Circling the wagons

I have occasionally posted emails I have received from the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. I got on their email lists by attending various campaign rallies in South Carolina last February. Along the way it appears that someone rented or sold their lists to other Republican non-presidential candidates who are running this year.

Some of the national candidates are gone but not entirely out of business. Ted Cruz has started raising money for his 2018 Senate re-election campaign and hints about 2020 – go Ted 2020! John Kasich’s campaign was trying to raise some cash by selling discounted campaign gear. Online sales are certainly easier than garage sales.

Both Kasich and Marco Rubio sent out Memorial Day emails commemorating the holiday. Rubio’s was signed by Rubio but paid for by a superPAC, Reclaim America PAC. As an active candidate that sort of coordination may be illegal, but now, I guess, no one is watching.

We can never say thank you enough to those who laid their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, but today I hope you will join me in remembering our brave men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Sincerely, Marco Rubio

Paid for by Reclaim America PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

My email also brought campaign soliticiations from Congressman Trey (Benghazi) Gowdy of South Carolina, Navy Seal Ryan Zinke, Congressman from Montana, and Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Ms. Cheney is now running for the Wyoming House seat. And you probably thought we were done with the Cheneys!

Congressman Zinke:


Congressman Gowdy: There are many Democrats hoping I would not run again, and they have a candidate running to defeat me this fall. So, this election is not going to be easy. That’s why I’m asking for your support today.

The emails that are most fascinating, however, are those from national Republican Party leaders who are also raising money. Their messages say almost as much by what is not written as what is.

There have been several notes from House Speaker Paul Ryan – three just yesterday. His previous emails to me were addressed “Fellow Conservative,” but the salutation has changed to the more personal “Dear Ken.” I assume he switched email writers.

Ryan has noted that:

Hillary Clinton will stop at nothing to become the next president of the United States. She will say anything. She will do anything. But you know what’s even worse? If Hillary Clinton & Nancy Pelosi are in power at the same time. They would cause irreparable harm to our great country. As of right now, the only thing that could stop them is the decision you make today. … Now is the time to unite to stop Pelosi and Hillary from obtaining their one goal: a complete liberal takeover of our government. … Your support will allow us to help conservative candidates in the most competitive districts across the nation.


Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s “brain,” and the mastermind of Bush’s two campaigns, wrote recently to remind me:

There are only 23 weeks left until Election Day 2016. This election, Republicans have more at stake than ever. The White House, our GOP Senate majority, and the U.S. Supreme Court are all on the line. We have 24 Republican Senate seats up for reelection this year. But with Democrats spending tens of millions of dollars to unseat our Republican senators in states like Illinois, Ohio, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it’s clear this election will be hard and difficult. … Our Republican majority is in jeopardy and with it, the Supreme Court.  A Republican victory will be impossible if our Senate campaigns are being OUTSPENT by Democrats and DROWNED by their negative ads.

If committed conservatives do not act NOW, Republicans could face a series of tremendous losses this fall that devastate our conservative movement and damage our country’s future.

Of course there are some key words missing from all these emails, every single one of them, from Montana to South Carolina to Wyoming to Wisconsin to wherever Karl Rove is holed-up. Those words would be, if I may, something like this: “please join me in giving Donald Trump the team he needs to build that wall, deport those 11 million aliens, ban Muslins from our country, pay off the federal debt in eight years, raise trade barriers, limit freedom of the press, etc., etc.”

Keep in mind that none of the signers of the emails are from what might pass for a “moderate” Republican district these days. These folks are hardened, dyed in the wool far-right Republicans. So if they are raising these alarms you might read into this that: (a) they are maybe just a little bit nervous; or more likely, (b) they see no advantage in aligning themselves, for fundraising purposes, with Donald Trump.

There are many among the Republican leadership (plus those running as rank-and-file candidates) who feel no connection with, nor see any advantage to affiliating themselves with, the head of their ticket. And it is only June 1. They are trying to hold on to what they have. They have circled the wagons. They are not promoting or defending Donald Trump.

Losses of Republican House and Senate seats are inevitable. The only question is how many. The Republican candidates most likely to lose are those who are from “moderate” districts or states. What will be left of the Republican House and Senate caucuses next January will be the most far-right, most unlikely to lose under any circumstances, members. Whether either house has a Republican majority or not, their caucuses will be even more doctrinaire and unwilling to compromise than the current Congress. As hard as that is to imagine.