That ebbing of a predicted red wave is very real—and growing. You can see that in the frantic revision of Republican campaign websites. What was a handful of candidates scrubbing their campaign websites of reference to their fealty to Donald Trump and the forced birthers has become standard operating procedure as the November election nears.
Even Arizona MAGAhead and Senate wannabe Blake Masters, a Trump favorite, has been backing away from both Trump and his “100% Pro-Life” opposition to abortion. His campaign insists that there’s nothing for Trump or the forced birth brigade to be concerned about here. They’ve updated the campaign website “post-primary to draw a sharp contrast with Mark Kelly’s radical left-wing views on a number of issues, including Kelly’s support for extreme no-limits abortion policies.”
That would be Sen. Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent who has endorsed codifying Roe v. Wade, which does indeed place limits on abortions. The Kelly campaign is not impressed. “If Blake Masters thinks that he can quietly delete passages from his website and disguise just how out of touch and dangerous his abortion stance is, he’s in for a rude awakening,” Sarah Guggenheimer, a spokesperson for Kelly’s campaign, said in a statement to The Washington Post.
Masters might be the most extreme example in oh so many ways, but as the Post details, he’s got lots of company. Yesli Vega, running against Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia, stripped all reference of her appointment to Trump’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity from her site. Asked about that by the Post, campaign consultant Sean Brown shot back, “Safe to say the story of Democrat candidates refusing to say whether they support Biden’s blatantly political tuition giveaway next?” Sure Sean.
Colorado state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, running in a newly created district in the Denver suburbs, used to tout herself as “The Conservative Fighter” who would “Defend the Sanctity of Life.” That section of her campaign website is now called “Colorado’s Choice” and says nothing about abortion. “Our campaign recently completed a complete redesign of Barb’s website. Instead of addressing many issues (abortion among them), we are focused on the three issues in which voters express the most interest,” said Alan Philp, a campaign consultant. Uh, huh.
Jim Bognet, the Republican running in Pennsylvania’s 8th district against Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright, had nearly a dozen references to Trump on his campaign bio. That included a passage that read, “In 2020, I ran for Congress to fight against the Democrats’ witch hunt to remove President Trump from office. In that election, we saw Democrats break every rule they could to rig that election.” That, and a lot else, has been disappeared from his site. Now there are just two mentions of Trump in his online materials. His spokesman Joe Desilets told HuffPost it didn’t have anything to do with distancing the candidate from Trump. “You might also notice that Jim’s entire website was rebuilt and redesigned (I did it myself when I took over the campaign this summer),” he said. It was just entirely by chance that Trump got erased.
Bo Hines, the Republican running for the the 13th Congressional District in in North Carolina, apparently is no longer “100% prolife” and “100 % pro-Trump,” The 19th notes. The section of his site called “life and family” that once linked to a page stating his position “that life begins at conception and that we must protect the rights of the unborn” is just gone. As of Aug. 30, his website had no mention of abortion at all.
One former Trump official, who spoke to the Post anonymously “to speak candidly about GOP candidates,” says flat out that Trump’s continued dominance of the news cycle hurts Republicans. “I think you’re seeing some first-time candidates who realized maybe they weren’t very prudent during their primaries and now are trying to correct for that. They played the part in the primary, got the Trump endorsement, made calculations to win the primary that aren’t so great in the general,” the former Trumper said.
A Republican who would go on the record, John Brabender, a veteran GOP communications consultant, wants to pretend that Republicans have a choice here. “The more Republicans are explaining their position on the Supreme Court ruling, the more they are playing in the field of battle that the Democrats want,” he told the Post. “I do think we’re letting the Democrats frame the issue, and candidates are falling into that trap in too many of our races.” As if the the longstanding broad majority of the American electorate which continues to support abortion rights haven’t made this an issue all on our own.
He apparently wants Republicans to stay the course. “The moment it seems you have no core values, [voters] start to question everything that you’re doing,” he said. “You have to be extremely careful in how you’re doing this.”
Yes, Republican candidates, take that advice! Be as Trumpie as you can! Talk about how you think every pregnant person should be forced to carry that fetus to term, no matter the consequences. Let your “core values” shine! It would certainly be a service to the nation for voters to know exactly who they are in danger of electing.
Abortion rights, gun safety, and the our planet are all at stake in this election. We must persuade Democratic voters to turn out in November. Click here to volunteer with Vote Forward and write personalized letters to targeted voters on your own schedule from the comfort of your own home, without ever having to talk to anyone.