May 19, 2024

power of hate

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
The power of hate
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — American politics have become so tribal that voting against the other side is more important than assessing the candidate on your side. Hate is the motivator, and people turn a blind eye on anything interfering with that motivation.
          Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, is the poster child for this phenomenon. He is unqualified by most measures to be a U.S. senator, having lied about his educational and work background, and now expecting voters to dismiss an allegation brought by the mother of one of his children, that he was complicit in her abortion decision.
          That would be a private matter if it were not for Walker touting his pro-life credentials without any exemptions for rape or incest. Walker, of course, is following the Trump playbook: deny and deflect, and count on the voters to stand by their man.
          Conservative voters in Georgia and elsewhere so dislike the opposition party of Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer, that they are willing to put democracy at risk and support election deniers and what they call 1/6 patriots.
          Walker is one of four Republican nominees for the Senate endorsed by Trump. There is Dr. Oz Mehmet in Pennsylvania, J.D. Vance in Ohio, and Blake Masters in North Carolina. The outcome of these races will determine whether control of the Senate returns to the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and whether Trump runs for the presidency in 2024.
          If three of the four lose, Trump will not run, having seen what the voters think of him and his ilk. If three of the four wins, Trump will take that as a comeback cue and announce for the presidency by Thanksgiving. If it is a split decision, two and two, Trump can still claim victory if the GOP retakes the Senate.
          In Pennsylvania, Trump backed cardiac surgeon and television doctor Oz over David McCormick, a hedge fund guy who was a safer bet for the GOP. Oz has not led in a single poll but his race against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is a tossup.
          Republican Super PACs are spending heavily on attack ads that portray Fetterman as “soft on crime.” As chair of the state’s Parole Board, Fetterman recommended a record number of paroles that were approved by the Democratic governor.
          This would normally be seen as a good thing, but in the closing weeks of a campaign, it has provided fodder for attack ads that have narrowed the race. Republicans are trying to hold the seat, vacated by retiring Senator Pat Toomey, while Democrats see it as a pickup that would cushion possible losses in Georgia and Nevada, where Democratic candidates are vulnerable.
          In Arizona, Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who has the support of billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, has not been able to catch Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly, a former astronaut. But Trump has another card to play in Arizona with Kari Lake, a photogenic former TV anchor, who cheerily spreads Trump’s lie that he won in 2020 and other MAGA fairy tales.
          Ohio completes the picture with writer turned venture capitalist J.D. Vance trying to hold the seat vacated by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman. Vance was critical of Trump until he realized he needed his voters. Now he is a sycophant.
          Trump is not technically on the ballot. Neither is Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion that the Supreme Court overturned on Friday, June 24th, a date that in the minds of many lives on in infamy. Yet both Trump and Roe are factors that will motivate voters to cast their ballots based on what they hate and fear the most.
          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.

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