Saturday, November 12, 2022


The mainstream media is telling us that Republicans are blaming Donald Trump for the party's midterm losses, particularly in the Senate. But I'm seeing something different.

Here's Blake Masters, who's on his way to a defeat in the Arizona Senate race:
Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters (R) slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday night, saying that the top Republican should have directed more campaign spending his way to take on Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in the 2022 midterms....

During an interview with Fox News, Masters told host Tucker Carlson that if a McConnell-aligned super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, had spent more money into the Arizona Senate race, the contest would be over by now.

“The people who control the purse strings, Senate Leadership Fund, Mitch McConnell — McConnell decided to spend millions of dollars attacking a fellow Republican in Alaska instead of helping me defeat Senator Mark Kelly,” an animated Masters said.
McConnell's PAC spent money to help reelect Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, whose main rival is another Republican, Trumpist nutjob Kelly Tshibaka.

Trump himself complained about this last month. It's a gripe that's being echoed by a number of Republican thought leaders:

And there's this:
Sen. Marco Rubio is calling for Senate Republicans to delay their leadership elections, as more members of the party's conference in the Senate appear to be bucking Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The Senate GOP leadership vote next week should be postponed," Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted Friday....

Multiple GOP Senate candidates, including Sen.-elect Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., have said they would not support McConnell for party leader for the next Congress.

Schmitt's fellow Missourian, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, has also attacked McConnell in recent weeks. He supported Rubio's call for a delay in leadership elections in a tweet....

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., also backed up Rubio, tweeting, "Second," in response to his post.
Josh Marshall thinks this is largely a battle between pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces. In a series of tweets, Marshall writes:
In elite GOP circles yr seeing some effort to put the blame on Trump. But there's a lot more coalescing around blaming McConnell and most of that is being organized, stirred up by the Trump backers who see a McConnell/DeSantis axis trying to take out the Leader.
(By "the Leader," Marshall means the Dear Leader, Donald Trump, not Minority Leader McConnell.)

As Steve Benen noted yesterday, quite a few Republican senators and Senate candidates were expressing resistance to McConnell even before the election -- not just Hawley and Schmitt, but also J.D. Vance and the ultimate Trump loyalist, Lindsey Graham. A Washington Post story about Graham from January carried a headline that made clear what he thinks: "Graham Says He Won’t Support McConnell for GOP Leader Unless He Has ‘Working Relationship’ with Trump."

Trump has expressed support for replacing McConnell as the Senate's GOP leader with Rick Scott. However, Politico reports that Scott was planning to run against McConnell for the leadership job but has now decided not to. So McConnell might not face a real challenge.

But there's anger and backbiting. Trump isn't the only target of GOP anger, and he might not be the party's main scapegoat. And it might all be an early battle in the Trump-DeSantis war.

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