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Not Counting Arizona, Who's This Cycle's Worst Statewide Nominee?

"Civil War Update" by Nancy Ohanian

Both wretched corporate parties have some horrible candidates this cycle, but only the Republicans have candidates that are completely beyond the pale. Some of their statewide nominees are real doozies. FiveThirtyEight forecasts the Maryland state Rep. Dan Cox will lose with 37.0%. Both polls taken this month show him with less than 30%. Trump lost the state in 2016 with 33.9% and with 32.1% in 2020— although Trump did win the 3 rural neo-confederate panhandle counties that want to secede and join West Virginia, Garrett Co. (76.9%), Allegany Co. (68.2%) and Washington Co. (59.3%). Presumably Cox will also win the 3 of them. Have you ever seen a more definitive forecast than this?

Yesterday’s Baltimore Sun poll shows Wes Moore crushing him, 58% to 27%. Is he the worst statewide Republican running this cycle? There’s no reason to think so. Look, for example, at the Michigan gubernatorial candidate, Tudor Dixon— who, to be fair, only got the nomination because the 3 more plausible candidates were all eliminated for turned in election petitions filled with forged signatures. And speaking of neo-Confederates, Dixon is one mixed up kook, who somehow thinks the Democrats lost the Civil War. She managed to knit together some lunatic fringe QAnon conspiracy theories that amount to COVID and the Black Lives Matter protests “were part of a decades-long plan by the Democratic Party to ‘topple’ the United States as retaliation for losing the US Civil War, adding that the party wanted to enslave people ‘again.’ In a six-minute monologue at the beginning of the [Real America’s Voice] show, Dixon said that after the ‘attempted creation of the Black House Autonomous Zone outside of the White House,’ referring to a cordoned off area near the White House erected by activists, that Democrats were using this moment to ‘topple’ the US. ‘The country today is divided, and this was the plan. It’s been in the works for years. The idea that you can topple the greatest country in the world. But to topple a country like the United States of America, you must be planning this for decades,’ said Dixon. ‘Why wouldn’t that come from the party that lost the Civil War? The party that wanted to own people because they viewed them as less than human? Do you think that the Democrats are over losing to the north?’”

Dixon is doing better than Cox… but not really a threat to Gretchen Whitmer, her Democratic opponent. FiveThirtyEight forecasts a 51.8 to 44.8% close.

In The Guardian yesterday, Jill Filipovic came right and and asked Is Herschel Walker the worst candidate the Republicans have ever run? Possibly, she wrote. “Walker embodies everything the Republican party has claimed to oppose: violent crime, abortion, homes broken by absentee fathers, race-based affirmative action and straight-up incompetence. And yet no matter what Walker is accused of, up to and including acts many Republicans define as murder, he retains the support of the Republican party, and his race for a Georgia Senate seat remains a tight one.”

Polls show a deadlocked race, Warnock up by a mere 0.2 points. “It’s not just that the modern Republican party has accepted as a norm that there should be absolutely zero moral or ethical expectations from the people they run for office,” wrote Filipovic. “It’s that they seem to relish breaking the rules they want to set for others. It’s not hypocrisy so much as the celebration of conservative male impunity. Walker has now been accused by two different women of pressuring them to get abortions, and paying for the procedures– allegations which he denies. By the ‘pro-life’ definition of abortion, one widely accepted within the Republican party, abortion is murder, which means that Walker allegedly paid to murder his own children. That Republican voters don’t see this as a problem suggests that they don’t really buy what their own movement is selling, and don’t actually believe that abortion is in fact murder. But they are nonetheless prepared to criminalize it.

Still, this is the man selected by the party of “family values” to represent Georgia– and this is a man who believes he should get the job.
Rightwing commentator Dana Loesch seemed to sum up the Republican view on Walker when she said of his abortion funding, “I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.” Walker has denied the accusations, but not even Republicans seem to believe him. “I don’t know if he did it or not,” Loesch said. “I don’t even care.”
Republicans definitely care when women choose to have abortions, though. The Republican party line is that abortion is murder and should be criminalized. Walker himself believes as much, and has voiced his support for Georgia’s strict abortion criminalization law, as well as Republican efforts to outlaw abortion nationwide.
And it’s not just that Walker is by any measure a profoundly immoral person, with his long string of violent criminal behavior and abuse of women. He is also almost indescribably vapid, a man with what seems to be a shockingly light grasp of the most basic of concepts (he at least seems to recognize his own intellectual limitations, saying, “I’m not that smart”). He struggles to string together a coherent sentence. Climate change, he has said, is not worth fighting because “since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up, while they’re messing ours up.”
He is also a serial fabulist, although it’s unclear if he’s purposely lying all of the time, or if he truly does not understand what is happening around him at any given moment. Walker claimed he was his high school’s valedictorian and in the top 1% of his graduating class in college; in reality, he did not graduate from college, although he has since lied about lying about it. Walker told a group of soldiers, “I spent time at Quantico at the FBI training school. Y’all didn’t know I was an agent?” They did not know he was an agent because Herschel Walker was not, in fact, an agent. Nevertheless, he has persisted in claiming that he was in law enforcement, holding up an honorary sheriff’s deputy badge as proof– the rough equivalent of a child brandishing their kiddie pilot wings and claiming they can fly the plane.
…Walker himself has said he simply doesn’t remember much of his violent past, and has pinned blame on what he says are his multiple personalities– a disorder he sought treatment for by a guy whose professional credentials are a degree in Bible from the Dallas Bible College and a master’s degree in theology, and who blames demonic possession for mental illnesses, claims to be able to cure homosexuality and diagnoses mental disorders based on what color crayon a patient selects (the therapist himself is colorblind).
Imagine, for a moment, if Kamala Harris had what seems to be inadequately treated multiple personality disorder, a history of violent criminal behavior she blamed on her other personalities, and several children with multiple different men who she attempted to hide during her campaign– the rightwing outrage and attacks would be vicious and unending, and she would not be in office. Michelle Obama had the audacity to simply exist in the public eye, and for that was subject to a barrage of racist and sexist vitriol, including Fox News calling her “Obama’s baby mama.”
Republican men, in the meantime, can be proudly incompetent, self-defined imbeciles, moral degenerates and violent misogynists, and they don’t risk their party’s support or conservatives’ ballots.
This is hypocrisy, yes. But Republicans aren’t ashamed of it not just because they seem to lack the capacity for shame– although that is certainly true– but because the below-the-surface conservative ethos isn’t about any real attachment to family values, moral uprightness, or fetal life, but rather a return to a traditional gender order where men dominate political, social and economic life, and women are financially and socially dependent on them, primarily tasked with raising children and tending to the home. Outlawing abortion helps to reinforce this patriarchal order by constraining women’s opportunities and our ability to choose the course of our own lives, but it’s the “patriarchal order” part of the equation that’s more desirable than the “preventing abortion” part of it. When Walker wants the women he allegedly impregnated to end their pregnancies because additional out-of-wedlock children are inconvenient for him, his future and his political career, that upholds the kind of traditional male power structure conservatives seek to reinstate– and is the kind of abortion exception Republicans can apparently get behind.

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