Some good news from last Tuesday’s primaries

Ryan Grim writes that SuperPACs aligned with the Republican party and the Sinema-Manchin wing of the Democratic party leadership poured a lot of money in an attempt to defeat progressive Democratic candidates in last Tuesday’s primary elections but did not succeed as well as they might have hoped for, since Summer Lee and John Fetterman won in Pennsylvania while in Oregon Jamie McLeod-Skinner is in a close race while Andrea Salinas seems poised to win.

The stunning wins come as the party debates who is to blame for Biden’s sinking approval rating and increasingly dire forecasts of upcoming midterm losses. Party establishment figures have pointed the finger at the left for making unreasonable demands couched in slogans like “defund the police” that turn off voters. The progressive wing has countered that Biden’s popularity has sunk as centrist Democrats have slowly murdered his agenda, while the left has fought to enact it. 

A lot of the money opposing the progressives came from AIPAC, Democratic Majority for Israel, and Mainstream Democrats, the super PAC organized and funded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and House Majority PAC, a superPAC linked to Nancy Pelosi.

Meanwhile the Republican primary for the Pennsylvania senate seat is too close to call and is likely headed for an automatic recount, which must be difficult for Trump to stomach since his strongly endorsement of Mehmet Oz did not cause him to win easily and he instead holds a very slim lead of 31.2%-31.1% over his closest rival Dave McCormick. This translates to about a thousand votes but there are about 100,000 mail-in ballots yet to be processed and counted. The other extreme right wing candidate Kathy Barnette got 24.7% of the vote and there will be postmortems as to which of the other two candidates suffered most from her presence in the race.

Trump has urged Oz to act like he does and simply declare victory so that presumably if the final result does not go his way, he can claim fraud.

“Dr. Oz should declare victory,” the former President wrote of his endorsed candidate, instructing him to take a page from Trump’s own playbook in 2020, when he declared “Frankly, we did win this election” while votes were still being counted.

In his post Wednesday, Trump went on to make baseless claims about cheating without providing any evidence to support his contention.

Trump blamed the Club for Growth, which made a last-minute investment on behalf of conservative commentator Kathy Barnette in the Pennsylvania Senate race, for siphoning off votes from Oz in the primary.

So far Oz has resisted Trump’s call but it may serve as a signal to other Republicans to do the same, and declare victory on their own, even when the race is not that close. After all, Trump is still claiming he did not lose in 2020 when the margins in both the popular vote and the electoral college were pretty large.

[I]f Trump says it, the record shows, Republicans will fall into line. By the next set of primaries, Trump Republicans should be ready to declare victories in elections that have yet to open if Trump gives the say-so. To be a Republican is to be initially appalled by whatever Trump says, but that’s only the first part of the equation. After rejecting as poison whatever bilge he attempts to feed them, Republicans come to hail whatever he serves, regurgitate it and swallow it again. And they like it.

Some years ago Trump untethered himself from this world in favor of his personal metaverse where every election where he does not win is rigged, and any election that is too close to call must be awarded to his endorsee, and whatever he says goes. That in itself does not shock. Most politicians are megalomaniacs. What requires our inspection is not Trump’s reality-bending skills but the fact that so many worship his every utterance. How effective have his fantasies been? According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 53 percent of Republicans believe Trump is the true president, and that’s in this world, not the Trump metaverse.

You would expect that organizations or belief structures that are so untethered to reality should eventually collapse under the weight of its accumulating contradictions but of course that is not true, as the durability of religions shows us. Since the MAGA mentality has all the earmarks of a religious cult, this too may prove to be durable, sadly.


  1. garnetstar says

    I think we may, in fact, see more collapsing under the weight of reality in the general senate election, as long as the ability to fix reality doesn’t wholly overwhelm. The MAGA candidates got more than 50% of the R vote over the hedge-fund guy, who is the only candidate that could possibly beat the D candidate. So, the D candidate will win in November as long as the republicans can’t actually fix reality to be consonant with their world.

    I suppose that’s what we’ll see: mighty attempts to fix the reality that the D candidate won. At least they’ll have a hard time blaming mail-in ballots!

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Virtually the entire history of the Western Hemisphere has been predicated on the idea that white males are supposed to be on the top and all other people and things are to be treated as resource mines for the benefit of white males. Why would the MAGA horde ever spurn someone who “promises” to deliver just that?
    We are in a war of attrition. We must use our superior numbers to lay siege to White Supremacy everywhere for generations. We must hold our noses and move to places like Idaho and Texas to eventually scour them clean too, or else the infection will just keep coming back. This is what the book banning and the hysteria over CRT is all about, they know just how awful they truly are and they know that if enough children know it too, then their slide into oblivion will become inevitable. But the process has to start over again with each new generation. That’s why we are in this situation now: we Baby Boomers got complacent and bought into the truism (that isn’t true) that “The arc of history bends towards justice”.

  3. anat says

    A small bit of activism that has some evidence for efficacy and which is not too hard to do: Join -- their idea is that people send letters to voters on the Saturday before election day to remind/encourage them to vote. You can adopt as few as 5 voters or many more, and you can start writing now, so with just a few letters per week you can accumulate a nice pile of them. They focus on low frequency registered Democrats and underrepresented populations in swing or close to swing states and congressional districts. There is a big effort in Texas (they want to send over a million letters there).

  4. Tethys says

    I don’t know who runs those polls, but most of the republicans I know despise tfg and vote accordingly. That’s why tfg lost bigly.

    Perhaps the media companies could stop their profitable propaganda and constantly reporting what tfg thinks or wants? That would be great, because 70 % of the voters absolutely despise the traitor.

  5. seachange says

    Most of the media companies are fake news and lazy avaricious, Tethys. Their owners are biased towards the reichwing. Paying actual reporters to find and report news also appears to be unprofitable and tends to result in the (icky!) truth, because nobody’s doing that except non-profits?

    So seeing no alternative, of course they won’t.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    Upon rereading my post #2 I realize my first sentence erased over 11000 years of pre-Columbian human history in the western hemisphere.
    I’ll try to do better in future.

  7. lanir says

    As far as Trumpism goes, there’s one favorable note. Trump is forming a cult and those are not as durable as the major religions. He wants to keep himself indispensable and central to his movement. He won’t let anyone share much of it. He’s an old man and he won’t be around forever. But there are no successors waiting in the wings. His daughter seems more interested in repeating his pre-political grifts, Jared has less charisma than I do, and Trump sees every moderately successful politician as a personal threat.

    To be a permanent threat, this sort of cult of personality has to have something going for it after the leader dies or becomes unpopular. Trump is suspicious of anything like that because he sees it as a route for someone to threaten him. So he’s going to actively fight anything like that happening. When Trump isn’t around to lead them anymore, there will be a large group of people in the market for another lie to be sold to them. But any would-be Trump successors will be starting from scratch to grab all of them before they stop being a distinct group and fade into the background.

    About the main point of the article, I’m kind of hopeful we’ll get more useful people in politics. I’d prefer the stand-out quality of AOC to be how well she makes her points not that she’s strangely representative of the general populace in our representative democracy. It’d be nice to think the failed heckling and big spends from the right wing groups constituted some manner of route but that seems unlikely. They’ll probably pop right back up next time with at least as much cash. And they’ll likely analyze what just happened to try to form better plans on how to spend it.

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