4 Weeks Out, Senate Control Hangs in the Balance in Tumultuous Midterms
The G.O.P. claimed the momentum in the spring. Then the overturning of Roe v. Wade galvanized Democrats. As the momentum shifts again, the final stretch of the 2022 midterms defies predictability
Come November, whichever party’s issue set is more dominant in the minds of the electorate is expected to have the upper hand…
Republicans have improved their standing in several key Senate races — including those in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — by pummeling Democrats over crime. But those gains have been offset in part by the struggles of several Republican nominees, including those in Arizona and in Georgia, where Herschel Walker’s campaign has been engulfed by the allegation that he financed an abortion for a former girlfriend.
So we can win them all or lose them all or something in between. And reluctant partisans on both sides coming home and closing gaps always looks like momentum (it’s not). Welcome to 2022.
Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer:
Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville injects the ghost of Bull Connor into 2022 midterms
Forget dog whistles — Tuberville went six-alarm racist Saturday at a Trump rally as the GOP's midterm strategy hits a new low.
“Skins, it’s time to go home,” an 82-year-old member of the Washoe People named Wyatt Vernon recalled in a 2020 article. “Get out of town.” The “sundown law’ was finally repealed in the 1970s, and yet Minden never stopped blasting the whistle at 6 p.m., alternately claiming it’s an emergency test or else copping to a warped historical tribute. Said the Minden town manager J.D. Frisby: “There’s a lot of sentimental feelings nostalgic to that siren.”
It must have been 6 p.m. — metaphorically, if not actually — when first-term Alabama GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville took the stage at Saturday’s Trump rally, encouraging voters to go Republican in Nevada’s neck-and-neck Senate election which may decide who controls that body in 2023. Tuberville surely drowned out the noise from the fire station with his own six-alarm siren appeal to voters’ darkest instincts — taking the greatest hits from a Republican fall campaign that has increasingly fallen back on racist fearmongering and making it much, much worse.
“They want to take over what you’ve got,” Tuberville warmed up the pro-Trump crowd — “they” his amorphous term that could have meant Democrats, or Black people, or the Washoe People, or some other “Other” — in what the journalist Matthew Chapman noted is a literal echo of language used by the KKK to rile up Southerners in the 1960s.
Detroit Free Press Editorial Board:
Endorsements: Give Democrats a chance to lead Michigan Legislature
It is time for a change. It’s time to flip the Legislature.
In the normal way of things, our endorsement process is bipartisan: Our editorial board weighs the merits of each candidate and considers the political complexion of each district. We evaluate not just the candidates' individual qualifications and policy views, but also how their priorities align with those of their constituents.
But this year we are convinced that the objective of changing the Legislature's leadership, and compelling a stagnant Republican Party to retool itself as something more vital than the sycophantic cult it has become, is paramount. So we have focused our attention on identifying meritorious candidates whose success in key state House and Senate districts will help the Democrats secure a legislative majority.
Of course Oklahoma then went on to lose two games, as the author point out, which tells you even your read of fundamentals might be off. And as we say in NYC, I got your fundamentals right here (followed by a rude gesture):
For a Herschel Walker win, Georgia's evangelicals are willing to sell their souls
Standards mean little to white evangelicals who crave political power.
The devil went down to Georgia this week, and he was surprised to find that white evangelicals had already beat him to soul stealing. This time, though, no amount of good fiddle playing is going to make the state’s evangelical voters let go of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, an anti-abortion rights candidate accused of paying for a former sexual partner’s abortion in 2009.
You’re not alone if you find this all hard to understand. You may be like those politicos and opinion writers who took white evangelicals at their word when they professed to have strong beliefs about morality, family and abortion. But the historical truth, as I have shown in my book, “White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America,” for evangelicals, is the politics of morality isn’t about their candidates’ morality. It’s about legislating their particular brand of morality for others who are outsiders to the faith
The Crisis of American Ideology
The chapter of my book I’m currently writing deals with the Ruby Ridge incident, where Randy Weaver, a survivalist, and his family, faced off against the federal government in a siege of his Idaho cabin. As you may remember, the result was tragedy: the Weaver clan killed a Federal marshal, and the feds killed Weaver’s wife and son. The stand off at Ruby Ridge was perhaps the key moment in the creation of the modern militia movement. But what interests me at the moment is what the Weavers believed and how they came to believe it. The Weavers were followers of a Christian Identity, which stipulates that White Anglo-Saxons are the true Israelites of the Bible and that those known as Jews today were actually Satan’s spawn. They thought the U.S. government was dominated by a Satanic conspiracy and were prepared to kill and die for their beliefs.
Hey, speaking of upsets:
See, Kristi Noem and Kevin (Scandal) Stitt might be in trouble but it doesn’t mean an upset. Unless it does.
Herschel’s Access Hollywood Scandal
Republican operatives are responding to Walker’s latest scandal with exactly the sort of cynical circumspection you might imagine in midterm-giddy 2022 Washington—gritting their teeth and hoping he can get over the goal line, blaming others, and praying that he’s more Trump than Greitens.
Many Republican operatives told me this week that they’re experiencing P.T.S.D. flashbacks to the Access Hollywood tape that crashed the 2016 election for about 48 hours (at least until the leaked Hillary email covered it over). Notably, this scandal is also offering some surprising (and possibly ephemeral) hope that, like Trump, Walker isn’t a normal candidate but rather a celebrity who is largely immune to the sort of blowback that would nuke traditional politicians. Walker’s own team is actively trial-ballooning this argument. Scott Paradise, his chief of staff, reportedly alluded to Trump’s scandal when attempting to give his team a pep talk. “Trump still made it to the White House,” Paradise allegedly said. (Paradise denies this. “This comment was never made,” he told me. ”It’s completely false.”)
Of course, one differentiating factor is that Trump’s family stood by him after the Billy Bush incident. Ivanka didn’t publicly chastise him, nor did Melania. According to some of Maggie Haberman’s reporting at the time, Jared Kushner even somewhat clairvoyantly seemed to realize that the disgust directed at Trump could be manipulated as some pre-woke white-glove, nose-in-the-air liberalism that would mobilize the base. Both of Trump’s ex-wives kept mostly quiet during his campaigns, and occasionally defended him.
The Brooks Brothers Insurrection
Mainstream Heritage-huffing Republicans are now actively making their play for their role in a post-Trump Trumpist party. It’s a MAGA come-to-Jesus moment—far, far away from “Morning in America.”
The future of Trumpism, after all, begins with coalition-building to articulate an agenda that can survive Trump, himself. So far, it’s more dark vibes than uplifting policy. A video promo for the NatCon event, which opened with footage of cars on fire and protesters tearing down Confederate statues, declared “woke neo-Marxism is destroying the values and principles America, Britain, and other Western nations have held dear for centuries.” Not exactly “Morning in America.”
But the most important, and least-covered, element behind NatCon 3 may have been its sponsorship list. While mainstream headlines zeroed in on the high-profile keynotes from Peter Thiel, Josh Hawley, and Ron DeSantis (“Florida is a Model for America”), the attendees I spoke to afterward couldn’t help but notice that the event’s patrons included not just the far-right Claremont Institute and American Conservative, but also Washington’s most old-school and patrician conservative think tank: the Heritage Foundation, the historically buttoned-up, Reagan-era sinecure. “There might have been a time that the people in the movement would have been inclined to fight Heritage,” explained Will Chamberlain, the editor-in-chief of Human Events and a panelist at this year’s NatCon, rather than to fight alongside them.