That is my conclusion after seeing the avalanche of MAGA candidates who deny the elections win the Republican primary, with more than a little help from his friend-enemies. Indeed, Democrats are spending millions promote the extreme right candidates.
Let’s start in my home state of Maryland. On Tuesday, Republicans shunned moderate Gov. Larry Hogan’s two-term handpicked heir apparent to vote for the Trump-backed Dan Cox, a man Hogan describes as a “QAnon wacko.”
After Cox’s victory, Democrats were quick to denounce the Republican Party, declaring that, “They have succumbed to the ultra-ignorant QAnon, MAGA wing of their party.” They have a point. The only problem? The Democrats helped build that.
The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) financed an ad that ran during the run-up to the Republican primary, noting (among other things) that Cox was “100 percent pro-life”. The ad included flattering photos of Cox with his family, and one with him next to a smiling, thumbs-up Donald Trump. The ad concludes with this: “Dan Cox: Too close to Trump, too conservative for Maryland.”
You don’t have to be a genius to see the tricky game the Democrats are playing. It’s like running a pro-abstinence TV segment with footage of scantily clad attractive models and the word “SEXY” flashing on the screen.
This subterfuge wasn’t just a silly web ad, either. According to The New York TimesDemocrats “spent more than $1.16 million on TV ads trying to help Dan Cox in Maryland’s Republican gubernatorial primary,” while Cox “spent only $21,000 [of his own money] in television and radio advertising.
It wasn’t just a one-time occurrence either. In several states, Democrats have meddled in Republican primaries, always siding with the far-right fringe candidate. His cynical assumption is that the MAGA candidate will be easier to defeat in a general election.
In Arizona, Democrats are helping Trump-backed candidate Kari Lake by thanking his more conventional primary opponent for past donations to Democrats.
And in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, spent $840,000 to power Trump-backed election denying state senator Doug Mastriano. According to Open Secrets, this was “more than double what Mastriano spent on his own ad purchase.”
The problem? Mastriano is only 3 points behind, according to a recent poll. There is also the problem that, according to Politico, he has “a real chance to win.” Yet another problem? What washington post grades, “Pennsylvania’s governors appoint their own secretaries of state, who oversee elections.” What this means is that the Democrats have helped make it more likely that a Mastrian governor could help Trump change Pennsylvania’s election results.
Once again, the Democrats assume they will easily beat Mastriano (and Trump’s other acolytes across the country). This is a rather risky assumption, especially given the apocalyptic terms liberals often use regarding Trumpism and the precarious state of American democracy. Shapiro, for his part, seems to be aware of how much is at stake, telling a crowd“My wife told me before, with a finger in my chest, ‘You better win.’
I can only imagine how it will feel if Democrats wake up with a hangover on November 9, only to discover that one or more of the Trumpists who denied the elections they praised have won elected office. How will they explain it to their voters? How will you explain it to your donors? How will they explain it to their grandchildren? How will Shapiro explain it to his wife?
When it comes to something as fragile as liberal democracy, you’d think the Democrats might handle it a little more carefully.
This may sound strange (but stay with me): I remember Dick Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine.” In case you forgot, Cheney argued that “if there is a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping Al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat that as a certainty in terms of our response.” . In other words, the stakes were so high that alow probability, high impact event” justified a preemptive strike.
Contrast that with the confused behavior of the Democrats, in light of their insistence that Donald Trump and illiberal forces on the right also pose an existential threat.
Now, I think it’s unlikely that these MAGA candidates will actually win. But What unlikely? I mean, down 3 points, Mastriano certainly has more than a 1 percent chance of becoming the next governor of Pennsylvania. Let’s say there is a 40 percent chance that he will win. If he truly believes candidates like Mastriano pose an existential threat, is that an opportunity he’s willing to take, just to win an election? Clearly, Democrats have determined that the risk is worth taking.
This tactic was used in 2012 by former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who boasted of his strategy to choose his own opponent. It worked for her, but it has the potential to backfire. greatly Hillary Clinton’s famous team wanted to compete against Trumpbelieving that it would be the easiest to beat.
As you may recall, many people gave Trump less than a 1 percent chance of beating Hillary. A couple of pundits even suggested that Trump’s chances of winning were “approaching zero.” More conservative (in the sense of being safe) forecasters gave it a 29 percent chance of winning. We are Really Convinced that the pollsters and brainiacs of the Democratic Party are much better at making predictions than they were six years ago?
The point is that we don’t always know what the future will bring. Be careful what you wish for.
Republicans deserve the blame for nominating crazy candidates, but we already know they’re dangerous. The real question is, why are the Democrats playing with fire too? And what will they say if the bet blows up in their faces again?