Last week, Megan McArdle, who inexplicably get paids to write silly opinions, argued that it was wrong for Democrats to run ads describing how conservative the MAGA Republicans were in districts where the pro-impeachment, non-Trump Republican was fighting for his life. There could be problems with that strategy (we’ll get to that), but the arguments are silly.
First, there is a fundamental error at work here: the assumption that there are good Republicans. None of these supposed good Republicans supported the Voting Rights Act, especially the cause célèbre of the bunch, Peter Meijer. They want to have minority rule, they just don’t want violence to be involved. That’s better than those who want minority white Christian supremacist rule, but also are willing to countenance violence to get it.
But you don’t get a little-d democratic cookie for supporting non-violent minority rule. Moreover, it’s not like Meijer came out and said, “I won’t vote for anyone to become Speaker of the House who was against the impeachment vote.” In fact, he just endorsed the MAGA Republican*. Unlike most Republicans, he didn’t want a violent insurrection and was willing to punish the perpetrator, Donald Trump. But that’s not a commitment to democracy. There is no reason to believe that a Republican-controlled House will do anything other than attempt to restrict the franchise. If there is any hypocrisy here, it is professional Democrats giving Meijer et alia the whammy, while mere weeks ago claiming there are good Republicans.
Another fallacy, a constant one for the last decade, is the inane belief that Democrats have to take responsibility for Republicans’ actions–as opposed to Republicans. If Democrats run ads describing how conservative a candidate is, and Republican voters respond with, “Ooooh. I like!”, then Republican voters are the ones responsible for this. And I didn’t see national Republican figures stumping with Meijer or asking Republicans to support him. Republicans need to fix their own damn party.
That said, if a Republican is still likely to win that district** (e.g., the odds of winning go from five percent to fifteen percent), then the non-Trump Republican would be better. But if there’s a reasonable chance Democrats can take the seat, and thereby maintain control of the House, defending democracy–not just Democrats–requires no less.
*He’s also blaming Democrats for ‘forcing’ him to do this. Not exactly a little-d democratic stalwart, is he?
**I don’t know enough about Michigan politics to know the answer, but polls suggest with Meijer out, it’s now improved to a dead heat. That said, I’m not very impressed with the Democrat.