Sunday, February 13, 2022

Two Senate Races

As can be seen at approximately 6:34 of the video below, Jake Tapper popular Maryland governor Larry Hogan, who is admired in the media as a "moderate Republican," whether he is "losing the soul for the battle of the Republican Party." Hogan responds "I think we've made tremendous progress because we went from about 80-some percent (e.g., of Republicans) that wanted to re-elect Donald Trump to 50. That's a huge drop."

Assume for the moment that Tapper believes, as he has made fairly obvious, that the benign "soul" of the GOP is the far-right party as it has been for many decades, absent the racism, misogyny, and crudeness of Donald Trump. With that the case, the answer to Tapper's question is fairly obvious, as two primary campaigns for Senate (and much else) demonstrate. Those campaigns also may signal the end, or at least the decline, of what we once thought was a significant social movement.

Eric Greitens last March announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for the US Senate seat currently held by the retiring Richard Burr. The following week, Mother Jones' Madison Pauly, noting that Greitens had resigned as governor in 2018 "amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted and blackmailed his former hairdresser" but now claims he was exonerated, summarized

Greitens is accused of sexual assault and blackmail, and a recording of his victim speaking about the abuse is the basis for a local news investigation. A jury finds the evidence solid enough to indict him on related charges. An investigator flubs a deposition, and the prosecutor is forced to pull back. The criminal cases against Greitens may have gone away, but he was hardly “exonerated.”

Eleven months after the former governor entered the race, blogger Steve M. notes

Eric Greitens has been credibly accused of financial crimes and sexual assault and was forced to resign as governor of Missouri a few years back; he now leads in primary polls and has internal polling from a reputable pollster showing him with significant leads against both unnamed and named Democrats.

Steve M. points out also that in Georgia, "Herschel Walker, who threatened his ex-wife's life on more than one occasion and has other baggage, is slightly ahead of incumbent Raphael Warnock in most polls."

Georgia until fairly recently had been a solid Republican state. However, it was carried by Joe Biden in the presidential race, by Warnock and Jon Ossoff in their successful bids to become US senators, and Democrats are hopeful that Stacey Abrams will win the Statehouse this fall. By contrast, Missouri, once a swing state, has grown increasingly Republican.

But Greitens and Walker have a couple of things in common. Walker has been endorsed by Donald Trump while Trump has made no endorsement in Missouri, though Greitens' campaign is staffed by veteran Trump hands. Moreover, Greitens, The Washington Post reports, has "gone all in on Trump’s false claims of election fraud, even embracing the idea that a new ballot count in Arizona and other states could lead to President Biden being replaced by Trump before the next presidential election."

The two candidates appear corrupt but that is an old, if extremely serious, problem with individuals in, or seeking, political office.  However, they've both been seemingly threatening toward women- Greitens with a woman with whom he was having an affair and Walker toward his ex-wife. Politically, both are sitting pretty less than five years after the height of the "Me, Too" movement.  If you have a good memory, you remember those heady days of the empowerment of women.

Trying to sound optimistic, Larry Hogan is whistling in the wind if he believes that the Not Trump effort is viable in the Republican Party.  Additionally, the Me, Too" movement has failed in what presumably was one of its goals, keeping abusive men out of powerful positions.  The concurrent weakness of both efforts may not be coincidental.

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