As Senator Thad Cochran, the veteran Republican, fights for his political life in Mississippi by taking the unexpected step of courting black Democrats, conservative organizations working to defeat him are planning to deploy poll watchers to monitor his campaign’s turnout operation in Tuesday’s runoff election.If you think that sounds like McDaniel supporters are mobilizing to intimidate blacks from voting for Thad Cochran, you are not alone:
Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing Mr. Cochran’s Tea Party opponent, State Senator Chris McDaniel, said in an interview on Sunday that his group was joining with Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots in a “voter integrity project” in Mississippi.
The groups will deploy observers in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats, Mr. Cuccinelli said. J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and conservative commentator who said he was advising the effort, described the watchers as “election observers,” mostly Mississippi residents, who will be trained to “observe whether the law is being followed.”
The idea here appears to be that because poll workers cannot discourage Democrats from voting in the election (based upon an unenforceable Mississippi law which says that only those who intend to support the nominee of the party in the primary can vote in the primary), these outside election observers led by Adams may make such encouragement.As Dave Weigel suggests, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these pro-McDaniel "observers" are going to be looking for—and looking to prevent—one thing and one thing only: African-Americans trying to vote in the primary.
In a way, that actually makes these "observers" perfect evangelists for McDaniel. After all, he's the guy who says he's running to take Mississippi back "to a better time" because he remembers "how good things once were."
Cochran's GOP allies might claim to be mortified that such a guy has a shot at beating their powerful pal, but one thing is for sure: If McDaniel does win the primary, they'll all be happy to go back to wherever he takes them, because the only thing that really makes them mad about Chris McDaniel is that Chris McDaniel wants to beat their guy.