Josh Hawley proves appalling politicians can get a 'fundraising and media boost' from their infamy: journalist
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, one of the Trumpiest Republicans in the U.S. Senate, has been slammed by countless Democrats — as well as many Never Trump conservatives — for objecting to Congress' January 6 certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in the 2020 presidential election and promoting former President Donald Trump's bogus and totally debunked voter fraud conspiracy theories. An infamous photo shows Hawley, on January 6, raising his fist in solidarity with a mob of insurrectionists who later assaulted the U.S. Capitol Building. And journalist Steve Benen, in a scathing op-ed published by MSNBC's website on April 13, finds it appalling that Hawley has turned his infamy into a fundraising bonanza.
Benen explains, "The first few months of 2021 have been quite eventful for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), starting with the senator's anti-election efforts that turned him into a political 'pariah' on Capitol Hill…. Hawley has been denounced by former allies. Businesses don't want anything to do with him. Several independent media outlets have called on the Missouri Republican to resign in disgrace, and several of his Senate colleagues have filed an ethics complaint against him. Hawley, however, acts like a politician who doesn't have any regrets."
None of the intense criticism that Hawley has faced, Benen laments, has hurt him from a fundraising standpoint.
"Hawley took an aggressive stand against his own country's democracy, at which point, the money started rolling in," Benen observes. "It serves as a reminder of political dynamics that are evolving quickly in defiance of traditional models. Senators once feared being ostracized from their colleagues and mentors, but in 2021, folks like Hawley — and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who reportedly raised $3.2 million in the first three months of the year — can shrug off the contempt they've generated among those around them."
Benen adds that Hawley, like Greene, has successfully played the persecution card.
"Indeed," Benen writes, "the banishment itself becomes the basis for new financial appeals: 'The 'establishment' doesn't like me,' these Republicans effectively say. 'So, send me even more money.' Folks like Hawley don't need political parties or committees; they need small donors willing to reward radicalism via a website."
Hawley's extremism, according to Benen, has been rewarded not only with fundraising, but also, by becoming a "darling" of the right-wing media.
"The related message to every other Republican is obvious: you, too, can get a fundraising and media boost, while shredding your credibility and reputation," Benen notes. "All you have to do is follow Josh Hawley's lead."
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