Chris McDaniel, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Mississippi, lost the Republican runoff to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran last month, and now he is being led down a primrose path to political oblivion. McDaniel's passionate supporters think that a moment of crisis for the country is a good time to treat control of the Senate as if it's a prom queen election.
Hoping for yet a third primary vote, McDaniel's crew is going to prevent him from having any political career, ever again.
Observe that no one is asking Al Gore to run again, except maybe his cardiologist. Even in cases of actual vote fraud, history shows that the contesting politicians get branded as sore losers and destroy their political careers. Better to be magnanimous and live to fight another day.
Here are a few examples:
-- Richard Nixon had the 1960 presidential election stolen from him, when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley produced enough votes in Cook County to give Kennedy an 8,858-vote margin out of 4.7 million votes cast statewide. Nixon was publicly gracious, and eight years later he was elected president.
-- California Republican Bob Dornan had his 1996 congressional re-election stolen from him. The Los Angeles Times, the Fair Elections Group and the House of Representatives all found massive evidence of voter fraud involving illegal aliens and other ineligible voters. Dornan contested the election -- and it ended his career. In a matchup two years later against the vote fraud-beneficiary, Loretta Sanchez, Dornan lost.
-- In 2002, Republican John Thune had a U.S. Senate election in South Dakota openly stolen from him in his race against the Democratic incumbent, Tim Johnson.
Thune was ahead in the polls throughout election night and well into the morning. But, strangely, one county's votes had still not been reported as of 6 a.m. the following morning: Shannon County -- Indian country.
When these votes came in, Johnson leapfrogged to victory, with a miraculous (almost suspicious!) 92 percent of the vote in this one county. Just four years earlier, the other Democratic senator from South Dakota, Tom Daschle, had won "only" 80 percent of the vote there. In 2002, voter turnout across the state was up by 27 percent. In Shannon County, it was up by 89 percent.
It was perfectly obvious that Shannon County's votes had been held until Democrats knew exactly how many votes they needed to manufacture. Shannon County vote-counter speak with forked tongue, Kemosabe.
Nonetheless, Thune graciously conceded. Two years later, he beat Daschle, in a historic takedown of a Senate minority leader. He remains a U.S. senator to this day.
McDaniel's Sore Loser Brigade doesn't have half as strong a case as these guys did. In Dornan's case, it was worth the fight, inasmuch as he was running against a communist lunatic. In Mississippi, they're attempting to destroy a good Republican.
Cochran won the runoff by 7,667 votes, according to the certified vote count announced this week. McDaniel's partisans don't just have to prove that more than seven-thousand ineligible voters went to the polls, but also that they all voted for Cochran, not McDaniel. Good luck with that.
There's no reason to think that a majority of Mississippi Republicans didn't want Cochran as their nominee. A lot of them might not have bothered to vote in the first primary, on the assumption that the long-serving, popular incumbent was not at risk.
Moreover, it may not be his fault, but a lot of McDaniel's supporters looked like clowns and nuts -- such as on the night of the first primary, when some of his staff got themselves locked in the courthouse, where they had gone, in a paranoid frenzy, to "check the ballots."
Most appallingly, a McDaniel supporter, with the help of three others, was caught sneaking into Cochran's wife's nursing home to take photographs of the poor Alzheimer's-ridden woman. The ringleader of this cruelty-to-dementia-patients campaign has now committed suicide.
McDaniel's team complains about what Cochran's supporters said about its guy? Nothing compares to that ugly nursing home stunt.
But some McDaniel supporters can't think about anything but winning this one primary. They don't care that they're gambling with a Republican majority in the Senate -- or destroying McDaniel's future prospects. (Which could come soon -- Cochran isn't getting any younger.) As the nation goes up in smoke, they act as if the future of the country is nothing compared to their color war at summer camp.