Vance vs. Mandel Gets Ugly
Plus, did Kevin McCarthy Really Have a Moment of Conscience?
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Begun, the MAGA Wars Have.
TIM MILLER: This Will Not Pass. And Yet D.C. Republicans Keep Pretending It Will. and a book club update.
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New from me: Vance vs. Mandel Gets Ugly.
In Ohio’s Republican Senate primary, “The Final Countdown” just came on, and all the contenders are doing their best Gob Bluth impressions in the hope that something magical happens to their prospects.
It’s going about as poorly as you’d expect—but, as in a bad reality-TV show, Ohio Republicans still have to pick a winner next Tuesday. Although there are seven candidates, only three matter now: Josh Mandel, J.D. Vance, and Mike Gibbons. And the fighting among them has gone nuclear over the past two weeks—since Donald Trump bestowed his blessing upon Vance.
In a Fox poll of registered Ohio voters screened to identify Republicans conducted March 2-6, Vance pulled 11 percent support, Mandel 20, and Gibbons 22. A Trafalgar Group poll of likely GOP primary voters conducted April 13-14—the two days before Trump’s endorsement of Vance—put Mandel at 28 percent, Vance at 23, and Gibbons at 14. And a new Fox poll of registered voters screened to identify Republicans, conducted April 20-24 and released yesterday, shows Vance at 23 percent, Mandel at 18, and Gibbons at 13.
Face it: Republicans are so much better at politics. Democrats stick to the moral high ground while Republicans focus on winning by any means necessary. Plus, Elon Musk is a crony capitalist, and the knives are out for Kevin McCarthy. Lucy Caldwell joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of this podcast on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
Eliot and Eric welcome Charlie Edel, Australia Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific, the role of Australia, the AUKUS partnership, John Quincy Adams and U.S. foreign policy—do the “restrainers” read Adams correctly?—and the role of literature in understanding history.
CHRISTOPHER ORR: Did Kevin McCarthy Really Have a Moment of Conscience?
When Kevin McCarthy got blown up by the New York Times last week, the conventional explanation for his lying (and then lying about his lying) was that it was all because, in the heat of the insurrection, he’d had a pang of conscience—and then later regretted it.
And maybe that’s true. But what if the explanation is even simpler? What if there was never any internal debate between conscience and ambition, let alone one in which conscience briefly (and incompletely) won out?
Prior to Jan. 6th, Kevin McCarthy lavished praise on Trump because he thought that was the clear path for him to become speaker of the House, a post he has very publicly coveted. This we can take as given.
AMANDA CARPENTER: Trump’s Garbage Men.
What’s disorienting about McCarthy’s machinations is that what the House Republican leader is trying to defend and explain away is his temporary display of honesty. After the ugliness and the deaths of the attack on the Capitol, McCarthy—and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, whose private comments about Trump have also been leaked—came to their senses. McCarthy and McConnell said they were fed up with Trump and remarked how he could be removed, with McConnell asking a reporter about the Twenty-fifth Amendment and both men discussing impeachment.
So McCarthy and McConnell knew that Donald Trump was bad for their party.
On the jukebox… Mumford and Sons with Guiding Light at the BBC.
$115k for WCK. Thank you.
Once the toast of liberal parties… J.D. Vance’s transition to MAGA.
Kim Wehle… On the Utterly Moderate pod.
The conservative Democrats can get behind… Molly Jong-Fast on Evan McMullin.
Overdoing it… I don’t exactly love ballot initiatives, but this seems a bit extreme.
RIP Beau Bear… And how the Cleveland Indians/Guardians responded to his untimely death.
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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.