“Obviously, I claim credit for [Cochran’s victory], but, actually, the reason why he won was that he had a really excellent get-out-the-vote campaign,” McCain told The Arizona Republic. “There are some people who are complaining that African-American voters voted. I thought one of the major priorities of the Republican Party was to get all minority and ethnic voters out to vote for Republicans.”…
McCain has not yet announced whether he will seek a sixth Senate term in 2016. But McCain has acknowledged that he would likely attract a tea-party-style primary opponent, and says he will be ready to rumble if it happens.
“The key to it is you’d better pay attention, you’d better work hard, you’d better organize,” McCain said. “And you’d better understand that there is a strong anti-Washington/anti-incumbency sentiment out there, which is justified, and you’ve got your work cut out for you. If I run again, I know what I’m going to be up against and I know that it’s going to be a long, hard slog. But I enjoy campaigning. I love it. And I love traveling around the state.”
Is that what McDaniel fans are upset about, that black voters turned out? Or are they upset that Democrats, some of them black and energized by sleazy race-oriented dirty tricks against McDaniel, proved decisive in a Republican primary, ensuring that the party’s nomination went to a guy who twice won fewer votes from members of that party than his rival did? The fact that McCain would stoop to this sort of stupid MSNBC-ish lowest-common-denominator troll to dismiss conservative anger is telling. We just watched a network of cronies prop up a feeble old man who’s been in Congress for 40 years by recruiting liberals to tilt a GOP election, and Maverick’s big comeback is “why don’t you want blacks to vote?” We once nominated this guy for president. Why?
If you’re thinking ahead to 2016 and wondering whether he can duplicate what Cochran pulled off, the answer is … probably not. Arizona’s primaries are semi-closed, meaning that you can vote in the Republican election if you’re a registered Republican or unaffiliated. Registered Dems are out. If McCain wants to pull a Thad against some primary challenger, he’ll have to find the votes among indies. It could be, though, that his macro strategy is much the same — i.e. if he ends up falling behind before the primary, he might try to pitch indies on the idea that tea partiers must be stopped at all costs and therefore it’s in their interest to turn out for the incumbent. His problem potentially is that if Democrats nominate a strong candidate to challenge him, all left-leaning indies will be pulling for McCain to lose in the primary so that they can face the untested non-incumbent in the general election. In Mississippi, where the Republican primary inevitably decides who the state’s next senator will be, you don’t have that worry so lefties could vote strategically. Besides, if there’s any battle plan that Maverick’s going to follow, it’s more likely to be his pal Lindsey’s than Cochran’s. Graham trounced the tea party in a red state by using all the levers of incumbency; Cochran campaigned listlessly until the very end and nearly lost. If McCain ends up in a situation more like the latter than the former, something will have gone very wrong for him before 2016.