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There’s a reason why you can count the number of conservatives in the Senate on your hand, as most GOP senators make House Republicans look like the founding fathers. Even in the reddest states where Democrats are nothing but a token opposition, the GOP establishment immediately anoints the next-in-line corporatist with the most name recognition. We have therefore failed to make any progress in several decades, since the Bob Dole days, in pushing the Senate to the right.
Many thought that Trump would even the playing field for our candidates, but so far, thanks to a slew of terrible endorsements recommended by Lindsey Graham, the opposite has proven true. Will he continue his RINO endorsement streak in West Virginia?
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was a Democrat for the first 66 years of his life. On every issue that actually matters, he still is a Democrat. However, in 2017, Justice formally changed parties because the Democrat brand turned to dirt in the Mountain State. Unfortunately, rather than becoming a zealous adherent to the principles of freedom established in the party platform, as one would expect from a sincere convert to a cause, Justice has not changed on policy one iota.
Jim Justice is a bigger COVID fascist than Joe Biden and has shown no signs of changing. He locked down his state, imposed mask mandates, and blocked every effort to fight the vaccine mandates with more zealousness than many Democrat governors. As late as September 2022, after Biden conceded the pandemic was over, Justice lambasted him from the left, calling it “crazyland.”
“I don't think the pandemic's over,” Justice said. “I think we can live with this pandemic, but the more people we can get across the finish line and get vaccinated, the better we'll be able to live with this pandemic, but it's not over. It's absolutely not over." “If we just bundle everything up and say the pandemic is over … more people will die,” Justice said.
It’s likely not an understatement that there is no GOP governor to this day who is as supportive of these shots as Justice. But it’s not just the shots. Kids were out of school, and subsequently masked, for longer than in any other red state. Thanks to his leadership on behalf of the biomedical security state, conservatives failed to pass any meaningful medical freedom bill to prevent this from happening again. Justice doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
In fact, his COVID policies were so reprehensible that when he personally got three shots and then developed a dangerous case of COVID, he utilized the monoclonal antibodies he refused to promote for others, and then appallingly credited the vaccines for saving his life!
While it is still unclear whether incumbent Senator Joe Manchin is running for re-election, we already have a candidate who aligns with basic GOP values in Rep. Alex Mooney, a Freedom Caucus member, who has shown himself to be a good campaigner. We already have one leftist Republican senator, Shelly Moore Capito, and her RINO son, who is a legislator, is now running for governor! Is it too much to ask that in a state with almost no Democrats left in the legislature, we actually nominate a conservative for Senate and governor?
There is not a single issue on which Justice would be with us in the Senate – from green energy and unbridled spending to Ukraine, medical freedom, and social issues. The sum total of the Senate GOP sentiment is America last. They care about every other country but our own. Not only would Justice not change that dynamic, but he would fit right in from day one. Even as governor of a small state, he wanted to donate $5 million to a maternity ward in Ukraine. You can imagine his focus as a U.S. senator. In fact, as governor, Justice even supported Biden’s signature $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which remade our energy, transportation, and infrastructure based on woke policies, green energy, and the surveillance state.
In the past, Justice, like many red-state RINOs seeking instant ingratiation with the GOP base, has secured Trump’s endorsement. He has already stated that he reached out to Trump for an endorsement for Senate. He faces House Freedom Caucus member Alex Mooney, who has served several terms and now represents half of the state. It would be indefensible for Trump to endorse Justice over Mooney. There is quite literally zero difference between Joe Manchin (assuming he seeks re-election) and Jim Justice, so we lose the seat the minute Justice wins the primary.
It's one thing to perpetuate the myth that we need liberal Republicans in swing states, even though we should all understand the major factor is the quality of the candidate, not necessarily the ideology. After all, Dr. Oz was as liberal as they come, and he got crushed by Fetterman because he was also a horrible candidate (also endorsed by Trump over more conservative Kathy Barnette).
But let’s cede the premise of not nominating hard-core conservatives in states like Pennsylvania. The reason why we are stuck with so few Republicans in the Senate who even speak the language of the base is because we continue nominating Ukraine-first Pfizer water-carriers from the deepest red states. Thanks to Trump endorsements, for example, we are stuck with Katie Britt in Alabama and Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi, when we easily had better choices who would have won the general election had Trump not interfered. Then again, Trump endorsed McConnell himself in 2020, which had the effect of pre-emptively clearing the field of any primary challengers.
Trump has an opportunity to redeem himself this cycle, or at a minimum hold back from endorsing establishment candidates. Rep. Matt Rosendale is one of the best conservatives in the House on every single issue Trump’s base cares about and is planning to run for Senate in Montana. McConnell and his allies are so scared of Rosendale that they are actively recruiting Tim Sheehy to run for the seat, knowing that he will be a yes-man for leadership. That effort is being propelled by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Steve Daines, who himself just endorsed Trump for president.
Axios recently reported that “Trump is particularly peeved that Rosendale refused to take his phone call during the contentious vote for House speaker — a viral moment that was captured for posterity.” One of Trump’s biggest spokesmen recently attacked Rosendale publicly for declining to take sides in the presidential election. Rosendale is everything a Trump voter would want in a congressman, and it’s exactly people like him we need in the Senate but have failed to land in the upper chamber for generations. So Trump is going to betray his base over hurt feelings, when in fact, those hurt feelings where the result of him wrongly meddling in the speaker fight?
It was hard enough to fight McConnell and company before Trump came around. Trump could have been the great equalizer and could have helped elect dozens of solid conservatives from red states to flush the McConnell influence from the Senate. Instead, he has backed almost every one of McConnell’s allies over the past few cycles. This is why we have gone backward in primaries since 2016, after initial momentum at the beginning of last decade.Ironically, one of the biggest reasons why Trump’s trifecta control (2017-2018) was so lackluster is because Senate Republicans are so liberal. They openly side with Schumer and war with House Republicans. Any future Republican president will have to contend with this problem. At what point does refilling the swamp negate the promise of draining it?
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Blaze Podcast Host
Daniel Horowitz is the host of “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” and a senior editor for Blaze News.