Well, that didn’t last long.
Thad Cochran removed his disguise as a friend of Mississippi’s blacks and other minorities within days of these same folks pushing him into Victory Lane in his GOP Senate primary runoff with tea partier Chris McDaniel, the Washington Post reports.
Let’s see how the senator’s betrayal figures into some future primary races in which establishment Republicans go up against strong tea party candidates. The minority voters who saved Cochran won’t get burned again. So when Mississippi’s future congressional delegation and state elected leaders don their tricorn hats on the victory stand, they’ll have Cochran to thank.
Here’s a bit of what Greg Sargent at WaPo learned when he checked into whether the Washington lifer feels he owes a debt to Mississippi’s minorities.
After Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi rebuffed his tea party challenger with the help of black Democratic voters, voting rights activists appealed to him with a question: Will you now help Southern black voters by supporting a fix to the Voting Rights Act, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision gutting a key provision?
For now, the answer appears to be No, if a statement sent my way by a Cochran spokesman is any indication.
The Supreme Court decision nixed the requirement that certain states and localities with a history of voting discrimination submit election changes to the federal government. Since then voting rights advocates have pushed lawmakers to patch the hole with new legislation reviving that section, but Republicans haven’t budged, apparently because they think the current VRA does enough against discrimination, which advocates vehemently dispute.
Cochran’s reliance on black voters to survive has led voting rights advocates to ask him to become the first Republican Senator to support the fix. Steve Benen points out that it has zero GOP co-sponsors. As Rick Hasen notes, Cochran has only paid lip service to voting rights, and becoming the first GOP Senator to support it — in Mississippi, of all places — would be an important gesture.