Donald Trump is as much a liability as he is an asset to the Republican Party. Yes, he excites the conspiracy theorists and racists that constitute the core of the GOP’s base but he’s also largely clueless when it comes to precise political strategizing. He’s powered by a constantly churning engine of instinct and grievances and regularly lashes out impulsively in ways that hurt his own party.
The former president’s latest meddling in the Ohio Senate race perfectly illustrates his penchant for creating difficulties for the GOP. According to Politico, Trump called the President of the Club for Growth David McIntosh last month to whine after he saw a political TV ad the right-wing group had run attacking GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance, the reactionary hack of “Hillbilly Elegy” fame.
Club for Growth has endorsed far-right Republican Josh Mandel for the Ohio Senate seat.
In the ad, Club for Growth tried to make Vance look like an anti-MAGA candidate by running old footage of him from 2016 in which he claimed to be a Never Trumper and referred to the former reality game show host as an “idiot,” “noxious,” and “offensive.” The ad was designed to turn pro-Trump Republicans against Vance even though he now claims to be a staunch supporter of the former president.
Trump was uninterested in the motivation behind the ad, and was more concerned by the fact that it might drive down his popularity in Ohio, something he worries about should he decide to run for president again in 2024. McIntosh told Trump on the phone that he’d look into the issue — before proceeding to dump even more money into running the ad.
In an effort to placate the MAGA Godhead, the Club for Growth sent him a memo after the phone call that stated the ad in question had no negative effect on his popularity.
The incident demonstrates yet again that Donald Trump is concerned solely with protecting his own ego — all other considerations come second. Rather than accept that allowing the Club for Growth to run a few clips in which someone insults could lead to a more rabidly pro-MAGA candidate winning a Senate seat, Trump focused on the fact that there would be clips on TV of someone calling him an idiot. Which, of course, he is.
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.