by David Catron
One of the residual effects of last year’s chaotic election is the palpable fear of former President Trump that still haunts the Democrats. Their congressional antics, from the absurd post-election impeachment to the parodic House investigation into the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” confirm that they are still very much afraid of the man they ostensibly defeated last November. This has nothing to do with any threat that Trump or his supporters pose to the republic, as media alarmists insist. The actual source of Democratic trepidation can be found in their lackluster performance in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections combined with Trump’s clear intention to become very much involved in boosting Republicans in next year’s midterms.
First, a reality check concerning the 2020 election: Biden didn’t win a popular vote landslide as the Democrats still claim. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) totals, he won 81,268,924 of 158,383,403 ballots cast. In other words, 77,114,479 people voted for Trump or one of the third-party candidates. That nearly 49 percent of the voters cast ballots against Biden, despite the unprecedented support he received from the media and Big Tech cannot fail to worry rational Democrats. Nor can they help being unnerved by a poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that strongly suggests their anemic 2020 congressional showing portends worse results in 2022. Politico reports:
During a closed-door lunch last week with some of his most vulnerable incumbents, House Democrats’ campaign chief delivered a blunt warning: If the midterms were held now, they would lose the majority … Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) followed that bleak forecast, which was confirmed by multiple people familiar with the conversation, with new polling that showed Democrats falling behind Republicans by a half-dozen points on a generic ballot in battleground districts.
Consequently, while the Democrats agonize over their tenuous grip on Congress, and a rudderless White House quickly sinks in the polls, Trump is already building a sizable war chest and exerting influence on congressional contests. As Stephen Collinson shrieks at CNN, “Donald Trump now has a $100 million weapon to wield against US democracy.” This horrific “weapon” turns out to be (gasp) political action committees like the Save America PAC and the MAGA PAC. What really worries “journalists” like Collinson and the Democrats is that these Trump PACs have already raised $82 million since January and have $102 million on hand which can be used to support promising candidates like Ohio Republican Mike Carey.
Carey, who just won the Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, is a relative newcomer to politics who was all but unknown until Trump endorsed him. On Tuesday, he defeated 11 rivals vying for a seat vacated when Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) retired in May. Carey will face Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) in a special election on November 2. The former president actively campaigned for Carey and the MAGA Action PAC reportedly spent more than $300,000 in radio and TV ads to support him. Trump will spend much of the next 16 months working for candidates like Carey according to a statement released on July 31, in which he outlines the importance he places on the midterms:
I can’t imagine a more important time to elect good Republicans to the House and Senate. Commonsense conservatives were never more badly needed. We must have people who will stand for our America First Agenda of lower taxes, fewer regulations, support the Second Amendment, strong Borders, honoring our vets, and are very tough on crime. The American people know what’s at stake. I will never stop fighting for Free and Fair elections, and to elect the right candidates.
Trump has endorsed three Republicans in special elections so far this year. The first was Julia Letlow, widow of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow. She defeated a large field of contenders to become the third woman ever elected to the House from Louisiana. Trump’s second endorsement went to Susan Wright, the widow of Republican Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas). She lost in the GOP primary runoff election to another Republican, Jake Ellzey. Inevitably, the media gave Wright’s loss far more coverage than Letlow’s win, declaring Trump’s endorsements worthless until Mike Carey’s Tuesday victory. In 2021, Trump’s special election score is 2 out of 3. All three elections were, by the way, easily won by Republicans.
This isn’t to say that all Republicans should be comforted by Trump’s endorsements or his PAC money. In addition to using them to defeat Democrats, he will certainly target a number of RINOs — particularly those who voted with Democrats to impeach him. Moreover, at least one PAC funded by Trump supporters has specifically targeted the 10 Republicans who joined with the House Democrats to approve the ridiculous article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection.” The website for the America Strong PAC features a video of the notorious May 12 floor speech by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), photos of all ten “pretenders,” and invites contributors to “replace the fake Republicans who voted to impeach.”
When the Democrats regained control of the House in 2018, they should have consolidated their position by working with then-President Trump and the GOP Senate to accomplish something positive for the American people. Instead, they decided that their raison d’être was the destruction of the Bad Orange Man. Now that they are barely clinging to thin majorities in Congress and encumbered by a deeply dysfunctional White House, Trump is coming after them. Their increasingly irrational and lawless behavior suggests that they are deeply afraid he will succeed in ousting them. And if they attempt to save themselves with a repeat of their 2020 assaults on our civil liberties, their political demise may well be permanent.
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0).