Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have had a bit of a Freudian moment with reporters, admitting his desire to be able to ‘control’ Republican primary elections away from all that icky stuff like ‘democracy’ and Republican voters getting to decide who their candidates should be.
And of course, McConnell pointed the finger directly at Donald Trump for this lack of control.
“My view was do the best you can with the cards you’re dealt,” he told reporters at a weekly press briefing.
“Now hopefully in the next cycle we’ll have quality candidates everywhere and a better outcome.”
McConnell: “Our ability to control the primary outcome was quite limited in 2022 because of the support of the former president. Hopefully in the next cycle, we’ll have quality candidates everywhere.” pic.twitter.com/ep0aatPWXl
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 13, 2022
McConnell Blames Trump for Midterms
It’s been a line of attack used by McConnell against Trump even before the midterms, but it also reveals how GOP bigwigs believe the party should operate: As their personal fiefdoms, not as a competitive process in which voters get to decide.
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No, according to McConnell, a handful of establishment Republicans should get to decide, and no one else.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said as far back as August, a prediction that eventually came true.
“Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” he added, as per NBC News reports.
Of course, it’s hard to win races when Republicans get heavily outspent – and instead of spending money on beating Democrats, we know McConnell and Co. spent money trying to beat Republicans.
The American people yearn for, and properly demand, a party that represents them and fights for their interests.
Mitch McConnell should have no home in a major political party of the United States. None.
He’s America last. https://t.co/XKx1MFaAbi
— Jason D. Meister 🇺🇸 (@jason_meister) December 14, 2022
McConnell’s initial comments on “candidate quality” launched Trump into a tirade.
“Why do Republicans Senators allow a broken down hack politician, Mitch McConnell, to openly disparage hard-working Republican candidates for the United States Senate?” he asked. “This is such an affront to honor and to leadership.”
Trump also took aim at McConnell’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
“He should spend more time (and money!) helping them get elected, and less time helping his crazy wife and family get rich on China!” he added.
Trump attacked McConnell and his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, over the weekend after the Kentucky Republican suggested the GOP has a better chance of retaking the House than the Senate because its candidates are of poor quality.https://t.co/1gEI7ZpPCp
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) August 22, 2022
Who is to Blame?
Blake Masters, a Republican candidate who lost his Senate race in Arizona, affirms Trump’s contention that McConnell should have spent more on candidates despite his feelings on their “quality.”
“You know what else is incompetent, Tucker? The establishment. The people who control the purse strings,” Masters told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“Had he (McConnell) chosen to spend money in Arizona, this race would be over. We’d be celebrating a Senate majority right now.”
But it might not have been the spending alone that caused midterm issues. Analysis of fundraising and expenditures by OpenSecrets shows that percentage-wise, spending was similar between Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats also raised more money to spend – a lot more money – and that falls on GOP leadership.
Republicans focused on fundraising – particularly fundraising consultants – during the 2022 election, while Democrats poured more money into staff salaries and media, a new OpenSecrets analysis found. https://t.co/NntirQUkOg
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) December 11, 2022
“Democratic candidates and party committees outraised their GOP counterparts by a combined $393.1 million through Oct. 19,” OpenSecrets writes. This, despite the fact that the GOP spent well over twice as much on fundraising efforts.
The lack of efficiency is on the establishment leaders there, nobody else. You’re wining and dining donors and not yielding results at the same level as your Democrat counterparts. To the tune of:
- Republicans – $1 spent for every $5 raised.
- Democrats – $1 spent for every $14 raised.
That fact didn’t stop unnamed sources from pointing a finger for the lackluster midterm performance on Trump anyway.
One such GOP source told Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich shortly after the election, “If it wasn’t clear before it should be now” that “we have a Trump problem.”
GOP source tells me “if it wasn’t clear before it should be now. We have a Trump problem”
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) November 9, 2022
No, you have a competence problem in leadership. Last we checked, Trump is a private citizen. While he can make appearances and hold rallies, he doesn’t control the GOP’s purse strings or their get-out-the-vote operation.
Trump has repeatedly taken shots at Mitch McConnell ever since the Senate Minority leader vowed to be “done with” him. Which, if you were done with him, you’d think you’d stop talking about him.
Trump described Mitch as an “absolute loser” who has been giving Democrats “everything they want” and pressed the GOP to oust the Republican leader, whom he describes as a “Broken Old Crow,” from leadership.
The GOP has a Mitch problem, not a Trump problem.
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