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Opinion Politics

Cynicism works: Just ask the Chicken Little Democrats


An outside interest group meddled in the Republican primaries in 2022 to the tune of $19 million dollars in order to prop up the GOP’s Trumpiest candidates, particularly those who’d questioned the official outcome of the 2020 election. What monstrous group would ever do such a thing?

A loyal MSNBC viewer might immediately begin connecting illusory dots from Mar-a-Lago to Moscow, just as trained. A savvier liberal might sense the shadow of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his worldwide posse of post-liberal pundits. A partisan hack in the liberal media might try to pin it on Elon Musk.

But alas, none of the aforementioned supervillains were involved in the scheme. Instead, in a gobsmacking act of political cynicism,
the Democratic Party manufactured and executed the MAGA Republican spending spree
themselves, even after blasting former President Donald Trump’s election deniers as threats to democracy. Either they never really believed democracy was in danger, but only pretended it was to turn out the base (which is most likely), or they were extraordinarily irresponsible.

Regardless, it wasn’t enough to stop Democrats from taking advantage of a good campaign angle. In New Hampshire, they spent $3.2 million on ads in the Republican Senate primary to boost the prospects of retired General Don Bolduc in his contest against state Sen. Chuck Morse, since the latter was thought to be the more formidable opponent for Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Bolduc entered the race damaged after publicly concurring with Trump’s claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. He even went so far as to join forces with numerous other retired military leaders in claiming that the FBI and Supreme Court had ignored numerous “election regularities.” Could there be anything more insurrectionary than a former general joining forces with other military officials to cast doubt on the 2020 election?

But rather than using their precious resources to squash Bolduc and his supposedly anti-democratic views, Democrats pushed him to the cusp of a seat on the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Democrats also spent a small fortune boosting the primary prospects of stop-the-steal candidate Doug Mastriano, who became the eventual Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania. Mastriano was perhaps the key figure in Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election result in the Keystone State. Had he defeated Democrat Josh Shapiro in November, a prominent election denier would have been in charge of elections in a crucial swing state.

This is the very stuff of the so-called “democ-alypse.” And it was Democrats who spent millions to bring it closer to a reality.

In the end, the operation was a political masterstroke. Democrats held the Senate by winning races that featured the very MAGA candidates they had supported with mountains of cash. Republican political gurus can only tip their caps.

It’s important to mention that none of this would have been possible if not for the Democrats’ deeply credulous voting base. Democratic voters effectively fear-mongered one another over the imminent end of democracy, which boosted voter turnout, while all along living in denial of reports that their party was the one propping up election deniers. Cognitive dissonance was again drowned out by seething hatred for Trump.

But, of course, Trump has always been the Democrats’ greatest asset. The results of the midterm elections proved once again that the more prominent Trump is in the GOP, the more reluctant independent and swing state voters will be to cast their votes for the party. Democrats know this and will continue to capitalize on it.

In the coming weeks and months, for example, various law enforcement agencies will likely seek to indict Trump on various charges. This will doubtless galvanize the
base and give Trump a much-needed boost of energy in what is shaping up to be a difficult battle against a formidable 2024 primary field. This couldn’t be better news for Democrats hoping to retain the White House. The longer Democrats can keep Trump and his MAGA movement alive, the better its electoral prospects will be in 2024.

It’s fair to wonder whether or not the timing of these legal efforts reflects a coordinated effort between Democrats and the Justice Department. It sure wouldn’t be the first time these two institutions tangoed.

Over the next two years, I would be surprised if Democratic dollars weren’t once again used to prop up the Trumpiest candidate of them all: Trump himself. Following the success of their 2022 midterm strategy, they’d be foolish not to.

It’s not personal — it’s just politics. It is deeply cynical, but also very smart. Republicans would be wise to come prepared next time.


Peter Laffin is a writer in New England. Follow him on Twitter at @Laffin_Out_Loud.

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