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Ditch Mitch?


Who was ultimately responsible for the evil Mississippi primary campaign that smeared supporters of Chris McDaniel as racists?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that’s who.

The GOP Establishment Incumbent Protection Machine and the big-money donors who fund it have been determined to eradicate the Tea Party movement in the 2014 campaign cycle.

This is McConnell’s formula for Republican success: Destroy all primary challengers, whatever the cost, and ensure that only Establishment-approved candidates win primaries in open-seat races or against vulnerable Democrat incumbents. It’s a cautious, risk-averse strategy, and if Republicans capture the Senate majority in November, McConnell will be congratulated on his success.

On the other hand . . .

What if it all goes sideways? What if this political equivalent of the NFL “prevent defense” turns out to be a formula for GOP failure?

What if all the big money and all the shrewd consultants turn out to be less valuable to Republicans than the grassroots conservative supporters who have been alienated by McConnell’s strategy?

What if Mitch McConnell loses his own Senate seat?

Manu Raju and John Bresnahan of Politico examine that scenario at some length today, and it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem.

Look at the polls: McConnell leads Democrat challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes by 5 points in the Real Clear Politics average, but the race has only been polled four times in the past two months, so we don’t know how solid that lead really is. Most importantly, McConnell is consistently polling below 50% — as low as 42% in a May poll — and that’s always a troubling sign for an incumbent.

As the Politico article says, if McConnell can’t defeat Grimes, the prospects for a GOP Senate majority are pretty remote. And if Republicans can’t take over the Senate this year — when they have every possible advantage, by ordinary calculations — it’s possible to argue that Republicans can never win a Senate majority, that the GOP is doomed to permanent minority status.

This scenario, the de facto triumph of Democrats as uncontested rulers of America as a one-party centralized state, would be a complete reversal of the “permanent Republican majority” Karl Rove promised in the wake of George W. Bush’s re-election.

After all the evil deeds perpetrated by the Republican establishment in the Mississippi primary, some of my conservative friends respond to this possibility with calm: “Let it burn,” they say.

It’s becoming harder to argue that these friends of mine are wrong.

First published at


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