Tuesday’s primary elections in New Hampshire carried an intriguing message to Republican voters in the Granite State: If you’re a moderate Republican or an independent, you have no choice but to vote for incumbent Maggie Hassan, the Democratic nominee for U.S. senator; if you’re a moderate Republican or independent voter in the First Congressional District, you have no choice but to vote for incumbent Congressman Chris Pappas.
And that is by design.
The two Republicans who won their Republican primaries – Don Bolduc for Senate and Karoline Leavitt for the 1st Congressional District – are both avowed Trump loyalists who revel in conspiracy theories about how the 2016 election was stolen by President Joe Biden.
Bolduc, a retired Army general, said in a debate last month that he “signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by” it. He has also said he was open to abolishing the FBI after agents searched Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida seeking classified documents, The New York Times reports.
Bolduc was supported financially by Democrats and opposed by moderate Republicans – both for the same reasons – that it seemed less likely that the extreme candidate would win in the final against Maggie Hassan.
Republicans in the state also chose a hard-right nominee for the House, Leavitt, a former staff member in Trump’s White House press office who echoed the former president’s inflammatory language and provocations, according to the Times. Leavitt also embraced Trump’s stolen election rhetoric.
She was likewise supported by Democrats and opposed by moderate Republicans.
Just south of the border, in Massachusetts, a similar scenario played out with Republican Geoff Diehl, another hard-right Trump supporter who gained support from Democrats who want their candidate, Maura Healey, to sail to victory in November.
Across the country, meanwhile, in Colorado and California, similar scenarios have played out as extremist, pro-Trump candidates have been buttressed by Democrats while their opponents have gotten the support of mainstream, moderate, conservative Republicans.
Syndicated columnist S.E. Cupp, a conservative commentator who happens to have been raised in Andover, Massachusetts, wrote a column as far back as June warning Democrats of the perils of this strategy.
“Democratic PACs, the Democratic Party and fundraising outfits all over the country – from California to Colorado, Pennsylvania to Illinois – are putting Democratic dollars behind far-right Republican candidates in hopes that they’ll beat their more moderate Republican counterparts in the primaries. It’s a big gamble predicated on the somewhat smug and downright amnestic belief that voters couldn’t possibly support an extremist, racist, conspiratorial or inexperienced candidate – in other words, Trumpy – in a general election.”
She goes on to point out that “it seems risky considering a slew of Trumpy, extremist, ‘fringe’ candidates have been elected in recent years, and to terrible effect. From Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, to Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, to North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn (recently ousted), there’s living proof that offensive is no longer disqualifying.
“It’s a roll of the dice, with huge implications. Will it get their guys elected? Or will Democrats have personally helped send some of the most extreme, anti-Democratic and dangerous candidates into elected office, and positions where they wield immense power? TBD.”
The Democrats went all in on Hillary Clinton, discounting Trump in the 2016 election, much to their chagrin. Are they making the same mistake here? TWT. Time will tell.