— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) June 26, 2014
After Chris McDaniel refused to concede on Tuesday night in a highly contested runoff between himself and Senator Thad Cochran citing voting irregularities, the Tea Party wing of the GOP got to work seeking to discredit the official election results claiming that election fraud had occurred. The GOP establishment responded by mocking the Tea Party and hinting at racial bias. And thus began an ever worsening rift in the Mississippi GOP that is spreading throughout the Republican Party nationwide.
The crux of the complaint is that super lobbyist Haley Barbour’s political machine in Mississippi engaged in a plot to help Thad Cochran prevail by having ineligible voters support him. The Chris McDaniel campaign has reportedly “identified multiple Mississippi counties in which enough improper ballots have been cast that a legal challenge to the outcome of the election is warranted.”
Outside the formal challenge to the results by the McDaniel campaign, a battle has raged in conservative media with the fury stemming from the use of Democrats to beat a Republican and cries that the Cochran campaign used racial attacks against McDaniel.
Even the GOP establishment acknowledges that Cochran used Democratic votes in an open primary to beat McDaniel, the legal dispute is over whether those voters were eligible to vote in the Republican runoff under Mississippi law because they voted as Democrats in the earlier primary. Crossover voting apparently is not allowed and invalidating those who were not allowed to vote could lead to changing the outcome in a very close race.
Regardless of how it all turns out, the bad blood and distrust created by the Mississippi runoff election is sure to linger well into 2016, both in Mississippi and across the country. The GOP is a party at war with itself, things have fallen apart, the center cannot hold, Tea Party anarchy has been loosed upon the party.