The Republican establishment likes to puff up the specters of a dangerous Roy Moore in Alabama or cast inaccurate aspersions about an outspoken Kris Kobach in Kansas as a way of scaring the party into fielding “safe” – meaning stolid and lifeless, of course – candidates for U.S. Senate seats. Naturally these sedate pols can also be counted on to be every bit as placid once they assume office when it comes to going along with business as usual in the Swamp. Running “too radical” is a recipe for electoral disaster, we are told. Yet in 2020 two of the very weakest and worst GOP options are dull, conventional (for lack of a better word) figures who were appointed to fill open U.S. Senate seats by Republican governors in transparent attempts to set them up for future electoral success. Will it pay off this election cycle? Perhaps – but catastrophic losses in both Arizona and Georgia are more likely.
Debacle Down South
“It’s so selfish of [Rep.] Doug Collins (R-GA) to be promoting himself when President Trump needs a unified team and Senator [Kelly] Loeffler (R-GA) is such a warrior for the President,” said Steven Law, the president of the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC. “As we’ve said before, Senator Loeffler is an outsider like Trump, not just another D.C. politician. We’ll have her back if she needs us.”
Loeffler is the wife of New York Stock Exchange President Chairman Jeffrey Sprecher. Of all the words that can possibly be used to describe her, “outsider” is the most patently ridiculous. If it weren’t for her husband’s enormous wealth, she never would have found her way to an appointed Senate seat. Now the same Steven Law who has slammed staunch America First candidate Kobach as a poor candidate who couldn’t “connect with voters on things that they cared about” is all-in on Loeffler. What could possibly go wrong?
Fortunately for Republicans, Loeffler’s Coronavirus stock scandal hit before she had brought home the GOP nomination in the Peach State. Loeffler sold more than $1 million in stocks after being briefed in January about the seriousness of the Coronavirus threat to America, a health crisis she had been playing down. It goes without saying that such shenanigans amid an emerging pandemic are a first-class cataclysm for politicians of any partisan stripe. If the news had come out in August instead of March, the GOP would have been all but assured of losing a crucial Senate seat in the South. And there’d have been no way to blame Roy Moore for it.
Recent internal polling by the “selfish” Collins campaign shows him amassing a huge 23-point lead over the reeling Loeffler. Collins is a stalwart Trump supporter and should be able to salvage the mess created in Georgia by the Swamp RINOs who were ripping his character just a couple of months ago. Do you think the experience will humble them at all?
In Arizona, meanwhile, GOP voters are stuck again with Sen. Martha McSally, who ran a dismal race against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in 2018 and was rewarded for her failure with an appointment to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. John McCain. McSally checks all the boxes that make her an attractive option for the GOP establishment. She is a female former U.S. Air Force veteran, thus fitting “conservative” identity politics posturing. And she won’t challenge the status quo in any way. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had Jeb Bush cut a campaign ad, in Spanish, for McSally when she ran for the House in 2014.
That’s just the kind of thing that marks McSally as a formidable contender in the eyes of Steven Law. “She’s the ideal candidate,” he gushed of her 2018 Senate run. McSally lost then and things are shaping up to be every bit as bleak again this time around. An Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll has her trailing Democrat challenger Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, by nine percentage points (51 to 42%).
McSally has no genuine base of support in Arizona and is so out of touch that she actually welcomed former President George W. Bush to the state to actively campaign for her in 2018, two years into the presidency of a populist outsider from her own party who won by casting himself as the antidote to the old Swamp politics personified by the Bush family. She has been every bit as much out to lunch during her short time in the Senate, failing to stand out or even define herself in any meaningful way.
One of the oldest establishment lies is that voters must put aside strongly held beliefs on issues important to them in order to support the more “practical” candidate who is best suited to win a general election, no matter if they feel any attachment to that person whatsoever. But the appointed elevations of pols such as Loeffler and McSally have shown the hollowness of that tired game. In a post-2016 era of change, what the Swamp packages as safety is miles removed from that “electability” buzzword that for too long was lamely used to entice voters to pull the lever for mediocrity.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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