The New York Times’ far-left editorial board, to its extraordinarily rare credit, has published a piece bashing the Democrats over the cynical games they play.
At issue is the way Democrats have purposefully been backing and funding allegedly “fringe” Republican primary candidates because they believe these candidates will be easier to beat during the November general elections.
What makes this electoral strategy particularly cynical and outright gross, critics such as the Times’ editorial board said, is that it contradicts the Democrats’ rhetoric about how these Trump-backed “fringe” candidates pose a threat to democracy.
Good, but ostentatiously late, for the New York Times https://t.co/yMUqDhzKOJ
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 3, 2022
“On the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol, Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, took to Twitter not just to condemn that day’s violence but also to warn that the dark forces behind it were still very much alive and still a threat to the future of American democracy,” the Times‘ board wrote.
“The governor was right to sound the alarm. So it is deeply troubling to see Mr. Cooper and the organization he heads — the Democratic Governors Association — support and finance a cynical political strategy to support pro-Trump candidates in Republican primaries, on the theory that they would be easier for Democrats to beat in the fall general election.”
The board continued, “Anyone who proclaims concern about the future of democracy shouldn’t come within a whiff of these democracy-denying candidates, let alone help them win votes. But Mr. Cooper and other Democratic Party groups have been elevating Big Lie proponents over their moderate Republican opponents all year, making a mockery of the American political system.”
So in one breath, Democrats are claiming that Trump-backed GOP candidates who question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are a threat to democracy. But in the other breath, Democrats are supporting these candidates over their more establishment opponents, including some opponents who’d voted with them last year to impeach and convict former President Donald Trump.
Opponents like incumbent Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost to John Gibbs, a Trump-backed election denier.
Meijer was one of a few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. This is how Democrats thanked him: by helping a Trumpist to primary him. https://t.co/6ghSkB0m4V
— Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64) August 3, 2022
Meijer is the second pro-impeachment Republican to lose a primary (four others opted to retire). With no realistic primary path for #WYAL Rep. Liz Cheney (R), there will be at most 3/10 pro-impeachment Rs remaining in the House in 2023.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 3, 2022
“In Michigan, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bought a television ad highlighting the close relationship between Mr. Trump and a pro-Trumper named John Gibbs who was seeking to oust a popular moderate, Representative Peter Meijer. Mr. Meijer was among the handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump following the Capitol insurrection,” the Times’ board noted.
“The basic playbook goes like this: On their face, the ads and mailers — the ad in Michigan reminds voters that Mr. Gibbs was ‘handpicked’ by Mr. Trump — are framed as an attack and a warning. But its messaging, the Meijer camp believes, raised Mr. Gibbs’s appeal among the district’s conservative voters and gave him name recognition he could not otherwise afford. Mr. Meijer lost by roughly fewer than 4,000 votes on Tuesday to Mr. Gibbs.”
Assuming Gibbs really is a threat to democracy, then what does it say about Democrats that they so eagerly supported him?
“If Democrats believe that democracy is in danger and they need Republican support to save it — or at least a reality-based G.O.P. in our two-party system — then they have weakened their standing as defenders of democracy by aligning with those who would thwart it,” the Times’ board argues.
Some might say that it’s almost as if Democrats were never defenders of democracy to begin with — as if they were cynical political operators the whole time. Of course, the Times’ left-wing board isn’t willing to go this far in its condemnation of Democrats.
Indeed, the piece eventually resorts to whataboutism by claiming that “[n]o one is suggesting this scheming is anywhere near as dangerous as the efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies — which include Republican lawmakers and officials across the country — to subvert democratic norms.”
Meanwhile, the top-voted comments to the piece come from leftists who believe all is fair in love and war.
“When you’re up against political guerrilla warfare, it’s not time to be Mr Nice Guy. The Republican Party plays by no rules. We won’t beat them by playing by the rules,” one top-voted comment reads.
That’s an odd stance to take given as it’s Democrats who are playing this cynical game, it’s Democrats who maliciously planted tiki-torch-wielding actors at an event for then-Republican Virginia gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin last year, and it’s Democrats who spent years questioning the legitimacy of numerous elections but now act as if Republicans doing the same thing poses a threat to democracy.
The Times’ board nevertheless concluded its piece by slamming Democrats for selling out their alleged principles.
“Democrats want to hold on to their slim House majority. But selling out democratic principles to do it? That is a disappointing low for the Democratic Party. President Biden and party leaders should renounce this repugnant and risky strategy,” the board wrote.
However, whether or not Democrats ever had any principles in the first place remains up for debate …
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