You who read me know that I’m a student of political axioms, bromides, and adages. Sprinkle them in liberally, sometimes proving them, sometimes disproving them, but always trying to put them into a current political context. And here we go again.
Although I didn’t actually see any of this weekend’s debates in Georgia or Wisconsin in full, I caught some pretty decent chunks flashing around from channel to channel. And I have never seen such a blatant disregard for standard, time proven political practice as I saw from the GOP candidates for GA Senate, WI Senate, and WI Governor. The Democratic candidates came overloaded with accomplishments, plans, and policies. And the GOP candidates showed up armed with conspiracy theories, parlor tricks, and bullshit.
Today’s Sesame Street is brought to you by the number 7, the letters D and Q, and the axiom In politics, you campaign to your base in the primaries, then swing back to the middle for the federal election. This axiom is as old as political dirt, and for a good reason. Because it’s simple, logical political fact.
Because they’re 2 different things. Primaries are not elections, they are parties getting together to choose which candidates will run for office. And since they don’t actually mean anything, only the most hard core, issue oriented base voters show up, so you play to them to survive. But once you’re in, you immediately tack back to moderation in the middle to attract as many of the other schmucks that are going to vote in the general election as possible. For one plain, simple, irrefutable reason. Both sides have learned over time that your base is not enough to win in a general election.
The funny thing is that this gives the Democrats a built in advantage. Because the Democrats are a Big Tent Party, they tend to adapt with the times to attract more voters. And today’s Democratic party is steadily becoming younger and more progressive. Which makes it easier for younger candidates to run to the political left in the primaries, and then find a common ground center with the more moderate base going into the general election.
Sadly, the GOP hasn’t had a platform, governing principle, or issue program since Barack Obama spanked John McCain in 2008. First they became a party of denialism, reibalism, overt racism, and obstruction. And under Trump they became a party of racism, sexism, misogyny, and nihilism. Which isn’t where the moderate base of the GOP is. The GOP has sold its soul to a charlatan buffoon in return for a base that can’t win. They have willingly traded any plans for a governing majority in return for permanent minority rule by obstruction. The GOP won’t try to move the country forward, instead they’ll try to drag the country backward to the halcyon conservative days of Jim Crow.
And it shone crearly during the debates this weekend. In Georgia, Democratic incumbent raphael Warnock largely sidestepped the question from the moderator to Herschel Walker about the allegations he paid for an abortion, and instead perfectly pivoted to a woman’s right to choose, and Georgia’s draconian new 6 week heartbeat bill, while walker blustered and stuttered that the allegations were a lie. And Walker looked like a neanderthal when he pulled the cheap stunt of palming a Walmart toy police badge trying to prove the already debunked claims that he had been a police officer, and worked with the FBI. Thankfully, the moderator slapped him down, hard.
In the Wisconsin Senate debate, Ron Johnson fared no better. On the abortion question, Johnson pompously opined about what point does society step in to protect a life, ignoring the simple fact that society has no place in the legislative or constitutional process, they do that by voting. In another segment, the moderator asked each candidate what they admired about the other. Mandela Barnes was complimentary about Johnson having proven himself to be a good family man and father. Johnson complimented Barnes on his loving upbringing from middle class parents, but couldn’t resist turning the knife by saying something like, But with that upbringing, it amazes me that Mr Barnes has turned into such a soft on crime, anti life candidate, while the audience jereed and booed his dumb ass off.
In the Wisconsin Governor’s race, things between Democrat incumbent Tony Evers ands GOP challenger Tim Michaels was more placid and collegial, but no less stupid from the GOP side. On the issue of election fraud, Evers beautifully suckered Michaels into the swamp by talking about the perfectly run, clean and fair 2020 election, and let Michaels wallow around in some disreputable non partisan panel that found multiple irregularities. With the bit now well and truly between his teeth, Michaels swore that as Governor, with a GOP legislature, Wisconsin voters would have complete and total faith in the integrity of their elections. Oh yeah, and Evers took him over the falls on the abortion issue too.
Here’s a bonus, cause I’m feeling feisty tonight. In the Michigan In the Michigan gubernatorial debate, Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer schooled up GOP Trump acolyte Tudor Dixon. Whitmer chewed Dixon’s ass raw on the abortion issue, which all 3 Michigan statewide candidates, Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General are riding to double digit leads. But I thought that Whitmer’s finest moment came on the issue of gun control, where Whitmer spoke passionately about the tragedy of a Michigan school shooting that left 4 people dera, of grieving with the families, and then telling about Dixon posting a Tweet of her firing off a weapon, with the text Gun Control means using 2 hands! Little wonder Whitmer is up by double digits heading down the stretch.
Here’s my closing argument. If there’s one common thing that almost every single poll, national as well as state has shown over several years now, it’s that American voters are sick and tired of political bullshit. The Democrats are coming to the table with a solid list of accomplishments, and a populist list of what they want to accomplish next if given the opportunity. Sadly, the only stock in trade that the GOP has to rely on is culture wars and bullshit. The fact that McConnell came out a month ago and threw cold water all over the idea of the GOP retaking the Senate, proves that the GOP has already traded in a governing majority and instead settled for permanent minority rue in a gerrymandered GOP House, and obstruction in the Senate. And with the browning of America, in places like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, that can only last so long. 24 days left. Mobilize. Volunteer, Donate. Vote.