With Democrat Andy Beshear leading Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky, Donald Trump kicked off the Republican spin in predictable fashion, tweeting that “Our big Kentucky Rally on Monday night had a massive impact on all of the races. The increase in Governors race was at least 15 points, and maybe 20!” Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair who dropped part of her name to show loyalty to Trump, swiftly followed suit. Republicans are also downplaying Beshear’s apparent win by claiming “irregularities”—even though Republicans won the other major races in the state—and by insisting that Beshear was a moderate all along.
As you might expect, the Republican spin and reality part ways at several points. Bevin was down by 15 or 20 points in polls until Donald Trump swooped in to (almost) save him? Yeah, no. In fact, in response to one poll showing a tie, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that it put “momentum clearly on Bevin’s side as we hit the last two weeks before Election Day.”
Andy Beshear is a moderate who barely counts as a Democrat? According to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, “The Democrats nominated a moderate, who’s dad was a moderate, who didn’t talk about impeachment or Trump, and who acts like a Republican. Talk about Kentucky when an actual Democrat runs.” Rick Santorum’s analysis was that “You’re seeing Democrats building on what they did in 2018, running more moderate candidates and making sure those candidates are financed.”
This is super interesting considering the race Bevin ran against Beshear. Beshear is pro-choice and Bevin put abortion at the center of his campaign, calling Beshear “Abortion Andy” and “pro-death.” There were ads, there were campaign events with anti-abortion activists—this was not a side note in the race. Bevin also attacked Beshear on immigration, with an ad saying Beshear would “allow illegal immigrants to swarm our state,” and using the fallback Republican images of MS-13 gang members.
But now Beshear is not “an actual Democrat,” despite his pro-choice stance, despite all those uses of the favored Republican attacks on actual Democrats. It’s almost like you can’t believe what Republicans say whether they’re campaigning or spinning a loss.