At a Republican presidential convention held in Chicago some time ago, a Senator went in as the front runner. No one was selected on the first ballot. Cigar chomping state honchos then got together and another Senator’s delegates shifted to a dark horse. On the third ballot the dark horse, a man suited for his era, was nominated. Abraham Lincoln went on to be elected and saved the Union.
This was long before primaries. That was to start in 1901. But in that convention in 1860 pros and party chieftains indirectly saved the United States by cutting the deal to get Lincoln nominated.
The Union is not quite at that point today. But if Republicans continue to nominate inappropriate candidates for Senate, House, and gubernatorial races the resultant loses could accelerate the damage Dems are doing to this nation.
Thus, we need to bring back smoke filled rooms by giving state party chairs more power to crush unacceptable candidates in the cradle. In this regard we need less democracy and more quality control. This comes down to two major issues: Oppo and ideological fit.
As a guy who has run a lot of political campaigns I can tell you one of the first things you do is internal opposition research, aka oppo in the trade. You run a background check on your own client to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises, as candidates can be reticent and embarrassed to share dirty laundry. But better you know it and are ready for it than you get blindsided in an attack ad by the opposition.
Remember the last minute DUI revelation against Bush the Younger in 2000? Like that.
Well, if Herschel Walker would have been properly vetted then Georgia party chieftains could have sat down with him and steered him to a lower profile race like a House seat or gotten him out of the game altogether. A another candidate, like Brad Raffensperger, could have beaten Warnock.
Which brings us to ideological fit. The point is, stay away from those who are throwing them. Nominate deep red or even populist candidates where they will win and more moderate candidates where they will win.
In Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania more purple Republican candidates could have won in those purple states and given us the Senate.
In states like Michigan and Maryland more moderate Republican gubernatorial candidates could have been vastly more competitive. Quality control was an issue in these cases as well. State poobahs must step forward and bring common sense back into this process.
Oh sure, the populists will scream that their votes are being suppressed. If state chairs do their jobs in purple states, then they sure as hell would be. But that is a much better result than delivering control of the Senate to Democrats. The Republican boys, and these days girls, in the smoke filled rooms know better than to allow that to happen. Plus, I really like cigars.