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As An Orange Mane Glows In D.C. . . . Republican Prospects Seem Brightening For Mid-Term Elections

May 12, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

Will Republicans in this November’s midterm elections do less walking into walls and more walking on water?
Predictions from quarters that wish the GOP ill had foreseen a blue wave of outraged Democrats drowning chronically hapless Republicans in the vote ritual shortly after Halloween.
Democrats are frightening enough as the current party of death and degeneracy, and the thought of their becoming more powerful politically in the month before Christmas is no gift by any measure.
Political fortunes rise and fall with events, but in early May events were swimming in President Trump’s direction. Sensing the way the tide was running, GOP primary-election candidates often fought to position themselves as the Trumpiest of all.
From beneath the president’s remarkable orange mane flew substantial tax cuts and employment growth, a nuclear-threatening North Korea turning into a placating potential peacemaker freeing three American prisoners, a deceptive Iran put on notice against coddling dangerous ambitions.
Despite the customary dominant-media torrents of opposition to Trump, not only events but also voter sentiment seemed to be smiling toward the White House.
The conservative Media Research Center reported on May 8 that in the first four months of 2018, Trump’s overall job-approval rating rose despite 90 percent negative evaluative comments during that period by ABC, CBS, and NBC.
When the possibility arose that Pyongyang would release the three prisoners, USA Today illustrated this negative spin by headlining online on May 3, “Trump would not be first president to secure release of U.S. prisoners from North Korea” — as if tough-talking Trump deserved little credit for winning this concession from a hothead dictatorship that recently was launching offensive missiles.
May 8 also was the day of primary elections in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Without examining state results in detail, some notable outcomes appeared favorable to conservative and Trump sentiment. There also were reports of greater Republican voter turnout than expected, a positive sign instead of seeing dispirited party troops stay home.
The morning after those primaries, a conservative former GOP official told The Wanderer events were looking up.
“It looks like the Big Blue Wave isn’t going to be as big as the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), Democrats, ‘fake news’ broadcasters, and liberal pollsters have been predicting,” said Rob Haney, retired chairman of the Phoenix-based Maricopa County Republican Party.
“The release of the three American hostages by North Korea is also going to put a crease in their shorts. The Republican candidates have seen now that the closer they can place themselves to President Trump and his agenda, the better it will be for their political future,” Haney said.
The LifeZette news site said GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, told national radio talk host Laura Ingraham on May 9 that although the party in power in the White House traditionally loses seats in off-year elections, “he said the results of primaries in four states on (May 8) provide evidence that Republicans can beat those odds.”
An article posted May 9 at the American Greatness site asked if the Midwest is becoming the next South for the Democrats — meaning a region widely rejecting that party. Citing declining power and favorability for Democrats in the Midwest, writer Julie Kelly said:
“Midterm elections are still six months away, but with the economy thriving, international foes on their heels, and the Mueller probe imploding, the election prospects for once-confident Democrats are shrinking fast. If the party loses even more ground in the Midwest in November, the Blue Wave could instead turn out to be a bloodbath that will haunt the party for a generation.”
Conservative commentator Alice Stewart posted at CNN on May 9: “Republican candidates who embraced President Trump and his ‘drain the swamp’ message came out on top in key Senate and congressional races in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina, setting the stage for a strong field of GOP candidates heading into the general election in November.”
Stewart added later, “The Democrats’ anticipated Blue Wave was downgraded as voters backed strong candidates who can enable the GOP to hold and potentially expand its majority in the crucial midterm elections.”
Early on May 8, former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn’t sound as if he had much faith in Republicans to do the right thing — a justifiable view, given a historic GOP inclination toward passivity and defensive crouches.
Gingrich told talk host Ingraham that Republicans keep walking into the wall when there’s a door right next to it, and that there’s a need within the GOP to avoid being smart.
By the end of that day, however, perhaps Gingrich was feeling more heartened. If so, he could thank Trump’s successes for giving some Republicans new backbone.
With candidates vying to assert their support for Trump, the issue sometimes seemed to come down to who was a true outsider and pro-Trump, or who was for Trump but had been infected by residence in the D.C. swamp.
In Indiana, wealthy businessman Mike Braun swept to the GOP Senate nomination with more than 40 percent of the vote by attacking his two foes, both sitting congressmen, as D.C. peas in a pod and swamp dwellers. The two each scored around 30 percent of the vote.
Braun in one campaign video attacked the “Swamp Brothers” thusly: “Whether it’s votes to fast-track Obama’s bad trade deals, to add billions to our debt, to fund Planned Parenthood or Obama’s amnesty, the Swamp Brothers are too liberal for Indiana in just about every way.”
In North Carolina, an incumbent GOP congressman lost his primary to a former Baptist pastor who reportedly campaigned as being more pro-Trump and conservative.
Baptist News Global reported on May 9 that Mark Harris, “former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., defeated [Cong.] Robert Pittenger in what pundits called a race between the establishment Republican Party and the more conservative base supporting President Donald Trump.”
During the primary-voting day, widely unpopular U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, gave an interview appearing to endorse lying about her by fellow Democrat candidates so they can gain the majority.
Politico Playbook posted on May 8 that Pelosi said it’s all right for Democrats to say they oppose her for the House speakership, or are noncommittal, if that’s what it takes for their campaigns: “I think if they have to do that to win the election, I’m all for winning. I think many of them are saying we need new leadership. I don’t take offense at that.”
However, the pro-abortion Pelosi hadn’t disclosed any plans to step aside if Democrats do retake the House majority and she has the opportunity to run for speaker again — so any campaign pledges made against her would be only hot air to appeal to voters.
“Just win, baby,” Pelosi was quoted.
The left-wing UK Guardian posted on May 8 that Pelosi knows Republicans have targeted her for unfavorable attention. However, Pelosi appeared to threaten that the GOP will be defeated in a left-wing culture war.
The Guardian quoted her: “They say she’s (from) San Francisco. Yes. She’s liberal. Yes. She’s pro-LGBTQ. Yes. You will be, too. It’s just a matter of time.”
One Republican candidate in West Virginia had high favorability among some commentators who wished the GOP ill — that is, a Washington Examiner article explained, these pundits proclaimed he was the sort of horrible person who best suited Republicans, and he allegedly was “surging” in the polls.
On May 7, the day before the primary election, the UK Guardian headlined that the West Virginia candidate, Don Blankenship, was in a “close race” to win the nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. The Guardian reporter said a “rough consensus among pundits” had two other GOP candidates “neck and neck, with Blankenship just a bit behind.”
As it turned out, Blankenship didn’t quite win 20 percent of the total vote, while the victor took nearly 35 percent, and number-two finisher nearly 30 percent.
“Voters resoundingly rejected Blankenship, but not before certain members of the news media used his campaign as an excuse to accuse Republicans of being morally bankrupt,” commentator Becket Adams wrote at the Washington Examiner. Blankenship briefly had served prison time for his role in a deadly mine explosion.
The West Virginia GOP winner, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, had been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, which said in an email that the third candidate in the race, Cong. Evan Jenkins, had been supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and his political machine, the bete noire of conservatives.

