Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.
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As the race for Ohio’s GOP Senate nomination heats up, all but one candidate has pledged allegiance to former President Trump in a bid to win his coveted endorsement and win over his followers.
That candidate is Matt Dolan, who has poured $10.6 million of his own money into his campaign and plans to run as a typical conservative, and he got Trump’s attention within hours of his campaign launch.
“I know of at least one person in the race who I won’t be endorsing,” Trump declared in September. The former president has attacked Dolan for his family’s ownership of Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise — the Cleveland Guardians.
Dolan’s campaign is unique for a Republican in 2022. His message to primary voters is rooted in traditional conservative ideas, not voter fraud falsehoods and the far-right cultural grievances that Trump uses and expects those vying for his endorsement to peddle.
Dolan’s strategy — which considers the reality that a majority is not required to win — is to catch the eyes of either anti-Trump or Trump-ambivalent Republicans, group them with a single and unite them with a rallying message while the opponents fight for scraps.
For the first time since launching his campaign, Dolan’s strategy is showing signs of paying off.
“I think the Republican Party, the Republican voter, wants to move on,” Dolan said in an interview this week with NBC News. “And I am the only one moving on,” Dolan told NBC News in February.
As tricky a strategy as Dolan’s is, internal and public surveys have seen the state senator rise in polling, making him a disruptive enough force to demand the full attention of Trump and the other candidates.
The Trump-endorsed candidate in this race, J.D. Vance, emerged in first place in a recent Fox News poll. Dolan, who is experiencing a late burst of momentum, bagged an endorsement from the Franklin County GOP in Columbus, signaling a connection to the forces who helped John Kasich defeat Trump in the 2016 Ohio presidential primary.
A Blueprint Polling survery released Tuesday actually put Dolan in first place with 18 percent of the vote, while Vance placed second with 17 percent.
“Can it work? He’s moved up in the polling,” noted an undecided Ohio Republican strategist, who is torn between Dolan and Jane Timken, a former state party chair, according to NBC News. “He’s increased his vote share, and there’s still a sizable chunk that’s undecided.”
“He’s actually able to talk intelligently on issues as opposed to just emotional dog whistles,” the strategist added, referring to Dolan’s pitch to voters. “I think that will have appeal.”
Dolan spoke about his rising momentum in an interview, according to Politico. “When I made my decision to get into the race, I knew that it was going to be a tough slog, at least publicly, for a while. I knew that I would not be doing well in the polls until much, much later in the campaign. I think it’s playing out as I thought it was going to play out.”
Noticing how well Dolan’s strategy is playing out, Trump released a statement on Tuesday in which he opined that the state senator was “not fit” to serve in the Senate. The former president could also bombard Dolan with attack ads funded by his super PAC, suggests NBC News.
A Trump spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, has dismissed Dolan’s chances of winning the primary without caving into the former president. “Dolan can’t win it without President Trump’s endorsement, and you have a better chance of getting the endorsement than he does,” Budowich told NBC News.
A Republican Senate candidate in Ohio recently defended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's decision to appear at a white nationalist event last month as he claimed, “She did nothing wrong.”
According to HuffPost, J.D. Vance's remarks were made in reference to Greene's attendance at the America First Political Action Conference organized by far-right white nationalist, Nick Fuentes.
During the conference, Fuentes, per HuffPost, "complained to the audience that the nation had forgotten 'young white men.'" The outlet also noted that far-right attendees "hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a hero and chanted his name."
In response to Greene's attendance, a number of high ranking Republican lawmakers have distanced themselves from her as they condemned their attendance. “There’s no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Speaking about Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-AZ.) attendance at the event, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) described it as "appalling."
Pushing back against both assessments, Vance argued otherwise. During a recent candidate debate, he said, Greene “is my friend and she did nothing wrong.”
He added, "I’m not going to throw her under the bus.”
Vance went on to voice his frustrations about another issue saying that "while Republicans were subjected to 'guilt by association' attacks, Democrats were not."
Vance's remarks follow Greene's recent homophobic tirade targeting U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig,.
“You know what?” Greene asked the the crowd. ”Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycle, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls bathrooms. Yup."
As Vance attempted to defend Greene, Twitter users quickly jumped to criticize him for his poor political choice to back the controversial lawmaker.
"JD Vance from media darling to whatever this is in a few short years," one Twitter user wrote.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
On Tuesday, Ohio Republican Senate hopeful J.D. Vance celebrated receiving the endorsement of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
Though she is a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has spread anti-Semitic, racist, and Islamophobic hate and been stripped of all committee assignments for conduct that does not "reflect creditably on the House," as House rules put it, Vance tweeted: "Honored to have Marjorie's endorsement. We're going to win this thing and take the country back from the scumbags." His campaign told Fox News that the two would campaign together on Sunday in Ohio.
Around the country, Republican Senate hopefuls like Vance are doing everything possible to appeal to the far-right wing of their party and are touting endorsements from an array of bigots, pardoned criminals, conspiracy theorists, and shock jocks.
