June 26, 2014
Establishment Republicans across the country are saying “Thank God for Mississippi,” but not in the derisive way that political scientist V.O. Key describes it above. The state’s Republican voters, and probably quite a few Democrats, allowed the GOP establishment to fend off a Tea Party challenge to a sitting senator. In the process, they kept Democrats from potentially expanding the Senate’s general election playing field in November and from giving anti-establishment forces in the Republican Senate caucus another ally.
Mississippi, a state often ignored by the national political world, managed to do something rarely seen in politics: Produce two upsets in the same race in a three-week span. And it bucked a trend of generally pathetic turnout in primaries nationwide to produce the second and then first-largest primary turnouts in the history of Mississippi Republican politics.
Mississippi, a trailblazing leader in voter participation? It has been a very odd primary season indeed.