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.