Democrats are 'playing with fire' by pushing MAGA extremists in Republican primaries: conservative

Democrats are 'playing with fire' by pushing MAGA extremists in Republican primaries: conservative
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In some Republican gubernatorial primaries, Democratic strategists have been promoting far-right MAGA extremists — reasoning that if they win the nomination, they will be easier to defeat in general elections. Never Trump conservative and Daily Beast opinion writer Matt Lewis discusses this strategy in his July 22 column, warning that Democrats are “playing with fire” — as some of these extremists who win GOP primaries may win general elections as well.

“America is a tinderbox,” the conservative columnist warns. “Donald Trump and his allied political arsonists are on a rampage. And yet, it’s Democrats who keep pouring gasoline on the flames. That’s my conclusion after watching the spate of election-denying MAGA candidates win Republican primaries, with more than a little help from their frenemies. Indeed, Democrats are spending millions to boost far-right candidates.”

The far-right MAGA extremists, conspiracy theorists and QAnon sympathizers who have won GOP gubernatorial primaries in the 2022 midterms include Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Dan Cox in Maryland. In both of those races, Democratic strategists believed they would have an easier time winning the general elections if they promoted the most extreme, pro-QAnon candidates in the primaries. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee who is running against Mastriano, said, during the primaries, that Mastriano would be the easiest to defeat — yet polls are showing that race to be frighteningly close. A Cygnal poll released in late June showed Shapiro leading Mastriano by only 3 percent.

READ MORE: Larry Hogan lashes out at Donald Trump as Maryland governor’s race becomes a referendum on MAGA

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan — a popular Republican governor who was reelected by 12 percent in 2018 — lambasted both former President Donald Trump as well as the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) after Cox defeated the more moderate GOP candidate, former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, on July 19.

“On Tuesday, Republicans rejected the moderate two-term Gov. Larry Hogan’s chosen heir apparent, to vote in favor of Trump-backed Dan Cox, a man Hogan describes as a ‘QAnon whack job,’” Lewis explains. “After Cox’s victory, Democrats were quick to denounce the GOP, declaring that, ‘They’ve succumbed to the ultra-ignorant QAnon, MAGA wing of their party.’ They have a point. The only problem? Democrats helped build that.”

Lewis adds, “The Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA) funded an ad that aired during the run-up to the Republican primaries, noting, among other things, that Cox was ‘100 percent pro-life.’ The ad included flattering photos of Cox with his family, and one with him next to a smiling, thumbs-up-giving Donald Trump. The ad concludes with this: ‘Dan Cox: Too close to Trump, too conservative for Maryland.’ You don’t have to be a genius to see the deceptive game Democrats are playing.”

Lewis points out that Democrats, according to the New York Times, “spent more than $1.16 million on TV ads trying to help Dan Cox in the Republican primary for Maryland governor.”

READ MORE: Arizona primary election posing significant challenges for Trump-backed candidates

“Nor was this just a one-time occurrence,” Lewis observes. “In multiple states, Democrats have meddled in Republican primary races, always on the side of the far-right fringe-y candidate — their cynical assumption being that the MAGA candidate will be easier to defeat in a general election. In Arizona, Democrats are helping Trump-backed candidate Kari Lake, by thanking her more mainstream primary opponent for past donations to Democrats.”

Lewis notes that in Pennsylvania, Shapiro “spent $840,000 to boost” Mastriano during the primary.

“The problem? Mastriano is just 3 points down, according to a recent poll,” Lewis warns. “There’s also the problem that, according to Politico, he has ‘a real shot at winning.’ Still another problem? As the Washington Post notes, ‘Pennsylvania governors appoint their own secretaries of state, who supervise elections.’ What this means is that Democrats have helped make it more likely that a Gov. Mastriano could assist Trump in swinging the Pennsylvania election results.”

Lewis continues, “Again, Democrats are assuming they will easily beat Mastriano and the other Trump acolytes across the nation. This is quite a high-stakes assumption to make, especially given the apocalyptic terms liberals are wont to use regarding Trumpism and the precarious state of American democracy…. When dealing with something as fragile as liberal democracy, you’d think Democrats might handle it with a bit more care.”

READ MORE: Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial nominee is 'like Jim Jones in Guyana' and has both parties worried: report

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