Saturday, July 02, 2022


David Brooks is morally outraged:
The Democratic Party is behaving recklessly and unpatriotically. So far, Democrats have spent tens of millions to help Trumpist candidates in Republican primaries.

In Illinois alone, the Democratic Governors Association and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent at least $30 million to attack a Trumpist’s moderate gubernatorial opponent. In Pennsylvania, a Democratic campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads intended to help a Trumpist candidate win the G.O.P. gubernatorial primary. A political action committee affiliated with Nancy Pelosi worked to boost far-right Republican House candidates in California and Colorado.

They are doing it because they think far-right Trumpist candidates will be easier to beat in the general elections than more moderate candidates.

What the Democrats are doing is sleazy in the best of circumstances. If you love your country more than your party, you should want the best candidates to advance in either party. And in these circumstances, what they are doing is insane: The far-right candidates whom Democrats are supporting could easily wind up winning.
Let's start at the end: Yes, those far-right candidates could wind up winning. But does it really matter whether a victorious Republican is deemed "far right" or not? The recently concluded Supreme Court term was driven by radical justices who were supported by nearly every Republican, ultra-MAGA or otherwise. Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, who said on January 7, 2021, that Donald Trump "started a fire that has threatened to burn down our democracy,” signed a bill banning abortion in Ohio after the sixth week of pregnancy three years ago, a bill that's now in full effect. In terms of policy, it's virtually impossible to distinguish MAGA cheerleaders from Republican Trump skeptics: FiveThirtyEight says that Liz Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time when he was president, while Matt Gaetz voted with him only 85% of the time. So there's no bright line separating MAGAs and non-MAGAs on policy. Therefore, why not manipulate the vote, in a perfectly legal way, to get the Republican candidate you might have a better chance of defeating?

I question how effective the Democratic ratfucking has been -- the GOP candidates for whom Pelosi ran ads lost in California and Colorado, as did extremist candidates for governor and senator who'd benefited from Democratic expenditures. The extremist gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania and Illinois did win, but by such large margins that it's hard to believe the Democratic spending made the difference. (Both were enthusiastically backed Trump, and the candidate in Illinois was also bankrolled by right-wing office-supplies billionaire Dick Uihlein. Richard Irwin, the Illinois moderate who was attacked by Democrats, was backed by $50 million from hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin; he still finished third.)

Brooks writes:
The Republican Party has grown pretty extreme over the past few years. But it’s important to remember Americans believe that the Democratic Party has grown extreme, too. According to a CNN survey, 46 percent of Americans believe the G.O.P. is “too extreme” and 48 percent believe the Democratic Party is “too extreme.” My guess is that this is not about Democratic domestic policies, many of which are popular, but about progressive cultural and social stances. It’s about people feeling alienated from metropolitan elites.

I’ve had a recurring mystification over the past six years: How is it possible that Democrats are not crushing these guys? The G.O.P. has worked full time to disgrace itself over these years. And yet experts expect the Republicans to easily retake the House and perhaps the Senate. That’s kind of amazing when you stop to think about it.
In that, case, maybe nudging Republicans to nominate MAGA candidates is good for democracy, because it highlights the fact that Republicans are insane extremists.


But while Democrats are ratfucking some 2022 races, their approach to 2024 appears to be anti-ratfuck.

Trump, we're told, is about to declare that he's running for president again, and some Republicans think he might be a weak candidate.
Nicole Wolter, the chief executive of a suburban Chicago manufacturing firm and a member of the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, has an office decorated with photos of her visiting the White House during Mr. Trump’s years as president.

But, Ms. Wolter said in an interview last month in her office in Wauconda, Ill., Mr. Trump has become too toxic to the voters in suburbs for Republicans to win the general election.

“There’s just too many people who don’t really like him,” Ms. Wolter said. “We want everyone to kind of rally around him and be able to get the independents, and I just think that if he ran, he wouldn’t be able to pull that off.”
Democrats think Trump superfans are more beatable, and are trying to help them win primaries, but they're not treating Trump the same way, even though many Republicans seem to believe he'd be easier for the Democrats to beat than, say, Ron DeSantis.

Following the logic of their 2022 ratfucks, Democrats should be attacking DeSantis, Mike Pence, and anyone else they think could wrest the nomination from Trump. Instead, they're attempting to neutralize Trump in the halls of Congress, while saying nothing about any other possible nominee.

Of course, Democrats should be attacking DeSantis and Trump, because they're really the only two candidates with a real shot at the nomination. But the Democrats are attacking Trump only, almost as if they think DeSantis would be easier to beat. If only that were true.

No comments: