You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose

That phrase is older than dirt for a good reason. Because it’s true, especially when it comes to campaigning. Because you’re often dealing with two different constituencies. The primaries are generally low turnout, base affairs, so you swing just as far to the left or right as you need to capture those voters. But the general election has a larger, more diverse portion of the electorate, so you swing back to the middle as much as you can without offending your base voters.

Almost everybody does it. Look at Biden in 2020. In 2018, an energized progressive base helped to create a tsunami in the House. And in 2020, Biden had not only one, but two far left challengers, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. He had to swing far enough left in the primaries to make himself at least palatable to the progressive wing, and once he got the nomination, he swung back as far as he could to the middle without alienating the progressive base. And they’ve held his feet to the fire occasionally. The exception to that rule I can think of is Donald Trump. He never moderated his position for 6 years, relying solely on his rabid, racist base.

This works because while the progressive left, and the more conservative right may be farther one way or the other, they don’t occupy a different planet than the middle base. The secret is to find that sweet spot where you keep the fringe satisfied, yet pick up the moderate base. And the higher up the ladder you climb, the more experienced the candidate normally has to be in order to pull that off.

Which is creating a potential nightmare scenario for the GOP in the primaries, and on into the general election. Because There is no moderate GOP base! There is only the uber far right, MAGA, Stop the Steal, racist Trump base. And what makes it worse for the GOP writ large is that there aren’t enough of them to win anything but the safest gerrymandered seat. Candidates who survive the primary still have to tack back to the middle in order to get what moderate GOP and independent votes there are out there.

And Trump himself is making it impossible for almost any candidate to do so. In most states to even have a prayer of surviving the GOP primary, the candidate must swear absolute fealty and loyalty to Trump and MAGA. How does a successful GOP candidate even think about moderating his stance on anything for the general election, knowing that a ravenous mob will show up in his front yard with a noose and gallows?

We’re already seeing it in the first few GOP primaries. One Ohio district elected a sworn MAGA, Q-Anon swallowing idjit, JD Majewski. Majewski is so loyal to Trump that he actually performed an eye searing rap ditty for Trump. Whoa, an overweight, white guy with a crew cut and a beard, normally clad in a hunting vest performing MAGA rap. That should go over well in the district. And there are at least 35 of them on primary ballots.

The Senate is no better. In Ohio, JD vance flagrantly whored himself to get Trump’s endorsement, and then ran on nothing else in the primary. How can he possibly moderate for the general election, especially when confronted with a solidly blue collar middle class opponent like Tim Ryan? In Pennsylvania, the ludicrous Dr Oz is running solely on a platform of Trump endorsed me, and not you! Nyah-nyah-nyah. Yeah, try that in Philly or Scranton.

In Arizona, it looks like the GOP candidate going up against Mark Kelly will be a rabid MAGA state GOP official. If that happens, Kelly’s seat just becomes more comfortable. Not only can’t she pivot to the middle, she won’t even try to pivot to the middle. The farce is strong in this one. And in Florida, Li’l Marco Rubio will once again, roll over on his back, and wait for Traitor Tot to skritch his belly. What could go wrong?

Trump, out to burnish his Kingmaker street creds for 2024, is sticking his fingers in every pie he can find. And remember what I’ve said about the 2017 House special elections. The more he interferes, the more GOP point spreads start to thin. That’s one thing in a +20 GOP district, but another thing entirely in a more competitive district. Don’t touch that dial.


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  1. I guess it was just a matter of time for a white rapper as JD Majewski to jump into that new music genre, hillbilly hip-hop. He’s going to have trouble topping the number 1 hillbilly hip-hop song on the charts though, “I’m gonna cap your tooth, Bubba!”

  2. the United States has been structured to have a two party system. In Europe there are lots of parties that would express some of these issues. Some parties are ultra nationalist, some leftist, some centrist, some green, some other color parties. some birthday parties. Having only two main parties suppresses the satisfaction of so many people who do not see themselves reflected in the available choices. So we end up with the largest voting block, non-voters. sorry I am depressed today by the lame court reveal on roe.

    • As crazily naive as it seems the founders who bestowed our country with our Constitution hoped and many even believed there wouldn’t be political Parties. That hope was quickly dashed. One has to remember how/why our Constitution came about in the first place. The original Articles of Confederation weren’t working. The States in the United States of America were anything but united and frankly Britain was looking on in anticipation of the whole thing tearing itself apart – and coming in to pick up the pieces. They weren’t the only ones btw but they were in the best position, and rather than send troops they could (and did) simply stoke divisions between a collection of States with some of them being economically powerful enough to screw over other states. Greed is after all a human condition that’s been around as long as there have been human beings. The issue, which exists to this day was that some feared a strong government/leader who would become the American “King George” and Parliament while others felt a strong central government was needed to ensure a set of laws/rules that applied everywhere and couldn’t be changed on a whim by the powerful people in any one state or region.

      It was a group of people who called themselves Federalists who pushed for and got the Constitutional Convention. They believed this country needed a strong central government. Others wanted something as close as possible to the Articles of Confederation where individual power and could set their own rules with little input from any federal government. These two groups clashed during the convention and have ever since, but the advocates for a strong central government, the Federalists won more of the battles. However, the Jeffersonians won their share and in the early years it led to the famous split between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as each was on opposite sides of this issue. The Federalists were the first true political Party and the Democratic Republicans (which became the Democratic Party) came along shortly afterwards. In retrospect it was inevitable that despite the hopes of many on both sides there wouldn’t be political Parties that we’d have just that. It is after all natural for like-minded people to work together to accomplish common goals and in the process form some type of organizational structure to keep everyone focused.

      It’s ironic and infuriating that the original Federalists who pushed for and got a strong central government had their name and image/perception MIS-appropriated by the group we know as The Federalist Society. The current version is 180 degrees from the original Federalists and their philosophy but those original Federalists are well known and respected founders and the genius of the government they gave us (even with its flaws and the fact we haven’t lived up to the ideals as much as we should) has given The Federalist Society a veneer of gravitas and respectability they have never deserved. Then again, conservatives have a long history of naming things that blur, if not outright lie about what they are really all about.

      The point is however that from the very beginning our country has had powerful people forcefully pushing (and making the case for their efforts to the masses) competing visions – those who believe in a strong central government that will set and enforce a set of rules everyone must play by vs. those who want a weak central government that allows individual states and even individuals (as in wealthy and powerful ones) to do what they want without having to answer to a higher authority.

      Parties have come and gone, and sometimes changed their ethos/identity and even names. Up to and after the Civil War it was the Democrats, devotees of Jefferson’s vision that were the conservatives and wanted as much power as possible reserved to the individual states. The creation of the Republican Party was a counter to that and of course had a strong foundation in both stopping the spread of slavery to new states and territories but doing away with it altogether. Post Civil War each Party would grow and take on elements from the other, and well into the 20th century it was still Democrats that had antebellum DNA in them. Republican conservatives were mostly so for purely tax and economic reasons, but the Democratic Party would grow more as it retained its large and powerful so-called Southern Democrat social (and often economic too) conservatives but also a progressive wing that took up the causes of workers and individuals when the conservatives in the GOP wrested control back from Teddy Roosevelt and his followers.

      The tension remained until shifts began to happen after WWII, and even during the 1960s there were still those in the GOP, the so-called Rockefeller Republicans who were progressive on social issues that were instrumental in overcoming the Southern Democrats in the Democratic Party to pass Civil and Voting Rights legislation. One of the Senators from my home state of Illinois, Everett Dirksen (yes, the guy one of the Senate Office buildings is named for) was instrumental in passage of these and other laws. But I get REALLY pissed about conservatives (especially people I grew up with) who try to play the “Republicans are the true friends of black people – THEY were the ones who got Civil Rights stuff passed and it was Democrats that oppossed it” bullshit. They get pissed themselves when I give them the history lesson on how the two major Parties have switched roles, including LBJs statement about signing the death warrant of the Democratic Party in the south. The switch of racist Democrats to the GOP began in the wake of Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrat” campaign after WWII but was a relative trickle until after the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. As LBJ predicted it picked up steam and when Reagan came along it turned into a flood. Even before the end of the 1980s the realignment was complete, although Alabama Senator Richard Shelby held out until AFTER the 1992 midterms to make the switch. Crazy as it seems now had he done it prior to that election even in Alabama he might have lost had he run as a Republican. Even among racists in the south voting for Democrats was so ingrained it took a surprising number of election cycles in some states for them to start voting Republican. But they eventually did and now voting for a Democrat is as unthinkable as voting for one of those Republicans (the ones who defeated the Confederacy and then passed that “civil rights stuff”) had once been.

      There have of course been other political Parties in this country. Some were (deservedly) so short-lived, and some like the Libertarians or Greens have been around for a while but they have never been real players. The two main players are, as has always been the case the two major Parties composed on the one hand of those who believe in a strong central government and those who believe in a weak one. That’s been the case from the beginning even if those who wrote and passed our Constitution hoped it wouldn’t happen, and made some of the compromises that haunt us to this day to keep it from happening.

    • don’t apologize for stating factual information. Our two party system’s dearth of choices for the voters I am quite sure depresses voter turnout. The Undecided voters have increased in number every year and the only logical reason for this is a lack of choices in candidates/political parties reflecting voters’ values and ideas. Let’s be honest, how many candidates running are catering to the younger voters? Not too damned many which is why they do not vote-it’s a “why bother” thing and will continue to be that way until we have more diversity among the political parties.

      I’m depressed that I have to support a party that does not even come close to the values of the old New Alliance Party. I supported a few decades ago I also realize that I must support the lesser of two evils. I’m pretty sure younger voters don’t think that way. Maybe they’ll change the system….

  3. I dont look at democrats that side with republiCLOWNS as “centrists”.

    I look at them as assholes. Like manchin and the rest of them behind “qualified immunity” and “loaning” the marketing arm of big oil, ford, gm and chislers, BILLIONS while they send jobs out of America and stand by while they destroy the climate.
    Centrists are the ASSHOLES destroying this country.


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