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ASPartOfMe
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16 Jun 2022, 6:19 pm

Democrats play with fire in GOP primaries - Axios

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Democratic groups are buying ads touting some of the most extreme pro-Trump candidates in Republican primaries around the country — meddling in GOP contests to set up more favorable matchups in November.

Why it matters: The risky gambit assumes general-election voters will reject candidates who embrace conspiracy theories or lies about the 2020 election. But it could dramatically backfire by vaulting fringe Republicans into national office.
Driving the news: Ahead of last week's primaries, the Nancy Pelosi-affiliated House Majority PAC funded a 30-second TV ad promoting self-declared "Trump Conservative" Chris Mathys against moderate Republican Rep. David Valadao in California's 22nd District.

"David Valadao claims he’s Republican ― yet, David Valadao voted to impeach President Trump," the narrator of the Democratic-funded ad declared.

House Majority PAC communications director CJ Warnke told Axios the group is confident that Democrat Rudy Salas "will flip this district blue no matter who MAGA Republicans nominate."

In California's 40th District, Democrat Asif Mahmood has been running ads casting Republican Greg Raths — who had to apologize last month for using antisemitic tropes — as his head-to-head opponent instead of moderate Rep. Young Kim.

Meanwhile in Colorado, a new Democratic super PAC cut a TV ad boosting far-right, election-denying state Rep. Ron Hanks in the June 28 GOP primary to decide who will take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

The group has reserved at least $1.49 million in TV ad slots across Colorado over the next few weeks.
Hanks' moderate Republican rival Joe O'Dea accused Democrats of "hijacking the Republican nomination for an unserious candidate who has zero chance of winning."

In the Pennsylvania governor's race, the state Democratic Party used campaign resources to boost Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano — who has been subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee for his involvement in the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" campaign.

Mastriano won the GOP nomination over former Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), prompting Cook Political Report to shift its forecast for the general election from "toss-up" to "lean Democrat."
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association are spending millions to hurt Black veteran Richard Irvin's chances in the GOP primary and highlight the conservative bona fides of his rival, state Sen. Darren Bailey.

Flashback: In elections past, the tactic has been deployed with mixed success.


Democrats Demand We Care More About Jan. 6 Than They Do - Noah Rothman
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Democrats and their allies are not bashful when they describe the events of January 6 and their implications, even at the risk of hyperbole. This was an “attempted coup,” the “worst attack on democracy since the Civil War,” and a “lawless” effort to “dismantle” America’s democratic institutions. We are obliged to “make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.”

I don’t have to take their word for it. The evidence of my own eyes long ago confirmed the epochal scope of that assault on the levers of American self-governance, culminating in a once-unthinkable event that can now never be unthought. I’ve written many thousands of words about that menace. I’ve highlighted the ways in which the constitutional order broke down, and I’ve castigated those who would downplay the significance of the attack in pursuit of their own temporary, parochial political advantage. I don’t need to be lectured about that day’s horrors and their ramifications. In fact, it’s partisan Democrats who would benefit by internalizing their own sanctimonious rhetoric. If January 6 was a seminal day in American history that must never be repeated, why is the Democratic Party doing its utmost to prop up insurrectionary elements on the right?

A recent more-in-sorrow Washington Post analysis found that over 100 victors in this year’s Republican primary elections are, to some degree, proponents of Donald Trump’s false claims that fraud and malfeasance delivered the presidency to Joe Biden. Many of them “are overt in their intentions to use public office to affect electoral outcomes.” Perhaps these candidates would have emerged victorious on their own. We will never know because the next generation of conspiratorially minded Republican leaders received a boost from their Democratic opponents.

