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View Diary: Thad Cochran owes his job to Mississippi's black voters (54 comments)

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  •  Excellent diary (57+ / 0-)
    Now that Cochran no doubt knows that he eked out one last term thanks to his African-American constituents, does he start becoming more attentive to their needs (if not out of gratitude, then at least out of an enhanced awareness of their existence)? Here's to hoping that he does, although he might feel that his recompense is to keep on whittling down the government at a much slower pace than the Chris McDaniels of the world would have liked to.
    Regarding the last paragraph, I did some research this morning, and I found out a little more about Cochran's interesting history, particularly from these two sources:  (Page 8 and 9)

    Whilst Senator Cochran votes against African American policy interests (e.g. the ACA) he at least has a history of African American outreach; I don't think he's being opportunistic and reaching out to African Americans because he finally needed them to win his runoff. Cochran was not one of those conservative segregationist Democrats who went on to re-align with the increasingly conservative national Republican party; he was always unsympathetic to the cause. He voted for LBJ in 1964, citing the civil rights act, and when he ran for MS-04 in 1972 as a Republican, it was against a segregationist Democrat, Ellis Bodron, whom he beat narrowly by reaching out to black communities (MS-04 was 43% African American at the time), reaching close to 50% of the vote in black-majority counties such as Wilkinson, Jefferson, and Claiborne. This was when the party of white domination and segregation was the Democratic Party in Mississippi, still stuck in its civil war hangover. MS-04 was also a seat that Democrats had held for 88 of the past 90 years.

    Interestingly, his outreach to African Americans in the GOP runoff against a neo-confederate is strikingly similar to his tactic in 1972, when he was first elected to Congress, also against a neo-confederate type politician, whom he beat, also by a narrow margin of around 6000 votes.

    •  That's some (22+ / 0-)

      great historical context... probably worth a diary in its own right, if you haven't already.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 03:10:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this context (22+ / 0-)

      I think his past may explain why Cochran was successful in garnering Democratic support.  In the Wash Post, you have Chris Cilizza writing how remarkable and unique Cochran's performance (especially about recruiting Dems) without bothering to explore the historical context.  Another example of Beltway CW and laziness.

      •  So how does it play in Mississippi? (5+ / 0-)

        Speaking of context.  Not only does Cochran win with Democrats but mostly black Democrats.  

        I can't see this going over well with McDaniel voters, which Cochran will need to win in November.

        No matter how cynical you become, you can never keep up.--Lily Tomlin

        by MadScientist on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:48:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If there were this many black voters mobilized now (4+ / 0-)

          What does this mean for the Republicans come November?  A lot of their strategy seems to revolve around the idea of low turnout is better for them.

          Cochran can't believe that these voters will stay home in Nov after they went out of their way to vote in the primaries.  Nor can he hope for their vote.

          •  Also, it may have another effect (0+ / 0-)

            This is a recent demonstrable example of how turning out and voting CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So, all those people who haven't voted in the past -- because 'Republicans always win in Mississippi' -- might just turn out in high enough numbers to flip this seat.  

            "Free your mind and the rest will follow...."

            by midknightryder13 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:22:32 PM PDT

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            •  Or with the same result? (0+ / 0-)

              Thad Cochran has faced stronger Democrat Party rivals in the past and been sent back to the Senate.  I'm not sure how much of an effect more/fewer voters will have considering his popularity across both aisles.

              One effect it may have is to send a clear message to the Conservative wing of the Republican party: start clarifying your message!  Tell Us, The People what you are FOR, not what you are AGAINST.  Have a plan, explain the plan, make the plan clear and run on the merits of the plan - or get used to losing.  And quit with the sour grapes... it's unattractive and embarrassing.

    •  Although (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I believe in his first run for Congress, there was a black candidate running as an independent (or possibly, as it was known at the time, the National Democratic Party of Mississippi -- basically, to distinguish it from the segregationist state Democratic Party.)  The independent candidate siphoned off enough votes for Cochran to win.

      30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:29:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great info, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There have been a lot of comments on right-of-center sites about Cochran being a "RiNO" and using the black Democrat vote illegally to gain an upper hand.  I think (my opinion here, and we all know what they are...) he was really just doing what post-segregation Republicans have always done: appealing to ALL of the voters in the state.  I have to ask: What's wrong with that?  If a Senator is elected to represent the interests of the State, then shouldn't they at least make an effort to find out what those interests are?  Maybe they won't agree with all of those interests - obviously, Cochran doesn't and never has - but they should at least ask.

      As for there being illegalities, it's possible but, not correctable.  By that I mean, under MS law, if someone votes as a Democrat in the Democrat primary for a Democrat candidate, whether their candidate wins or not, they have still voted in a primary for a settled party seat.  For that voter to then vote in a cross-party run-off is, technically, illegal.  But, since MS has a secret ballot, how is anyone to know?  It comes down to personal integrity and honesty: If some people weren't honest, and broke MS election law by double-voting the primary, then the State can try to prosecute them; but, it can't "take away" their vote... because it has no way of knowing for whom that vote was cast (we hope!)

      Either way, I think calling Cochran a "RiNO" is disingenuous, at best, considering his record.

      •  Primary ballots can be tracked. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't live in MS, so I don't know what their procedures are.

        But in IL, there is no party registration.  You show up to the polling place, you declare which party you want to vote in the primary for, and that declaration is recorded.

        2014 Primary: Frequently Asked Questions

        Q:  Do I have to declare a political party in order to vote a ballot?
        A:  Yes, in the March 18 Illinois Primary, a voter must declare which political-party ballot that they wish to vote.  In this election, voters will have the choice of a Democratic or Republican ballot. If there are one or more referenda questions in a voter's precinct, a voter may ask for a non-partisan ballot that will contain only the referenda question(s) but no candidates.
        So it is entirely possible that any voter who voted in the first round of the primary would have their party preference known for the runoff.

        In IL, people absolutely do check this kind of thing.

        Rauner voted in Dem primary in '06, gave money to Dems

        Whatever the reason for the vote, Rauner is the first Republican in recent memory to have declared himself a Democrat just eight years before seeking the GOP nomination for governor. It's likely his gubernatorial opponents will make note of the vote and the campaign contributions Rauner has made to Democrats.

        Rauner and his wife Diana have given to the Democratic National Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, Sen. Max Baucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, campaign disclosure records show. The wealthy couple have given more than $2.5 million in donations to candidates and causes in both parties.

        "That's all from my wife. She's a very big Democrat," Rauner said of the Democratic donations following an appearance at the Champaign County Republican Party's fall festival Sunday.

        But that's not what the campaign contribution records show, according to the website There are wild inconsistencies in the way the Rauner's campaign contributions are reported. Some are from Bruce Rauner, some from Diana Rauner, some from Bruce and Diana Rauner.

        But the records show that between 1990 and 2008 there were $232,875 in federal contributions, made in Bruce Rauner's name, to groups including the DNC ($40,000), the DCCC ($25,000) and Markey ($4,600). Also during that period Bruce Rauner gave to the Illinois Republican Party ($35,000), the Republican National Committee ($78,500) and Republican committees in New York, Missouri, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:53:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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