By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) Talk show host Joe Walsh, who served one term as a U.S. congressman from Illinois, is running an extremely long-shot bid to steal the GOP nomination from President Donald Trump.
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He’s been in Iowa campaigning — sort of — ahead of Monday’s caucuses. And though he already had a nearly impossible task, he seems to either be resigned to his fate or he never believed he was going to win in the first place.
Either way, insulting the very voters you’re attempting to woo doesn’t seem like the best political strategy to us, especially when you call the party he represents a “cult.”
The Guardian reports:
Joe WalshÂ has modest ambitions for the Republican caucuses in Iowa on Monday. Challenging an incumbent president from the same party is usually a thankless task. When that incumbent is Donald Trump, it is doomed not only to failure but indifference.
While Democrats are locked in a titanic struggle, captivating the media,Â the forgotten Iowa caucuses of 2020Â pitch Trump against Walsh, a former congressman from Illinois, andÂ Bill Weld,Â a former governor of Massachusetts. Both seem token efforts, tennis balls bouncing off a tank.
Trumpâ€™s absolute monarch status in the party was emphasised by senatorsâ€™ vote on Friday to block witnesses and documents at his impeachment trial,Â assuring him of a speedy acquittal.Â There is zero appetite for a challenger. If the partyâ€™s objective is make sure Walsh and Weld donâ€™t get talked about, it appears to be succeeding.
Walsh tweeted on SaturdayÂ that Jeff Kaufmann, the Republican chairman in Iowa, â€œis a Trump tool. Like so many of these GOP state party chairs, he kisses Donald Trumpâ€™s ring on a daily basis. And like his master, Jeff Kaufmann will lie all the time.â€
The previous night at Urban Dreams,Â wearing blue jacket, blue shirt and blue jeans, Walsh admitted it has been a steep learning curve.
â€œI knew when I did this it was a long shot,â€ Walsh told the Guardian. â€œI said at the beginning, I thought it was really, really important that a Republican do this. Iâ€™ve been discouraged because I did not see all the mean un-American things the party would do.
â€œMy party is a cult.Â Iâ€™m a conservative Republican; Fox News wonâ€™t have me on. Conservative media will ignore me because theyâ€™re a cult with Trump. The Republican parties in each state: they are a cult for Trump. I didnâ€™t sufficiently get all of that and thatâ€™s made this really hard,” Walsh added.
“Every time Iâ€™m out there talking primarily to Republican voters, because thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m trying to do, there are a lot of Republicans that get angry at me and we get threats every day and it can get uglyâ€¦ but Iâ€™m always amazed at the number of Republicans who tell me, â€˜I like some of the things Trumpâ€™s done, Joe, but Iâ€™m exhausted with Trump.â€™ Every day itâ€™s theÂ Donald TrumpÂ show. So I think I have an opportunity to do better than people think and I hope I can do that in Iowa,” he added.
His campaign is hoping to ‘steal’ a victory because of low GOP voter turnout. But even if he were to ‘steal’ Iowa, it seems unlikely that the RNC — or Trump supporters — would allow him to steal another primary.
Nevertheless, to Walsh’s ‘conservative Republican’ claim — a similar refrain heard from nearly every #NeverTrump Republican — is unconvincing as a reason to ditch the president.
Trump himself may not be a “conservative” in the strict political sense, but there is no arguing the fact that his policies have been straight-line, mainline conservative: Border security, immigration enforcement, constitutionalist judges, free market economic policies, America-first trade agreements, strong military, reduction in the federal bureaucracy, and federalism (states’ rights).
So Walsh’s complaint and that of other so-called conservative Republicans can’t really be about Trump policies, it’s all aboutÂ Trump himself: They seem to be opposed to him, personally, not necessarily his policies, and are obviously unable to separate the two.
As for the ‘cult’ comparison, Trump’s voters — most of whom are Republicans — are extremely loyal. That doesn’t make them ‘cultists,’ it makes them supporters. As for the RNC sticking with the president, the question we have for Walsh is, “Why wouldn’t the RNC stick with the president who brought them victory?”
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