Rand Paul on Thad Cochran’s Democrat-driven win: “I’m for more people voting”

posted at 8:41 pm on June 25, 2014 by Allahpundit

There must be a long German word for when someone admits he holds a position you knew he held but you’re shocked at the admission anyway.

I’m calling it Paulkandorshpiel.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential 2016 presidential contender, declined to support tea party critics of Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s efforts to mobilize non-GOP voters to win the Republican nomination.

“I’m for more people voting, not less people voting,” Paul told reporters Wednesday…

Cochran’s vote total grew by almost 40,000 votes from the initial June 3 primary to Tuesday’s runoff against state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). Much of that growth has been credited to courting independent and Democratic voters on the state’s Gulf Coast, where shipyard work has been supported by Cochran for decades, and also an aggressive effort to turn out black voters.

In Mississippi all voters can cast ballots in one party’s primary. Paul noted that one of his sons spent time at summer camp working on a proposal that would open up Kentucky’s closed primary system to independent voters.

So … yes, turns out that a guy who’s banking on traditionally non-Republican voters to carry him to the nomination — libertarians, minorities, doves — does think that opening up primaries is a good idea. Go figure. Cochran’s win must be especially encouraging to him since no one’s spent more time on outreach to black voters lately within the GOP as Rand has, replete with a Senate bill to restore voting rights to disenfranchised felons that’s, er, probably unconstitutional. (Don’t tell Ron!) That sort of outreach paid off big for the incumbent in Mississippi last night. Maybe 10 points big:

We can hold the African-American percentage of the population variables constant in both the Cochran and McDaniel regressions, while adjusting the non-African American variables. This process mirrors on a county level what would happen if white or traditionally Republican turnout went up but black or traditionally Democratic turnout didn’t change from the first to the second round. In my scenario, I kept the African-American turnout constant from the first round of voting, but let the white vote increase as it actually did.

The result: Cochran loses a lot of votes. Instead of Cochran winning the runoff by 2 points, or about 6,000 votes, he loses by a little less than 8 points, or about 25,000 votes. He drops about 40,000 votes from his 190,000 vote total, while McDaniel loses only about 15,000 from his 185,000 vote total.

Democratic crossovers have affected presidential primaries too. McCain, for instance, benefited in Michigan in 2000. So far, so good. It’s just that, er, Rand’s ostensible base in 2016 is right-wingers, and right-wingers are the group that’s most honked off at having just watched an establishment dinosaur surf Democratic votes to reelection in a Republican primary. That’s what’s shocking — that Paul, after endorsing McConnell, would now turn around and bless Cochran’s lefty-driven win while the tea partiers he’s counting on to spur him to the nomination seethe. Why not say something like “Expanding the GOP’s big tent is important but shrinking government and restoring liberty is more important, and I think McDaniel would have done a better job of that”?

But maybe I’m wrong about who Rand’s 2016 base is. I think when he first started making noise about running for president he planned to build a coalition of conservatives and libertarians and to try his luck against the establishment that way. Since Cruz’s star began ascending, though, Paul may be rethinking that; he’s not going to out-tea-party Cruz, so maybe he’s better off trying to build a more moderate coalition — libertarians, minorities, doves, as noted earlier — while counting on his fiscal conservatism and his occasional nods at hawkishness to make him a plausible option for conservatives who don’t like Cruz for whatever reason. That would explain his comments here, and it’d also explain why he’s been swinging at Dick Cheney lately rather than trying to pander to GOP hawks the way he did when Russia made a move on Ukraine. His path to the nomination no longer runs through being the most right-wing guy in the race. Or, at least, it doesn’t until Cruz declares that he’s not running after all.


