10.25.2017 0

You’re doing more harm than good, Mr. Majority Leader

By ALG Staff

The Republican Party is in the middle of a civil war. Steve Bannon has promised to wage an insurgency against the GOP establishment candidates in the upcoming Senate primaries. The establishment, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is fighting back. The first round has gone to the insurgents in the battle of Alabama — plus the retirements of Bob Corker in Tennessee and Jeff Flake in Arizona — but judging from recent comments it is going to get nastier.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the incumbent in a primary. Healthy competition between party members is an excellent way to keep incumbent and challenger honest. However, going negative against the primary challenger is counterproductive. The damage done to Judge Roy Moore is a perfect example.

During the brutal campaign to replace the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, tens of millions of dollars were spent on horrendously negative ads attacking the opposition. However, the ads were not targeting the opposite party, but the primary opponents Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks. Now recent polls are showing the primary winner, Roy Moore, in a tight race with the Democrat for the seat.

It is disturbing McConnell has taken no responsibility for what is happening, nor that he sees the effects his meddling has had on the electorate. If Roy Moore did not have high negatives, it would be the ultimate indictment of McConnell. The question is whether the Majority Leader will help undo some of the damage. So far, the answer is no.

The war was escalated over the weekend when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked the Republican base for not backing his handpicked candidates. The Majority Leader believes only he can pick winning candidates, but the last time I checked, it was all McConnell chosen Senators causing trouble.

Committee Chairmen picked by McConnell are failing to get judicial and administration nominees confirmed. The insurgents, Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are not holding up nominations. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is holding up nominations to the Pentagon, Sen John Cornyn (R-Tex.) is holding up nominations, and Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) slow rolling a once in a lifetime opportunity to put constitutionalists in the courts. Is it necessary to go over who voted no for the skinny repeal of Obamacare? The tea party-backed Senators are holding up their end of the deal, the problem children in the Senate are the Majority Leader’s lieutenants.

Joe Miller would have voted to repeal and replace Obamacare. Kelli Ward would have voted to repeal and replace Obamacare. You can bet neither of them wouldn’t be causing problems McConnell is currently facing.

McConnell should learn his lesson and stay out of primaries. Not only is his attempted meddling having an adverse effect on the races, but he is also wasting tens of millions that should be spent on the general election.

How much of a negative effect is it having?

A poll was conducted after the initial primary between Strange, Moore, and Rep. Mo Brooks asked the question, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spent millions of dollars helping Luther Strange get elected. Did his support make you more or less likely to vote for Luther Strange?”

46 percent said McConnell’s spending makes them less likely to vote for Strange in the run-off.

Numbers like that make the Majority Leader a hindrance rather than an asset. Yes, an incumbent may get tens of millions of dollars, but if the money is radioactive, what’s the point?

Sarah Bryner, of Opensecrets.org, recently released a report that should scare McConnell. 23 percent of Republican incumbents already have a challenger, an extremely high number this early in the election cycle. The donation numbers are not looking good either.

According to Bryner, “99 incumbents (13 Democrats, 86 Republicans) – 37 percent of incumbents who have challengers — are being outraised by their opponent in small donations, or donations of less than $200.” Small donations mean an excited base that comes out to vote.

McConnell must realize his money and intervention are not welcomed in primaries.

If McConnell would do half of what he said he the Republicans would do if they got control of the Senate, he might have a leg to stand on. Instead, the 115th Congress has been an abject failure with the fault lying at his feet. Perhaps the Majority Leader should try getting something done, instead of bragging about voting on useless amendments to bills going nowhere. Maybe then he would be worth listening to.

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