Popular vote elections result in the darndest things. People often vote for an individual who represents the antithesis of what is widely viewed as “the will of the people.” That is the eternal lesson I learned from recruiting and supporting insurgency conservative congressional candidates over the past few cycles. Republican primary voters will agree with us on the major issues and principles but proceed to reelect the very people who repudiate those principles.
Last Thursday at a rally in Evansville, Indiana, Donald Trump wanted his more cynical supporters to know that not all politicians are bad. There are some “terrific ones.” Who did he mention as an example of a terrific politician? BOB CORKER!
Now, anyone who has read Conservative Review for even a month or anyone who has followed the Senate for a reasonable period of time knows that Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)is the paradigm establishment Republican who has agreed with Democrats on every major issue. He was the most liberal Republican when it came to the Iran deal, and forged the final agreement that gave legitimacy to the process and a loin cloth to Democrats for supporting it. The bill wasn’t called Corker-Cardin for nothing.
Corker is the embodiment of the ‘America last’ version of foreign policy Trump purports to reject. In fact, even as Trump is praising him, Corker is working hand in glove with Ben Cardin to block all conservative amendments from the State Department spending bill. If you want to know why Republican foreign policy has been so indistinguishable from the Democrats in recent years, look no further than Richard Lugar’s disciple from Tennessee. Corker also co-authored the final version of the Gang of Eight amnesty, known as the “Corker-Hoeven Amendment.”
Ultimately, this is not as bad as embracing the endorsement of a convicted rapist, but this praise of Corker demonstrates that Trump is either completely ignorant of friend or foe in Washington and has no clue what Corker has done, or that he himself is a Bob Corker Republican. But given that Trump continues to praise Mitch McConnell as another one of those terrific politicians (he bashed Cruz for opposing him and Boehner), it’s hard to blame his rhetoric on political ignorance.
In another revealing moment last week, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) endorsed Trump. As we noted last week, Shuster is the superlative caricature of a K-Street wheeler and dealer and the personification of what everyone hates about politicians. He had a conservative challenger, Art Halverson, who ran against him in the primary. Yet, at the same time Trump was carrying that district with over 60% of the vote, Shuster was reelected. Shuster then proceeded to endorse Trump.
Thus, voters are going to the polls time and again and filling in the bubble for Donald Trump because they are sick of politicians and Republican sellouts. Then they follow up within 10 seconds by filling out the bubble for their incumbent congressman who embodies the very opposite of the image they perceive in Trump. Then Trump goes on to praise those very same politicians.
Nobody explained this phenomenon better than Cox Radio reporter Jaime Dupree:
To sum up – why would the GOP establishment side with Trump over Cruz? They know they can wheel & deal w/Trump
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 29, 2016
Sadly, this is what happens in popular vote elections when media narratives, persona, and name recognition drive the election. “The will of the people” is not reflected in any connection to the issues they care about but in whichever character the media chooses to elevate. And in a GOP primary, it boils down to whichever choice is made by Rupert Murdock and the Fox News sock puppets.
So enjoy Donald Trump and all the RINOS winning reelection or open seats for House and Senate. And the next time “the people” complain about the political process, good luck recruiting and successfully electing a true man of the people to defeat the likes of Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander. Because under the current system – which is truly a “rigged system” for the political elites – a grassroots victory is essentially impossible.
What is going on here began long before Trump vs. Cruz. Conservatives must change the system and the rules of the game if they hope to actually pull this country back from the brink.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.