing Cochran of race-baiting, when in actuality the groups that exposed McDaniel to the black community used his own words and voting record.
Both Cochran and McDaniel participated in campaign tactics that painted the other in a negative light, yet one is wearing his emotion on his sleeve, playing the ‘woe is me, look how they treated me’ card when he, too, played his part in making this Mississippi race the ugliest in the nation.
That’s the way it was – Day 29 of the McDaniel Hostage Crisis.
Good day Mississippi – and good luck.