As the 2022 election cycle unfolds, Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his fetid influence on the Republican Party. His relentless fixation on nonexistent election fraud that he pretends cost him the 2020 election supersedes every other issue and is a prerequisite for receiving his toxic endorsement.
In Pennsylvania the candidate that Trump endorsed for the Senate, Mehmet Oz, has not been especially popular with GOP voters in the state. He is currently struggling to hang on to a tiny lead in a three way primary race. Oz is running against another Trump-fluffing candidate, Dave McCormick, and the formerly fringe, now surging, Trump sycophant, and January 6th insurrectionist, Kathy Barnette.
Barnette was recently interviewed by Breitbart “News” and was asked a common and easily answered political question. And yet, she still managed to get the answer wrong:
Breitbart: If you do not win tomorrow, do you intend to support the Republican nominee whoever it is?
Barnette: I have no intentions of supporting globalists. I believe we have ran out of room on this runway for this spaceship. I believe we have very little rope left to just roll the dice and we’ll see how it all works out on the other end. […] I don’t think we have room to just vote for any old warm body with an R next to their name.
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 16, 2022
That’s great news for the likely Democratic candidate, John Fetterman. Particularly because the GOP’s Yellow Brick Road in Pennsylvania is currently leading toward Oz. If Barnette loses, the Trump cultists who support her could succumb to the poppy fields and sleep through the general election in November. And the Republican Party would have no one to blame for this but Trump.
Trump has long demanded blind loyalty from his cult disciples. He insists that he is the only one who can fix America’s problems and that even other Republicans who aren’t unflinchingly faithful to him are cowards and/or RINOSs. He has even explicitly threatened the Party saying that if they don’t board the “Trump Train,” “Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24.”
Trump has said that Barnette cannot win in the general election against Fetterman. But while Trump officially endorsed Oz, he also hedged his bet as he observed Barnette rising in the polls. He even praised her saying that if she won the primary “I will be behind her all the way.” Which is, surprisingly, more tolerant than Barnette herself who refuses to support her primary opponents if one of them should win.
Since Trump’s endorsement doesn’t seem to be pulling much weight in this race, Barnette’s supporters are more likely to follow her lead and sit out the general election. That’s a byproduct of Trump’s tunnel vision approach to party politics. It’s a “my way or the highway” strategy that is favored by aspiring authoritarian tyrants. And it is perfectly aligned with the Ultra-MAGA doctrine that President Biden aptly called “the most extreme political organization that’s existed in recent American history.” So if Trump and his acolytes want to burn down the GOP, Democrats should just smile and say “please proceed.”
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