Trump Isn't the Anomaly Conservatives Want Us to Believe He Is - The President Is a Totally Republican Creation

You know the supposed 'law and order' party is in trouble when a convicted criminalwho touts himself as "Trumpier than Trump" is reportedly surging ahead of his GOP competitors in a statewide primary in West Virginia. And while it might seem perverse to say this, Democrats should want that convicted criminal to win Tuesday's primary contest as it greatly increases the likelihood that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin hangs on to his seat there in November. That’s exactly why Donald Trump tried to mount a late-stage intervention against Don Blankenship, who then turned Trump’s own rhetoric against him. The Washington Post writes:

“Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message — no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote,” Blankenship responded, in a clear echo of the president’s rhetoric. “I am Trumpier than Trump, and this morning proves it.”

Blankenship is one of two wealthy self-funding business executives, like Trump, who have emerged with unexpected strength in a primary season that has played out like a televised game show with the singular goal of demonstrating fealty to Trump and fury at the nation’s political elites.

“That dynamic that elected Donald Trump that I thought was going to dissipate after 2016 elections is still there,” said Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin, who is working on other 2018 races.

Yeah, not so much. Republicans don't want to admit this, but rather than being an anomaly, Trump is simply the culmination of years of work by the GOP’s feckless leadership to allow unlimited dark money to decide races. And Blankenship isn't just nasty, he's got deep pockets to back it up, vastly outspending GOP establishment groups with an outlay of at least $640,000 in the last week alone in the race.

In Indiana, another self-funding Republican candidate is upending the GOP primary at a price tag of around $6 million and the Republican establishment is pretty upset about it since Mike Braun appears to be a lifelong Democrat right up until 2014, when he was elected to the state senate as a Republican.

In Indiana, the ascendant candidate is Mike Braun, the founder of a warehouse and distribution company who voted in the state’s Democratic primaries until 2012. Just like Blankenship, he is running against two more well-established GOP incumbents, who have spent much of the campaign attacking each other, as they calculated the outsider would face a traditional ceiling of support. [...] But the standout has been Braun, who has campaigned as a non-politician, forgoing the traditional sport coat and tie during debates while embracing Trump’s populist rhetoric.

Oops. Trump won both Indiana and West Virginia handily and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Manchin will benefit from having weaker opponents in November. Manchin might be the biggest winner of Blankenship's outsider candidacy, but Braun's long history as a Democrat might also help depress GOP enthusiasm to get out to the polls in November. Or his candidacy might just hobble whichever Republican manages to survive the primary.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.