The votes have been counted and the election was decided. And surprisingly enough, the 40 year incumbent and seemingly underdog Thad Cochran squeaked out a close win over Chris McDaniel. So how did he do and what does it mean for Mississippi? We’ve got our powerhouse political roundtable of Xavier and Roderick to weigh in!
1. What do you think was the main factor that contributed to the outcome of the MS GOP primary?
Roderick: It’s really quite simple. Chris McDaniel lost this election more than Thad won it. I will concede though that the last 72 hours, the Cochran campaign really got out in the community, humbled themselves and asked for the vote. But it was more so McDaniel’s unwavering unwillingness to compromise and even address anybody outside the extreme right that cost him this election. People who weren’t with him looked at him as he was; extreme and dangerous. And the black community knew Chris McDaniel was bad news for them and the Cochran campaign used that to their advantage.
Xavier: When anyone screams “Tea Party!” in an election, he/she is bound to face fierce opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. If we look at information regarding the definition and descriptions of the Tea Party, it all seems noble and respectable at first glance. What American wouldn’t support the Tea Party’s desire to reduce taxes, decrease/eliminate the nation’s debt, and balance the nation’s budget? The problem though is the writing between those lines. Patriotism is awesome, but that passion wafting from the Tea Party wreaks of prejudice; if we examine the spirit behind those words and the history of conquest and imperialism that this world has seen, that’s a type of patriotism that we don’t need. Governing the country by the letter of the law seems like a legitimate solution to all of our woes, but Mississippi has experienced limited government that left room for segregation, discrimination, disenfranchisement of the minority populations, so on and so forth. The Tea Party is too extreme in its desire to make the U.S. what it once was. Many Mississippians lived in the U.S. of yesteryear or have grandparents who did. Who wants that all over again? All Thad Cochran had to do was care enough to try and win. I don’t believe he thought he’d have to work quite that hard though and given the choices, I’m ashamed that he did.
2. There are reports that Democrats (mostly blacks in Jackson) decided this election. What do you think the take away is for black voters? Is it sad they were essentially used to put an incumbent back in power who showed he never really had their best interests in mind OR is it good that black people decided an election against someone in Chris McDaniel who never even attempted to care about appealing to liberals and blacks and was actually against them deciding this election.
Xavier: The lesson to be learned is that every vote counts. Cochran won by about 6,400 votes. In the June 3rd primary, the Black population didn’t turn out to the polls, but became the deciding votes in yesterday’s election. The lesson to be learned is that voting matters. McDaniel can be upset if he would like, but We The People voted. His trying to confine people to voting based on color lines (red, blue, black, or white) is the reason that Mississippians don’t need the Tea Party attitude to begin with. We The People deserve to be able to vote in any way that benefits our own best interests. All the while, political analysts have altogether disregarded Travis Childers, the Democratic candidate. Had McDaniel won, Childers may have stood a chance at being the lesser of two evils in many minds, but now that the old cowboy is still riding hard, Childers is the undisputed underdog, to say the least. Voting matters.
Roderick: I think it’s a double edged sword. It’s sad that we help decide an election to continue the status quo and not really address our needs but I think something we can take away from this which is VERY good is that our votes count and we can decide elections. Now we just have choose candidates who serve our best interests and who are inclusive. We proved that we can make difference and we did it on a national stage and for that I’m proud but still glum at the same time.
3. What do you think the outcome of this primary means for Mississippi?
Roderick: I’m optimistic about this primary’s results. Hopefully Thad winning infuriates McDaniel’s supporters and causes them not to even come to the election in November. And even if Thad wins in November, then hopefully he remembers what it took and who it took to get him back and I hope he takes those voters in consideration when he heads back to Washington.
Xavier: The outcome of this election illustrates that voting matters and people count. The election system is worthy of our faith although plenty of us in Mississippi still believe that our personal votes don’t matter one way or another, but we would be wise to remember that some 6,400 votes decided the victory for Cochran in a state with a population of close to 3,000,000. That means around .213% of Mississippi’s population woke up and decided to vote in favor of Thad Cochran. Two hundred and thirteen thousandths of the population stood between life as we know it and life as we don’t want it. A large portion of our population has not yet reached voting age, but the outcome of this primary says that it’s okay to develop your own political compass and vote for the person that you feel best suits your needs and the needs of your community. Childers has his work cut out for him, the odds are stacked high against him, but the votes count, not the projections.