Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Recent primaries are a mixed bag. They do not show repudiation of Trump but reveals his star is fading.

by Rod Williams, May 25, 2022- The recent primaries are an indication that Trump's star is fading. Not as fast as I would like, but it is fading. I wish it would have revealed a clear repudiation of Trumpism and it did not, but any fading is good. Does anyone think Trump will be more popular two years from now than he is today?  I don't see how that can happen. 

In recent primaries, some Trump candidates won, such as J. D. Vance of Ohio, and some lost.  Dr. Mehmet Oz is too close to call and the vote is subject to a recount. Even if Oz does win, it is an indication that only half of the Republicans in Pennsylvania will take their marching orders from Trump.  In some of the races, such as that of Sara Huckabee in Arkansas, Trump picked winners who would have won with or without his endorsement. A win by Huckabee indicates her strength; not the impact of a Trump endorsement. While a lot of Trump-endorsed candidates won their primary some were running unopposed or against weak challengers.

One of the losers who got a Trump endorsement was incumbent nut-job scandal-plagued Congressman Madison Cawthorn.  Despite Trump's endorsement and plea to give him a second chance, he lost his primary and will not return to Congress.  North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis took the lead in calling for Cawthorn's defeat. He said Cawthorn was ill-suited to serve in Congress. Tillis endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards. Tillis won; Trump lost. In Nebraska, Charles Herbster Trump's choice for governor lost after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed several women. There are limits to how much a Trump endorsement can do. 

On the other hand, the biggest nut-job in the U. S. Congress easily won her primary. Tump-endorsed candidate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene easily defeated five other Republicans on Tuesday. She is a Q-anon supporter.  She was a regular contributor to a conspiracy website. She has supported almost every right-wing conspiracy theory circulating. She touts the Pizzagate theory, the Clinton kill-list, mass shootings as a false flag theory, and 9-11 as an inside job theory.  She has advocated executing Democrat politicians.  She has equated the Democrat Party with Nazies. She continues to claim Trump won the election in a landslide and that the election was stolen.  Her Covid-19 theory is that Dr. Fauci is criminally liable for helping create the virus as a bio-weapon. She believes California's wildfires are the result of some kind of “space laser” that set things on fire and the Rothschild banking firm was behind it.  You can't get nuttier than that but unfortunately, she is representative of much of the Trumpinista wing of the Republican Party these days.  I was hoping for a clear repudiation of extremism and just plain nuttiness. But it didn't happen.

Some Republican governors are standing up to Trump and winning. The most obvious example is Georgia where former senator David Perdue was recruited by Trump to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp and lost. He didn't lose by just a little, he suffered a humiliating defeat.

I think one can conclude that ‘Stop the Steal’ is not the basis of a guaranteed win.  Candidates who made the narrative of a 2020 stolen election the centerpiece of their campaigns did not do well.  The best example is the Georgia secretary of state race where Brad Raffensperger, who Trump had targeted for defeat over his refusal to find Trump votes in Georgia and who said the 2020 election was a fair election, won over Trump-endorsed candidate Jody Hice. There was almost no other issue in that race except Trump targeted Raffensperger for defeat because he defended the integrity of the Georgia 2020 election. 

On the other hand, in Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Republican nominee for governor. He is a leading proponent of the stolen election narrative and was in Washington for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021. He made the stolen election narrative a centerpiece of his campaign.

The best one can say about the recent primaries for that those of us who want to see the Republican Party return to pre-Trump sanity, is that the results were mixed. We did not get the clear signal of Trump's repudiation for which we hoped, but neither is Trump shown to be invincible and there is good reason to believe his star is fading. That is a positive takeaway. 


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