December 8, 2023

From 1946 to 2018, less than two percent The primary challengers to incumbent members of the House of Representatives have successfully unseated the incumbent.

But the Michigan Republican primary’s narrow and otherwise improbable victory over first-term Rep. Peter Meijer was boosted by an unusual ally: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which fell short half a million dollars—more than the Gibbs campaign are spent on it entire—in an “attack” ad designed to sell Gibbs to the GOP base.

The description of the ad Gibbs was “very conservative” for his district and highlighted his many ties to former President Donald Trump, whom Major voted to impeach after storming the Capitol in January 2021. he was small Public polling for this primary, from what data we have February poll suggests that linking Gibbs to Trump was an effective way to increase his chances. That survey showed Meijer holding a comfortable 26-13 lead over Gibbs — until pollsters informed respondents of the candidates’ views of Trump, when Gibbs rose to 37 percent support and Meijer plummeted to 19 %.

From Monday, Meijer said internal polling had put the two percentage points just one point. On Tuesday, we learned that his larger war chest and greater name recognition weren’t enough to save him, which means Democrats got what they wanted: more polarizing and thus a less competitive Republican candidate for the November general election.

Or, at least, that’s the theory. But for now, in practice, what the DCCC has done is help Trump throw out of office one of the few congressional Republicans willing to tell the truth about the 2020 election. This is a short-term victory for Democrats, maybe, but it doesn’t bode well for the democracy they claim to support.

I should stop here, to be fair, noting that there are abundance of the Democrats— including many elected officials — who do not support what the DCCC did in Michigan.

As Mother Jones reported on Sundaysome Democratic representatives called it “unconscionable” and “just plain wrong.”

“We cannot credibly defend democracy and then support candidates who pose an existential threat to the very democracy we defend,” said Rep. Richie Torres of New York. “No race deserves to have your values ​​compromised like this” charged Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

Is the goal to preserve American democracy, as the Democrats are wont to claim, or is the goal of the Democrats to win at any cost?

But their position is clearly not that of their party leadership. The DCCC is a powerful institution, and it’s not the only major Democratic body meddling in the Republican primaries defeat the most reasonable and principled candidates. As the Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis reported, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) spent over $1 million helping Dan Cox, a QAnon-clipped, Endorsed by Trump gubernatorial candidate in Maryland, and DGA and Democratic candidates have similarly endorsed Trump’s running mates in gubernatorial races in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Their logic is probably that of Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, which he succeeded Trump’s second impeachment trial (which Meijer supported, at considerable risk to his own political career less than two weeks after entering Congress); Raskin he said Worth that although he can “certainly understand an argument that it is categorically wrong to do anything that would objectively help the insurgents who refuse the election. But in the real world of politics,” offering that help makes strategic sense if it means Democrats win.

And that’s the crux of the matter: It’s the goal to preserve American democracy, as Democrats they tend to claim, or is the goal for Democrats to win at any cost? Ruskin and others like him would argue that these goals are one and the same. Democrats must “hold the House against an election-denying, pro-insurgency GOP majority,” he said in it. statement to Worthy.

But that idea rests on several unproven claims: that Trumpist candidates won’t win in November; that the Democrats have a serious chance of keeping Congress (most predictions at present I have The GOP taking at least the House); that the Democrats will actually do something substantial to protect democracy if they are given another two years of governing trifecta. and that the Democratic Party is in a position to consider its fate in the next national election.

One of the things Trump’s four years in office has made inescapably clear is that the Democratic leadership is not primarily concerned with upholding representative government, good governance, and the rule of law. If they were, they would have used their majorities in Congress—especially now, with a fellow Democrat in the White House—to make institutional changes to prevent abuses of power by a Trump reinstated in 2024, or indeed by anyone corrupt, reckless president any party at any time. They would have built strong structural boundaries around the executive branch itself. They would have stopped smelling of fascism and made the position of the American presidency inhospitable to fascist exercises of power.

And perhaps they would recognize that a model of democracy in which one party actively encourages extremism in the other party, then spontaneously condemns the same extremism while disingenuously wrapping itself in the flag of counter-extremism, is not, in fact, a viable model of a functioning and peaceful democracy.

“Since the election of Donald Trump—and especially since January 6—Democrats have claimed that democracy is under serious threat.” Meijer himself noted in a cri de coeur for common sense on Monday. And “the only thing more disturbing” than watching the party itself “disintegrate,” he continued, “was the ability of my Democratic colleagues to sell out any pretense of principle for political expediency — immediately condemning the downfall of democracy, while they rationalize using their hard-earned dollars to support the supposed object of their fears.”

If Democrats believe democracy is in danger, they should act like it. Learning a lesson from their own recklessness in Michigan would be a good place to start.

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