Good News

Sifting through voting results the morning of May 9, conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard told The Wanderer, “I haven’t tracked all of the results, but they seemed pretty good. The GOP dodged a bullet in West Virginia by not nominating Don Blankenship. The Republican nominee, Morrisey, was actually supported by the Senate Conservatives Fund, so that’s good news.
“Turnout was good for the GOP in Ohio (about 100,000 votes more than the Democrats), where Mike DeWine was nominated for governor, and ‘a businessman outsider’ beat two congressmen for the Senate nomination to take on (incumbent Democrat Joe) Donnelly in Indiana,” Querard said.

Ward Vs. McSally

A Bloomberg news article in early May remarked on Arizona’s strong record for electing women to office while it noted that most of the candidates vying to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake in this year’s Grand Canyon State elections are female.
“Arizona has one of the best records in the U.S. for electing women to political office: 40 percent of its state legislators are women, tied for first among the 50 states, and it’s the only state to have ever had four women serve as governor, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University,” Bloomberg said.
However, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio also is in the GOP race for the August 28 primary that includes conservative former State Sen. Kelli Ward and establishment pick Cong. Martha McSally.
On Phoenix-based KKNT radio’s (960 AM) Seth and Chris Show on May 8, Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb reflected general thinking when he said Arpaio likely would take votes from Ward — which would assist the less conservative McSally to the nomination.
Robb said Arpaio is in the race because he craves attention, and his consultants benefit from the campaign money machine.
Although Arpaio, born in 1932, may have the stamina to become the oldest freshman senator in U.S. history, his repartee didn’t seem too sharp when I approached him before a recent GOP awards lunch in Phoenix.

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Fr. James Schall passed away today. A Jesuit priest & Georgetown professor, he served as mentor & model to a numberless many (including me). With penetrating insight & wit, he pointed us to Christ & those great Catholic minds we mustn't forget.

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