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Does It Even Matter Which Crappy Party Wins In November? [Spoiler: This Cycle It Does]

Let’s face it, the Republicans have a lot of over-the-top crazies running this cycle— from gubernatorial hopefuls like Tudor Dixon (MI), Doug Mastriano (PA), Dan Cox (MD) and Kari Lake (AZ) and House nut cases like J.R. Majewski (OH), Erik Aadland (CO), Karoline Leavitt (NH), Sarah Palin (AK), Ryan Zinke (MT), Max Miller (OH) and Anna Paulina Luna (FL), to name just a few, to the MAGA-kooks running for Senate seats like Don Bolduc (NH), Mehmet Oz (PA), Kelly Tshibaka (AK), Ted Budd (NC), Blake Masters (AZ) and, of course Herschel Walker (GA). Yesterday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) told Anderson Cooper that Walker is Trump’s fault. “We didn’t ask who was the best leader. We didn’t ask who had the best resume. Unfortunately, Republicans looked around to see who Trump supported and he was a famous football player and so he became our nominee and now we’re paying the price… Trump led us down a rabbit trail post-election because he was too consumed with trying to save face from losing his election. And he ran us down a trail and we screwed up.” Instead of blaming Trump, maybe he should blame the moron base of his own party.

Last night, a quartet of Washington Post reporters— Isaac Arnsdorf, Ashley Parker, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey— wrote more about the excruciating Walker saga. When Trump had first persuaded Walker to run, Walker consulted with Georgia GOP operatives. When they asked him about potentially embarrassing incidents even in the public record— like the ones making headlines nearly everyday— “he would often get simultaneously defensive and aggressive, accusing the questioner of being a Democratic plant or ally of Mitch McConnell.” Despite the big bucks, those consultants decided not to get onto Walker’s campaign. “Now, less than five weeks before the midterm elections, they’re stuck with him as those liabilities threaten to dominate the news and derail his campaign in a state widely viewed as a must-win for Republicans to retake the Senate… Republican operatives discussed Walker’s potential weaknesses, including his struggles with mental health, which Walker had acknowledged in a book, and a rumored abortion, according to Liz Mair, a GOP opposition researcher working on the runoffs. Mair said she warned others that the abortion rumor would plague Walker as a candidate, but people thought they could keep it hidden. ‘Across the board, Republicans in the state knew about it and decided they didn’t care,’ Mair said. ‘I don’t know if it was a moment of collective insanity when a bunch of people all said, ‘Seems like a genius plan.’”

Republican strategists are taking a couple weeks to measure and evaluate the fallout. The impact could take several weeks to register in opinion surveys. Walker was already trailing incumbent Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) in most public polls.
“Even the most staunch Republicans are rattled,” Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) said Wednesday night on CNN. “Every Republican knew that there was baggage out there, but the weight of that baggage is starting to feel a little closer to unbearable at this point.”
…In March 2021, Trump went public with an official statement urging Walker to run. “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia?” Trump said. “He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL. He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!”
…The campaign has struggled to respond to reports since the primary about Walker’s unacknowledged children and, finally, the alleged abortion. Walker was not initially forthcoming with his own advisers about at least some of the out-of-wedlock children, and NRSC staff members did not know about them until they were publicly reported.
…“I’m going to vote Herschel Walker,” said one Georgia-based Republican consultant. “I don’t care if he performed an abortion himself— I am going to vote for him.”

The latest polling average from FiveThirtyEight shows Warnock’s lead increasing and a poll by Survey USA released this week has Warnock ahead with a daunting 50-38% lead. That poll, though, is the only poll with that kind of Democratic advantage.

This morning, Rev. John Pavlovitz addressed his post to “compassionate, faithful, patriotic Republican voters” (presumably not the ones who said “I’m going to vote Herschel Walker. I don’t care if he performed an abortion himself— I am going to vote for him.”) Pavlovitz suggested the mostly imaginary “compassionate, faithful, patriotic” Republicans understand that “it’s time to cross the line,” and they recall “every Constitutional assault, every human rights rollback, every bit of Supreme Court overreach, every sickening January 6th revelation, every attack on voting rights, every incendiary sermon, every racially charged travel ban and border wall rant, every gaslighting press conference.”

He called on them to keep “the precise gravity of the moment” in mind when they evaluate “how dangerous the leaders of your party has become… “I’m asking you to vote in a way you may have never voted before— because these are days we’ve never seen here before… Your party has been slowly commandeered by the extremists and the zealots, and even if it once represented you I don’t believe that it does now. I think you realize that. Right now there are unhinged, amoral people at the helm of your party and we are all being driven swiftly into the abyss, and it is because of the quickly approaching void that I’m asking you to stand with those of us who aren’t satisfied with going there easily— and to vote us back from the edge.”

This isn’t about one party winning and another party losing. It’s about good people stopping a very bad movement: one that is antithetical to life and country; one that neither deserves nor respects the lofty, influential, and sacred space it seeks to occupy.
I’m not asking you to alter a single fiber of your personal morality or to compromise on anything you hold dear—I’m asking you to fight for those things alongside millions of people who are doing the very same thing.
I’m inviting you to make an uncomfortable momentary alliance, in order to avoid an irreparable Constitutional catastrophe.
I’m asking you to stand against white supremacists and Neo-Nazis and anti-immigrant bigots and flat-earthers and fear-peddlers and conspiracy theorists, who don’t reflect any version of this nation worth passing on to our children and those who will inherit our choices.
In the most heinous, most grievous, most dangerous, most treasonous of ways, this iteration of your former party has continually crossed the line and abandoned this nation and its own stated values of life and faith.
I’m asking you to cross the line in order to stop them.
…I’m asking you to vote Blue: for America, for the planet, for faith, for life— and for humanity.

What does the election mean to you in a non-abstract way? Let me explain by way of solid example. A new poll from Data for Progress asked voters which position they support regarding Social Security: “Democrats in Congress are proposing to expand Social Security benefits for all beneficiaries to address the higher cost of living. Republicans in Congress want to change Social Security so that Congress has to approve funding for it every year. If the election for U.S. Congress in your district was held today, which of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for?

  • The Democrat- 57%

  • The Republican- 33%

Among independent voters only:

  • The Democrat- 58%

  • The Republican- 22%

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