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Horowitz: 2020 primaries: Will Trump learn lesson from endorsing Mitt Romney?

It’s obvious that you can’t drain the swamp without actually draining the swamp. It should be even more obvious that you certainly can’t drain the swamp by backfilling it with even more muck. The question for the president, as he is confronted with the rebellion of Mitt Romney in the impeachment trial, is: Will he learn from the mistake of endorsing Romney in the Utah Senate primary as more primary endorsement opportunities present themselves?

Primaries matter. The gulf between nominating a real conservative and nominating a nominal Republican is often as wide, if not wider, than the gulf between choosing a Republican over a Democrat in a general election. Yet everyone sleeps during the primaries, enabling those with all the money and name ID, aka the swamp monsters, to continue winning re-nomination and for new swampsters to win crowded primary races for open seats.

President Trump has the ability to change the trajectory of the Republican Party by getting involved in primaries, but by and large, not only has he declined to endorse insurgent candidates who would back him loyally, he has often endorsed some of his worst adversaries. Trump’s power in a primary is a double-edged sword. Were he to endorse fellow MAGA candidates, he would have a good chance of sweeping into power an unprecedented number of conservatives, despite any lack of candidate funding. But the minute he chooses to endorse a swamp candidate, it is a death knell for his very best supporters, killing the small chance they had to win in the first place.

Thanks to Mitt Romney’s demands that witnesses be called in the Senate trial, this pointless impeachment trial may continue. And when Romney is not personally attacking the president, he is working on leftist ideas like global warming socialism. It didn’t have to be this way.

When Romney decided to run for Senate after longtime Utah Senator Orrin Hatch retired, there was another option. State Rep. Mike Kennedy was an elected official who had a lot more to do with Utah politics than Mitt Romney did. Yes, Romney was a presidential candidate with an enormous amount of money and full name ID. But he also had a history of trashing Trump, and it was quite evident that he would not change direction upon entering the Senate. Trump could have thrown his support behind Kennedy. At worst, he could have stayed on the sidelines. But instead he endorsed Romney, even though he was not an incumbent, dealing a death blow to any alternative.

Well, Romney hasn’t made a great senator. All he does is virtue-signal in the media and echo all their gripes against the president on nearly every one of his policy proposals. Rather than replacing Orrin Hatch as senator from Utah, he has apparently replaced John McCain as the GOP go-to senator for the media.

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