This cynical crusade’s biggest success came in the race for Pennsylvania governor. The GOP nominee, Doug Mastriano, spent less than $370,000 on television advertisements, but the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s campaign supplemented that spending with over $840,000 of their own funds. The playbook is familiar by now. The supposedly negative spots label Mastriano too conservative, too committed to supporting Donald Trump, too zealous in the pursuit of objectives the MAGA wing of the GOP support. Mastriano has boasted of his intention to “take the corrections to elections, the voting logs, and everything” and has pledged to pursue constitutionally dubious electoral reforms, including a universal, state-wide voter reregistration initiative.

The Democrats’ strategy here isn’t new. The party is elevating flawed Republican candidates under the assumption that they will be easier to beat than their more conventional rivals.

In this way, Harry Reid survived his low job-approval numbers in 2010 by promoting Sharron Angle over the Nevada GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden. Similarly, Claire McCaskill managed to forestall Missouri’s transition to a reliably Republican state by pulling out all the stops so businessman John Brunner lost his 2012 primary bid to Todd Akin.

But what made those two Republican nominees unpalatable to a broader electorate were traditional political differences—disagreements over abortion rights or how best to preserve the solvency of America’s entitlement programs. What Democrats are engaged in today is far more cynical. Opposition to the reckless myth-making that convinced thousands of Trump-backing Americans to ransack the Capitol is, we’re regularly told, something that should transcend partisan politics. The Democratic Party’s electoral tacticians are conceding that the unprecedented attack on the seat of government is just another political football.

Most troubling, there’s no guarantee that the paranoid MAGA-backed candidates that the Democratic Party is promoting will lose their respective races. In a political environment that produces wave elections, surprises happen. If Democratic political organs were committed to ensuring that nothing like January 6 ever happens again, they would be less cavalier about the hazards they’re actively promoting. And I, for one, resent being told by Democrats that I have to care about preserving America’s republican institutions more, apparently, than Democrats do.

This is the most disturbing political story I have ever read. They have learned nothing. 2012 when they helped the "extremist" Todd Aiken win the primary in order to lose the general election was a whole different political world. How quickly they forget 2016 when Hillary elevated Trump totally convinced that would guarantee victory. How did that workout?


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19 Jun 2022, 1:59 am

Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes, because you might just get it.
Democrats believe extreme candidates would be easier to defeat, without taking into consideration that extremism might just be what's being looked for in more conservative areas. The Dems might just be planting the seeds of their own destruction.


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19 Jun 2022, 2:48 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes, because you might just get it.
Democrats believe extreme candidates would be easier to defeat, without taking into consideration that extremism might just be what's being looked for in more conservative areas. The Dems might just be planting the seeds of their own destruction.

The destruction of the American Republic. These people get control of the electoral college via appointment or get control of congress who would refuse to certify an election they lost then it is sayonara.


I am rarely one to whine when my posts do not get a response but I am pretty shocked and disappointed at the lack of interest in this one. More importantly, where in the hell is the media of all types?


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27 Jul 2022, 7:11 am

Jan. 6 committee divided on Dem meddling in GOP primaries

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Public backlash intensified yesterday when it emerged that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boosting an election denier in his primary against Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) — one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the DCCC, said on MSNBC on Tuesday morning: "If you're talking about trying to pick your opponent, you might see us do that, sure. And I think sometimes it does make sense."

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the committee, told Axios: "No party, Democrat or Republican, should be promoting candidates who perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and try to undermine our democracy. We all have a responsibility and obligation to put our duty to the country above partisan politics."

Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said on CNN: "I think it's disgusting. ... While I think a certain number of Democrats certainly understand that democracy is threatened, don't come to me after having spent money supporting an election denier in a primary ... and say, 'Where are all the good Republicans?'"

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who isn't seeking re-election, told Axios: "This is bigger than any one candidate or campaign. No one should be promoting election deniers and peddlers of the 'Big Lie.'"

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) meanwhile, appeared to support Democrats aggressively spotlighting which GOP candidates are election deniers — including those in her own competitive race.

