U.S. Senate candidate and state senator Chris McDaniel is scheduled to speak to the Citizens Militia of Mississippi on Saturday evening, according to a media advisory distributed by his campaign on Thursday. It is not the first time he has spoken to the militia group.
“Any Fate But Submission,” the motto on the CMM’s website, appeared on the flag of the St. Augustine Blues, a militia unit in St. Augustine Florida that was formed in 1860 and became part of the Confederate Army. It was also the defiant utterance of Confederate Major General J. Patton Anderson in refusing at war’s end to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S.
“Let’s show the establishment that we are willing to sacrifice and how quickly we can mobilize in support of our candidate,” reads the CMM’s Facebook event announcement for McDaniel’s appearance at Uncle Buck’s Grill in Pearl.
CMM says it is “devoted to revitalization of the militia of Mississippi & restoration of our Republic.” The group’s website features a greeting from Commander Robert Mitchell, retired from the U.S. Army, that begins with a quote from Martin Luther King but slides into a screed, apparently written in 2013, against then-President Barack Obama in which he complains that “it has gone from difficult to impossible for me to offer my support to today’s political ‘leadership’… The America that I love & vowed to protect is swiftly fading into oblivion.”
Americans, in general, are both compassionate and peaceful peoples. However, when we are expected to go along with legislative decisions, made on our own behalf by those we elect, which purposely run contrary to our beliefs, push us beyond a logical and civilized breaking point, our wrath is swift & formidable. The American People will no longer be silent. Why? Because America was founded By the People and For The People. We will not stand idly by and watch elected officials shred our God given rights piece by piece.
Despite such rhetoric, CMM disputes the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of the organization as an “anti-government” group, saying, “Our goal is to see government restored to its original constitutional form.” And here’s what CMM says it opposes: “statism, liberalism, tribalism, socialism, collectivism, internationalism, democracy (mob rule by the majority over the minority), Corruption in government, Socialism, Fascism, Communism, altruism, pull politics, and New World Order; in short, the philosophies of all tyrannies.”
McDaniel is participating in a so-called “jungle primary” in a special election to replace Cochran, who resigned earlier this year due to health problems. The Senate seat is temporarily filled by Cindy Hyde-Simmons, who was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant, and who is also running to complete Cochran’s term.
McDaniel lost an extremely bitter primary battle to unseat Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014, a campaign in which he also sought the CMM’s support. Right-wing leaders were furious that establishment Republicans reached out to Democratic voters to help save Cochran’s seat. At the time, Glenn Beck complained that McDaniel was being smeared with “bogus race charges” that he likened to the notorious anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
On right-wing radio, McDaniel has portrayed himself as a fighter against the “cowards” that have “infiltrated” the Republican Party, and has complained that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “doesn’t allow conservatives to fight.” He pledges never to support or vote for McConnell for Republican leader. McDaniel pledges support for Trump’s agenda, but vows, “I WILL NEVER support or vote for a budget that adds one penny to the deficit without a Declaration of War from the Congress.”
McDaniel calls for a constitutional amendment to allow Congress or state legislatures to override Supreme Court decisions. And he says Congress should “frequently” use the “weapons” that the Constitution gives it to “rein in the courts,” including stripping courts of their ability to hear certain cases.
McDaniel, himself a former right-wing radio host, has touted his endorsement by American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer, whose show is a reliable source of bigotry toward religious minorities and LGBTQ people. McDaniel said he “can’t thank [Fischer] enough for what he’s done for the conservative movement.” Fischer and Wayne Allen Root also campaigned for McDaniel in 2014.
In a TV ad produced by Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Rick Santorum has also endorsed McDaniel. The McDaniel campaign website also lists honors he has received from Americans for Prosperity and the American Conservative Union.
According to CMM’s website, Saturday’s guest speaker at Uncle Buck’s was previously scheduled to be “Constitutional speaker and author Jeff Wallace.” Wallace is the author of “In God We Trusted,” which slams “the absurd notion of ‘separation of Church and State.’”