It would be fun to watch Republican senators flailing frantically in desperation as these see their chances at re-election sinking on the S.S. Trumptanic.
It would be fun, that is, if some of those GOP legislators weren’t wantonly breaking laws as they try everything they can to reverse their fate in their panic — everything but admit that their fealty to Donald Trump is exactly what landed them in their current situation.
Take Senator Lindsey Graham.
Please! (Thank you, Henny Youngman, for that eternally lasting bit of humor.)
The South Carolina Republican may have once thought that he would be cruising to easy re-election in the traditionally conservative Southern state.
The reality he faces in 2020, however, is an opponent — a popular former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Jaime Harrison — who has raised vastly greater sums of money for his campaign than the three-term Senator.
The reasons for the fund-raising disparity are legion.
One reason that someone could point to is Senator Graham’s notorious flip-flopping on his opinions of Donald Trump — from stating that “Trump is destroying the Republican Party” in 2015 to renouncing the GOP opposition to Trump headed by his former colleague and best friend the late Arizona Senator John McCain and cuddling up as close to the president as a lap dog could possibly be.
Another reason could be statements like he made this week at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett referring to the “good old days of segregation.”
Is it any wonder that donations to his opponent have surged from both in-state Democrats and from an angry crowd of progressives across the country anxious to put an end to the obstructive and damaging GOP majority in the Senate?
With the race now polling as a virtual tie — and with Trump’s failures to manage the COVID-19 pandemic dragging down the Republican ticket across the nation — Graham’s situation is much more serious and competitive than he may have ever expected.
Now it appears that the lack of financial support for his re-election bid has Senator Graham willing to take desperate moves to raise last-minute funds to finance a final round of advertising to salvage a victory amidst his plummeting fortunes.
So desperate, in fact, that Graham was willing to break the law to encourage people to contribute to his re-election campaign as he did yesterday.
Speaking to reporters in the Capitol Building, the senator said — in full view of the rolling video cameras — that people “excited about Judge Barrett,” Trump’s right-wing extremist nominee for the Supreme Court seat previously held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, should contribute to his campaign, in direct violation of U.S. law barring members of Congress from soliciting donations while inside federal buildings.
“I don’t know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap, LindseyGraham.com. A little bit goes a long way,” Graham said on camera.
“The bottom line is my opponent raised $57 million. Congratulations to him, that’s the most anybody’s ever raised in the history of the Senate,” the senator continued. “I raised $28 million, the most any Republican has ever raised. I think the contest in South Carolina has taken on sort of a national profile. I think in my case is that I stood up for Kavanaugh, and that made some people pretty upset on the left.”
It’s illegal to solicit campaign contributions inside a federal building.
— aída chávez (@aidachavez) October 15, 2020
Graham’s comments immediately raised hackles on Twitter in people who were outraged by the blatant disregard for the rule of law from a close supporter of our supposedly “Law & Order” president.
In a country where law and order mattered, this would disqualify him.
— Jack Laridian Has Voted (@JackLaridian) October 15, 2020
Exactly. You know what to do, people! https://t.co/tOND5wdPm3
— Rose Bloomin (Broome) (@rosical) October 15, 2020
Seems a little unethical when you’re the Chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and you’re soliciting donations in violation of Federal Code.
— PatriotDaughter (@Cubfan13241) October 15, 2020
The good old days in S.C..where segregation ruled! People of color were dragged down the streets pulled by trucks , yelling until they could yell no more. Being accused of falsehoods & hung .Yeah Lindsay those were YOUR old good days. Send him home plz!
— carol perez (@CarolPrissy48) October 15, 2020
He knows what we want he just doesn’t care !
— RebeccaC (@rebeccac0602) October 15, 2020
It’s sort of pitiful to watch Senator Graham groveling for money as his world collapses around him.
Given his behavior throughout his career, no one will begrudge you a little schadenfreude.
As a good friend of his once said: “Lock him up!”
Original reporting by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.