by liberal japonicus
As a former son of the Magnolia state, the fight between Cochran and McDaniel has been filling up my facebook news feed. If you've not heard, Democratic African-American voters basically pulled Thad's bacon out of the fire.
The evidence is in the maps and numbers. Turnout was up statewide compared with the June 3 primary in which McDaniel narrowly beat Cochran, but fell just shy of the 50 percent share necessary to avoid a runoff. But the spike in turnout tended to be the greatest in the state’s heavily black counties, as this graph by election-data guru Charles Franklin shows. As the New York Times's Nate Cohn notes, the county with the largest share of black voters in the entire country, tiny Jefferson County, saw its turnout jump 91 percent. In larger Hinds County, which Cochran won by fewer than 6,000 votes on June 3, turnout jumped so much that he won it by nearly 11,000 votes yesterday. As the NBC First Read crew put it, “In a race that Cochran won by 6,000 votes, that’s pretty much your ballgame there.”
There is some gnashing of teeth among Democrats, wondering why Mississippi African American Democratic voters didn't stay away and let McDaniel win, thereby allowing the GOP to implode and have a Democrat run. Well, given that the Democratic party never really made much of an effort to recruit plausible candidates, the possibility of a McDaniel election was a distinct possibility. In addition, I like the conclusion of this post:
Cochran will no doubt crow all the way to November about how Black voters appreciate his constituent service and reasonable policies. But clearly, many African American voters who cast ballots for Sen. Cochran felt strongly that McDaniel would be an even more reactionary opponent of their voting rights and reforms that produce jobs and educational opportunity.
It's an ambivalent outcome for Democrats. On the one hand, as Cohn notes, "Mr. Cochran's victory eliminates whatever slight chance Democrats would have had if Mr. McDaniel had been the Republican nominee. Mr. Cochran is all but assured of winning re-election in Mississippi, one of the most Republican states in the country."
On the other hand, a show of political strength by African American voters as a pivotal force in Mississippi is good news. It might embolden a stronger Black turnout in the future, if not in 2014. If it signals a new era of African American political upsurge in the south, it could set the stage for a blue wave in 2016.
I also love 'there's got to be a pony in here somewhere' comment by Haley Barbour:
“No doubt independents and Democrats helped put us over the top,” Mr. Barbour says in an e-mail. “And I am convinced many of those Democratic voters who voted for the first time in a Republican primary now see the GOP a little differently. A lot of them are quite conservative on many issues – it’s a fascinating development.”
TPM has articles about Beck and Palin's reaction as well as an excellent piece by Ed Kilgore about the Mississippi dynamicsFor my part, I am really going to enjoy when folks like Beck and Palin get labled as carpetbaggers and get run out of town on a rail. There's also Limbaugh's use of 'black Uncle Tom voters'. Pair that with Barbour's observation and you might understand why Cochran winning is actually a much better outcome than making the seat a D for a cycle or two.