Ohio GOP Goes Vance: It’s Still Trump’s Party
Remember when people were telling Never Trumpers to "move on"? They're deluded.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Trump Gets His Hillbilly Senator.🔐
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
New from me: It’s still Trump’s Party.
Ohio’s fall matchup has been set: J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, Never-Trumper-turned-Trump-lover, Ivy League grad, and Peter Thiel hedge fund guy vs. Tim Ryan, a longtime Ohio congressman from Youngstown who had the bad judgment to work for the very corrupt Jim Traficant.
The GOP primary was hard to predict for a number of reasons. For starters, there were a lot of candidates. Practically none of them were good. The closest was Matt Dolan, part-owner of the Cleveland
Indians, er, Guardians, who tried to occupy an impossible place: Trump is bad, but we have to move on, and no, I wouldn’t have impeached him if I had had a vote.
Before turning to Vance and what the general election might hold, let’s say a bit more about Dolan, whose imaginationland candidacy took hold to a greater degree than I predicted. After all, Dolan and his family changed the beloved name of a local sports franchise, killing off Chief Wahoo. And he is known for being, shall we say, thrifty on contracts. Even so, voters looked at the other two leading candidates, J.D. Vance and Josh Mandel, and decided to give Dolan enough votes—about 23 percent of the total, as of this writing—to ruin the race for Mandel. I wanted to like Dolan, but you can’t say you want the GOP to move on from Trump but still let Trump dominate the party by saying you think, despite everything we know, that he should still be eligible to run for office in 2024. It’s that sort of foolishness—pretending to be post-Trump while Trump still has an ironclad grip on the party—that ruined Gov. Larry Hogan.
Dolan had the good fortune to run against a bunch of batshit crazy opponents who were much bigger Trump sellouts. A lot of the votes for Dolan have to be understood as protest votes—as a way of avoiding voting for Mandel or Vance, candidates who seemed willing to say or do anything to win.
Republican voters are right where Trump is — they too want to see the judiciary undermined, and checks and balances ignored. And they only want politicians who hunger for the fight. Meanwhile, party leaders are on defense over Roe. A.B. Stoddard joins Charlie Sykes today.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
Eric and Eliot dissect the war in Ukraine and discuss Eliot’s articles in the Atlantic and Foreign Affairs. What is the new phase of the war? Are Russian forces exhausted, what is their strategy? How will the Ukrainians counter? Is the Biden package enough? Eliot asks Eric about the lessons of Ukraine for other parts of the world and his Bulwark article on ending the policy of strategic ambiguity for Taiwan. Should we settle in for a long war of attrition?
MATT LABASH writes: Do We Have To Talk About Abortion? (Yeah, I Guess). When Matt emailed me with this question yesterday (no, I am not his editor), I told him: Yeah, I think you have to. And he did, so jump over there and read his thoughts and weigh in in the comments section if you’re a paying member. (You should be.)
In that spirit, more abortion comments from me: One of the people Matt brings up is the infamous Randall Terry, the “Andy Kaufman of abortion” as Matt joked to me earlier today on the phone. I told him this story, and he insisted I tell you. I probably got Randall Terry arrested once. It was early on in my time working for the government, a guy dressed as the grim reaper walks into our Senate office (my boss being very pro life) and throws plastic fetuses covered in some red substance at our front desk staffers. We hit the little button that calls the police as we tell him to pound sand and leave, and a few minutes later, he’s located down the hallway and being led out of the building.
Again, I’m pro life. But as the late Andrew Breitbart once said of the movement, they often suffer from pursuing the wrong aesthetic. All Randall Terry did that day was scare the shit out of some recent college grads who probably already agree with him. Per JVL’s newsletter today, to win hearts and minds, you have to make an impact, and performative plastic fetus throwing is silly. It could even be argued that doing so is sort of a degradation of the life of the unborn we pro lifers cherish.
Golf update. I got up early and played again today, made some friends, shot a 92, and had this beauty. Handicap here I come!
Obligatory panorama from Forest Greens in Triangle, VA. (Across from Prince William Forest Park, the most underrated park in the D.C. area.)
Dave Chappelle attacked on stage… You knew there was going to be a Will Smith joke in there, didn’t you? Luckily, he is OK.
The problem with tax incentives… Is having to rely on politicians to not use them as catnip to cajole you one way or the other. But let it be said: the days of the GOP as the low tax, stay out of the way of business party are long over. Shame on Senator Rubio.
Why wasn’t there a Russian cyber-assault? Perhaps too busy playing defense?
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.