June 17, 2024

from under their rocks

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
Out from under their rocks
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — Last week’s primary results are a roadmap for the November midterms. Election deniers won in the key state of Arizona, and a gubernatorial candidate advanced in Michigan who believes a 14-year-old girl raped by her uncle should be compelled to give birth.
          A Michigan congressional district represented by a Republican who voted to impeach the former president fell to a Trump loyalist with the help of Democrats funding ads to boost his name recognition. The New York Times called it “A Cynical Low for the Democratic Party.”
          Cynical maybe but elevating a Trump stalwart sharpens the contrast between the two parties and gives the Democrats a chance to win a House seat in an election where the Republicans only need five seats to win control. All these Trump allies running and winning is potentially a particularly good thing for democracy. It brings them out of the shadows, and the public can see who and what they are.
          For example, in Arizona, Mark Finchem, a newcomer to politics, won the GOP nomination for Secretary of State. Finchem is a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group that promoted the 1/6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He is one of several GOP candidates poised to play key roles in overseeing the 2024 presidential election in their states should they win in November.
          In normal times, voters don’t pay much attention to candidates for Secretary of State, but the former president’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election has highlighted the role of this elective office. Trump has backed and bankrolled (with other people’s money) candidates who promote the Big Lie, that the 2020 election was stolen, and he was the rightful winner.
          The former president has targeted swing states, purple states, which are key battlegrounds, notably Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan – plus Wyoming, where he really wants to see Rep. Liz Cheney defeated in her primary later this month.
          Trump had a good night Tuesday with most, though not all, of his favorite election deniers winning the Republican nomination. But it’s a pyrrhic victory, because come November, the commonsense caucus will show up and send these clowns packing.
          How do we know that? Kansas, the reddest of red states, rendered its verdict on Tuesday night. By a margin of 2 to 1,  59 to 41 percent, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have removed a constitutional right to abortion from the state constitution and paved the way to an outright ban on the procedure.
          Turnout was twice what it was in the last midterm election, and it wasn’t all Democrats. There aren’t that many in Kansas. Republicans and Independents had their voices heard as well. And in rural areas that Trump carried by big margins, support for the ballot measure fell far short of what it once was for Trump.
          The former president promised to appoint judges that would overturn Roe, and when they did, Trump privately observed according to news accounts that he didn’t think the ruling would help Republicans.
          The negatives for the Democrats are fading. Gas prices are down, the stock market is up,  supply chain issues are mostly resolved, and mortgage rates are coming down.
          If deeply red Kansas can deliver the results it just did, Democrats have an opportunity to confound history and stem the gains the party out of power typically makes in a midterm election. If the Democrats can hold the House and even pick up a seat or two in the Senate, it will be because the Trump-backed candidates face a Kansas-style blowout. And if that happens, the Republican Party might finally have to re-calibrate and come back to its senses.
          See Eleanor Clift’s latest book Selecting a President, and Douglas Cohn’s latest books The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency and World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers).
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2022 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *