This morning, I reported on the results of the TX-06 special election which resulted in a Republican lockout. What that means is that in the jungle primary system there, the top two finishers who will go to a runoff are both Republicans. In a district that went only Trump +3 in 2020, the GOP combined for around 69% of the vote. That’s a massive overperformance, though, as others have pointed out, turnout was low.
I think you can look at this two ways. One, you can assume it means nothing, or two, you can believe it shows Republicans are capable of retaking ground in suburban districts they saw slipping away previously. What is undeniable is that there is no bad news that comes from winning a House seat, so, in that sense, yesterday was a win regardless of whether it portends anything for 2022 or not.
But there was another angle to this race that is interesting, if for nothing else than its comedic value. Never Trump was soundly rebuked, with a Rep. Adam Kinzinger-backed candidate getting absolutely throttled, winning less than 3% of the vote.
This, per The Federalist.
Kinzinger flew to Texas last week to campaign for Wood, who was running to replace Republican Rep. Ron Wright, who died earlier this year from complications with the novel Wuhan coronavirus.
“The Trump thing, it’s got nowhere to go but down. It’s not growing,” Kinzinger said at lunch with Wood, according to the Associated Press. “But it took a lot of time for the Republican Party to be what it is today. It may take a lot of time to bring it back.”
Kinzinger may want to take it easy on the political prognostications, but given he’s a regular on MSNBC, being wrong may be a requirement to keep the appearances flowing. As to his hope that after some time, the GOP return to what it was, my best advice is for Kinzinger to not hold his breath. Republican voters long ago grew tired of the neoconservative elitism of the GOP establishment. I can’t see any circumstance where they run back to being the party of George W. Bush. Kinzinger is chasing a ghost. Whether he’s delusional enough to believe he’ll catch it or his entire schtick is just a full-on grift, I’m not sure. It’s almost certainly a combination of both.
I loved this line by Tristan Justice, the author of the piece at The Federalist.
Kinzinger has been pursuing the same party transformation sought out by House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Yet Saturday put the party nowhere closer to the GOP of 2004, as Kinzinger hoped.
That’s so true. Liz Cheney and Kinzinger long for an era that isn’t coming back and for good reason. The days of promoting 20-year wars in Afghanistan and standing for nothing but corporate tax cuts are over. Some would say the GOP base has become more populist, even liberal in some ways. Yet, I think it’s simply a recognition of reality, including the enemies we currently face.
Helping Amazon and Coca-Cola save money doesn’t stop the current cultural onslaught, nor do those big businesses do anything but spite Republicans anyway. There will always be a place to promote fiscal responsibility and sane foreign policy within the GOP, but for too long, the establishment of the party have done everything but that. People took notice, and they aren’t up for virtue-signaling lectures from those who have failed so thoroughly.
And to be sure, Michael Wood wasn’t an obscure candidate. He got more national attention than almost anyone else in the race. Major publications featured him, MSNBC had him on multiple times, and CNN frothed at the possibility of him winning. His humiliating defeat is their humiliating defeat, and it’s Kinzinger’s humiliating defeat as well. There simply is no real stomach out there for Never Trumpism, period.