The Problem with "Good Republican" Candidates Is That They Answer to Bad Republican Voters
A politician can only be as good as his voters let him.
Last week Tim wrote about how David McCormick is trying to pivot from Mitt Romney Republican to FULL MAGA. If you missed it, go read the piece. It’s fantastic.
I’m interested in McCormick for the same reason I’m interested in the PA race: I think John Fetterman is going to be the Democratic nominee and in a neutral year, I’d make him a favorite to win the seat. But we’re heading into a wave election, which means that whoever the Republican nominee is, he’s going to have a shot.
And yet Pennsylvania Republicans seem likely to nominate a rich, moderate carpetbagger. (They have two of them in the race.)
So let’s talk about McCormick. Here’s the thumbnail sketch:
He’s the son of a wealthy university president. He went to West Point and then Princeton. He served in the Army. He worked in finance. He has worked in government and in think-tank land. He was CEO of an enormous hedgefund. Until a few months ago, he lived in Connecticut.
Now here’s McCormick’s opening ad:
It’s kind of nuts how paint-by-numbers it is. I mean, if McCormick loses this campaign, what do you think the odds are that he’ll be living in the state six months later, let alone that he’ll “die in Pennsylvania”?
In 30 seconds McCormick gives us:
Footage of him with Trump.
The phrase “Capitalism. Not Socialism.”
Says he’s “Running to fight them. And save us.”
And the closing image is this Real Man of the People / Hedgefund Master of the Universe walking through a field in hunting gear, a rifle slung over his shoulder.
How stupid does Richie Rich think Republican voters are?
And yet . . .
If you were hoping for green shoots from the Republican party, McCormick is exactly the kind of candidate you’d want. He’s smart. He’s a grown up. He’s not an insurrectionist. He’s the kind of candidate you would expect from a healthy, pro-democracy GOP.
But here’s the problem: In order to be a viable candidate in that party, McCormick has to hide all of this stuff.
Which demonstrates yet again that the foundational problem in American politics isn’t “the Republican party.” It’s Republican voters.
You can have as many David McCormicks as you like. But if Republican voters demand that they act like insurrectionists, then at best they’ll be anti-anti-insurrection.
Why did Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and Mike Lee and all of those “serious” Republicans become Trump collaborators? It wasn’t because they wanted to, or because they believed Trump’s garbage.