Democrats gain seat in Congress, defeating Sarah Palin, who was endorsed by Trump

Democrats gain seat in Congress, defeating Sarah Palin, who was endorsed by Trump
2017 interview with Jake Tapper, CNN video

Alaska, which votes Republican in presidential elections, has just elected a Democrat to Congress in a special election. Democrat Mary Peltola defeated Trump-backed Sarah Palin by a 51%-to-48% margin. There were 3 main candidates in the special election — Republicans Nick Begich and Sarah Palin, and Democrat Mary Peltola. The top two finishers were Peltola and Palin, with Begich coming in third. Alaska has ranked choice voting, under which voters who picked the candidate who came in third can have their vote reassigned to one of the top two finishers as their second choice. Just over half of Begich’s voters chose Palin as their second choice, while over a fifth made no second choice, and the remainder preferred the Democrat rather than Palin, who was endorsed by Donald Trump: “Begich’s ballots broke down: Palin (R) 50.3% Peltola (D) 28.8% No second choice (exhaust): 20.9.” The result was that although 60% of Alaskans picked a Republican as their first choice (either Palin or Begich), the Democrat won the election by being the second choice of some Republicans who voted for Begich as their first choice. Never mind that Peltola supports many costly progressive measures that will harm Alaska’s energy-based economy, including much of Begich’s political base.

Palin rubs many Alaska voters the wrong way, especially after she resigned as governor in 2009 to become a fixture on Fox News and conservative media (which pays a lot better than being Alaska governor). All political analysts agree that if it had been a two-way race between Begich and Peltola, Begich would have won, because few Alaskans hate Begich, while many hate Palin, including many independent voters. Given Palin’s unpopularity with unaffiliated voters in Alaska (who outnumber both Republicans and Democrats), Trump obviously should have endorsed Begich, not Palin. A wise political leader would have endorsed Begich, not Palin. But Trump didn’t.

Trump is better than the Democrats on economic policy, border control, and most policy issues. But Trump routinely harms conservatives’ chances of winning the general election, by intervening in Republican primaries, just to endorse candidates who have a hard time winning a general election, making it harder for conservatives to take control of Congress from the Democrats. He made Dr. Oz narrowly win the Pennsylvania Senate primary by endorsing him, enabling him to win a primary with only 31% of the vote against multiple other candidates, some of whom were better liked by independent voters than Dr. Oz is (like Dave McCormick, who got 30% of the vote in the primary to Oz’s 31%). As a result, the Republicans may lose the Pennsylvania Senate race to Democrat John Fetterman, a left-wing extremist who masquerades as a regular guy with a blue-collar vibe. Fetterman wants to release some hardened criminals such as vicious murderers from jail. Losing the Pennsylvania Senate race will be a catastrophe that makes it very hard for conservatives to take control of the Senate. Moreover, Dr. Oz is actually a moderate, not a conservative. He only looks good on policy compared to the left-wing Fetterman, who is much worse on the issues than Oz. Fetterman or Oz will replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who actually is a conservative and outspoken defender of our free-market economy.

Trump endorsed Herschel Walker, who has no experience running for office, in the Georgia Republican Senate primary, making it unfeasible for more electable Republicans, who know how to beat Democrats in general elections, to win the Republican nomination. Georgia has a Republican legislature, and its Republican governor leads his Democratic opponent in every political poll. It should be an easy state for a Republican to win in a non-presidential election like 2022. Yet Walker doesn’t lead his Democratic opponent: He is now dead even in the polls with the most left-wing member of the U.S. Senate, Raphael Warnock, who is the most pro-crime member of the Senate, supports trillions in wasteful new government spending and unconstitutional racial preferences, and is as left-wing as Bernie Sanders on supporting tax increases and huge increases in government spending. Any other Republican in Georgia would be leading Warnock, not in a virtual tie in the polls. In political ads, Warnock downplays his radicalism, and deceptively depicted himself in campaign ads as a suburban dad walking his dog (when in fact, he didn’t even own the dog). But privately, he wants to defund the police. A Warnock campaign director said Warnock “absolutely” would like to defund the police — “these suckers in blue” — although Warnock has avoided saying that publicly.

As President, Trump tried to drain the swamp, but largely failed, because he didn’t pick the right people to staff federal agencies (as we discuss further below). Trump’s useful deregulatory reforms in 2017-19 were mostly overturned by the courts — 93% of them, in whole or in part. Many of the Trump losses were due to ineptness by Trump appointees in drafting the Trump changes, such as procedural mistakes and sloppiness. Some of the losses were due to left-wing activist judges.

