Sunday, July 25, 2021

Trump Rallies His Base with Endorsements Ahead of 2022 Midterms

Following-up, "Trump Endorsements Reshape Republican Party (VIDEO)."

This woman fears Trump will rally his base and primary her for 2022, and she's not stupid, putting her finger to the wind.

At the New York Times, "Nancy Mace Called Herself a ‘New Voice’ for the G.O.P. Then She Pivoted":

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Representative Nancy Mace had just delivered the kind of red-meat remarks that would ordinarily thrill the Republican voters in attendance here on a recent sweltering evening, casually comparing liberal Democrats to terrorists — the “Hamas squad,” she called them — and railing against their “socialist” spending plans.

But asked to give an assessment of her congresswoman, Mara Brockbank, a former leader of the Charleston County Republican Party who previously endorsed Ms. Mace, was less than enthusiastic.

“I didn’t like that she back-stabbed Trump,” Ms. Brockbank said. “We have to realize that she got in because of Trump. Even if you do have something against your leaders, keep them to yourself.”

Ms. Brockbank was referring to Ms. Mace’s first weeks in office immediately after the Jan. 6 riot, as the stench of tear gas lingered in the halls of the Capitol and some top Republicans were quietly weighing a break with President Donald J. Trump. Ms. Mace, a freshman congresswoman, placed herself at the forefront of a group of Republicans denouncing Mr. Trump’s lies of a stolen election that had fueled the assault and appeared to be establishing herself as a compelling new voice urging her party to change its ways.

But these days, as Republicans in Congress have made it clear that they have no intention of turning against Mr. Trump, Ms. Mace has quietly backpedaled into the party’s fold. Having once given more than a dozen interviews in a single day to condemn Mr. Trump’s corrosive influence on the party, Ms. Mace now studiously avoids the subject, rarely if ever mentioning his name and saying it is time for Republicans to “stop fighting with each other in public.”

After setting herself apart from her party during her first week in office by opposing its effort to overturn President Biden’s victory, Ms. Mace has swung back into line. She joined the vast majority of Republicans in voting to oust Representative Liz Cheney from leadership for denouncing Mr. Trump and his election lies. She also voted against forming an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riot.

And rather than continuing to challenge party orthodoxy, Ms. Mace has leaned in to the most combative Republican talking points, castigating Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top health official who is a favorite boogeyman of the right, accusing Democrats of forcing critical race theory on children, and publicly feuding with progressives.

Her pivot helps explain why the Republican Party’s embrace of Mr. Trump and his brand of politics is more absolute than ever. It is not only the small but vocal group of hard-right loyalists of the former president who are driving the alliance, but also the scores of rank-and-file Republicans — even those who may disagree with him, as Ms. Mace has — who have decided it is too perilous to openly challenge him.

“She’s a little bit like a new sailor; she tried to get her sea legs, but she’s also looking out over the horizon, and what she saw was a storm coming in from the right,” said Chip Felkel, a veteran Republican strategist in South Carolina. “So she immediately started paddling in another direction. The problem is, is that everything you say and do, there’s a record of it.”

Ms. Mace declined through a spokeswoman to be made available for an interview, but said in a statement that “you can be conservative and you can be a Republican and be pissed off and vocal about what happened on Jan. 6.” (Ms. Mace’s most recent statements regarding the Capitol attack have been explanations of why she opposed commissions to investigate it.)

“You can agree with Donald Trump’s policies and be pissed off about what happened on Jan. 6,” Ms. Mace said. “You can think Pelosi is putting on a sideshow with the Jan. 6 commission and still be pissed off about Jan. 6. These things are not mutually exclusive.”

Ms. Mace is facing a particularly difficult political dynamic in her swing district centered in Charleston, which she won narrowly last year when she defeated Joe Cunningham, a Democrat. Her immediate problem is regaining the trust of the rock-ribbed conservatives who make up her base. It is all the more pressing because political observers expect Republicans to try to redraw Ms. Mace’s district to become more conservative, and possible primary challengers still have a year to decide whether to throw their hats in the ring.

Her predicament bubbled below the surface on a recent evening here at a pork-themed “End Washington Waste” reception overlooking the Charleston Harbor and the docked Yorktown, a decommissioned Navy aircraft carrier. Voters signed the hocks of a paper pig urging Democrats to cut extraneous spending from the infrastructure bill and exchanged printed-out “Biden bucks” for cocktails, as some reflected on Ms. Mace’s balancing act...

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