May 27th by TreadKnot Chronicles
There is no doubt that politics in MS has been filled with more drama than usual since the Cochran/McDaniel race for the US Senate seat in 2014. Now during this election year, it appears to have gotten even more exciting. There is a noticeable split in the Democratic Party, all the while the Republicans are continuing to grow farther and farther apart. It is becoming quite common to hear talks of jumping into a third party. Members from both the Republicans and Democrats are looking for someone that represents them, if not more accurately, than more honestly. But, who in this state could survive a transition like this. Well, it is Senator Chris McDaniel, and he already has a very close relationship with the Libertarian Party of Mississippi. Not only that, during the Libertarian Party’s presidential debate at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, rumors are that Chris met with members from the Libertarian National Committee, the national Chairman and with the Libertarian Party’s leading presidential candidate, Governor Gary Johnson. If we only knew what was discussed behind closed doors!
Senator McDaniel was reelected in his state senate district with 86% of the vote. He could make the leap to the Libertarian Party and have 3 years of messaging to ensure his reelection bid, which would be the first Libertarian elected to state office in MS and only the third, ever, in the entire country. The prospect of a party change has the conservative and libertarian communities abuzz. Ideas have flown back and forth about the force that McDaniel could wield with his supporters following him into the unknown. The strategy is born from the mind of former Libertarian Party of MS Chairman, Mario Barnes. He alludes to the possibility that the party could wield influence by leveraging vulnerable Republican seats throughout the state. “For example, there are around 50 seats in the senate and house that were won by less than 5% of the popular vote. With the likes of McDaniel’s support, the Libertarian Party could run and support their own candidate which inevitably would cost the Republican their seat.” Now, the goal, I’m told is not to take the seats from the republican party, only to show them that they can be taken. Once Chris, along with the Libertarian Party, have the attention of legislators, the goal is to move to shrink government influence over the citizens. Though, the state races are still a few years away, we could make use of the US Congressional District 4 race that is going on now to unseat Steven Palazzo. With Chris McDaniel’s support and the goal of unseating Palazzo, Mario feels the realization of the strategy could happen this cycle and give the party leverage over the state legislators now. Barnes says that there are some peripheral strategies in play, but those are long term and they’re keeping those close to the chest. Mario believes that with McDaniel’s supporters on board, they can even force the hand of any statewide race. Were Chris to run as a Libertarian in the Governor’s race, it would be difficult for any suspected candidate to win, even Tate Reeves. Chris could essentially become the single most influential politician in MS and he doesn’t even have to win another seat.
Though, it appears unlikely that McDaniel will switch parties, it is something new to think about. If you happen to follow Senator McDaniel’s social media page on FB, you have probably picked up the sentiment that he may shed the yoke of the GOP. He appears to be testing the waters with some of his posts, asking his followers if they should “leave it (GOP) to the ashbin of history”. Some other statements alluding to a change are “Either we become a party of liberty and principles, finally fighting for our platform, or it could be time for millions to find a new political home.”
Chris was unavailable to corroborate the rumors from the Libertarian convention in MS, but we are told from Gary Johnson’s campaign team that Chris has an open invitation to Orlando this weekend to attend the Libertarian Party National Convention and access to Gary’s private ballroom. I’ll give updates later as I will, myself, be speaking at the Libertarian National Convention.