The strategy used in the Mississippi Senate runoff revealed just how desperate and out of ideas the GOP establishment really is.
Facing a candidate who pulled more votes in the primary, and was propelled by a massive network of grassroots enthusiasm, the Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) camp had no choice but to fire the last arrow in its quiver. They did what no self-respecting conservative would ever do: they went running to the Democrats for help.
In this most underhand of tactics, Cochran used Republican Party dues money to conduct get-out-the-vote activities for Mississippi Democrats, charging Chris McDaniel with “causing problems for President Barack Obama,” and accusing the liberty movement of indiscriminate racism.
A spectator shows her support as U.S. Senate challenger Chris McDaniel speaks Friday, May 30, 2014 at the Jones County Junior College Fine Arts Center in Ellisville, Miss. during a campaign rally. McDaniel is challenging Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. (AP Photo/The Hattiesburg American)
That’s right: Cochran, with the help of establishment operatives like Karl Rove, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Chamber of Commerce, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, won the Republican nomination by campaigning as a Democrat, and getting Democrats to vote in the other party’s primary.
This was cynical, short-sighted politics at its worst. Now that Cochran has the nomination, who do the so-called leaders of the GOP think is going to support Cochran in November? Democrats? Do they honestly think Republicans are going to enthusiastically campaign for the guy who sold them out to the other party?
Thanks, K Street consultant class - your actions have now unnecessarily placed a firmly red Senate seat in jeopardy by alienating every fiscal conservative in the state. Pro move.
All this to be able to tick a box in the “win” column against a liberty movement that actually cares about the future of the country. Well, if this is the only kind of win the old guard can pull off, I’m not too worried about the future. While they are busy hanging on by their fingernails - Cochran, for all his dirty tricks, still finished less than 2 percentage points ahead of McDaniel - the liberty movement is steadily winning the long game.
The establishment has only one resource at its disposal: money. They win elections by pouring gobs of cash into television ads and smear campaigns against their opponents. But money is a finite resource. And, as we saw in Dave Brat’s unprecedented upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), money isn’t everything.
The liberty movement has become the most successful political force since the civil rights movement in the 1960’s; not through superior spending, but because of the principled passion of individuals who are demanding their country back. Money runs out eventually, but principles never die.
While the GOP establishment continues emptying the bank to push 40-plus-year incumbents over the finish line, we are building the bench at the state level.
In Texas, liberty candidates won six primaries, including races for governor and attorney general. The liberty movement won three out of three in North Carolina, and in Ohio, we saw five underdog upsets for the grassroots. We are electing the next generation of GOP leadership and time is on our side.
Today, activists are angry. They’re angry at Washington, D.C. insiders cheating them out of being able to choose their own party’s nominee. They’re angry about a political class that ignores the wishes of constituents to remain in power at any cost.
To put it bluntly: They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.
We are always the underdogs in these fights. The media says that every cycle is a dud for the Tea Party, but look at where we are now. The House and Senate have fundamentally transformed since 2007.
Now we have Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and a slew of others. So don't lose the forest for the trees, because in the long-term, we are winning.
History will mark June 24, 2014 as the last, desperate gasp of a Republican establishment on the verge of extinction. They’ve shown themselves to be both morally and intellectually bankrupt. It’s only a matter of time before their coffers are as empty as their rhetoric.
Adam Brandon is the executive vice president of FreedomWorks, a non-profit organization that mobilizes grassroots activists nationwide. Follow him on Twitter @adam_brandon
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