I've waited a day or two for the dust to settle in the Mississippi primary episode where accusations over the weekend suggest that Cochran-enthusiasts suggested a $15-a-vote deal to at least one black minister. He has the text messages, and the deal was to involve these votes would result in some brown manilla envelopes arriving, by some method (probably not US postal operations), and folks would get "paid-off".
The question is.....why $15 a vote? Is this the standard? Why not $10 or $25?
Americans get all peppy who paying for votes comes up. It's generally perceived as unethical and illegal (just about every state has some kind of law that is supposed to prevent it). Usually through the 1960s....it was a normal practice. For the past twenty-odd years.....there's no cases that I can recall....where money came into play or was suggested. Course, political folks got smart and had other methods to "pay-off".
The math on this is interesting. Say that you need four thousand extra votes.....with $15 as the standard, you'd need $60,000 to carry out this agenda. Where does this kind of money come from? One back pocket to another.....some rich guy has cash around and needs a favor done by the political figure, so he offers the $60,000 to a middle-man who finds the witless figures to dump their votes.
Then we come to the odd part about the deal.....what if the guy promises his vote.....gets the $15....and then walks in to vote for another candidate instead? Where is the check and balance of the game?
Up through most of the 1800s.....election day was bartered off mostly on booze. You walked or rode a horse over to the county-seat.....started drinking early in the morning at one pub or bar which supported one particular party. Free booze or beer for hours.....you voted for that guy.....got some more free booze and then walked home. I would imagine that fifty percent of the men in America on election-days prior to the 1920s.....were mostly drunk for the whole day.
What will happen in Mississippi? If the State Police refuse to get involved, and the federal Justice Department just watches from a distance, then it's done. Nothing will come out of the episode, and the guy promised the $15 per vote will just sit there and grumble heavily over this.
Enough to get folks hyper and put a petition up to recall Senator Cochran? Well....that would be curious. I'm guessing sufficient numbers exist to get a petition in, and have a recall measure on the same voting papers where you'd vote for Cochran as the next Senator for Mississippi. On one measure....he might get re-elected. On the other measure, he might get recalled. This would force the governor to appoint someone for six to twelve months.....while they run another primary by summer or fall of 2015.
What's this all lead to? Corruption by insider Republicans who favor their best guy, and try to fake out the public into believing that the system is fair.....when it isn't fair. If you live in Mississippi and were a moderate supporter of Cochran, you've got a bad taste in your mouth presently, and wish you might have just stayed home on this primary episode. Personally, I'd raise the stakes next time around and demand $20.....just to make folks sweat a bit more as they have to hustle up more cash than usual.