"The overwhelming majority of Republican candidates running for office still refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election and lie to their voters, including every single one of my primary opponents. Voters deserve to know the truth about these candidates and just how dangerous they are to our democracy," she said in a statement to Axios.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) took a more nuanced approach to the question, telling Axios that he "can see both sides of the argument":

"One can certainly understand an argument that it's categorically wrong to do anything that would objectively help insurrectionist election deniers.


But in the real world of politics, one can also see an argument that if the pro-insurrectionist, election-denier wing of the Republican caucus is already dominant, then it might be worth it to take a small risk that another one of those people would be elected, in return for dramatically increasing the chances that Democrats will be able to hold the House against a pro-insurrectionist, election-denying GOP majority.


Jean-Paul Sartre said that in politics we all have dirty hands up to our elbows. Nobody's pure. And we are in desperate times to defend democratic institutions and practices."



For the record: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) declined to comment for this story.

Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The bottom line: In a competitive Republican primary, Democrats sharpening a candidate's conservative credentials — including by highlighting their refusal to accept Joe Biden won the 2020 election — can go a long way in turning out members of the base that still overwhelmingly support Trump.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to former President Obama, put it this way: "Republican [Peter Meijer] placed his young political career at risk by voting to impeach Trump. Disappointing that Ds are trying to help Trump exact vengeance."

Rebecca Katz, an adviser to Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman and other progressives, plainly stated what many Democrats fear: "In this year of all years, do we really think there is absolutely no way this could possibly backfire in November?"


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27 Jul 2022, 7:55 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes, because you might just get it.
Democrats believe extreme candidates would be easier to defeat, without taking into consideration that extremism might just be what's being looked for in more conservative areas. The Dems might just be planting the seeds of their own destruction.

The destruction of the American Republic. These people get control of the electoral college via appointment or get control of congress who would refuse to certify an election they lost then it is sayonara.


I am rarely one to whine when my posts do not get a response but I am pretty shocked and disappointed at the lack of interest in this one. More importantly, where in the hell is the media of all types?


The Vladimir-Putin-way would be to advertise for a far right candidate, and then once he's picked over a more moderate guy, leak the info.
The result would be rumors of consiracy etc. And people feeling like there's something going on, not too sure what side the guy is really on.

Putin did that, he funded protests by the opposition and gay rights protests and such, only to let everyone know he did (the protesters didn't know before the announcement, of course).
The result was no one could be sure if something, a protest, was even real or just some weird Kremlin stunt.


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01 Aug 2022, 12:59 am

It completely exposes how full of sh*t all of their crying about threats to democracy and such are, as they're promoting the very candidates that hold the views they claim are so threatening, in a naked play for political power. The most egregious might be supporting the Trumpist challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan, one of only ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after J6, really shows you how hollow their rhetoric truly is.


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01 Aug 2022, 5:55 am

Yes, but not so different from when there had been an effort by Republicans to finance Ralph Nader's Presidential campaign in order to sink the Democrats years ago.
By the way, I'm a big fan of Archer. 8)


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01 Aug 2022, 6:46 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes, because you might just get it.
Democrats believe extreme candidates would be easier to defeat, without taking into consideration that extremism might just be what's being looked for in more conservative areas. The Dems might just be planting the seeds of their own destruction.



Other folks have tried this strategy before.

In the final months of the First World War Russia was on its last legs. So Germany decided to finish Russia off by...spreading political turmoil to weaken Russia from behind the battlefield as well as on the battlefield. So just for s**ts and giggles and they took a certain exiled Russian radical living in Switzerland, put him on a secret train, and sent him back to Russia so he could be a human virus spreading anarchy and trouble in his homeland.

The name of that exiled Russian radical was Vladimir Lenin.

And then in the thirties a particular European country was beset with issues. And a certain rabble-rousing politician rose to popularity. But then things got better in this country, and this caused the rabble rouser to fall in the polls and to lose most of his base. So then some rich industrialists decided that they could promote this has-been rabble rouser as their stooge (we control him, he cant control us) in the country's Parlaiment. The country was Germany, and their stooge was a guy named Adolf Hitler.

