Following Tuesday’s stunning Mississippi election results, Mark Levin went on a furious tirade against the Republican establishment, declaring that the GOP had “sold its soul” by playing the race card and engaging in fear-mongering.
“The Republican Party used the tactics of the Old South, the tactics of the segregationist South against conservatives and McDaniel,” said Levin. “They should be ashamed of themselves, but they are shameless. They are power hungry. They don’t stand for anything anymore. They disenfranchised Republican voters.”
After being forced into a runoff election with Tea Party-backed Chris McDaniel, 76 year-old and six-time incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran narrowly won by getting Democrats to the polls with bizarre robocalls and radio ads that targeted minorities and Democrats. Cochran painted McDaniel as a racist and “extremist.” McDaniel won by about eight points among Republican voters, but Cochran was declared the winner with a two-point advantage among all voters.
McDaniel has declined to concede the race, and his team is reportedly looking into legal action. Per Mississippi law, Democrats who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary in the state are not allowed to vote in Tuesday’s Republican election.
“This went too far,” said Levin. “Mississippi changes everything. Mississippi showed us that we are dealing with petty, small-minded, incompetent yet self-aggrandizing, power-hungry politicians.”
After the initial June 3 primary, an oftentimes bewildered Cochran became much more visible on the campaign trail, leading to a nasty battle between the two. Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell held a fundraiser for Cochran, raising over $800,000 in a single night. McConnell has expressed his disdain for the Tea Party on more than one occasion, saying privately that he thinks incumbents will “crush” Tea Party candidates “everywhere.” The DC establishment spent $27 million to drown McDaniel in a sea of negative advertising.
“They’re so desperate to protect a man in the early stages of dementia, because he’ll vote the way they want him to vote,” Levin said, referring to an aging Cochran. “They can control him. Is this what the party of Abraham Lincoln has become? The party of race-baiting and food stamps? This is what happens when you have no principles, when you have lost your mooring.”
Dan Bongino, a Tea Party-backed Congressional candidate who won his Maryland Republican primary on Tuesday with 85 percent of the vote, echoed Levin’s sentiments in a television interview. “The real fight we face right now isn’t Republican versus Democrat,” said Bongino. “It’s DC insiders versus the rest of us.”
Some analysts and Cochran supporters justified Cochran’s strategy by pointing out that Ronald Reagan appealed to Democrats. However, Levin says, Reagan’s inspiring message was far different from Cochran’s cynical politics.
“Reagan appealed to conservative Democrats,” Levin recalls, who was an early campaigner for Reagan in the 1976 Republican primary. “Not by race-baiting, fear-mongering, or promoting big government programs.”
Levin cited lobbyists, “crony capitalists,” corporatists, and moderate “squish” politicians as appendages of a party that is sabotaging itself by fighting its own base. Chris McDaniel was equally defiant in his post-election speech.
“We’re not done fighting,” he said.
McDaniel also called in to Levin’s show to deride the tactics of the Cochran campaign.
“They talk about how we’re supposed to stick together? They organized thirty thousand liberal Democrats against us,” he said. “We haven’t conceded. We’re not going to concede. We are going to investigate.”
Levin repeatedly said he would have trouble supporting Cochran in a general election, given that the campaign employed demagogic and dishonest tactics. McDaniel said that he hopes that conservatives will be energized against the GOP establishment in upcoming primary elections.
“Our time will come,” Levin said.