Let’s Talk About the 2020 Senate Race in Kentucky.
It could be a senate race that shapes the entire government, and the Democrats have an…interesting strategy.
With the old wounds of 2016 still fresh in our memories, and the grass roots movement it propelled in the 2018 election, there’s no denying that the United States is potentially on the verge of something pivotal. 2020 will be a clear indicator of where our government is heading for the foreseeable future, in ways we could scarcely imagine even in 2016. But amidst all the energy on the ground with leftist candidates launching primary campaigns against politicians such as Steny Hoyer, Henry Cuellar, and even Nancy Pelosi, there’s a Democrat vs. Republican Senatorial race that could have the potential to change the dynamics of the entire U.S. senate, and by extension the entire U.S. government itself.
Imagine, if you will, a Senate without Mitch McConnell. A senate that would no longer have to endure his looming presence as it has for decades, where the unprecedented partisan gridlock at his hands and the brazen mockery of everything our government is (theoretically) supposed to do would be no more. Imagine a senate where the Majority leader didn’t self identify as the grim reaper, and didnt have a history of filibustering his own bills because the opposition party hadn’t taken his bait. Well, the grim reaper is up for reelection and that imaginary scenario just might be reality, because — as vanity fair so eloquently puts it — the Democrats have aimed a 2020 “bazooka” at Mitch McConnell.
Her name is Amy McGrath, and she’s got an…interesting campaign strategy.
In her announcement video Amy got straight to the point, and made her feelings towards Senator McConnell clear, saying:
“Everything that’s wrong in Washington had to start someplace. It started with [McConnell], who was elected a lifetime ago and who has, bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise. Where dysfunction and chaos are political weapons. Where budgets and health care and the Supreme Court are held hostage. A place where ideals go to die.”
On the surface at least, so far soo good, right? It’s what we all like to hear, especially considering Mr. McConnell is the epitome of everything leftists and liberals despise about the Republican Party and their antics. But, it didn’t take long to discover that Ms. McGrath’s methods of defeat are questionable at best.
As the Courier Journal points out, Amy McGrath told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that:
“If you think about why Kentuckians voted for Trump, they wanted to drain the swamp, and Trump said that he was going to do that. Trump promised to bring back jobs. He promised to lower drug prices for so many Kentuckians. And that is very important….And you know what? Who stops them along the way? Who stops the president from doing these things? Mitch McConnell. And I think that that’s very important, and that’s going to be my message — the things that Kentuckians voted for Trump for are not being done. He’s not able to get it done because of Senator McConnell.”
Oh my, where to begin.
I spent a long time (and I have no idea why) trying to imagine a scenario where I was able to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I just cannot come to that conclusion. This candidate is actively positioning herself as a “Pro-Trump” Democrat. Let’s imagine she genuinely believes he was fighting for the things she mentioned. Even then, is she really going to paint a President in a positive light who has housed migrant children in conditions equivalent to torture, all for the sake of pandering to a right wing base that certainly will not trade Mitch McConnell in for her?
I know Kentucky is a right wing, very Pro-Trump state. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know for a fact a further left Democrat could win there at this moment in time. But maybe, just maybe, a better message would be: Donald Trump promised more jobs, to drain the swamp, and lower prescription drug prices. He lied to the people of this state, and Mitch McConnell continues to be a top aider and abettor to this pathological liar. Not only that, but Senator McConnell is a chief culprit behind the systemic corruption in this country that favors the top at the expense of the masses. A corrupt culture that allowed a pathological liar to come in and promise struggling Americans that he genuinely cares about them, and that he had their best interests at heart. Donald Trump is nothing but a demagogue, and Mitch McConnell is at the top of the larger systemic problem that delivered him to us.
I might be wrong, but that sounds like a true populist message that would actually resonate.
Dan Riffle put it best in a tweet. Amy McGrath is what happens when a right wing Democrat try’s to do an impression of left wing populism. A candidate like McGrath is just a further indication of the Overton Window’s continual shift towards the right in the Republican Party, and the democratic party’s borderline maniacal belief that the best way to defeat this phenomenon is to chase after them in that direction.
Populism cannot be met successfully with moderation, especially in a state that went so strongly in favor of a faux populist demagogue. A campaign in a state like that with such a powerful incumbent is absolutely going to depend on long term, grassroots support from the base all across the country, which has grown increasingly leftist. Of course, Amy’s announcement was met with immediate excitement, and she did raise a considerable amount of money. But the question is as time goes on and we see Amy’s true colors, how much of her campaign money will be fueled by leftist organizers and individuals who will be willing to put in the work for her, as opposed to just high money donors looking to preserve their interests?
I guess time will tell.
So, will Amy McGrath win? She may be able to perform well, but in all honesty I highly, highly doubt we will see her win. But who knows. After 2016, anything is possible. But watching this strategy of hers play out will most definitely be interesting to watch. I would love to see a Senate without Mitch McConnell, but it’s unfortunate that in only a few days it’s become obvious that we could probably have picked a much better candidate.