Won’t Democrats Eventually Get Burned By Their Ads Boosting GOP Crazies?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Charlie Sykes’s Morning Shots newsletter at The Bulwark, when I came across this item linking to a Lachlan Markay piece at Axios.

FFS. “Democrats boost right-wing challenger to GOP Trump foe.”

A new TV ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee portrays Republican John Gibbs as the true pro-Trump conservative in his effort to unseat Republican Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) — aligning with Gibbs’ own campaign messaging.

  • Trump endorsed Gibbs’ challenge after Meijer voted to impeach the former president over his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 Capitol siege…

Be smart: The spot is couched as an attack ad, saying “the Gibbs-Trump agenda is too conservative for West Michigan.”

  • Despite the framing, it hits on precisely the issues any Trump-backed Republican would want to be elevated before a primary contest.

What the hell, Doc – does this seem like a prescription for victory in November?

– Dimocrat Watcher

Dear Watcher,

The Doc has been on this gambit by Democrats like Brown on Williamson for the past two months (see here and here).

But there are plenty of others in the punditocracy also dissecting it.

Let’s begin with the ad “attacking” John Gibbs that Lachlan Markay noted in his Axios piece.

The Bulwark’s eminently sane and always readable Jonathan V. Last had this to say about that spot.

Here are the relevant facts:

  • Gibbs is an insane conspiracy theorist—Hillary does Satanic rituals!—who is manifestly unfit for office.
  • Gibbs should lose this primary. So the add serves no “preparing the ground for the general” function.
  • The ad will help Gibbs because he’s struggling with name ID and hasn’t been able to run his own ads.
  • Again: Meijer is one of the ten Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump.

JVL’s conclusion: “[Going] into a race purely in the hopes that maybe the insane person will pull an upset over Meijer is not just foolish and dishonorable, but dangerous, too . . . This is the bad kind of boosting. The kind that the DCCC absolutely should not be doing.”

Then again, consider the gubernatorial race in Maryland, where the Democratic Governors Association poured over a million dollars into promoting Republican candidate Dan Cox, who, according to Vanity Fair’s Chris Smith, “pushed for Donald Trump to seize voting machines in the month after the 2020 presidential election, and . . . pals around with QAnon supporters.”

“It’s crazy like a fox,” says Cornell Belcher, a strategist who worked on both of Barack Obama’s winning presidential campaigns. “If you can impact the odds of winning on the front end, it’s hard to argue with doing it. If I have the ability to run against someone who I know is going to be the weaker opponent, I shouldn’t do that? That’s la-la land shit. The likelihood that Maryland will go Republican in November is a lot less today than it would have been if the Hogan-like candidate had prevailed in that primary.”

The jury’s still out, however, at the Jan. 6 Committee, as Alayna Treene noted in Axios Sneak Peek.

Representative sample:

Between the lines: Public backlash intensified yesterday when it emerged that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boosting an election denier in his primary against Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) — one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the DCCC, said on MSNBC this morning: “If you’re talking about trying to pick your opponent, you might see us do that, sure. And I think sometimes it does make sense.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, told Axios: “No party, Democrat or Republican, should be promoting candidates who perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and try to undermine our democracy.”

Karma being the corkscrew that it is, there’s a non-zero chance that at least one of the MAGAts Democrats have been boosting – call the roll: Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race; Darren Bailey in the Illinois governor’s race; John Gibbs; Dan Cox – will squeak through in November.

As the feller says, lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

Flea powder sold separately.

So How Did the Democrats Do With Those ‘Sabotage Ads’ Touting GOP Crazies?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

A couple of weeks ago you wrote about the trend by Democrats to meddle in GOP primaries by boosting the most radical candidates, presumably because they’d be easier to beat in a general election.

You also wrote this: “The Doc will make some house calls at the end of the month to determine the health of those Democratic investments. And prescribe condolences accordingly.”

So, what’s up, Doc?

– MAGAfier

Dear Mf,

Much the same as the Democratic saboteurs achieved mixed results in earlier primaries, their Tuesday tally was decidedly uneven, as the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips noted in a lively roundup.

Start with the Illinois GOP gubernatorial bakeoff.

Some believed that, with 2022 looking tough for Democrats, Republicans could take the governor’s mansion in deep blue Illinois.

That got a lot more difficult after Tuesday’s Republican primary. Voters nominated conservative firebrand state Sen. Darren Bailey over a more traditional Republican candidate to take on Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in November. Democrats are thrilled about this. Bailey wants to ban abortion in the state (except in cases where the woman’s life is in danger) and has described Chicago as “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.” He once tried to eject the city from the state, and he has former president Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Bailey also had $30 million worth of Pritzker and Democratic Governors Association advertising to pump him up.

Then again, the opponent Pritzker really did not want to face – Black, moderate, Aurora mayor Richard Irvin – ran a campaign grubstaked to the tune of $50 million by hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin.

So hold the violins, yeah?

Here’s the tally, via Ballotpedia.

Really? Fifty million bucks bought a third-place finish for Irvin?

All those dollars and no sense.

Then there’s the GOP gubernatorial race in Colorado, into which the Democratic Governors Association also stuck its nose, running an ad campaign with $1.5 million that the DGA laundered through a couple of PACs.

That was more money down the drain, as Amber Phillips noted in her WaPo piece: “Heidi Ganahl — as a University of Colorado regent, the state’s lone Republican elected statewide — defeated Greg Lopez.”

Which is to say, the moderate beat the MAGAt once again.

Ballotpedia has the numbers.

And chalk up one more for the moderates, this time in Colorado’s GOP U.S. Senate primary, which Axios’s Sophia Cai previewed this way.

In Colorado, a new Democratic super PAC cut a TV ad boosting far-right, election-denying state Rep. Ron Hanks in the June 28 GOP primary to decide who will take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

The group has reserved at least $1.49 million in TV ad slots across Colorado over the next few weeks.

Hanks’ moderate Republican rival Joe O’Dea accused Democrats of “hijacking the Republican nomination for an unserious candidate who has zero chance of winning.”

Here’s how WaPo’s Amber Phillips post-mortemed it: “Republicans nominated a more moderate Republican, businessman Joe O’Dea, to challenge Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D) in November. (Democrats had spent millions trying to get a far-right state representative to win the nomination.)”

Here’s the Ballotpedia ballot results.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, the moderates beat the MAGAts (and the Dimocrats) two-to-one this past Tuesday.

Your big foam hand goes here.