Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Some Electoral Strategies are so Dumb You Assume You're Reading Fiction

I just have to wonder what the hell Mississippi governor Phil Bryant was thinking when he appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to the US Senate to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Thad Cochran.

Thinking strategically, when a governor has a special election coming up to fill a vacancy, he presumably wants to temporarily appoint the person who already has the best prospects of winning that special election for his party, so as to add the advantages of incumbency to that candidate's prospects.

So who did Bryant appoint? A candidate who seems custom-made to piss off Republicans and Democrats more or less equally.

It's obvious why she pisses off Democrats. She was a Democrat for ten years in the state senate, then conveniently switched parties (changing the balance of the senate to an exact 26-26 partisan split) when she started considering a run for statewide office.

While voters on the fence are certainly noticing the "I'd go to a public hanging" remark and the "hey, I'm a politician, I know what's smart -- I'll get myself photographed in a Confederate hat!" thing, they probably also remember that even as a Democrat she was pulling the neo-Confederate stuff, e.g. trying to get a highway renamed after Jefferson Davis. She isn't saying, but I'm guessing that she chose The Most Hated and Distrusted Woman in America over That Black Fellow in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

On the Republican side, she's the "establishment" candidate, a party-switching opportunist who beat out conservative horse Chris McDaniel in the "jungle primary." McDaniel isn't a party-switcher. He's been serving in the state senate as a Republican for as long as Hyde-Smith did as a Democrat. He got similarly snubbed in 2014 when he ran to replace "establishment" incumbent Cochran. Yes, he's terrible, but he's terrible in a Southern Republican red meat kind of way.

Hyde-Smith is definitely a Get Out The Vote star -- for supporters of Democratic candidate Mike Espy. For Republican voters, not so much.

It's like Phil Bryant just woke up one morning and decided to stand on the front porch of the governor's mansion screaming "Republicans, don't vote! And if you do vote, don't vote Republican!"

Of course, Mississippi, Mississippians, Americans, and freedom are already guaranteed to lose this election. But it's just kind of surprising that Republicans apparently don't want to win it.

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