Ken Berwitz

What is the Republican Party trying to do to itself?  

Currently, the two leading candidates are Donald Trump – a candidate I admit to assuming would be gone by now but, instead, seems to have grown in popularity (not just among Republicans either), and Ted Cruz, a bible-thumping, take-no-prisoners religious zealot who demands that his view of social behavior become mandatory for all of us.

I\’ve already discussed what my problems with Donald Trump are.  And, to some extent I\’ve done so with Ted Cruz as well (as recently as the previous paragraph).  But I think, in Cruz\’s case, I should expand my position further.  To do so, I am going to invoke three names:  Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Richard Mourdock:

-Sharron Angle is a Nevada Republican who won a three-person senate primary and opposed Harry Reid in 2010.  Reid was extremely vulnerable that year, and it is very likely that either of Ms. Angle\’s two primary opponents – Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, would have beaten him handily.  Instead, Reid beat her by 5% (50% – 45%) and remained Senate Majority Leader until Republicans took control of the senate.

-Ken Buck is a Colorado Republican who defeated then-Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton in a bitterly fought senate primary, and ran against incumbent (appointed, not elected) Democrat Michael Bennet in the general election .  Norton almost certainly would have won against Bennet, but Buck – who was a major-league gaffe machine, managed to lose by 4% (52% – 48%).

-Richard Mourdock is an Indiana Republican who upset (vote-wise and probably emotionally) long-time incumbent Richard Lugar to run for the Senate against Democrat Joe Donnelly.  Against Lugar, Donnelly would have had a minuscule chance.  But against Mourdock, Donnelly won by 6% (50% to 44%) and is currently in office.Every one of these three was a hard-right favorite.  Just like Ted Cruz.

Every one of these three ran as a take-no-prisoners hardliner on social issues, including opposition to abortion rights in virtually all cases at virtually all stages of pregnancy, even the day of conception, and support of legislation that would make same-sex marriage illegal. 

Every one of these three made remarkably insensitive comments about pregnancies due to rape – Angle, in particular, about incestual rape.

Every one of these three ran against a very beatable Democrat opponent.  

And every one of these three lost to their eminently beatable Democrat opponent.

So tell me:  what was accomplished by nominating Angle, Buck and Mourdock?

Did it make the supercharged purists of the Republican Party feel better about themselves? 

How happy are they now, as they watch the Democrats Angle, Buck and Mourdock ran against – Democrats who share just about none of their views on any issues – casting votes in the United States Senate?

I hope they take a good look.  Because it is an excellent bet that this is exactly as happy as they will be after the next election if they do it again, and manage to win the Republican nomination for their purist hero, Ted Cruz.

At the beginning of this blog I asked “what is the Republican Party trying to do to itself”.  Well, its far-right wing is trying to do the same thing that gave us Angle, Buck and Mourdock.  Let\’s see if the rest of the party can stop them.

They better hope so.

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