During the Republican primaries, the most extreme candidates close to the former president received thousands of dollars for their campaigns from Democratic groups that they hoped would be more easy to defeat
Donald Trump was the biggest loser in the midterm election. The candidates he most fervently supported were defeated. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo
With inflation at its highest point in 40 years, the economy in recession and Joe Biden's image badly weakened, the midterm election in the United States was very difficult for Democrats to face. Everything predicted a debacle.
Tuesday's results, however, were much better than expected by the White House, the second-best midterm election for a president in 40 years after post-9/11 George W. Bush.
What was the key? Analysts attribute at least part of the success to a bold tactic carried out by Democratic supporters: meddling in the Republican primaries and financially supporting themost Trumpist and extremist candidate of the ideological right b>. The idea was that if he ousted another organic Republican and kept his party's ticket, he would then attract fewer independent voters and be easier to defeat in last-party elections.
It was not just a group of crazy people who believed in this idea or little money that they invested. A total of more than $53 million was spent by Democratic committees and advocacy groups on the campaigns of Republican candidates in nine states, according to a detailed report published by Annie LInskey in the Washington Post.
The strategy, criticized by some Democrats for the risk that it implied that it would fail and end up empowering and bringing to Congress those who were furthest from their ideas, ended up being a success, as the writer and analyst John Podhoretz acknowledged in his column for New York Post, who described Donald Trump as the big “toxic factor” of this election. “Trump is the political equivalent of a can of Raid, he is perhaps the most profound vote repellent in modern American history,” he described it.
Democratic money was mostly used to advertisements on TV that supported the candidate of the Republican primary who most strongly raised the anti-abortion, anti-vaccination Trumpist clichés, the conspiracy theories about a United States on the verge of falling into the hands of communism and, of course, denying victory for Biden in the 2020 election.
Those candidates with Democratic support did not always win against more moderate Republicans in their states. But in four states they did, and then they suffered heavy defeats in Tuesday's election.
In Illinois they made the biggest bid. The Democratic Governors Association invested USD 34.5 million in the campaign of Senator Darren Bailey who won the gubernatorial candidacy repeating that he found it “terrible” that the state's Republican leadership has recognized Biden's victory. On Tuesday, Bailey suffered a heavy defeat against Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.
Former Colonel Doug Mastriano, who participated in the rally against the Capitol on January 6, 2021, lost in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election. REUTERS/Mike Segar
In Maryland, supporter of QAnon and other conspiracy groups Dan Cox won the primary Republican to Kelly Shulz, dolphin of the current Republican governor, to later lose this Tuesday with Wes Moore, who will be the first African-American governor of that state.
In PennsylvaniaDemocrats pitched their money to support the campaign of retired Colonel Doug Mastriano, a fervent Trump supporter who was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol fence on Jan. 6, 2021, to prevent Congress from certifying Biden's victory. Mastriano won the Republican primary but lost the governorship by 14 points to Josh Shapiro.
In Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, Democrats bankrolled the victorious campaign in the Republican primary of John Gibbs, whom Podhoretz describes as a “lunatic” former Trump administration official who tweeted that Hillary Clinton aides engaged in satanic rituals and repeated that the 2020 election had been a robbery. Trump supported Gibbs in unseating the Republican seat in that district because he had the audacity to call for the former president's impeachment after the January 6 incidents. The result was that Gibbs and the Republicans ended up losing that home seat to the Democrats.
John Gibbs, a hyper-Trump candidate, lost a Republican seat in Michigan REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT
This is not the first time that supporters of one party have meddled in another's primary. But surely it was one of the most widespread and daring, perhaps as a desperate resource in the face of their own shortcomings.
The tactic of empowering the candidates closest to Trump from within was finally successful and gave Biden a vital air to face his last two years in office.