The recent impeachment caterwauling by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) highlights once again the absolute necessity for President Trump to cultivate and nurture staunch, reliable allies in the GOP congressional ranks if he hopes to enact his change agenda. Trump’s blast back at Romney as “a fool,” playing into Democrat hands, is puzzling because Trump endorsed the notorious RINO during his 2018 Senate run. Romney is acting exactly as expected on Capitol Hill, ever-jostling to position himself as the new face of the GOP side of the Swamp following the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Stale explications on the need to support the most electable candidate in order to keep the Senate red fall flat when an outsider president helps get sworn defenders of the status quo into office. Similar cause for concern for Make America Great Again adherents can be seen in North Carolina, where Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) has had one of those miraculous election- year pivots away from his long support for amnesty for illegal aliens and criticism of a Wall on our southern border and is now pledging his support for Trump’s immigration policies. Tillis’s deep ties to the US Chamber of Commerce, which loathes the president’s immigration and trade policies, go back some 20 years. Will Tillis’s sudden admiration for the president’s agenda last any longer than Nov. 4, 2020, one day after Election Tuesday?
Young Elephant on the March?
Which brings us to Arizona, where Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) is up for election next year. After running what many considered a clunky, mediocre campaign in 2016 against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and losing, McSally was appointed to fill the seat of the late McCain in 2018. She already has received Trump’s endorsement, despite her weak performance three years ago and her notable establishment Republican credentials. The US Chamber of Commerce had Jeb Bush cut a campaign ad, in Spanish, for McSally when she ran for the House in 2014. When she made her bid for the Senate in ’16, she rolled out the likes of Romney and former president George W. Bush to boost what turned out to be a failing effort.
In short, McSally fits the profile of exactly the type of Republican Donald Trump does not need in the Senate to help advance his agenda. With that very much in mind, an intriguing figure has popped up to ponder a primary challenge, and it has some Trump backers buzzing.
Blake Masters is a Grand Canyon State venture capitalist with close connections to top Silicon Valley Trump ally Peter Thiel. Masters co-wrote an enormously influential business book with Thiel and currently serves as the president of the Thiel Foundation. Masters, 33, is a young and brash Republican whose statements so far put him squarely in line with much of Trump’s course for change.
Against Endless War, Cult of GDP
“Americans want dignified work, healthy families, and strong communities,” Masters told Debra Heine, writing at the American Greatness website, in a text message:
“They deserve political leaders who will fight for those things. That means securing the border; getting affordable medical care to every citizen who needs it; taking on the higher education racket; stopping stupid foreign wars; and prioritizing quality of life and high-paying jobs rather than cheap imports and ever-higher profits for the Fortune 500, which never seem to benefit the middle class.”
Masters was not shy to hone in on McSally’s weakness as a candidate. “We need to keep this seat Republican,” he told The Arizona Republic. “And we need a GOP that puts voters before donors. Martha McSally lost a winnable race last year. If I come to believe that she can’t win next November, I’ll run.”
It must be emphasized that there’s not a lot of detail backing up Masters’ stances on specific issues at the moment, but the hints he has been dropping seem to place him in the populist-nationalist camp. His Twitter account posted a re-tweet of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declaring in 2017 that “I agree with @realDonaldTrump – time to reject the naive nationbuilding of the neocons and try a true American First realist foreign policy.”
Masters is friends with American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk and replied to Buskirk’s tweet of the site’s article on his possible candidacy. The language he used reveals strong nationalist economic leanings as well:
idk about charismatic 😅
I do know it’s time to take on all the rackets in our society: corrupt colleges, mass corporate surveillance, whoever makes a band-aid at an E.R. cost $400, and neoliberal elites who prioritize abstractions like “GDP” over actual people. To name a few. https://t.co/euWwWS4XwP
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) October 4, 2019
Buskirk told The Arizona Republic what to expect from a potential Masters candidacy. “He’s going to run a very ideas-oriented campaign about how to rebuild the middle class, about the threat from China,” Buskirk said. “Those are your basic sort of kitchen-table issues and he’s got good ideas about them and I think people will be duly impressed.”
A young, successful Republican exhibiting fresh beliefs is mulling a challenge to yet another milquetoast party establishment incumbent – and one who didn’t even win her seat in a popular election. This should be exactly what Trump backers demanding the Swamp be drained want to see. As former Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski’s Senate flirtations in New Hampshire also indicate, Trump advocates are aware that capturing and holding the White House is not enough. In order to enact the sweeping change on which the president has staked his entire administration, the GOP must be remade as well.
Pro-Trump Republican members of Congress, especially senators, will have to be elected in significant numbers for this to happen. The president and the people who voted for him are never going to see the overhaul of the tired old Swamp establishment unless the term “Trump Republican” resonates as loudly in the halls of Congress as “Reagan Republican” did some 35 years ago.