Conservatives were on the cusp of a rare Senate victory in next week’s special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama. With Judge Roy Moore consistently leading the race and Rep. Mo Brooks within striking distance of McConnell/Rove puppet Luther Strange, conservatives were close to knocking off this interim appointed “incumbent” and leaving the establishment without a candidate in the runoff. Yes, for the first time in ages, conservatives would actually be faced with the binary choice of the greater of two goods rather than the lesser of two evils.
And then. In came the much-vaunted Swamp Drainer to unleash the mosquitos from the undrained Swamp. President Trump tweeted the following last night:
Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Let’s put aside the fact that Luther Strange has been embraced by every lobbyist, special interest cartel, Mitch McConnell, and Karl Rove. This man has already been in office for six months and has quietly gone along with every last morsel of McConnell’s agenda. When Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz were fighting to repeal Obamacare, Strange was never anywhere close to the fight. Indeed, he’s been in the witness protection program on every issue. Which is just the way McConnell likes it.
You see, just yesterday, McConnell vented about Trump having unrealistic expectations of Senate Republicans. Evidently, Trump now agrees with him and is following along with the soft bigotry of low expectations rather than helping grassroots conservatives who will move heaven and earth to actually implement their campaign promises.
I get the party politics game. But wouldn’t it be nice if Trump actually would be the “non-politician,” game-changing Swamp Drainer so many claimed he was and endorse against incumbents — or at least stay out of the way? That would be asking too much. But Luther Strange? He is not a legitimate incumbent and is only in the Senate because a disgraced governor appointed him. The super-PAC supporting him is funded by Karl Rove’s American (Swamp) Crossroads.
With two other candidates ready to champion the agenda Trump claimed to support — and ready to steamroll the GOP swamp to do so — how could Trump betray his base and endorse against them?
Is this what conservatives should expect with other upcoming primaries? What message does this send to any number of aspiring primary challengers who are upset with Republican leadership for rejecting Trump’s supposed campaign agenda? I’ve heard from a number of these potential candidates, and they badly want to march in Trump’s parade. The problem is that the man himself is missing from it.
Trump first championed and then trashed Jeff Sessions while continuing to elevate one liberal after another in his administration. Luther Strange is far more like a McMasters of the administration than like a Sessions. Is that what Trump wants? Is this all about personal politics?
Either way, the time has come for conservatives to stop making excuses for this man. There is no reason Karl Rove should have more influence with him than those who represent his base. But perhaps the question we must ask at this point is: Who is his base?
Editor’s note: The author has endorsed Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.