Why Win When You Can Own?
Seemingly learning no lessons, GOP state parties telegraph their next failures.
As if we needed another reminder that GOP state parties are a mess, Republicans in my home-state of Colorado just elected an election-denying crackpot as their new GOP Chair.
Dave Williams, a former Colorado Springs lawmaker who insists to this day that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, will be calling the shots for the next two years. Williams made headlines last summer during his unsuccessful congressional bid, when he tried to get "Let's Go Brandon" printed alongside his name on the official ballot.
No, I’m not joking.
"We are the party that elected Donald J. Trump,” said Williams prior to last week’s vote, “and we are not going to apologize for that anymore.”
Trump lost to Biden by a whopping 14 points in Colorado, and Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since Trump became the party’s national leader in 2016. Trump’s ascension that year, which included the would-be president claiming our state-assembly vote had been “rigged” (because Ted Cruz won it), devastated the state party, and drove an estimated 20,000 Colorado Republicans (including me) to drop their party affiliation.
Though Colorado is mostly thought of as a blue state these days, it should be noted that going into the Trump era, we had a Republican U.S. Senator, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer. Now, all of those offices (along with the governor’s office) are controlled by Democrats. Even deep-red congressional districts in the state, like Lauren Boebert’s, have soured on Trumpism. To the shock of many, Boebert barely made it across the finish line in last year’s midterms.
But when the priority of a state GOP is to own the libs, rather than defeat them at the ballot box, I suppose no one should be surprised by Williams’ victory.
Nor should anyone be surprised when more longtime Republicans, who’ve been hoping for the party to finally turn a corner, finally throw in the towel.
It’s not just Colorado, of course. Nationally, Republicans are looking at a very favorable U.S. Senate map in 2024, but toxic GOP hopefuls in key states are again threatening the party’s chances of capitalizing off the situation.
In Pennsylvania, failed 2022 gubernatorial nominee and conspiracy-theory connoisseur Doug Mastriano is looking to enter the Senate race. Despite being defeated by 14 points just five months ago in what should have been a very winnable race for Republicans, early polling shows that he’s the current favorite (by a wide margin) to win his party’s Senate nomination next year.
In Arizona, another failed 2022 gubernatorial nominee and conspiracy-nut, Kari Lake (who still refuses to concede her loss last year), is also seriously considering a Senate run. And she’s big enough of an election-denying rock-star in the GOP to actually win the nomination.
MAGA-centric politicians Matt Rosendale of Montana, Warren Davidson of Ohio, and Alex Mooney of West Virginia, are additionally making waves about running for Senate. All would assuredly find strong support among Republican primary voters in their respective states, while likely fairing quite poorly come the general election.
And of course, Donald Trump is currently the heavy favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, despite him screwing up the last three election cycles for his party, including losing Republicans the House, Senate, and presidency in just four years time.
But if you listen to these MAGA-brand politicians and their enthusiastic supporters, they’re as cocky and confident as ever, trashing their critics on both sides of the aisle as “losers” who “don’t know how to win”… despite the overwhelming evidence that their own electoral philosophy has been an extraordinary failure.
Does that matter to any of them? It sure doesn’t appear so.
Again, when you judge success purely by how good one is at rhetorically “owning” the other side, electoral victory is merely an afterthought. In which case, what would be the point in even trying to win? Winning’s a lot of work, after all. Owning, on the other hand, is pretty easy.
On a side note, something occurred to me the other day as I was reading more legal documents from Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News…
For all the criticisms I’ve voiced over the last 7 1/2 years about Donald Trump and his loyalists (for which I’ve received countless accusations that I’m an elitist, establishment RINO-cuck suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome), I’ve never said anything about MAGA-world (publicly or privately) that is nearly as derogatory as what Tucker Carlson and his show-crew say about those people when the cameras aren’t rolling.
“I hate him passionately,” we now know Tucker said about Trump.
I’ve never said I hate Trump, because I don’t hate him.
“He’s a demonic force,” said Tucker.
I’ve never even remotely compared Trump to a demon. Do I think he’s a narcissistic idiot? Sure. But demonic? No.
“We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it,” Tucker said about Trump’s presidency, “because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.”
While I agree with Tucker that Trump’s presidency was pretty disastrous (especially in its final months), even I managed to find a few upsides to it. Granted they were mostly the generic Republican-type stuff he did on the judiciary and tax reform, but I apparently recognized more value from Trump than Tucker did.
Then there was the producer of Tucker’s show, who said about Fox viewers who believed Sidney Powell’s rigged-election claims: “Like negotiating with terrorists, but especially dumb ones. Cousin f----- types not saudi royalty.”
Terrorists? Especially dumb, cousin f----- types? Wow! Is that really the demographic Fox News believes they’re catering to? For all of my criticism of loyal Fox viewers, I’ve certainly never pictured them in that light.
Though most of the quotes coming out of the lawsuit haven’t been nearly as colorful as that last one, many are still quite damning. And they prove what I’ve been saying to readers here for years: The folks at Fox — on the network’s highest-rated commentary shows — aren’t telling viewers what they really believe. Instead, they’re saying what they believe those viewers (who they admittedly don’t respect enough to be honest with) want to hear.
Tucker and company are frauds. They’re dishonest to the core. And now that the cat has been ripped all the way out of the bag, one might expect Carlson and the other actors at Fox to take at least some of the same rhetorical punishment people like me have for the last 7 1/2 years… right? I mean, if Tucker has an even lower opinion of Trump and his presidency than I do, isn’t he “an elitist, establishment RINO-cuck suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome”?
Or… is he in the clear, being that the viewers really appreciate his lies?
Yeah, I think we all know the answer to that question.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I can guarantee that the people who write for this website will continue telling you — the readers — the truth (and express our genuine views) even when you’d rather not hear it.
We respect you too much not to.
You don't get it John. Those Trump-backed GOP candidates didn't lose their elections - they were all rigged, ...or something....
When you live in an echo chamber - e.g. get all of your "news" from a cable channel that reflects and amplifies your worst thoughts, fears, and biases - you create your own reality.
In that reality the "winners" are the fighters, that is those who yell the loudest and make the snarkiest jokes about their real and perceived enemies (owning as you describe it).
Losers are by definition, anyone else. If one of those losers wins an election, it's because the fix was in, and just means they need to yell even louder and be even more obnoxious to get their point across.... or something....
Perfectly stated! 100% agree.
It's a dismal outlook for the GOP unless there's a major intervention of some kind.