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Need the legal beagles in on this.

gracie on June 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM

We certainly do.

yaedon on June 26, 2014 at 11:33 AM

As to Cavuto’s bigger complaints, the Congress really has three options for checking this imperial over-reach. Defunding, suing, or impeaching. What would he have Congress do?
No joke. I thought exactly the same thing yesterday. Cavuto has a lot of misplaced frustration. He can be frustrated with ‘Washington’ but he doesn’t seem to know a thing about how our system of government works.
GeeWhiz on June 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM

How about the status quo then. It will take all the pressure of Boner

Brock Robamney on June 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I’ll freely admit it, I’m for less people voting. The more disenfranchised people who can’t even name the Vice-President or the Speaker of the House become the better I like it. It’s good for the civic ignoramuses because they don’t have to deal with their horrible political choices being elected and it’s good for the rest of us because we don’t have to deal with their horrible political choices being elected. Win win!

Lamont Cranston on June 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM

What the F….? So Ran is for 35,000 Democrats voting in a GOP Primary to give a candidate Republican voters did not want a 3,000 vote win?!

easyt65 on June 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I’m for more informed people voting. Not less informed people voting.

ConservOvrGOP on June 26, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Since Cruz’s star began ascending, though, Paul may be rethinking that; he’s not going to out-tea-party Cruz, so maybe he’s better off trying to build a more moderate coalition — libertarians, minorities, doves, as noted earlier — while counting on his fiscal conservatism and his occasional nods at hawkishness to make him a plausible option for conservatives who don’t like Cruz for whatever reason.

No, I think he’s trying to shore up one of his perceived weaknesses: the perception that he’s associated with fringe movements and therefore cannot be considered a serious contender by average Joe Republican. By finding ways to be perceived as more moderate, he’s undoing the perception that he’s on the fringe.

Seamus on June 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM

No, I think he’s trying to shore up one of his perceived weaknesses: the perception that he’s associated with fringe movements and therefore cannot be considered a serious contender by average Joe Republican. By finding ways to be perceived as more moderate, he’s undoing the perception that he’s on the fringe.

Seamus on June 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM

He is trying to inoculate himself from the inevitable Democrat race-card attacks in 2016, based on his ancient comments on the Civil Rights Act and having a guy on his staff briefly who worked for a neo-Confederate group. I’m not sure it will work, but give him credit for trying.

rockmom on June 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Rand Paul. The more he talks, the less I like him.
Can’t pin him to the right, center or left.
He’s just all over the map.

Yo, Rand! Don’t quit yer day job. You’uns ain’t nowhere’s ready fer prime time.

My two cent.

flatlander on June 26, 2014 at 1:56 PM

What the F….? So Ran is for 35,000 Democrats voting in a GOP Primary to give a candidate Republican voters did not want a 3,000 vote win?!

easyt65 on June 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Rand Paul has taken a page from the GOPe playbook: screw your loyal supporters and pander to those who there is a slight possibility will vote for you someday.

bw222 on June 26, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Rand Paul 2016!

PappyD61 on June 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Rand Paul has taken a page from the GOPe playbook: screw your loyal supporters and pander to those who there is a slight possibility will vote for you someday.
bw222 on June 26, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Yes, because after all, it’s more important to go after the independents then keep your base. This strategy worked glowingly for Mitt Romney

Brock Robamney on June 26, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Rand has become one of the pod people. What is it about DC that destroys men and replaces them with crooks?

njrob on June 25, 2014 at 8:46 PM

heh

I was thinking he is looking more like a buffalo chip every day

entagor on June 26, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Cochran should thank the Senate Conservatives Fund for announcing they were sending “poll watchers to the areas where black voters are being recruited . . . to monitor activity . . . see all laws are followed …”

Any idea what that sounds like to blacks in Mississippi? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Want to increase black turnout for Cochran? What could you possibly do to make it bigger?

Idiots. But maybe that insults the mere idiots.

Adjoran on June 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Rand Paul can go fuc* himself.

Jaibones on June 27, 2014 at 11:46 PM

Rand has become one of the pod people. What is it about DC that destroys men and replaces them with crooks?

njrob on June 25, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Embracing his inner jackass, for power and money. Splendid.

Jaibones on June 27, 2014 at 11:48 PM

Stick a fork in him he’s done.

MCGIRV on June 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3