To quote Slim Pickens in Blazing Saddles, “What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?”
What is politics coming to when a deeply conservative Deep South Senator rallies black Democrats to win a Republican primary? When a GOP bridge-builder beats a fire-eater? When a big spender beats a budget slasher? When a courtly white-haired DC insider beats a take-no-prisoners Tea Party outsider? When GOP Washington PACs pour big money into turning out blacks and Democrats?
We have left the gravitational pull of Earth.
Thad Cochrane’s narrow victory was the opposite of Eric Cantor’s landslide defeat. But the cause was the same: Democrats and Independents voting in a Republican primary. Or, as some Republicans might say, interfering.
Cantor tried to out-Tea Party the Tea Party candidate. He moved right and lost. Cochrane went the opposite way. He moved left and won. He actually grew the electorate from the primary turnout.
Maybe there’s a lesson for those who bewail today’s polarized, hyper-partisan politics. Maybe politics should use some more openness – and competition. Like opening up primaries to more voters. Ending gerrymandering. Even getting more people to vote.
The results will be entertaining, if nothing else.