The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake finds it troubling that Democrats are saying bad things about Republicans during an election year.
Increasingly, Democrats’ desire to go after the GOP writ large and win elections has clashed with their admonitions that Trump and election denial are singular menaces.
… the Biden campaign turned to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to drive its message ahead of the caucuses [in Iowa]. That message: that the GOP candidates were more or less the same.
“If we’re all being honest about it, there is no difference between the Republican candidates in this field when it comes to what it means for working families and all Americans who want a better life for themselves and for their communities,” Pritzker said at a Biden campaign news conference.
Pritzker made similar arguments in the context of Biden’s focus on democracy. “The anti-freedom, anti-democracy ideas that Donald Trump’s party stands for are the same, whether it’s him or his Mini-Mes spewing it,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker mentioned Nikki Haley’s failure to cite slavery as the cause of the Civil War — something Haley later sought to correct — alongside Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the country.
“All of these Republican candidates are singing the same terrible song,” Pritzker said.
Yup, Haley did try to walk back her refusal to link the Civil War to slavery — but after the Iowa caucuses she was right back at it, insisting that America has “never been a racist country.” That may not be a Trump-like statement, but on this subject Haley is really terrible.
And as I told you last month, Haley has embraced extremist ideas such as terminating every federal government employee after five years, an easy way to replace dedicated civil servants with ideological hacks. This is the kind of government-destroying idea we think might be implemented in a second Trump term, but Haley has expressed more enthusiasm about it than Trump has.
The DNC suggested last month that [Chris] Christie, who … extensively criticized Trump on the campaign trail, was truly a “MAGA Republican” because he had pushed to repeal Obamacare. The GOP’s repeal efforts predated the advent of the MAGA movement.
I have some doubts about the Biden team’s strategy of using “MAGA” to mean “Republican and bad,” but hey, maybe it works, like Chris Rufo’s scheme of referring to anything in a school that presents Black people in a positive light as “critical race theory.” Sure, the demand for Obamacare repeal predated Trump, but that repeal movement was driven by the Tea Party, which essentially evolved into the MAGA movement. (Another point: It’s fair to call Christie “MAGA” because he was a Trump fluffer through the 2016 campaign and most of Trump’s presidential term.)
Last month, [the DNC] labeled Haley and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) as “two MAGA extremists.”
Have they said they’ll vote for Trump if he’s the Republican nominee? Even if he’s a convicted felon? Yes and yes. Then they’re MAGA. (Haley has also said she’ll pardon Trump if he’s convicted of felonies and she’s elected president.)
Are these Republicans as bad as Trump? Maybe not, but they’re bad. Democrats should say they’re bad, using whatever language might be effective.
Blake also beats this dead horse:
The other big flash point came last year, when Democrats caused some consternation in their own ranks by meddling in about a dozen Republican primaries to elevate extreme — and often election-denying — candidates. The aim was to face more beatable opponents in the general election.
And the thing is: It worked. Those candidates won in a half-dozen primaries and went on to lose to Democrats in every one.
But just because the tactic didn’t backfire doesn’t really address the moral side, which is that Democrats promoted and could have helped install the kinds of supposedly dangerous candidates they so warned about…. If these candidates are indeed so dangerous, why would you ever help them get one step closer to elected office?
Do we have to have this argument again? Democrats ran ads intended to persuade Republican voters to vote for weaker candidates. Republican voters rose to the bait, and the candidates were, in fact, weaker.
Republicans in 1972 portrayed George McGovern as a dangerous hippie-loving peacenik. So why did Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign scheme to drive the more electable Ed Muskie out of the race in the hope that the less electable McGovern would be the Democratic nominee? No one ever argues that Nixon’s people did this because they were pro-amnesty doves who loved the hippies. Everyone knows it was a scheme to improve Nixon’s chances of victory. It worked. Nixon’s scheme in 1972 was based on lies and dirty tricks; the ads Democrats ran in 2022 were truthful. And they worked. So what’s the problem?
Every so often, Democrats play to win in an election year. The nerve of them!
Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog