And not only did Cochran survive, but he did so after an explicit and overt campaign to win the support of African American Democrats. You can see some of that work product below the fold, a campaign flyer headlined "The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday." Conservatives flipped their lids, but the nastier their rhetoric, the more determined those black voters apparently became. And in the end, a white southern Republican was able to do what Democrats have such a hard time accomplishing: getting base Democrats to the polls. More seriously: African Americans respond to threats to their voting rights. Attempts to suppress the black vote in 2012 ended up goosing their participation. Cochran was clever to highlight the Tea Party hostility toward non-white voters.
So what now? Clearly, (party) Democrats were hoping for a McDaniels victory to put Mississippi in play this November. Cochran's surprising victory changes that calculus. But this is a reshaped political landscape. Base conservatives are furious with Cochran. He's a traitor to their cause. Sure, Democratic nominee Travis Childers voted for Nancy Pelosi in the House, but Cochran won with the support of black voters. They're livid.
They're already talking of a write-in campaign on behalf of McDaniels. And right now, they're so angry that they'd rather walk across flaming broken glass than pull the lever for Cochran in November. The big question is: will that anger survive all the way through November? Aside from that Pelosi thing, Childers should offer little to scare conservatives. He's all but one of them. And if those black voters who turn out today turn out in November, and the conservative base sits things out, then who knows, we've got a race after all.
This will definitely bear watching. 8:43 PM PT:8:44 PM PT: 8:51 PM PT:
8:56 PM PT: Since it's gonna be asked (and I was asking myself):
9:04 PM PT: I lied. Can't pry my eyes from crazed wingers. Here's a prominent fairly rational conservative blogger, saying "fuck it" to it all: