Where Tactical Voting Means Staying Home

Josh Marshall answers a question that’s probably occurred to many progressives watching Thad Cochran try to save his congressional career on the power of Democratic crossover votes: how do Democratic officials feel about it? They aren’t happy at all, for the obvious reason that a Chris McDaniel victory, and only a Chris McDaniel victory, is likely to put the Senate seat in play in November.

In addition to the rank and toxic politics of ‘vote fraud’ bamboozlement and voter suppression of African-American votes from the likes of J Christian Adams and crew (remember, this was actually what was at the heart of the US Attorney firing scandal), you’ve also got a completely different, but related story, which is that Democrats at the national and local level are furious that local Dems are working to get Dems to crossover and save Thad Cochran’s bacon in tomorrow’s run-off….

So while you have McDaniel-Adams and crew trying to trot out the usual anti-black voting toolbox, you have Democrats who are furious that members of their team are risking tossing away a once in a generation opportunity to have a fighting chance to win a Senate seat in Mississippi.

As Josh notes, observers disagree as to whether Democrat Travis Childers would actually have a realistic shot at the seat if McDaniel wins. But it is an interesting twist to see a situation where “tactical” or “strategic” voting–casting an insincere ballot in the other party’s primary to help the weakest candidate to victory–means not voting at all.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.