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AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

Senator Thad Cochran’s come-from-behind victory in Mississippi’s Republican Senate primary surprised many observers, but it inspired a different emotion in many supporters of the runner-up, state senator Chris McDaniel: Rage.

McDaniel’s backers, most of whom proudly identify as Tea Party Republicans, were particularly infuriated by Cochran’s unorthodox strategy. Mississippi’s open primary system allowed any voter who did not participate in the June 3 Democratic primary to vote in Tuesday’s runoff, so Cochran spent the campaign’s home stretch reaching out to Democrats — specifically, African-Americans who have good reason to oppose McDaniel, an extreme right-winger with ties to white supremacists. It paid off, big time. But to McDaniel supporters, this amounted to stealing the election.

This left some Tea Partiers in the awkward position of arguing that, election law be damned, black Mississipians had no right to participate in choosing their representative in Washington. Here are five of the worst examples:

Chris McDaniel

The losing candidate himself set the tone for the right’s outraged response, when he pointedly declined to concede the race in his defiant election night speech.

“There is something a bit strange…there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats,” McDaniel seethed.

“Today, the conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats in Mississippi,” he said. “If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”

Why use a dogwhistle when you could sound an air-raid siren?

McDaniel’s attitude — that by making his case to all Mississippians, instead of just right-wing Republicans, Cochran somehow cheated — would prove to be a common theme in the Tea Party’s reponse to the surprising loss.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh, who’s never stumbled across a race-related story that he couldn’t exploit, was not exactly circumspect in his reaction to Cochran’s win.

“I wonder what the campaign slogan was in Mississippi the last couple of days,” Limbaugh mused on Monday. “Uncle Toms for Thad?”

“Insider Republicans in the Senate bought nine percentage points, eight or nine percentage points, from the black Uncle Tom voters in Mississippi,” he added.

Ironically, back in 2008, Limbaugh urged Republicans to vote in Texas’ Democratic presidential primary as a way to keep Hillary Clinton in the race, and keep the Democratic Party “at war with itself.”
Sarah Palin

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Tuesday wasn’t a good night for Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate and current barely veiled scam artist. T.W. Shannon, the Okahoma Senate candidate whom she had hailed as living proof that Republicans had solved their diversity problem, was crushed by 20 points in an unexpected landslide. And things only got worse after McDaniel lost in Mississippi.

Last week, Palin shared her concerns about Cochran’s plan to expand the electorate via her Facebook page.

“Ruh roh! In order to save an entrenched 42-year member of the good old boys club what kind of ‘Scooby snacks’ has ‘DC’ promised to Mississippi Democrats to intervene in the GOP runoff for U.S. Senate?” she asked. When the enticing treat of not having Chris McDaniel as their senator proved too much for Democrats to pass up, Palin was predictably displeased.

“If Republicans are going to act like Democrats, what’s the use in getting all gung ho about getting other Republicans in there?” she pouted to Sean Hannity on Tuesday night.

The next day, she took to her Facebook again to voice her displeasure.

“When an election is questionable, with potential legal violations, politics MUST be put aside and the irregularities MUST be fully investigated. Regardless of party, we owe it to voters and to democracy within our Republic,” Palin wrote.

Glenn Beck

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Glenn Beck was also not pleased with the way that Cochran’s campaign outmaneuvered McDaniel’s.

After comparing Cochran to the Emperor from Star Wars, and suggesting that “breathing in the oxygen of power” is the only thing that keeps him alive, Beck got to the heart of his point.

“America, the gig is up. It is really obvious now. They are doing nothing but playing a game holding on to their power,” he said. “Pawns mean nothing. They can be eaten and taken, it doesn’t matter…You can lose them all day long and you can still win the game. I got news for you gang: we’ve been played. We’re pawns. Period. Period.”

Amy Kremer
Amy Kremer, the former chair of the Tea Party Express and an outspoken McDaniel supporter, drew perhaps the grimmest conclusion from his loss: It literally killed the Republican Party.

Assuming that the GOP still exists in November, Cochran is expected to easily defeat conservative Democrat Travis Childers in the general election.

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.