Republican Efforts to Unify the Party After Painful Senate Primaries Are Going Quite Terribly
Sure, if you look at the calendar, Republicans hosted their first set of Senate primaries last week. But that election was just a technicality, because the intra-party warring that dominated all three races has continued to blaze unabated.
The most uncontrolled fire rages in West Virginia. There, ex-con Don Blankenship, who spent millions of his own money to run lunatic racist ads attacking “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell and “China people,” is eager to light the man who beat him in the GOP primary aflame (so sayeth Blankenship’s campaign manager):
“I think the one thing he is going to make sure doesn’t happen is that Patrick Morrisey becomes a U.S. senator.”
Blankenship wasn’t the only loser in the Mountain State last week. As a result of his defeat, Rep. Evan Jenkins saw his congressional career careen to an early end, and he could barely choke out words of encouragement to his own party’s nominee. In a terse statement, Jenkins congratulated the winners of all four federal primaries in his state, making sure to list Morrisey last—after the House victors.
Don’t imagine, though, that Blankenship is alone in his vituperation. Over in Indiana, Rep. Todd Rokita did nothing to soften his well-deserved image as a raving a-hole when he decided to use his concession speech to do the gracious thing and attack primary winner Mike Braun:
"Not every fight is fair. Not every candidate can stroke a personal $6 million check. But that's life. I hope he [Braun] will rise to the occasion and truly fight for this state. I know he has it in him, and not just wage an expensive media campaign to buy a Senate seat, only to keep Washington at the status quo. We can't afford it."
Rokita may have indulged in public whining, but it was the other loser, Rep. Luke Messer, whose behavior reached true levels of childish petulance. Two days after the primary, none other than Donald Trump flew into town (along with local boy Mike Pence) to headline a rally for Braun. Who, despite having just nominated Trump for a Nobel peace prize (gag), was a very visible no-show? Messer, of course.
Finally, there’s Ohio, nestled right in there between West by God and the Hoosier State, and this one might be the most intriguing of all. Shortly before the primary, businessman Mike Gibbons filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit against the eventual winner, Rep. Jim Renacci, so you know this story isn’t going to end pleasantly. In a tweet over the weekend, Gibbons told his supporters that “this is not the end” and then asked:
If you have a Gibbons sign, please hold on to it & stay tuned in the coming months.
Seeing as those yard signs have the words “U.S. Senate” printed on them, they won’t be very useful, will they, unless Gibbons is planning, say, an independent bid this fall? Boy, we can only hope.
So what accounts for the fact that, a week later, Republicans are still at each others’ throats? Here’s a thought: All this rancor is the inevitable by-product of a Trump-worshipping Republican Party that has curdled into a vehicle of pure hatred. Republicans gleefully deploy cruel attacks on Democrats, but when that cruelty is turned against themselves, suddenly they no longer have the stomach for it.
They couldn’t deserve it more.