So...why shouldnt these Dems indulge in this strategy?

I mean...its not like ANY thing could POSSIBLY go wrong! :lol:



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01 Aug 2022, 1:49 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
Yes, but not so different from when there had been an effort by Republicans to finance Ralph Nader's Presidential campaign in order to sink the Democrats years ago.


Yes, it's long been a political hardball strategy to boost a weaker seeming opponent in the primary, the difference here is that the Democrats have been claiming that these people are beyond the pale, a threat to the country and democracy, etc for 5+ years now, whereas no one ever thought Nader was a threat to anything. To make the comparison work, you'd need something more like a Joe McCarthy figure secretly donating to the communist party to weaken the Democrats, an example I'm not sure exists, and even if it did wouldn't excuse what the current Democrats are doing. It's right up there with climate change hysterics who also take lots of long distance vacations by air travel, the mouth says one thing but the actions reveal the true belief.


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01 Aug 2022, 7:13 pm

Dox47 wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Yes, but not so different from when there had been an effort by Republicans to finance Ralph Nader's Presidential campaign in order to sink the Democrats years ago.


Yes, it's long been a political hardball strategy to boost a weaker seeming opponent in the primary, the difference here is that the Democrats have been claiming that these people are beyond the pale, a threat to the country and democracy, etc for 5+ years now, whereas no one ever thought Nader was a threat to anything. To make the comparison work, you'd need something more like a Joe McCarthy figure secretly donating to the communist party to weaken the Democrats, an example I'm not sure exists, and even if it did wouldn't excuse what the current Democrats are doing. It's right up there with climate change hysterics who also take lots of long distance vacations by air travel, the mouth says one thing but the actions reveal the true belief.


As a matter of fact, I don't approve of the Dems pulling this stunt, specifically because many of these MAGA fanatics have clear associations with both Christian Nationalism and white nationalism, two ugly and dangerous ideologies. The last thing any sane person would want is to have any of them elected to anything, and that could potentially happen with Dem scheming.


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04 Aug 2022, 7:13 pm

The Democratic Establishment Teamed Up With Trump To Oust Peter Meijer - Reason Magazine

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Shortly after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in instigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Peter Meijer (R–Mich.) issued one of the more reflective statements you're likely to find in a congressional press release.

"This vote is not a victory. It isn't a victory for my party, and it isn't the victory the Democrats might think it is. I'm not sure it is a victory for our country," Meijer, who was one of just 10 Republicans to vote for impeachment, and the only first-term GOP member to do so, said. "But it is a call to action for us to reflect on these events and seek ways to correct them."

Later, he told The Atlantic's Tim Alberta that the Republican Party needed an intervention over its addiction to Trump—he wanted to provide "hope for some who wanted to [see] the Republican Party get past the darkness and the violence and that sense of foreboding and doom," even if it cost him a long career in politics.

On Tuesday night, it did.

Meijer narrowly lost a primary contest in Michigan's 3rd district to a Trump-backed challenger, John Gibbs, who has echoed Trump's conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election. In a narrow sense, the result is yet another illustration of the current state of the GOP, where the former president's grievances continue to carry serious weight, particularly with the types of voters who turn out for primaries.

But while Republican primary voters are ultimately responsible for the choices they make, the Democratic Party's cynical campaign strategies helped bring about last night's result.

As Reason's Robby Soave noted earlier this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent $435,000 on an ad claiming that Gibbs was "too conservative" for western Michigan—effectively boosting the election-denying Trump-endorsed candidate. The spending was not trivial: it was 100 times more than what Trump had actually donated to Gibbs' campaign.

"Politics is a dirty game, and both parties routinely engage in this sort of brinkmanship, doing whatever it takes to win more seats," Soave wrote. "But Democrats boosting Gibbs are squandering considerable moral high ground they might have otherwise possessed on the issue of the so-called existential threat to democracy."

