GOP’s reverse ‘Southern Strategy’

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(NNPA)—Last week’s election results infuriated me and not for the reasons you might suspect.  My anger has less to do with the outcomes of the various elections, but more to do with the means of getting to the outcome.

The most watched election of this year was the Mississippi Senate race between Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel and six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran.  Cochran was forced into a run off last week, which typically doesn’t bode well for an incumbent.

According to Professor Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics,  “In 37 of 40 Senate primary runoffs conducted since 1980, turnout had decreased from the initial primary to the runoff. In these 40 races, the combined turnout dropped by about a third from the primary to the runoff.  And yet, this time (the Mississippi senate race) turnout went up by 18 percent, jumping from about 319,000 in the initial primary to about 375,000 in the runoff.”

Astonishingly, there were more votes cast in the runoff than in the June 3 primary.  McDaniel went from 155,000 votes to 184,000 votes; Cochran went from 153,654 votes to 191,508 votes. Without question, the Black vote saved Cochran.  There is universal consensus on that point—liberal and conservative; Black and White; Democrat and Republican.  But the analysis of how the Black vote led to Cochran’s win has been totally misunderstood.

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