Will The Beltway Democratic Party Become Just Like The Mississippi Democratic Party?
Two of the most reactionary and bigoted Democrats to have served in Congress in modern times were Mississippi Blue Dogs Gene Taylor and Travis Childers. Both amassed voting records that would make any right-wing, hate-filled yahoo delighted. Yesterday each announced his far-fetched plan to get back into Congress. Taylor, who represented Mississippi's Gulf Coast between 1989 and 2011, finally admitted what I've been saying for over a decade: he's nothing but a Republican. He'll be primarying Steve Palazzo, the GOP incumbent who beat him in 2010, 52-47%. The qualifying deadline was yesterday at 5pm.
At the same time, Childers, who was just as far to the right as Taylor announced his intention to run for the Mississippi senate seat as a right-wing Democrat. He was defeated on the same day as Taylor-- the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse-- by Republican Alan Nunnelee, 55-41%, after just a term and a half. He was one of the assholes who voted for the Stupak Pitts Amendment to make the Affordable Care Act anti-Choice and then voted against the overall bill anyway.
His only path to victory would be for neo-fascist and Confederate secessionist state Sen. Chris McDaniel to beat incumbent Thad Cochran in the Republican primary, leaving a way for Childers to point out that he's the "true conservative" while McDaniel is an anti-American proto-Nazi. It may be a distinction to fine for the Fox-washed voters of Mississippi but… it's a chance. But if Childers wins, what do the Democrats get at vote time? Remember, he was one of the 5 misongynist Democrats who took up arms in the Republican War Against Women to vote against the Lily Ledbetter Paycheck Fairness Act. And what makes anyone think he wouldn't follow Taylor right over the fence at the drop of a hat? Even funnier, the other "Democrat" in the Senate primary is failed Tea Party Republican Bill Marcy.
It's just an absolute disgrace that the DSCC has fallen this low-- to support someone who is so not a Democrat-- while ignoring excellent progressives, Shenna Bellows and Rick Weiland in far more fertile states, Maine and South Dakota. Even more tragic is for Beltway faux journalists to take their stories directly from the DSCC and dub Childers a Top-Tier Recruit.
Childers is following a similar path to Sen. Joe Donnelly, who jumped from the House into a 2012 Senate race against Sen. Richard Lugar in Indiana, hoping he would lose to a conservative rival. Lugar lost the primary to Richard Mourdock, whose outspoken conservatism proved out of step, even in a Republican-friendly state.
Cochran is regarded as the most vulnerable Republican senator in a primary, and outside conservative groups are united behind McDaniel. Cochran, a veteran appropriator, hasn't faced a challenging campaign since he was first elected to the Senate in 1978.
Regardless of the Republican nominee, Mississippi is still a very tough state for Democrats to contest, especially in a midterm year. President Obama won just 44 percent of the vote in 2012, and African-American turnout is lower in a midterm election. Childers won reelection in a presidential year-- he was first elected in a 2008 special election-- but lost by 14 points to GOP Rep. Alan Nunnelee in 2010.
The last time Democrats contested a Mississippi Senate race was in 2008, with former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove as their nominee. But Musgrove lost badly to Sen. Roger Wicker, by 16 points.