Thursday, August 25, 2022


I know that Beltway pundits have been double- and triple-booking space on fainting couches ever since Democrats decided to run ads for a few of the most extreme Republican candidates during the primaries, in the belief that those candidates would be easier to beat. (So far, polls suggest that most of them are quite beatable.) But a story about a fight within the GOP suggests that Democrats could try another ratfuck, this time targeted at Republican voters in the general election:
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a pawn for the Democrats” and said he should “immediately” be replaced.

Trump, who soured on McConnell after the Senate leader condemned Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and acknowledged President Joe Biden’s election victory, has renewed his attacks since last week, when McConnell gave a downbeat assessment of his party’s prospects of winning Senate control in the November election....

“Mitch McConnell is not an Opposition Leader, he is a pawn for the Democrats to get whatever they want,” Trump said in a statement on his Truth Social platform. “He is afraid of them, and will not do what has to be done. A new Republican Leader in the Senate should be picked immediately!”

Trump also tore into McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao, who resigned as Trump’s transportation secretary days after the Capitol riot. Trump cited an article in the conservative outlet The Federalist reporting the couple have been using their positions to make money in China.

Over the weekend, Trump bashed McConnell as a “broken down hack” and said he should spend more time and money helping GOP candidates than “helping his crazy wife and family get rich on China!”

Trump allies. including Fox News personality Sean Hannity, also took swipes at McConnell, accusing him of abandoning his own party’s candidates.
Okay, here's where the potential ratfuck comes in:
A cash-rich Super PAC linked to McConnell will spend $156 million after Labor day across eight states to boost candidates.
Trump and Hannity's anger at McConnell reinforces the belief many GOP voters have that McConnell is in the same category as John McCain, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney: people who look to the rest of us like rock-solid Republicans, but who are seen by the MAGA faithful as RINOs, Republicans who are no better than the hated Democrats.

For that reason, in each of the states where McConnell's PAC is spending, Democrats should run ads targeted at GOP voters, especially online, that show McConnell's candidate next to McConnell -- or, better yet, next to McConnell and his wife -- accompanied by, in huge letters, the words ENDORSED BY MITCH McCONNELL.

Democrats wouldn't be saying anything low or underhanded about these candidates. They'd just be stating a fact. And while including Chao in the ad opens up Democrats to charges of racism, I don't think there's a need to say anything negative about her, or to make her look sinister. Just pick an ordinary photo of McConnell and Chao, maybe even one that's flattering to her. (I don't think it's theoretically possible to find a photo that's flattering to McConnell.)

McConnell is widely disliked. According to the Real Clear Politics average, he's at 25.8% favorable, 57% unfavorable nationwide. In the most recent poll that included a question about him, from Politico and Morning Consult, McConnell had a 20% favorable rating and a 60% unfavorable rating. Amond conservatives, he's at 35%/49%; among moderates, the numbers are an abysmal 14%/62%.

So put him in ads, Democrats. Republicans have been putting Nancy Pelosi in attack ads for many years. Why not return the favor, either as a direct attack or a clever ratfuck?

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