Don't blame the Democrats for what Republican voters want

On Tuesday night, the far-right state of Del. Dan Cox won the primary for governor of Maryland. He led his closest competitor, Kelly Schulz, by 16 percentage points on Wednesday night. He had won the most conservative counties in the state, near the West Virginia border, with more than 60% of the vote. He won generally liberal counties, such as Baltimore City and suburban Washington, DC. Schulz, a former cabinet official for popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, is managing to win just two of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.

Cox is totally ineligible in Maryland, a state that President Joe Biden won by 30 percentage points, where college-educated liberal white voters and black voters abound. Cox, a fierce supporter of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the election, organized a bus caravan for Trump supporters to attend the January 6, 2021 rally in Washington that preceded the attack on the US Capitol. During the attack, Cox tweeted: “Mike Pence is a traitor.”

That’s not all: Cox supported Hogan’s impeachment for his support of COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as mask mandates. At least he has flirted with the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. He supports the destruction of Maryland’s gun control laws and the strong restriction of the right to abortion.

Some form of scholarship will tell you that Cox’s victory is the result of Democratic meddling: The Democratic Governors Association, wanting to ensure an easy victory in November for the Democratic nominee, spent more than $1 million on ads highlighting these positions before of Tuesday’s primaries. . Democratic groups, especially the DGA, have spent tens of millions of dollars on similar ads aimed at promoting similarly ineligible candidates in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere.

These efforts have caused a great deal of teeth grinding. Republicans who have stood up to Trump’s election lies, including Hogan, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) Y Representative Peter Meijer (R-Michigan)they have suggested that it shows that Democrats are not serious when they call these candidates a threat to democracy.

Other Democrats, who often cast a glance at Hillary Clinton’s not-so-hidden hopes that Trump would win the 2016 Republican presidential primary, say such efforts are doomed.

Many of these concerns are legitimate. It’s entirely possible that a candidate like Doug Mastriano, the Christian nationalist and election denier who won the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, could win in what looks to be a strong year for Republicans. (Polls show Mastriano trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee, by surmountable margins.) Some Democratic operatives have suggested that the millions spent now would be more useful in November.

There is also an obvious question about whether it is ethical to support candidates who threaten democracy in any way.

But many of these criticisms ignore a more salient fact: Republican voters want candidates like Mastriano and Cox. The fact that these candidates think the 2020 presidential election was stolen, that they wholeheartedly embrace conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism, and staunch conservative views are hallmarks of a Republican primary, not mistakes. Otherwise, Democratic meddling wouldn’t work.

Additionally, Republican leaders have endorsed candidates who have espoused similar views. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) refused to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from her committee positions. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is willing to spend millions this fall to boost the campaign of Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who sought to overturn Biden’s victory in the Silver State.

None of the announcements that the Democrats have issued have hidden their purposes. In the past, Democratic meddling efforts used bland names like “Duty and Country” to hide who was behind the TV ads they funded. That has not been the case in 2022: Democratic candidates and groups have run ads under their own names or made it clear that Democrats are behind the ads.

And most of these ads have been direct recitations of the Republican candidates’ positions on the issues. For example, look at the announcement of the DGA driving Cox. He mentions Trump’s endorsement, Cox’s support for overturning the 2020 election results, his support for gun rights, and his opposition to abortion rights.

Republicans who opposed Cox, led by Hogan, held news conferences to highlight what the DGA was doing. It didn’t matter to the state’s Republican voters, who happily ignored their state’s ultrapopular governor. (Here, it’s worth noting that Hogan’s ultrapopular East Coast Republican governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, chose not to stand for re-election after it became clear he would lose to a Trump-backed challenger in a primary).

Democrats also noted that Hogan didn’t appear fully dedicated to defeating Cox, spending time in the weeks leading up to the election campaign in New Hampshire and meeting with donors at a Republican Governors Association meeting in Colorado as he prepares a possible run. 2024 presidential.

A second race in Maryland on Tuesday highlights the clear Republican desire for ultra-conservative candidates. Republicans nominated Michael Peroutka, a neo-confederate activist whose views are even more right-wing than Cox’s, in the race for attorney general. There was no Democratic interference in the race. Peroutka led his opponent, moderate former prosecutor Jim Shalleck, by a 16-point margin Wednesday night, identical to Cox’s lead over Schulz.

Similarly, Mastriano consistently led the polls in the Pennsylvania primary long before any Democrat tried to put their thumb on the scales. Darren Bailey, the conservative candidate whom Democrats promoted in the Illinois gubernatorial race, did not have a consistent lead but ultimately won by 42 percentage points.

Republicans voted for Dan Cox in Maryland's GOP gubernatorial primary because they like his positions, not because Democrats misled them.  (Photo: Nathan Howard via Getty Images)

Republicans voted for Dan Cox in Maryland’s GOP gubernatorial primary because they like his positions, not because Democrats misled them. (Photo: Nathan Howard via Getty Images)

Republicans voted for Dan Cox in Maryland’s GOP gubernatorial primary because they like his positions, not because Democrats misled them. (Photo: Nathan Howard via Getty Images)

There are places where Trump-backed election-denying candidates have failed in the primaries, most notably in the Colorado and Georgia secretary of state races. But how Aaron Blake’s notes from the Washington PostBoth states have open primaries, allowing independents and even some Democrats to cast their ballots. When a close primary leaves the GOP base to its own devices, there’s little chance of stopping Trump-style Republicans.

Colorado is the state where Democratic efforts saw the biggest failure that could most easily fail. National Democrats spent an estimated $5 million to boost the campaign of state Rep. Ron Hanks, an election denier, while exaggerating the moderate credentials of businessman Joe O’Dea. The hope was that Republicans would elect the seemingly ineligible Hanks.

Instead, Republicans nominated O’Dea, meaning Democrats spent significant amounts of cash on ads that highlighted the Republican nominee’s restraint.

Many attempts to meddle in elections fail: Republicans it worked unsuccessfully to promote a progressive candidate for the House in Kansas in 2018, and Democrats tried to raise the unpopular Kris Kobach in the 2020 Kansas Republican Senate primary.

At the same time, Democrats owe their slim 50-seat majority in the Senate to a successful interference campaign in the 2018 West Virginia Republican primary, which allowed Senator Joe Manchin to score a victory against a weaker opponent.

Yet Colorado’s gubernatorial race might be the best example yet of why some Democratic insiders believe the distinction between Trump-style Republicans and the party’s mainstream is irrelevant. There, Democrats hoped to eliminate the presumptive moderate candidate, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl. They failed.

On Monday, Ganahl announced his running mate: a businessman who hosted a conservative leadership event at his home with John Eastman, the law professor who helped Trump work to overturn the election, and that he himself had called the election “stolen”.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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