Greene has also backed former football player and accused domestic abuser Herschel Walker for the Senate nomination in Georgia. After the two posed for photos together and Greene began running Facebook ads backing Walker, the Democratic Party of Georgia filed an ethics complaint in October alleging campaign finance violations.
After receiving an endorsement from Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who among other issues has a history of making anti-Semitic comments, North Carolina Senate hopeful and former Rep. Mark Walker hailed him as "a fierce conservative and a proven fighter who will ensure our North Carolina Values are not forgotten in Washington, D.C."
Vance and other candidates have also touted backing from bigoted anti-LGBTQ extremists and organizations.
Penny Nance of the Concerned Women for America, an organization that says that it fights against "sexual promiscuity," "cohabitation," and efforts to "eliminate natural distinctions between men and women," has endorsed Vance and Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler in their Senate races.
FRC Action, the political arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, has also endorsed Hartzler for Missouri's open Senate seat. The group's Alaska state affiliate is backing Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican candidate taking on incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
A handful of right-wing figures who accepted pardons from former President Donald Trump for their crimes have also been in high demand.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, pardoned for felony tax fraud, has endorsed the Senate campaign of disgraced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and campaigned with Jane Timken, the former chair of the Ohio Republican Party.
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, pardoned for making false statements to federal investigators, has backed Greitens, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, New Hampshire Senate hopeful Don Bolduc, and Pennsylvania candidate Kathy Barnette in their respective Senate primaries.
Other Trump apologists and election conspiracy theory spreaders have also been a hot commodity.
Ric Grenell, a Twitter troll and former Fox News contributor who was selected by Trump to briefly serve as his acting director of national intelligence, has claimed that the real tragedy of the January 6 Capitol insurrection was that it cost his former boss his social media accounts. He has backed Ohio candidate Bernie Moreno, Alaska's Tshibaka, and Arizona's Jim Lamon.
Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump adviser known for his neo-Nazi ties who also pushed false claims that President Joe Biden was not the true victor in the 2020 elections, is supporting Greitens in Missouri and Barnette in Pennsylvania.
Some candidates have also enjoyed the backing of pro-Trump media figures.
In December, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he was "honored" have Dana Loesch "standing with me in my campaign for the United States Senate." Loesch, a talk show host and former NRA spokesperson, headlined a Texas "Stop the Steal" rally for Trump after the November 2020 election.
Mark Levin, who was among the radio hosts told by their network, Cumulus, last January to stop making claims about the 2020 election having been stolen, has endorsed Mandel in Ohio and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich in Arizona.
Republican candidates at all levels continue to highlight the endorsements of far-right figures who traffic in conspiracy theories and extreme positions that polls show are popular with a growing segment of the GOP primary base.
While most Americans now support LGBTQ rights, a May 2021 Gallup poll found only a minority of Republicans support allowing transgender people to serve in the military and participate in sports teams that match their gender identify.
Despite there being no evidence that Trump was the real winner in 2020, polling shows most Republicans have bought in to the claim. A December University of Massachusetts at Amherst/YouGov survey found just 21 percent of Republican voters believe Biden's victory was legitimate. According to the results of a September CNN poll, 59 percent of Republican voters and GOP-leaning independent voters said believing that Trump had the 2020 election stolen from him was an "important" part of being a Republican.
A summer 2021 poll by Citizen Data found that 62 percent of conservative adults embrace at least one QAnon conspiracy theory.
Reprinted with permission from the American Independent
When a replicated version of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website surfaced on the internet suggesting that President Joe Biden had proposed a plan for COVID concentration camps, Senate candidate J.D. Vance fired back with critical remarks aimed at the president. However, there is just one problem with his criticism: the website was completely fake.
Now, the gullible Trump-supporting Senate hopeful is on the receiving end of the criticism. According to The Daily Beast, there were a number of elements on the site that indicated it was a parody but apparently, the "Hillbilly Elegy" author and Yale Law School graduate overlooked those details and immediately launched his attack. One of the most glaring details is the DHS Secretary listed on the parody. Instead of listing the correct person, the site features the name of an actor.
"The venture capitalist and would-be politician perhaps should have noticed that the site—which claimed to outline government intentions to restrict cross-state travel and set up Australia-like “quarantine centers”—listed the DHS Secretary not as present officeholder Alejandro Mayorkas but as Tim Woods, otherwise known as the DHS secretary in two seasons of the TV show 24," the news outlet wrote.
Fever Dreams co-host Will Sommer has also criticized Vance for his failure to pay attention to detail. He noted that Vance's latest actions are another example of how his “culture-war shoutouts, they’re not landing right.”
Per The Daily Beast, "every time Vance spits out something inane (like telling voters they can dine with him and his buddy Peter Thiel if they donate $10,000 to his campaign), his rival Josh Mandel 'brutally own[s]' him—by, for example, offering to meet voters for $10 in a Chick-fil-A parking lot."
The latest comes as Vance is on the campaign trail running for the Ohio Senate. Vance, who has been supportive of Trump and his "America First" policies is the latest to buy into more conspiracy theories and false information.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
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