As a conservative who voted for Trump in two general elections noted, Trump’s recent missteps make him a bad choice to lead the GOP, for several reasons:

  1. Trump would turn 80 during his term [if nominated by the GOP and elected again in 2024]. While he does not currently appear to be in cognitive decline, who knows about a few years from now? And he’s not exactly in great physical shape, either.
  2. He will be a lame duck on day one. The 22nd Amendment will prohibit his re-election. Realistically, he will have only a year or so to get anything done. Is this seriously the scenario Republicans want? An octogenarian lame duck? We have one of those now, effectively.
  3. Given the circus-like, perpetually chaotic atmosphere that Trump seems almost to promote, what senior people would be willing to serve in his administration? Add to that the fear of almost immediately attracting the attention of our weaponized justice system, and you have a recipe for a cabinet full of third-string draft choices and attention-seekers.
  4. He has no political discipline and makes too many unforced errors. It’s tough enough for any Republican when the media and the entire Washington establishment are aligned against you. Why give them grist for their mill? I fully appreciate that Trump’s bumptious and combative nature sometimes served him well when doing battle with the press room, but engaging with Rosie O’Donnell? C’mon.
  5. Trump’s lack of discipline extends to his personal life. While most of the attacks on him were blatant fabrications, he’s just not what one would call a paragon of character, either. I and many others were willing to grin and bear these flaws for the sake of outstanding policy, but America deserves a president who brings both policy and character to the job.
  6. I fully believe Trump ran the first two times to be of service to his country, particularly the working class. Ego played a large role, but his commitment to country was sincere. This time, I’m not so sure. He seems more motivated to avenge what he believes happened in the last election than anything else. And yes, a lot of bad stuff went down, but that’s not what I want motivating my party’s candidate. Time to look forward, not back.
  7. We might lose. Yes, Trump brought a lot of new voters to the polls, particularly working class whites. But he also motivates the other side like no one in history. Right now, Democrats are dispirited and functionally leaderless. That changes overnight if Trump is the nominee.
  8. We have other great candidates! Unlike the Democrats, the GOP has a deep bench. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the obvious choice. He has all of Trump’s good qualities — the policies, the combativeness — but he also has both personal and political discipline. And there are others: Sens. Tom Cotton, Tim Scott and Josh Hawley all come to mind. These are all serious people with conviction, experience and character.

Trump talked about “draining the swamp,” but most of the time, he didn’t really know how. You can’t drain the swamp without the help of someone who knows the swamp well (like knowing administrative law and procedure). Trump never got that expertise. He didn’t hire most of the right people. If you want to fix bad government rules and red tape, you have to hire experts, know what you are doing, and be patient until you get it right.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would have been much better at draining the swamp. So would Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). These highly-intelligent men understand the law and administrative procedure and how to run a bureaucracy. Trump didn’t. He paid little attention to the rules and processes of governing. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also has a better grasp of these things than Trump does.

An administration can’t just suddenly change most regulations, even if they are bad. It usually has to go through the procedures mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act, such as “notice and comment,” before pulling even a bad regulation. These procedures are detailed and time-consuming, but if they are ignored, someone can sue the government to overturn its regulatory changes, as often happened during the Trump administration.

Due to its lack of understanding of administrative law, the Trump administration failed to rescind most of the burdensome rules and regulations imposed during the Obama administration. The Obama administration imposed a flood of rules and regulations on American business and our educational sector, harming economic growth and driving up costs to consumers and students.

The Trump administration repealed many of the bad rules, but often in procedurally improper or sloppy ways that led to judges blocking the rules changes and reinstating the bad rules.

On the bright side, most agencies under Trump stopped issuing burdensome rules and regulations, heeding instructions from the White House. That kept things from getting even worse, the way they did under the Obama and Biden administrations. It improved health and safety in some ways. And Trump’s policies enabled a long economic recovery to continue, contrary to the predictions of some economists that a recession was inevitable and overdue given how long the economic recovery had been underway.

With fewer new regulations to keep track of under Trump, businesses were able to expand and grow under Trump, resulting in improved quarterly growth. But the economy would have grown even faster if Trump had managed to get rid of more existing bad rules and regulations, rather than just not imposing new burdensome rules and red tape.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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