Chris McDaniel took to CNN Friday morning to decry the outcome of the primary runoff, and particularly the role African-American voters (may have) played in the outcome.
After the runoff vote, a swarm of True the Vote 'helpers' and other 'journalists' like Charles C. Johnson (who is not the same person as Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs) headed down to Mississippi to root out 'voter fraud.'
In this case, 'voter fraud' is defined as someone who voted in the Democratic primary and then voted in the runoff election. To that end, the watchdogs swarming Mississippi posted images online of voter rolls with names and locations of their so-called fraudsters.
Someone watching from a distance might see McDaniel's over-the-top reaction and refusal to concede as being a reaction to the idea of defeat at the hands of African American voters. But fear not! McDaniel swears he's not the racist. Mmmmhmmm.
From the transcript:
BOLDUAN: Do you regret that this has gotten so ugly for any part that you've played in this whole race that it's gotten so ugly?
MCDANIEL: Let me tell you what I regret. Here's what I regret. The last two and a half weeks of that campaign, they went out to Democratic communities, predominantly African-American in our state. They called me a racist. They race-baited.
They said if I was elected, I would suppress their right to vote or do away with it. They said if I was elected that welfare would be cut off. They said if I was elected that funding to historically black colleges and universities would be cut off.
I regret any campaign of divisiveness that deals with race in the manner they dealt with it. That was unfair. It's improper, and in so doing, they ran a scare tactic campaign that pushed 42,000 at least Democrats into the Republican primary.
Do I think that's a problem? Absolutely. Because I don't think divisiveness and that type of race-baiting belongs in the Republican Party.
Observations about his careful denials:
- He didn't actually deny the allegations. He merely fumed about someone saying so in public.
- When the results of the runoff came out, he and his allies immediately set out to suppress the African-American vote.
- Isn't he actually saying that he's incensed that black folks made a difference because they showed up to vote?
- He voted against expanding Medicaid. Was there any reason to believe the allegations he would vote against federal assistance programs were false?
It's Mississippi, so who knows what Boss Hawg Barbour did there? Maybe he did resort to some questionable tactics, but Cochran wasn't the guy whose supporters took pictures of a seriously ill woman in order to smear his opponent, and he wasn't the guy whose supporters were accidentally "locked in" to the same building with the ballots for a few hours.
As for McDaniel's protestations over racism, methinks he protests too much. His associations speak for themselves.
Mississippi's unrepentant racists present themselves as perfectly reasonable "conservatives," but the extremism is always just below the surface of their thin skin.
Here's an example of that phenomenon. Mark Mayfield, the Central Mississippi Tea Party leader and McDaniel campaign volunteer who was arrested in connection with Clayton Kelly's nursing home break-in, has organized many political speaking events in his Jackson suburb. We know this because we found them advertised on the Mississippi Council of Conservative Citizens Wordpress. Best known for defending slavery, the Council of Conservative Citizens (get it? CCC=KKK) has a very long and decidedly racist pedigree. Although the site features ugly racial slurs, headlines about the supposed racial superiority of whites, and so on, all of that white nationalist language is oddly missing from their "About Us" page. The blog authors have instead posted reasonable-seeming boilerplate about a "silent conservative majority" that must organize against "the left" to save America from unspecified dangers.
The CCC is the southern states' genteel version of the KKK, and McDaniel has close associations. Mark Mayfield's tragic end doesn't change the fact that he associated with genteel bigots.
McDaniel appears to have been counting his votes before they were hatched.