by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
By now, it’s a well-worn Democratic Party refrain.
The Republican Party is being taken over by a bunch of subversive election deniers who stand ready to crash democracy at the behest of former President Donald Trump — that is, if they prevail in midterm elections this year and take the reins of power ahead of the 2024 elections.
But whether the Democrats are as anxious about the apparent fragility of democracy as they claim is an open question after key party organizations intervened in Republican primaries this spring to elevate the very candidates, plural, they say would happily tank the country for Trump. As a matter of pure politics, this strategy is sensible and the obvious choice for Democrats as they attempt to stem losses in what could be a massive red wave.
The Republicans pushed by the Democrats in at least four governor’s primaries and one Senate primary are weak general election contenders. Nominating them, as Republicans did in Pennsylvania with Doug Mastriano, gives Democrats a better opportunity to hold on in November. But with President Joe Biden’s job approval ratings cratering, what if the Republican victory is so sweeping in the fall that it carries weaklings like Mastriano across the finish line?
What if Biden runs for reelection and beats Trump in a rematch that hinges on another narrow victory in Pennsylvania? It would seem Democratic fears of unlawful Republican manipulation of the results, if not a blatant bid to overturn the election itself, are more likely to be realized with Mastriano as governor than any of the other more electable Republicans he defeated in the GOP primary last month.
In addition to the Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary, Democrats have attempted to sway GOP nominating contests for governor in Colorado, Illinois, and Nevada.