Updated: Feb 4
On Monday, Amy Wang reported that the RNC is urging Republican candidates to double down on the extreme anti-Choice measures that hurt their party in the midterms. “After GOP underperformance in November’s midterm elections,” she wrote, “the Republican National Committee is doubling down on its anti-abortion stance, formally urging GOP lawmakers and campaigns to ‘go on offense in the 2024 election cycle’ and to pass the strictest antiabortion legislation possible. At its winter meeting, the RNC passed a resolution that called on Republicans to push ‘laws that acknowledge the beating hearts and experiences of pain in the unborn,’ referring to ‘heartbeat’ bans on abortions, which would outlaw the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy— before many people realize they are pregnant.”
The RNC made the spurious claim that the Republicans did so much worse than expected in November because candidates didn’t go hard enough on the anti-Choice position! What world are they in? Wang pointed out that “Even before November, signs of a nationwide backlash to the overturning of Roe had already begun to emerge after the Supreme Court’s decision. Candidates who supported abortion rights over-performed in special elections over the summer, while key battleground states saw a spike in Democratic and independent women registering to vote. Kansas voters soundly rejected a referendum that would have allowed state lawmakers to regulate abortion, and South Carolina Republicans fell short in their bid for a near-total abortion ban in the state.”
The RNC also plans to ramp up on the disproven election fraud claims for the 2024 election cycle, exactly what voters outside of the MAGA bubble say they don’t want to hear. It’s almost as though these people want to lose. I image Mitch McConnell is having a heart attack. It's like the next step would be to nominate Marjorie Traitor Greene vice president, pledge to appoint Matt gaetz to the Supreme Court and to campaign on freeing the J-6 domestic terrorists and giving them medals of honor.
While extremists among the House Russo-Republicans are agitating to cut off all aid to Ukraine, a Fox News poll released last night shows how out of step this lunatics in the House are with their own voters. 64% of registered voters want to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons, including 56% of Republicans.
Reporting for the Washington Post early this morning, Ashley Parker wrote that “Unlike in previous decades, where losing candidates largely slunk away, many Republicans have increasingly been celebrating political losers, with certain sections of the GOP base lionizing them as wronged warriors and avatars of legitimate grievances. Trump is the most obvious embodiment of the phenomenon— a man who lost both the electoral and popular vote to President Biden in 2020 and refused to accept the results of the election, yet has maintained a powerful, if waning, hold over his party. Now, however, he has company in the likes of defeated far-right politicians [Jair] Bolsonaro and [Kari] Lake." Funny, though... Parker never mentioned the words "cottage industry" or "grifter" in her report.
For some Republicans, gone are the days when political defeat meant quietly retreating from the limelight “until you’re a Jeopardy question,” as anti-Trump Republican strategist Sarah Longwell put it.
There now exists “an entire state of being for people where you never apologize, you always claim you’re a victim, and there’s safety in numbers and solidarity in the victimhood— and that gives you a community and a place to fight back from,” said Longwell, who has been conducting regular focus groups with Republican voters.
Much of the appeal rests in a shared sense of victimization, with the political losers holding themselves up as martyrs for a broader cause.
“The victimization culture is definitely at the core of this trend,” said Tim Miller, a former Republican strategist and ardent Trump critic who works as a writer for the Bulwark website. “The base has determined that the ‘elites’ are unfairly targeting conservatives and must be treated as enemy combatants.”
Miller, who previously worked for the losing presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, added that in this context, “accepting defeat and playing by ‘their’ rules is seen as weakness.”
“Throwing a tantrum about how these elites have conspired against you and committing to topple them even if it takes force is seen as strength,” he said.
…Trump has long refused to the accept the results of the 2020 election— a stance that helped fuel the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol— and made election denialism something of an ideological litmus test for fellow conservatives.
In Arizona, Lake has transformed her campaign for governor into a campaign against the democratic systems she baselessly claims rigged the 2022 election against her. She has not conceded, even though she lost by more than 17,000 votes to Hobbs.
At some point there will be a clash between the GOP losers and those who didn't lose. Trump vs DeSantis will be classic, but it will go much deeper than that. Last night, Trump was already feuding with his House puppet, Kevin McCarthy over part of the MAGA iconography, the martyrdom of insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt:
Tom Nelson is the progressive Democratic Outagamie County Executive in northern Wisconsin. He’s a sensible guy who keeps winning elections in a red area so I asked him about this seemingly insane GOP strategy. This morning he told me that “Wisconsin is facing yet another election and just like all her elections, this is one of the most important in the country. It is the race for THE swing seat of the state supreme court. Win and we begin to reverse a decade plus of anti-democracy precedent and perhaps maybe, just maybe the overturning of the state's draconian abortion law of 1849 that out laws the practice completely and tosses doctors in jail should they try and save the life of a mom, victim of incest or any other reason. I feel good that Democrats and swing voters will support the progressive nominee. People have had enough of the current supreme court which is basically a branch office of the GOP.”
State Senator Chris Larson, who lives across the state, just south of Milwaukee, doesn't mind seeing the GOP committing political suicide. "I'm in total agreement that this is the best strategy for the Republican Party," he told me. "The more their extreme politicians can remind voters how wildly out of step they are with reality, the better. While we are grappling with the largest wealth gap in U.S. history, health care debt continues to be the number one cause of personal bankruptcy, child care costs more than most colleges, and the federal minimum wage hasn't budged in 14 years, the think the best course of action is to continue their obsession with a woman's reproductive choices and spread Trump's conspiracy theories about how his historic election loss. Sounds like a winning strategy to me."