The political adage in the headline means that to win elections candidates should correspond to the prevailing views of the majority of the voters. Duh.
But primary voters are more ideological than general election voters. In most cases, they are of one party and thus a relatively small group can influence a primary to the detriment of general election opportunities. That is happening this year in Senate races, as pro-Trump candidates have been nominated in purple states. They are not wearing togas.
Trump friendly candidates in Trump states like West Virginia are great. No problem. But Walker in now purple Georgia and Oz in consistently purple Pennsylvania bear the stamp of Trump, which will not help them in the general. Square peg, round hole. Not to mention Oz’s so far embarrassing campaign media. Here’s a tweet that includes an anti-Fetterman ad, he’s the Dem Senate nominee in PA, put out by the Oz campaign. Note the childish message and graphics.
It’s a novel approach, but I’m not sure that Dr. Oz is going to win by airing commercials that make John Fetterman look awesome. pic.twitter.com/uu5gPMwvHS
— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) August 15, 2022
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Mitch McConnell, as usual, has nailed the problem. “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different, they’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome. Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate. Either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell explained. He was roundly criticized for this by the usual suspects like Trump. However, McConnell is right on the money and mindless cheerleading or confirmation bias will not change that. But not everyone disagrees.
Rep. Andy Barr, Republican of Kentucky, said, “There is a massive, massive disconnect between the priorities of politicians in Washington and the concerns of the American people…Not once have any of my constituents–Republican or Democrat–talked about the 2020 election, January 6th, the committee in Washington, or any of these issues. They’re talking about not being able to afford putting food on the table, putting gas in their trucks, and not being able to see their grandson again because he died of a fentanyl overdose.” Bingo. Trump’s self-absorbed trip down memory lane is irrelevant to many general election voters. Even Bill Maher gets that.
“And I just thought, you know, if Trump could just let go of the election, which he can’t, he can win this so easy because he can win just on Drag Queen Story Hour,” Maher said. “Again, if he could just let go of the election, but at this point, you know, he’s just like a hotel room that smells at some point you just want a new room, you know what I mean?” Maher said. “And DeSantis, I mean, he’s just more is more vibrant, if you like people who don’t lose elections and, you know.”
Months ago both the House and Senate looked like locks for Republicans. The House still looks good and the Senate is not completely lost. But the party would have a much easier time taking the Senate, and thus putting the breaks on the Biden agenda, if it didn’t have to deal with the Trump albatross.