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Will Democrats funding Trump-backed candidates backfire?

Will Democrats funding Trump-backed candidates backfire?

Candidates for public office always hope to have weak competition – or none at all.  Nothing surprising about that.  Voters of one party have been known to cross over to vote for the weaker candidate in the opposition party – generally when their candidate is running unopposed.  For the most part, such dirty tricks are marginal. 

In recent years, the effort to influence the opposition party’s primary has taken on major proportions.  This year all restraints appear to be off.  Democrats are spending tens of millions of dollars to support candidates in the Republican primaries.  That is “tens of millions of dollars,” in case you missed it.   

In some races, Democrat Political Action Committees (PACs) and other party organizations – such as the Democratic Governors Association — are among the major funders.  In a Michigan congressional race, Democrats spent more than $300,000 for independent expenditure commercials in support of former Trump administration official John Gibbs — running against incumbent Congressman Peter Meijer, who voted in favor of impeachment.  Gibbs won. 

As in the Gibbs case, the Democrat money is being used to support candidates endorsed by President Trump.  Democrats believe that they will be easier to defeat in the general election.  My guess is that Gibbs will win in November. 

The Idea of overtly helping Republicans nominate candidates that Democrats believe are easier to beat is not entirely new.  I recall the Chicago Democrat machine having their voters cross over to support the perceptively weaker GOP candidates.  This was possible because Democrats ran slates of unopposed candidates in their primaries.  They did not need the votes. 

It was turned into a more established practice – including financial support – by former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.  She had Democrat donors fund the campaign of GOP candidate Todd Akin — who had made a number of outrageous comments.  Akin did win the Republican primary and was easily defeated by McCaskill.  It was never clear, however, if the Democrat money changed the outcome.

Since then, the questionable (at least ethically) practice has evolved into a national strategy with hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in support of GOP primary candidates over the years – tens of millions already spent in the 2022 election cycle. 

Will that strategy backfire? 

The first issue is whether the tens of millions of dollars being spent by Democrats have tipped the elections in favor of the candidates they perceive to be losers? 

The answer to that question appears to be in the eye of the beholder.  A good argument can be made that the winners of the various primaries would have won without the Democrat funding.  And a deeper look suggests that in many cases the Democrat would have won in the November election no matter who the GOP candidate was. 

It has been reported that democrats spent more than $1 million in Illinois to throw the GOP primary election to the most conservative candidate, Darren Bailey.  He won the primary but was expected to win with or without the Democrat funding.  More importantly, it is almost certain that he will be defeated by the Democrat incumbent Governor J.B. Pritzker.  Although there is some polling evidence that Bailey will fare better against Pritzker than the losing establishment – so-called moderate – candidate. 

There are two issues that have upset many Democrat leaders.  First is the obvious waste of money.  Those on the left believe that the money would be better spent supporting pro-abortion activities across the country.  Many donors complain that their money is being wasted on a dubious strategy with uncertain results. 

Then there is the ethical issue.  Some Democrats, like strategist James Carville, approve of the strategy – evoking the Democrats longstanding whispered strategy that “you do anything to win.”  Others are not in agreement.  A number of Democrat officeholders squirm when asked what they think of the strategy.  Many call it out as “wrong.” 

Many argue that the strategy of funding the opposition creates bad publicity.  It just seems unethical to most of the voters – while not even providing the benefits. 

And what about the anticipated results to be seen in November – the defeat of all those Republican candidates the Democrats funded?  Or … have the Democrats helped pave the way for the election of a lot of Trump supporters? 

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough issued that warning on his morning show.  He cited 1994, when a lot of right-wing candidates, who did not have the endorsement of the GOP leadership, won both the primaries and the general election – giving the GOP control of the House.  Scarborough was one of those candidates.  (Yes, he was a conservative Republican congressman from Florida before the lure of New York media money led him into the darkness of his own political apostasy – and before Mika Brzezinski took him to progressive obedience school.) 

