Almost every single Swamp Republican is winning re-election in the primaries, and almost every Swamp challenger is winning the GOP nomination for open seats. The lessons of the past few decades show that there is almost no money on the Right, and it’s nearly impossible to defeat the establishment in primaries. Thus, nothing will change in the primaries unless Trump gets involved. Trump’s support is everything, yet he only gets involved when it’s personal and often gets baited into supporting the Swamp. He must ask himself how his agenda will fare any better for the remainder of his presidency if he refuses to aggressively promote those who will champion the agenda on which he ran.
Whereas the far Left of the Democrat Party defeated a major party leader this week, conservatives once again got slaughtered by their party establishment in the primaries. A radical “Democratic Socialist,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who loves the Palestinians and wants to abolish ICE, defeated Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in the Queens, NY-based 14th district. Crowley fully adhered to the Democrat Party platform, but anyone viewed as not quite aggressive enough against Trump is in danger of losing his primary because the Left can harness money and support even against its own party.
In my home state of Maryland, a radical Bernie Sanders socialist, Ben Jealous, won the nomination for governor. Rep. Jared Polis, one of the most radical sitting House members, won the nomination for governor of Colorado. The trend continued across the country.
Contrast that to the Republican primaries this week and throughout the season. Mitt Romney, the embodiment of why we have Trump and why the Left always wins, cruised to victory with his money and name recognition in the Utah Senate primary. Conservative Chris Herrod failed to gain traction against establishment freshman John Curtis in Utah-3, one of the country’s most conservative districts.
In Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District, term-limit pledge breaker and leadership whip, Markwayne Mullin sailed to victory against his conservative challenger. Even in open seats, conservatives lost big. In OK-1, which was occupied by Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a Freedom Caucus member, before he was nominated to head NASA, will now head to a runoff between two establishment candidates. The conservative candidates lost. In SC-4, Lee Bright, who would aggressively have promoted Trump’s campaign promises, was defeated by William Timmons, who will not challenge leadership in the House.
This has been the theme throughout the election season. We are not even holding the existing conservative seats, much less winning new open seats or defeating establishment incumbents. The same Swamp will get even swampier.
Which brings us to the next question: Where is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, President Donald J. Trump?
The sober reality is that there is absolutely no money or organization on the Right, particularly for many of the issues Trump campaigned on. There is no money behind security and sovereignty when the weight of the entire political and corporate universe is behind illegal immigrants. There is no money for standing up for law enforcement, victims of crime, and victims of illegal immigration. There is simply no way to win a primary from the Right, particularly the issues Trump prioritizes, the way the Left can win against its party establishment.
But then there is Trump. We have seen that Trump is everything in the primaries. So why is he not endorsing conservatives? When it comes to personal politics, he’s willing to endorse even against an incumbent, as he did with Mark Sanford, who had a conservative voting record. But where was he in support of Lee Bright while he was so involved in two other South Carolina races?
And whereas he allowed a personal rift to drive his fight against Mark Sanford, he suddenly finds it in his heart to forgive Martha Roby, an establishment lackey, against her primary challenger in Alabama. What gives?
Trump put a lot of weight behind Rep. Dan Donovan, the congressman representing Staten Island. Yet this man is an MS-13 Republican who signed the Denham letter promoting amnesty. There was no good opponent in this case, because the challenger was also a RINO and a crook, but rather than spending so much time supporting Donovan, why hasn’t Trump supported all the MAGA candidates throughout the country? He has shown his effectiveness in supporting solid conservative Ron DeSantis for governor over his RINO challenger, but it would help if we saw more of this in congressional races.
Congress will not change on its own, and Trump is the only driving force in primaries this year. Why is he not using his power? Why is he supporting pro-amnesty Republicans and people like Mitt Romney, who will serve as conduits for the media every time they attack Trump? Why is it OK to support establishment swampsters who oppose him but not conservatives who clashed with him in the past, possibly having endorsed Cruz in the primary, but support his agenda as enthusiastically as anyone?
If Trump signals that he will endorse those committed to his sovereignty and security promises, many more candidates would be willing to run and challenge the establishment and help him with reinforcements. But if he will only endorse against them and help the Swamp, then we are worse off than even before his rise, and it will dissuade potentially good candidates from even trying. An endorsement from Trump to establishment candidates is a death knell to the challengers. Not only are they left without money and organization, but even many conservative voters will peel off.
Likewise, we are seeing him endorse a massive amnesty bill because it contains some good provisions, but he never endorsed the original Goodlatte bill, the more conservative bill, with as much direct support.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
Why is he not singling out other conservative initiatives and backing up some of his friends in the Freedom Caucus? He sure stirs the pot with the party establishment when he wants to, so why not do so for discernable policy outcomes and for the candidates who can make those policies a reality?
For better or worse, the Republican Party rests in the palms of Trump’s hands. Conservatives, if they had any initiative, would be pressuring and guiding him towards the right personnel and policies.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.