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Republicans Are Losers, and No One Cares

AP Photo/Joey Cappelletti, File

Promoting failure has long been in vogue within the confines of the Beltway. Washington, D.C. is nothing if not a revolving door of mediocrity in which not doing one’s job well is actually a qualifier for the next position.

A recent example involved a man named Howard Zucker, the former New York health director who helped oversee that state’s disastrous COVID-19 response, including an attempted cover-up of nursing home deaths. But while Zucker was eventually forced to resign, he’s now found a new position at within the Biden administration at the CDC.

Then there’s the case of Nikki Fried. The former Florida gubernatorial candidate didn’t even make it out of her own primary, getting trounced by Charlie Crist. The latter then went on to lose to Ron DeSantis by 19 points in the general election. Where’s Fried now? She’s leading the Florida Democratic Party.

But while I’d love to just dunk on Democrats for rewarding failure, that’d make me a hypocrite, and while some right-wing commentators at other outlets are comfortable wearing that skin, I’m not. To illustrate my point, let’s take a look at some state-level parties in what used to be swing states as recently as 2020.

MICHIGAN

In the running battle for the worst state-level party in the country, the Michigan GOP has certainly made a good case. According to recent reports, it only has around $147,000 in the bank, effectively making it broke. That’s not even enough to keep the operating expenses paid long-term, and there’s no sign fundraising is going to pick up.

Who leads the Michigan GOP? That would be Kristina Karamo, who lost her bid for Secretary of State in 2022 by 13 points. Since her rise to the party’s head in February, the entire operation has been in turmoil. There have even been physical altercations at gatherings among members, and Democrats now enjoy a trifecta in the state.

So what were Karamo’s qualifications to become the leader of the Michigan Republican Party? She’s an outspoken Trump-ally who talks about the 2020 election being stolen. As you’ll see with later examples, that appears to be the only experience necessary to lead a state-level GOP party.

COLORADO

While Michigan’s $147,000~ cash on hand is a paltry sum, Colorado’s GOP isn’t doing much better. In fact, things are bad that the party is being evicted from its own headquarters, and employees have had to go without pay. That situation capstones a disastrous decade of losing state-wide election after state-wide election.

Who leads the Colorado GOP? That would be Dave Williams, who lost his primary bid to represent CO-5 in the 2022 election. What are Williams’ qualifications to step in and lead an already faltering state party? Well, he once tried to pass a resolution in the state legislature thanking the January 6th rioters. He also pushed to decertify Colorado’s 2020 election results (a state that was nowhere near close enough to approach suspicion of fraud, which is why it’s never mentioned). Then there was his attempt to get on the primary ballot as Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams. Clearly, he’s a very serious person.

Of course, none of the problems that have transpired since Williams took power are his fault. Instead, he blames the “establishment” and donors for not giving him money. You can’t accuse him of not having the shallow rhetoric down, at least.

ARIZONA

Out of all the states mentioned so far, Arizona should be the most heartbreaking for Republicans. It’s a state that was once reliably red despite not always sending representatives to Washington that made the more conservative among us happy.

Kelli Ward left the state party in shambles, having overseen one of the quickest losses of state-wide power in the entire nation. Instead of re-evaluating its electoral strategy, though, the party just doubled down with the appointment of Jeff DeWit, a former Trump administration official. Back in the spring, disclosures showed the party with less than $50,000 cash on hand.

Republicans have lost both Senate seats, the state treasurer, and the governorship over the last several cycles in Arizona. Still, polls show Kari Lake has a huge lead in a hypothetical 2024 GOP Senate primary. Meanwhile, those same polls show Lake losing badly in both a two and three-way matchup with Democrat Ruben Gallego.

CONCLUSION

I could keep going. Minnesota’s GOP is not only bankrupt but has handed over complete control to the Democrats. Overall, Democrats have gained 12 different trifectas in various states since the 2016 election. All the while, those who lose their own elections are promoted into positions of power to keep the cycle going while never admitting that changes are needed.

To be clear, this isn’t about being pro or anti-Trump. In fact, you’ll notice I didn’t make any critique of him in this piece as a national prospect because that would be missing the point of what’s happening within these individual states. Donald Trump could go on to win the 2024 general election. That still wouldn’t mean that only promoting his deeply-committed allies in these states while chasing an agenda that centers almost solely on him will win state-wide elections. It’s just a different dynamic, and too many Republicans are busy chasing the national spotlight from their state perches to actually adjust and put in the work to win.

More depressing is that Republican voters don’t seem to care. Where’s the outrage as so many people failing up within GOP state parties? Where’s the anger at the culture of losing that has been built, leaving former Republican strongholds completely demolished? Everyone is too busy focusing on national-level politics that they don’t see the destruction happening in their own backyards, and that destruction has a much bigger chance of affecting their daily lives than who is in the White House, as important as that is.

How does any of this change? I don’t think it does. Not for a while at least. Unfortunately, I think the losing is going to continue for a few more cycles until Republican voters finally wake up.

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