Democrats Pumping Up Trumpian Candidates Should Be Careful What They Wish For - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Democrats Pumping Up Trumpian Candidates Should Be Careful What They Wish For
Congressional Candidate John Gibbs (Youtube/FOX 17 WXMI)

Democrats’ argument that Trump-aligned Republican candidates are an existential threat to American democracy has hit a small snag; they don’t appear to believe it themselves. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $425,000 in advertisements formally opposing Republican John Gibbs, who is challenging fellow Republican Rep. Peter Meijer in Michigan’s 3rd District. Meijer drew Trump’s wrath after voting to impeach him after the Jan. 6 riot. Gibbs, who received Trump’s endorsement, has echoed the former president’s voter fraud claims regarding the 2020 election. 

The ad Democrats are running against Gibbs is a barely disguised attempt to get Republicans to support him in the August 2 primary. The ad “criticizes” Gibbs for being “too conservative,” saying that he has praised Trump and would continue his policies. It continues by saying that Gibbs would “crack down on immigration” and support “patriotic education.”

Meijer was already in serious danger of losing, given GOP anger at his impeachment vote and Trump’s endorsement against him. He responded to the news Democrats were weighing in on his primary rather negatively, telling Politico, “I’m sick and tired of hearing the sanctimonious b******* about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party.”

This is not the first example of Democratic meddling in Republican primaries. For instance, the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, ran ads boosting State Sen. Doug Mastriano, another Trump-style candidate who disputes the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Mastriano went on to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination. According to OpenSecrets, Democratic-aligned groups have spent $44 million promoting right-wing Republican candidates this election cycle as of July 15.

Democrats likely think that by helping more conservative candidates advance to the general election, their own chances of winning will improve, even as they denounce such candidates as threats to democracy. Republicans have previously fumbled winnable races by nominating extreme or otherwise poor candidates. In the GOP wave year of 2010, Republicans lost Senate elections in Nevada, where Assemblywoman Sharron Angle lost to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Delaware, where activist Christine O’Donnell lost to New Castle County Council president Chris Coons. 

The problem, though, is that Delaware and Nevada were both very blue states at the time. In 2008, Barack Obama won Nevada by over 12 percentage points and Delaware by over 25 percentage points. Angle only lost her race by just under 6 points and O’Donnell was defeated by about 17 points. Even though both of them came up short, both improved substantially on 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s performance. 

President Joe Biden won Michigan’s 3rd District by just under 9 percentage points in 2020, closer than either of the above states were in 2008. The situation is even worse in Pennsylvania, where Biden prevailed by just over one percentage point and Democrats have essentially zero room to fall. Most famously, Hillary Clinton’s campaign promoted Trump as a general election opponent in 2016, which needless to say, ended poorly for her.

The case of Mastriano already seems to be backfiring. Amid polls showing a close race between him and Shapiro, many establishment Republicans who tried to stop Mastriano in the primary are now coming around to him. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, one conservative PAC that spent roughly $13 million to deny Mastriano the nomination is now set to spend over $9 million supporting him.

Democrats want John Gibbs, and they wanted Doug Mastriano. This November, they may well get them.

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