I almost feel sorry for Mitch McConnell. Only almost.
Understandably Mitch McConnell wants to be Senate Majority Leader again. Going into the 2022 election and needing to only net one seat you can see why he felt that could happen. (Here is the scary part: it still may.) Had the GOP recruited and gotten their number one draft choices through the primaries it would be all but a lock. That is not what it looks like less than a month from Election Day.
McConnell is saddled with a plethora of amazingly bad candidates in states that are very close. I’ll probably miss someone(s) but here is a listing: Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Ted Budd in North Carolina, incumbent Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, Blake Masters in Arizona, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, J.D. Vance in Ohio and Hershel Walker in Georgia. Much like Lyndon Johnson before him, McConnell has controlled his caucus by controlling the campaign purse strings. It’s difficult to say no to the man who provided you the last minute money to win your seat.
I’m reminded of the John Boehner’s and Paul Ryan’s exits when they decided they could no longer control their House majorities. Could Mitch be near that same fate? Are there already signs of that happening?
Donald Trump is the GOP’s biggest problem. I (and I was far from alone) could see that coming. Trump decreed that many of these nutcases would be the GOP candidates and the supposed sane Republicans lacked the courage to confront him so they fell in line.
I have to wonder if that fraying wasn’t already well in process during the second impeachment trial. Mitch knew Trump was guilty and I have a difficult time believing he was in the minority even in the Republican Senate caucus. Why didn’t they vote to impeach him and effectively remove him from the political discussion? Mitch obviously didn’t have the 16 other GOP votes he needed. McConnell may be evil but he is certainly politically smart. He knows that he is better off with Trump out of the mix.
Today’s bottom line is that McConnell is forced to put money into races where his heart isn’t. He wants to win (and that possibility is still very much alive) and will deal with the results (as in nutcases) later. He already has an element in his caucus – people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – who are so afraid of Trump that it appears they call Mar-a-Lago for permission to use the bathroom. There is a not so veiled effort to replace him as leader with Rick Scott of Florida being directed by Trump. Keep in mind that Scott is coordinating the 2022 Republican Senate campaign.
I cannot forget the words of long time Republican political operative Rick Wilson who after reviewing Trump’s history said that, “Everything Trump touches dies.” That is more accurate than just hyperbole. Will it include the Republican Party? Some might argue it already has. I just hope it doesn’t include America and American democracy.
I’m almost feeling sorry for Mitch; just almost.
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