Time will tell if the strategy works.  But I lean to the belief that it will backfire.  A lot of the candidates Democrats loath the most will be sworn in January of 2023.  In their election night victory speeches, they would be remiss if they did not publicly thank the Democrats for all their support. 

So, there ‘tis. 

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

12 Comments

  1. Craig Weaver

    As a conservative, I like the Democrats funding my candidates. I also like that the voters think this is unethical, which may sway them to vote for a non-Democrat candidate.

    • Burt

      Democrats see nothing as unethical. With them it’s whatever works. But I don’t think they will be happy with the results

      • frank stetson

        35 boxes of the people’s paper housed at Mar A Loser after Trump”s lawyers said, in writing, there ain’t no more. And then they found the missing 20 boxes, 11 sets of classified and you want to discuss Democratic ethics? Clean you own house before you judge others.

        Yes, this is a stupid strategy IMO, but the proof will be forthcoming in November.

        It is also a stupid strategy to allow this to happen to begin with, and that stupidity seems Republican in nature. But you guys are thinned skinned brown shirts needing all to march in locked goosesteps honoring the Orangutang King of Chaos. If someone just winks wrong, you yell Rhino, issue the death threats, and they hire 24×7 security for protection from their own party. I mean never thought I would see the day you would toss a Cheney, any Cheney under the bus. And now you have tossed two of them. Amazing.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … You are writing nonsense. More emotional off-topic rants than rational debate. You are wallowing in an “so’s your old man” style of respsonse.

          • frank stetson

            Well, it’s a mixture of fact and opinion, all makes perfect sense as logical discussion points in a rational debate. So’s your old man would be my response to you.

            IOW, I have not a clue what you are attempting to actually say. Try plain-speak?

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson. I am well aware of your problem with reading comprehension.

          • Frank stetson

            Yes Larry, in your mind it’s always my problem, my personal issues, I’m wrong, you’re right. Even when I agree with you, I’m full of nonsense, emotional, and ranting.

            Like I said, some people who can’t argue issues with facts stoop to attack the person. And now you blame my failure in reading comprehension, whatever that means. Congrats on keeping up those personal attacks, you are one class act. . .

            Let me know IF you change your mind and desire to speak to the issues.

          • Joe Gilbertson

            Its not just in Larry’s mind…

          • frank stetson

            There’s some truth Joe. Good for you.

  2. Deplorable Lanie

    First off I would like to point out that the Democrats see very little as “unethical”, as long as they win. In fact, we have seen that in the last few elections. They have no trouble making things up. Roy Moore just got 8 million from a jury for Democrat led slander and libel. And, well, “Russia, Russia, Russia”. They have no trouble cheating. Does anyone with a brain actually think that Sleepy Joe actually got 81 million votes? And they have no trouble weaponizing the federal law enforcement agencies. Just look at what the IRS did to Christian charities. And, well, the FBI has persecuted right wing individuals for quite some time. Such as General Flynn and the Jan 6th prisoners’!

    • Joseph S Bruder

      Let’s talk about deleting emails

    • frank stetson

      Can anyone with a brain actually prove that Joe Biden did not get 81 million votes? After 60+ failed court cases trying to prove it, can you prove it? After a half dozen State recounts, done by Trumplicant sycophants, all failed miserably, can you prove it?

      If you think you can prove it, if you have a brain, just take it to court.

      I know. I know. The press is against you. The FBI is against you. The courts are against you. Then, take it to the Scotus —- I am pretty sure they are you. You had four years to clean up the IRS, the FBI, etc. why did you fail? How could we revert four years in a few months? Jan 6th prisoners persecuted? The ones “with a brain” posted their exploits on the web. The courts are finding them guilty. They are pleading guilty. And they are blaming Trump for The Big Lie which they admit is a lie.

      Trump’s CFO pleads guilty, another grifter gone down. Trump is making hundreds of millions off this raid. He revels in the chaos, the sheep shovel money into his pockets every time he is shamed. And that’s what it is all about, Trump grifting more cash. And it won’t end until you stop paying.