Trump is determined the select the Republican Senate nominees. His criteria is simple: the candidate most abjectly loyal to him is the nominee. That's it-- and it's driving McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment crazy, since some of the crackpots Trump backs are less likely to win general elections than the more establishment candidates who have a better shot at winning crucial independents and swing voters.
The Democrats have a different kind of problem in picking their nominees for 2022 and Francesca Chambers looked at that-- somewhat naively-- for McClatchy yesterday: Why Democrats Plan To Wait On Endorsements In 2022 Senate Primaries. She began by parroting the DSCC pr spin: they're "taking a more cautious approach to upcoming contested primaries, opting to wait and see how key races shake out before making endorsements of their preferred candidates. After facing criticism for hand-picking candidates at the outset of intraparty battles in recent years, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has yet to endorse a non-incumbent running for Senate in 2022, though it hasn’t ruled out that possibility."
I bet they're not ruling that possibility at! The DSCC publicist told Chambers that they're "holding back at the start of the campaigns will ultimately produce the strongest possible general election candidates as Democrats seek to expand their narrow Senate majority. 'I would say our adjustment is, we will be evaluating things on a case by case basis and allowing things to develop a little more, because that also gives us more of an opportunity to see what people are like as candidates,' said Christie Roberts, the DSCC’s executive director."
Democratic operatives, activists and candidates have expressed frustration with the DSCC’s early endorsements in the past, arguing the move does not always guarantee clear paths in primaries for their favored candidates and at times has resulted in weaker opponents for the Republicans to face.
The DSCC, which is chaired by Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, now says it will give voters and grassroots organizations more time to make their own assessment of candidates. But DSCC officials say they still may intervene in primary battles down the road.
“We may still support certain candidates in these races, but we’re going to just evaluate as we go,” Roberts said.
As they decide whether to make endorsements in primaries, DSCC officials say their guiding principle will be identifying who is the best candidate to win the general election.
So what does that mean?
Sitting in the basement calling donors and selling your soul?
An affinity towards preserving the status quo
An ability to feel comfy as a Republican-lite candidate
An acknowledgment of personal loyalty and obeisance to Schumer
That's how they judge "who is the best candidate to win the general election." And they usually get it terribly wrong. The thermometer below leads to a page of progressive Senate candidates with little to know chance of getting support from the DSCC (with the possible exception of Charles Booker, as a sop to progressives). Please click on it and contribute what you feel you can.
Here's a lie that Chambers reported as though it were true because I guess she didn't want to ask the progressive challengers: "'We’re keeping open lines of communications with all of the candidates, we’re assessing the campaigns, and we’re working to build the infrastructure for the general election,' said David Bergstein, the DSCC’s communications director. 'We haven’t issued endorsements in any challenger races-- yet-- but we are not taking anything off the table.'" None of the campaigns wanted to get into a fight with Schumer and the DSCC at this point but none of them are feeling any encouragement-- let alone any love-- from the DSCC either.
Several battleground states, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin, are hosting 2022 Senate races that have already crowded Democratic primary fields. Democratic operatives see danger for the party if an establishment organization tries to clear the way for a single candidate.
In multiple primaries last cycle, the DSCC endorsed candidates the day after they declared.
Some Democrats say the committee’s past primary endorsements have had the opposite of their intended effect, sparking divisions within the party rather than focusing on defeating the GOP in the general election.
For instance, some progressives view the DSCC’s support for a veteran fighter pilot, Amy McGrath, over a young, Black state representative, Charles Booker, as a contributing factor to Democrats’ lopsided defeat in Kentucky’s 2020 Senate race.
Booker criticized the DSCC for “meddling” in the race. McGrath went on to lose to Senate GOP leader by nearly 20 percentage points in the general election. Booker has since entered the race to challenge Republican Sen. Rand Paul for Kentucky’s other Senate seat in 2022.
Some Democratic operatives and activists also said the DSCC previously placed too much emphasis on candidates’ fundraising abilities compared to other skills, pointing to McGrath and 2020 Maine Senate candidate Sara Gideon.
Gideon earned the DSCC’s support immediately in her bid to oust moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins and was one of the party’s top Senate fundraisers. But Collins easily defeated Gideon in what was widely seen as one of the Democrat’s best pick-up opportunities in 2020.
Democrats working outside the party committee said they are hopeful the DSCC’s new approach will lead to the emergence of more diverse candidates who do not necessarily fit the mold of a traditional politician. It could also help prevent Republicans from attacking Democratic candidates as tools of the establishment.
“It would behoove these organizations to not be so eager to clear out the field or to make their presence felt locally, and that would ultimately benefit their candidate and their issues that they do that,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who was an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Yvette Simpson, the CEO of the progressive group Democracy for America, said that the DSCC spent too much money on TV ads and did not place enough emphasis on grassroots organizing in the last election. She said she is working to develop a more productive relationship with the party committee that allows outside progressive groups to have greater input.
“One of the failings of last cycle’s Senate races were that Chuck Schumer and DSCC decided, without talking to people, who was going to be the candidate that they put forward, without a plan for how they were going to engage real voters,” Simpson said, referring to the Senate Democratic leader.
“I think if we can reverse course and do that, I think that we can win,” Simpson added.