If you follow politics long enough, you tend to become cynical. Unless you’re a true believer, you get to the point where you don’t trust members of either party to care about anything other than their own election and retain or gain more power.
So does the recent revelation that for all the Democratic Party’s condemnation of Donald Trump’s incitement to riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, for all the disgust expressed about the lies he and his supporters continually peddled about stealing the 2020 election, Democrats invested in Republican candidates with close ties to Trump. And they’ve done it at least once so far at the expense of a GOP congressman who knowingly risked his career to vote with Democrats against the former president.
The Democratic strategy is this: By helping far-right Republicans win their primaries against more moderate candidates, it could boost the chances of Democratic candidates in November running against likely more beatable Republicans.
There is no guarantee, however, that the strategy will work. There are already a few places where it looks like it could backfire. But even if it works as expected, it stinks.
Take the case of Representative Peter Meijer. The Michigan congressman was just one of 10 House Republicans to vote with the Democratic majority to impeach Donald Trump following the Capitol riot. How did Democrats reward Meijer for showing courage and risking Trump’s revenge? The party invested $400,000 in advertising money to help a far-right candidate and 2020 election denier, John Gibbs, beat Meijer in the GOP primary earlier this month.
While this is the worst backstabbing case so far, it is not the only case of Democratic funding of election deniers. Democratic money, according to the Washington Post, has already helped a trio of far-right candidates win primaries in the gubernatorial races of Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Democrats also tried the same in some key GOP races in California and Colorado, but were unsuccessful.
The strategy, on which Democrats themselves are divided, has two problems.
By all accounts, November is going to be very good for Republicans. The wave that could sweep them to majorities in both houses of Congress could bring to power GOP candidates of all ideological persuasions, including the Holocaust deniers Democrats are supposed to hate.
But the worst consequence is that it makes Democrats seem woefully insincere, even as they continue House hearings that documented Trump’s culpability in the Jan. 6 riot and his unprecedented efforts to cancel a presidential election.
If Trump’s actions were such a grave threat to democracy, as Democrats have repeatedly said, how can they accept their party putting money behind those who defended Trump’s actions and repeated his lies ?
It’s a risky strategy, one that lacks integrity and undermines Democrats’ efforts to claim moral superiority. Shame on those who stoop to this level for putting the pursuit of victory on the principles they profess.