Mitch McConnell is out to keep the Senate in Republican claws, and to do so he’s ready to do the one thing he thinks is most important: Keeping the Republican civil war burning bright.
Being trapped by flawed candidates is McConnell’s biggest concern. Lousy nominees cost the GOP winnable races in 2010 and 2012, not to mention a special election this month in Alabama that saw retired Judge Roy Moore become the first Republican to lose a Senate race in that ruby-red state in 25 years.
McConnell feels that if events in Alabama indicate that Donald Trump’s coattails are kind of stubby, there’s still an alternative for Republicans; someone who can step in to give local candidates that can vet those candidates and give their campaigns that national party approval.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to play a central role in the midterm elections, using his affiliated super PAC to block insurgent Republicans and help his party withstand the headwinds from President Trump’s low approval ratings.
Because the best way to keep the Senate in Republican hands is to devote millions to fighting against other Republicans.
Asked if the Alabama race discredited Bannon, who endorsed Moore and campaigned for him even after his campaign was derailed by multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, McConnell added: “Those political geniuses managed to elect a Democrat in the reddest state in America. I rest my case.”
And the only problem with this Republican strategy is that Republicans hate it.
Mitch McConnell seems utterly blind to the fact that Steve Bannon’s strategy in supporting Moore wasn’t to run against Democrats, it was to run against Mitch McConnell.
“I’m not going to be an issue in a single race in America,” he said. “I can assure you the support of the Senate Leadership Fund is not a negative.
But Bannon has been working since even before the election of Trump to make McConnell an issue.
“I’m to the point that I think Mitch McConnell, to really bring unity to the Republican Party and get things done, I think Mitch McConnell ought to tender his resignation,” Bannon, who returned to his job heading the conservative media outlet Breitbart News upon leaving the White House, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Moore won the primary in Alabama by explicitly running against McConnell and the national party. Trump won by running against McConnell and the national party, while McConnell was trying desperately to stop Trump, disown him and plotting to have the national party abandon him.
At least two campaigns have drafted plans to overtake Mr. Trump in a brokered convention, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has laid out a plan that would have lawmakers break with Mr. Trump explicitly in a general election.
McConnell may be blaming Steve Bannon for the loss in the Alabama general election, but Bannon is blaming McConnell, and calling on him to resign. And only one of these two men has shown any sign of understanding what Republican voters want when they vote in a primary.