In 2022, the GOP is the party of Trump. This isn’t breaking news. From demanding partisan election “audits” that (according to the Brennan Center For Justice) “fail to satisfy basic security, accuracy and reliability measures,” to censuring Republican officials who failed to back Trump’s Big Lie, the GOP has spent the year and a half since President Biden’s election prostrating themselves in every way imaginable to the former President.
So it should come as no surprise that with the 2022 midterms approaching, candidates in competitive primaries across the country are locked in a race to the bottom—a race to prove that they, (rather than their fellow GOP hopefuls), are actually their city/county/school board/state’s most extreme candidate, the most racist, the most up-to-date on the Fox News talking points of the day.
This internal struggle was on full display over the weekend in Ohio, when former President Trump endorsed US Senate hopeful J.D. Vance from among a crowded field of candidates. Vance is decidedly not the Ohio GOP’s preferred candidate in the race—so much so that 2 dozen high ranking Ohio GOP officials penned a letter to Trump last week effectively begging the former President to withhold this particular endorsement:
“While we were working hard in Ohio to support you and Make America Great Again, JD Vance was actively working against your candidacy. He referred to your supporters as “racists” and proudly voted for Evan McMullin in 2016. Importantly, JD Vance is not a registered Republican. To have someone who has not voted in a Republican primary carrying the mantel for the party is troubling.”
The letter didn’t stop Trump endorsing Vance, but it did foreshadow the response he’d get to his decision. According to Business Insider, after his Friday endorsement Trump received so many dismayed calls that he actually chose to silence his phone rather than defend his decision to angry advisors.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the Akron Beacon Journal put their disgust with the endorsement in the simplest possible terms: “Donald Trump doesn’t know what’s best for Ohio.”
The Beacon Journal continued, dismayed, insisting that “Ohio’s future is on the line. Will we have a Trump-styled loudmouth representing us in Washington?”
The answer? Probably yes. Because the Beacon Journal’s editorial board is right to worry about Vance. After all, this is the same candidate whose recent campaign ad bafflingly claimed that Mexico–the country–was responsible for his own mother’s drug addiction. And it’s the same candidate who’s running for US Senate despite having no relevant experience, not being a registered Republican, and having never voted in a Republican primary. But he’s received the endorsement now of a former President who he once referred to as America’s Hitler.
The Ohio primary will be held May 3rd and will determine which candidates, Republican and Democrat, will vie for retiring Senator Rob Portman’s vacated seat.
Like our content and analysis? Make a donation to Lede Progress and help grow our community of readers who care about moving progress forward. Even as little as $5 is a huge help: