aforementioned weirdness with this particular GOP primary contest, I have to admit, as a fan of things political, I was watching this runoff in Mississippi with great interest. It truly did go down to the wire, with Cochran's numbers strong at one point, but whittled down to a finale of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, with no rules for recounts.
My word, that is close. The open system that Mississippi operates under for primaries makes logical predictions go out the window when you factor in that Cochran openly courted Democrats and the African-American vote in the past three weeks. Operating under the "Death to the Establishment!" meme, McDaniel should have won if the voting was restricted to the GOP faithful. But Cochran only very narrowly won out in a heated and expensive battle with probable non-GOP support. The closeness of the race is probably enough to make some folks call "shenanigans" on the enterprise, but based on the voting a mere three weeks ago, no, this seems like what you'd get--a close one.
Just as a fan of winning, I do wonder a little at the reticence of Cochran's side to exploit McDaniel's at-times crass radio persona. Sen. Cochran strikes me as more of an old-school politician, who deals in anodyne messages and doesn't slam the crap out of people in his own party. Radio, however (kind of like blogging), lends itself to sharper, sometimes more bombastic and less pleasant messaging. It can encourage being a more blatant persona than a political persona generally is. Thus, McDaniel had a portfolio of statements that--even if they were his radio persona and not necessarily his actual self, might have come across as pretty inflammatory. And yet, by touting his own abilities to bring home the bacon (what is this attention to constituents about?) and being mostly positive, Cochran eked it out.
As close as this is, and with not such a vast gulf between the policy positions of one and the other, I do not think this basic style difference is resolved here, either. I know a lot of political writers like to tie up their ruminations over a single contest with "what does this all mean?" Eh. I don't think it has that kind of import--for me it was like watching a sporting match where I wasn't a supporter of either team.