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August 04, 2014 3:32 PM More Color-Blindness From Deep South Conservatives

By Ed Kilgore

Just after I wrote about the deep historical disreputability of an Alabama congressman’s complaints about anyone doubting his color-blindness, along came another interesting example from next door Mississippi (via the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, I am pleased to report):

Still refusing to concede, Chris McDaniel’s team issued a press release late last week saying that the Mississippi GOP is “prohibited from recognizing Thad Cochran as their nominee for U.S. Senate in accordance with the rules of the Republican National Committee” — because Democrats participated in his election.
But a first draft of that same release, obtained by The Daily Caller, twice called out “black Democrats” as the culprits.
While both references to “black” were stripped out of McDaniel’s public press release, the “1st Draft” refers to “black Democrats” and talks about Cochran campaign soliciting “black Democrat votes.”

So against their initial impulses, the McDaniel campaign decided against explicitly racializing their complaint—after all, conservatives are color-blind, right?—but managed to scratch the same itch in the same press release by whining about “race-baiting radio ads” allegedly run by Thad Cochran’s campaign. Here’s where the same pretzel-logic deployed by Mo Brooks comes in: Cochran’s campaign noted a number of McDaniel positions and associations (hardly a secret) that were highly offensive to most African-American voters, and that means “race-baiting,” because the only “authentic” way to appeal to African-Americans is on the basis of conservative ideology, even if it’s highly offensive to most African-American voters.

We’ve been told McDaniels is going to make some major “announcement” today, presumably a more formal demand for decertification of the runoff results. Unless, improbably, his team has come up with documentation of actually illegal “crossover” votes (i.e., those cast by people who voted in the earlier Democratic primary), his case is bound to wade into the toxic swamp of claims that black people voted for Cochran after Cochran appealed to their actual views and interests, and we can’t have that, can we? After all, conservatism is color-blind.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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