How Black Voters Decided Mississippi's Republican Senate Run-Off

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DDListening and ordering too many songs from Amazon of Cape Verdean music as I sipped a single source Ethiopian coffee delivered by United States Postal Service (USPS) from Durham’s legendary wholesaler, Counter Coffee, I began to think about how the world is organized. Then I turned to the Republican run-off after their primary for one of the Senate seats in Mississippi.

The establishment won; Thad Cochran is the last of the Southern elder statesman who manages a pipeline of public funds for his state. First elected in 1984, he won the run-off to earn his seventh Republican nomination with help from African-American voters who hadn’t even bothered to vote in the earlier Democratic primary. Who would think Mississippi politics would transcend party labels? Not to mention race! That a Republican in a run-off would successfully turn out the African-American vote in Mississippi?

Astoundingly, the run-off drew a larger turnout than the primary two weeks earlier, It polled 374,000 voters as compared to a turn out of 319,000 for the primary; then, Cochran had trailed his party challenger by 1,500 votes after the vote. Combined, the campaigns spent $17.4 million. The Super PACs invested $11.4 million, as the outside groups invested in Cochran’s opponent by almost 2 to 1.

Never one to concede, his Tea Party opponent called Cochran’s election victory and increased turnout and broader appeal the beginning of the end of the power of the establishment in Mississippi.

What most people don’t know is that while the primaries are organized by party, Mississippi (and most states) operate under an open primary system. Voters are free to vote their interests without regard to their own party affiliation. Arizona, California, New York, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, among others, hold closed primaries—primaries restricted to voters of a party that is indicated when voters register (and which later can be changed).

But for primaries, there is no party litmus test in Mississippi, and the Tea Party and outside PAC money created its own backlash. A last-minute suit to prevent “crossover voting,” voting by members of other parties, was dismissed. Believing their own stereotypes, they failed to realize blacks are keen political observers and understand political strategy and calculus.

The news media wouldn’t know it (and if they did, wouldn’t report it) but the winning coalition in Mississippi is old news. In South Carolina, in the 1880s, in order to end the rampant corruption under Reconstruction, the state’s highest ranking Confederate general, the commander of the Confederate Cavalry, Wade Hampton, one of the South’s largest former property holders of those enslaved, who had once talked the firebrands of the state out of seceding, ran for governor and appealed directly for the votes of the newly emancipated freemen. He won.

One of the really great moments of Civil War history is a remarkable exchange of letters over foraging between Hampton and the Union General William T. Sherman, written during Sherman’s South Carolina campaign. If you haven’t seen or read it, the official Civil War correspondence (in massive, multi-volume sets) is worth spending a day with. You are holding in your hands the accounts of the battles, the reports of the brave and the dead, the plans of action, the firsthand account of the war from the field.

Cochran’s opponent, as do so many Tea Party members, claims to support and follow the Constitution. But in their secret hearts, they want to replace it with their state’s Declarations or Ordinances of Secession. Continue reading How Black Voters Decided Mississippi’s Republican Senate Run-Off

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RNC to Suspend Presidential Primaries, Introduce New Logo

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A visibly haggard Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus emerged from a closed-door emergency meeting of the RNC’s Executive Council this afternoon and announced to the crowd gathered outside the meeting room the immediate suspension of his party’s 2012 Presidential primaries.

Word of the announcement spread like wildfire as several of the lunchtime throng seated in the main dining room of the Whitewater, Wisconsin Applebee’s realized that the seemingly disoriented individual who had just emerged from the restaurant’s banquet room to disturb their midday meal was no ordinary rambling lunatic, and apparently something important was afoot. While several took to Twitter and Facebook to document their presence at this unprecedented, historic event, another called a local newspaper to suggest they send a reporter.

“I honestly couldn’t believe my luck — this is probably the best scoop I’ll get all year,” said Skippy Fartbuster, editor-in-chief of the Whitewater Central High Weekly Bugle, who took the call.

