I think for the next 11 months, we can excuse the Republican party if they get the feeling that they are collectivly living the movie “Groundhog Day,” Every morning they wake up to the same nightmare scenario. They keep trying different things every day to change the outcome, but they always wake up the net morning in the exact same place.
The GOP hasn’t even had time for the scabs to fall off from their Alabama boo-boo, and already it looks like they’re getting ready to fall and scrape the other knee. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is up for reelection next year in Virginia. Virginia has lately been something of a purple state, although the results of the 2017 state elections show a serious turn to the left. While it was not in the top tier wish list of North Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia, the GOP had hoped to field a strong candidate to try to flip the seat.
But that hope may be rapidly falling by the wayside. The first GOP challenger for the race against Kaine has stepped forward, and boy, is he a gold medal champion! Corey Stewart is stepping forward to take another crack at “sticking it to the man.” Those of you who follow Virginia politics a bit might recognize his name. He ran in the 2017 GOP primary, and very nearly upset mainstream candidate Ed Gillespie. Stewart came to attention by his fiery, bomb throwing rhetoric, having referred to Gillespie in the primaries as a “cuckservative,” He also ran on saving confederate statues as an integral part of southern heritage, ignoring the fact that he personally was born in that deep south hotbed, Minnesota. And he wears the badge of honor of having been kicked off of the Trump campaign for his overly obnoxious response to the RNC in its response to the Access Hollywood video when it came out.
But as the line in “Tango and Cash” goes, “It wouldn’t be a party without Potatohead.” Enter the one and only EW Jackson. Jackson is a conservative preacher and political wanna-be of that particular GOP bent. He ran a failed 2017 campaign for Lieutenant Governor, and was a constant source of amusement for those with more than 2 firing neurons. He has accused former President Barack Obama of having “Muslim sensibilities.” And his hatred for the LGBT community knows no bounds. He has said that gays are “frankly, very sick people.” And how about this golden nugget? He also has opined that gays attempt to “sexualize people at the earliest possible age.” This is gonna be one hulluva primary to watch folks.
This is a nightmare scenario for the GOP. It was bad enough having a racist child molester like Moore running, but in the primaries at least, there was “Traditional” candidate Luther Strange to rally around. Reports say that the GOP is desperately trying to find anybody traditional with a pulse to jump in and save the day. Names like former Governor Jim Gilmore, US Rep Marsha Blackburn and Rep Dave Brat pop up. There is at least a little residual warm glow around Gilmore from his term as Governor, and both Blackburn and Brat face potentially tough reelection battles. But as tough as those battles may be, both Blackburn and Brat can see how vile the Alabama primary was with Moore in it, and may well be loathe to have to fire hose off that much mud if they survive the primary to run in the general election.
Welcome to the new normal for the GOP, and it’s going to kill them. Primaries have always been a battle of motivated bases, largely single issue voters who are passionate enough to show up to vote in an election that doesn’t even elect anybody, merely names who will run in the general. Bannon has sworn an oath to purge the party of those not sufficiently slavish to Trump. In a primary, this is a double whammy for the GOP, Bannon has Mercer backed money to throw around in the primaries, which tend to be lower level cash cows. His candidates will drive up intensity ot Trumpaholic voters, while simultaneously depressing enthusiasm for mainstream GOP candidates, especially since many of them are turned off to the outcome so far of the Trump agenda. And with the fact that congressional district races are inherently cheaper, and with the revolving door of GOP incumbents streaming for the fire exits, the possibility of Bannon backed mischief are endless.
While they by no means be successful in every race, mark my words, some of these far right mutants like Moore are going to win in the primaries. And just like in Alabama, they are going to take what should have been no brainer seats for the GOP to hold and turn them upside down. The Democrats already hold a +11 in the latest poll of whom people think should control congress in 2019. The standard wisdom is that with the evils of gerrymandering, it would take a spread of +13-15 to flip the House, so they’re already at the cusp. But that doesn’t take into account the on the ground reality of wildly unsuitable GOP candidates driving away traditional conservative voters, while driving up Democratic intensity. If the GOP doesn’t get its shit together, they’re gonna need to build an ark, and I for one hope it has a hole in the bottom of it.