Given how close the race turned out to be—Gibbs won by fewer than 4,000 votes out of more than 104,000 votes cast—it's certainly possible that the DCCC ad made a difference.

Democrats have turned to this same playbook elsewhere. In the Republican gubernatorial primary in Pennsylvania, for example, an ad funded by the presumptive Democratic nominee helped elevate state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R–Fayetteville) above a crowded field of GOP contenders. His refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania has stoked worries that he would refuse to certify a prospective Democratic win in 2024 if he wins this year's election. (In Pennsylvania, elections are overseen by the secretary of state, a position appointed by the governor).

The January 6 riot should have been a warning to both parties about the potentially dangerous mixture of rage and conspiratorial thinking that increasingly dominates right-wing politics. Instead, it has become just another opportunity for playing politics, as Democrats have cynically elevated the right-wing fringe they condemn as a threat to the future of American democracy.

Like Meijer observed about the impeachment vote, Tuesday's election result isn't the victory Democrats might think it is.


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04 Aug 2022, 7:17 pm

Democrats: "Where are the sane Republicans not in thrall to Trump?"

Also Democrats: "Hey MAGA dude, here's more money than you spent on your own campaign to help you oust this sane Republican who isn't in thrall to Trump."

Again, revealed preferences are revealing.


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05 Aug 2022, 9:41 am


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18 Sep 2022, 11:06 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
As a matter of fact, I don't approve of the Dems pulling this stunt, specifically because many of these MAGA fanatics have clear associations with both Christian Nationalism and white nationalism, two ugly and dangerous ideologies. The last thing any sane person would want is to have any of them elected to anything, and that could potentially happen with Dem scheming.

I've long noticed a tendency, by the Democratic political establishment and by most people in blue states generally (at least here in the Northeast), to underestimate right wing populism.

There's especially a tendency to underestimate both the religious right wing (Christian nationalism) and the spread of grand conspiracy ideology (belief that the world is secretly controlled by a centuries-old or even millenia-old conspiracy of cannibalistic, child sex-abusing "Satanists"/"Pagans"/"occultists" and/or Jews).

Ever since the religious right wing came to prominence in 1980, journalists have been quick to pronounce it "dead" every few years or so.

And, back during the Obama years, I remember being one of the few people I knew of who was worried about the growth of Alex Jones's following. I remember one Jew telling me, "You're not even Jewish, and you're more worried about anti-semitism than I am!"

Part of the problem, here in NYC, is Manhattan myopia, resulting in elite unawareness of the spread of grand conspiracy ideology even in the outer boroughs of NYC itself.

Even in some neighborhoods (including mine) here in NYC, in the outer boroughs, there are lots of storefront churches that feature "deliverance ministries" (exorcism). Adherents of the kinds of Christianity in which exorcism has a key role often (though not always) tend also to be strong believers in grand conspiracy ideology, and they tend also to believe that Christians must defeat the conspiracy and take over the world via "Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare" (large-scale exorcisms of "territorial spirits"). There are churches like these throughout the U.S.A., especially in the Bible Belt.

But most educated people still know very little, if anything at all, about what is probably the biggest, fastest-growing, and most consequential new religious movement of the past sixty years or so.

More generally, I think a big problem is insularity among college-educated professionals, who, at least until Trump was elected in 2016, tended to assume the the only people whose opinions could possibly have any impact on anything at all were other college-educated professionals in positions of power.

Insofar as liberals and progressives are aware of threats from right wing movements, the main focus of concern has tended to be on white nationalism.

Not much attention has been paid to the ability of some right wing extremist groups to attract people of color, partly via appeals to the kind of Christianity I mentioned above. Not everyone who embraces this kind of Christianity is a Christian nationalist, or a right winger of any kind, but Christian nationalism does have an obvious natural appeal to adherents of this kind of Christianity.

In short, I suspect that a lot of Democratic Party power brokers still, due to their own cultural insularity, underestimate the appeal of right wing populism of various kinds, especially the religious variety.


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