In a Fartbuster exclusive, Priebus explained RNC strategy going forward: Continue reading RNC to Suspend Presidential Primaries, Introduce New Logo

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Gingrich Introduces Jury Reform Plan

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GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich today unveiled his plan to reform the nation’s juries, the second — and what he describes as “most crucial” — step to rein in what he views as our most troublesome branch of government.

The former House Speaker, acknowledging that bullying and browbeating so-called “activist judges”, “can only accomplish so much,” called for jurors — whose pay is taxpayer financed — “to be held to the highest possible standard or face severe consequences.”

When asked to elaborate, the erstwhile ethically challenged former GOP leader explained, “The judicial system is our only branch of government yet to be privatized — it remains fully funded by the public. While the Executive and Legislative branches both answer to private interests as well as, to some degree,  the public at large, activist and renegade judges and juries are free to run wild secure in the knowledge that the average voter is too busy to monitor their activities. Unless and until private money finds its way into this third branch of government, the other two branches, I feel, can only be derelict in their duty to uphold the public trust unless they have the authority to more closely scrutinize and influence an otherwise independent judiciary and judicial system.”

Gingrich’s plan – which was immediately endorsed by both the American Medical Association and the insurance industry — calls for Congress to be given the authority to subpoena for testimony jurors who reach controversial or subversive verdicts. In criminal cases, jurors who vote to acquit “obviously guilty” defendants may be forced to serve whatever sentence “a reasonable judge” would have given the defendant. In addition, in cases involving national security, the President would have the authority to declare any juror voting to acquit a suspected terrorist an “enemy combatant” and order their indefinite detention without trial or even charges being brought.

Additionally, any civil jury granting a medical malpractice award in excess of $250,000 would collectively be responsible for payment to the plaintiff of 10% of the excess award. Continue reading Gingrich Introduces Jury Reform Plan

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EXCLUSIVE: Palin Endorses Rick Perry

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Under the most bizarre of circumstances, Sarah Palin announced this morning that she has decided to endorse Texas Governor Rick Perry for President in the 2012 elections.

In a moment described by a staffer as, “just one of those little tricks the mind plays on people sometimes,” the former half-term Alaska Governor, upon seeing the crowd gathered outside her ‘One Nation’ tour bus at an Indianola, Iowa shopping mall – and also apparently forgetting what day it was — believed she was at tomorrow’s Tea Party of America rally, and began reading the prepared remarks which had already been neatly printed on her hands.

“Rick Perry is not only a man of principle whose values are right for America, but he’s also the shrewdest politician I’ve ever been able to keep up with,” she told the startled but delighted throng, “and for those and many other reasons, I am today announcing my support for him — not only for President of the United States, but also for President of the Republic of Texas.  The wisdom, the courage, and the leadership skills he possesses make him perhaps the only candidate out there who is capable of reuniting Texas and the United States, and putting ‘legals’ back to work.”

Fielding questions from the one journalist who just happened to be present for her unexpected bombshell announcement, Skippy Ludwick of the Indianola Central High Clarion, the more-disoriented-than-usual prospective GOP candidate stated unequivocally that her endorsement of Perry should in no way be interpreted as an indication that she has decided not to run. Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Palin Endorses Rick Perry

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Pawlenty - not loony and inexperienced enough for modern GOP

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Did you catch Tim Pawlenty’s comments upon exiting the GOP Presidential primary?

“What I brought forward, I thought, was a rational, established, credible, strong record of results, based on experience governing — a two-term governor of a blue . . . → Read More: Pawlenty – not loony and inexperienced enough for modern GOP

Sunday Talks - June 5, 2011

Nancy Pelosi
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This week on CBS’s Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer will host House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – CA).  Representative Pelosi will discuss the current congressional debate over raising the debt . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks – June 5, 2011

Jesus Confirms World Ended Saturday

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Appearing at a poolside press conference at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Jesus Christ officially announced his return in anticipation of his long-awaited showdown with the Antichrist.  In doing so, he confirmed what . . . → Read More: Jesus Confirms World Ended Saturday