The tea leaves continue to point to state Sen. Chris McDaniel throwing his hat into the ring in the 2018 U.S. Senate race and we urge him to do so. He is a bright, shining star of conservative politics, even if he is decried by his opponents as a backward, card-carrying racist who wants a return to 1960s Mississippi.
With a man or woman of political prominence hailing from your own backyard, you get to know him or her. The REAL Chris, people will say. And it is evident locally in the ballot box, where the Ellisville native routinely receives more than 85 percent of the vote. If he ran tomorrow, he would probably get 90 percent.
Those voters know McDaniel got hosed in the 2014 Republican primary. The upstart state senator was just a few hundred votes shy of unseating the grandfather of the Senate, who had been in the swamp of Washington, D.C., for nearly as long at McDaniel had been alive. Thad Cochran is old-world, backroom-deal-making politician who is the absolute epitome of the Establishment Republican Party. His type of politician is tired and old. We desperately want a change.
The Cochran machine — which included heavyweights from that same Establishment swamp — went to terrible lengths to rip the state’s Republican voters’ choice from office to keep their precious hold on power and influence. The campaign was dirty, filthy and exemplified the worst parts of American politics. Which makes Ryan Walters’ brilliant book “Remember Mississippi: How Chris McDaniel Exposed the GOP Establishment and inspired a revolution” a must-read for anyone who remembers that ugly race.
Walters, an Ellisville native who is now a professor in Texas and frequent Leader-Call columnist, takes readers on an in-depth journey into just how bad things got. With exclusive interviews and thorough research, this is an unvarnished look at the senate race.
If McDaniel — or just Chris, as he is known to so many around here — does enter the race in 2018 to unseat Roger Wicker, another darling of the Establishment, he better expect a similar assault. We know what it will do to his family, and that might be the biggest shame of it all. But as for Chris, he can take it. It comes with the territory of being Scotch-Irish. Watch him on the basketball court and one can see that competitive spirit. It happens when you are an undersized guard with a mean jumpshot. He’s been taking pops his whole life. He will be OK.
And, frankly, isn’t that what we want? Do we want someone Mitch McConnell wants? McConnell is the biggest impediment to real, earthquake-worthy change. He is the worst and has to be ousted as Senate majority leader. Wicker is in lockstep with McConnell’s form of governance — old-time, backroom-deal-making politics.
Almost feels like we are back in 2014.
Who’s ready for a fight? It’s going to get ugly. Make no mistake about that. But for the soul of this nation, fights like this are most necessary. And every once in a while, someone comes along ready to lead that fight. That man is here, right in our own backyard.
So, we ask again: Who’s ready for a fight?
As the great boxing ring announcer Mills Lane would say: LET’S GET IT ON!