For the last several decades, Republican politicians have moved steadily further right, and never has this been so true as now. Candidates of heightening extremity dominate the GOP playing field. They are nominating the wrong candidates all over the country, such as ex-convict Don Blankenship in West Virginia.
After the election of our 45th President, the strategy of many Republican politicians has depended a great deal on how deeply they can demonstrate their adherence to his destructive policies. This has backfired badly.
In Tennessee, Bob Corker is retiring, and current GOP frontrunner Rep. Marsha Blackburn has made it a point to emphasize her far-right extremism. “I’m politically incorrect and proud of it,” she says in her announcement video. That is why former Gov. Phil Bredesen has a 10-point lead in the polls.
And in Arizona, the notorious anti-immigrant former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward may well defeat the mainstream Republican candidate, Martha McSally. This will give better odds to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the general election, to be held November 6th.
In West Virginia, local Republicans are well down the road to hamstringing their own chances. They have only to vote for Don Blankenship as the Republican candidate for Senate in the 2018 Republican primary– and he’s polling stronger all the time.
Jenkins and Morrisey are a couple of highly typical Republican candidates who have characterized their running of the race by attacking each other’s records and competing to see who is the most in line with Trump.
Because the area they’re in swings so far to the right, both will be likely to give Manchin a hard race.
But Blankenship should be different. He has very little chance to win a general election due to the particulars of his situation, i.e. he is the only candidate to have recently been in a federal prison.
He served a year on charges stemming from the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 men in Southern West Virginia. It was the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades.
The point to hammer home is this- Nominating Blankenship will hamstring the GOP’s chances to control that seat.
These are all examples of a Republican race to the bottom, where the candidates are engaged in a contest, to see who can be the most extreme in emulating the Republican President.
Blankenship, having been out of prison less than a year, is particularly a no-brainer, but these sorts of candidates and scandals are popping up everywhere. They make the Republicans look awful and cripple their chances.
All of this can only help the Democratic Party, as we fight to win back control of the Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.