Election-Denying Trump Toady Dan Cox Wins Maryland GOP Governor Nomination

So, this is concerning: Maryland state Delegate Dan Cox just won the Republican nomination for governor, absolutely crushing by double digits Kelly Schulz, a former secretary of commerce who enjoyed the backing of the state GOP establishment. She was outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s hand-picked successor, and Cox still wiped the floor with her. Cox will most likely face Democrat Wes Moore, who’s currently well ahead of former DNC chair Tom Perez.

Cox is a Donald Trump-endorsed Big Lie promoter, and like Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, he charted buses to the Stop the Steal coup rally on January 6, 2021. He’s an avowed seditionist who claims Trump is “the only president that I recognize right now” and insists like a goofy person that Joe Biden was “installed” in the White House. He called Mike Pence a “traitor” on social media during the Capitol riot when the former vice president’s life was in jeopardy. He’s suggested without a scrap of evidence that widespread voter fraud took place in his hometown of Frederick County, which Biden handily won. Cox also called on Trump to “seize federal voting machines in states where fraud was overwhelmingly rampant.” There are no such states in reality, but this is coup shorthand for any states Trump lost.

This dullard’s campaign didn’t raise much money, but it did benefit from more than $1.16 million in TV advertising courtesy of the Democratic Governors Association. Cox is obviously not a potential Democratic governor or even a potential governor who embraces democracy. However, the DGA reportedly assisted Cox’s primary campaign because it believed he’d be easier to beat in the general election than Schulz, who’s apparently so formidable she lost to a QAnon cultist. The logic here escapes me.

Sen. Mitt Romney slammed this strategy, saying it’s “not illegal but it sure is stupid ... Be careful what you wish for. You may select somebody who actually wins and then you hurt the country as well as your own party.”

I have to agree with Romney here. (He has also been correct before, as when he said that Russia would be our biggest geopolitical foe, and we laughed at him, and when he said the trees in Michigan were the "right height," and we also laughed at him. Editrix Rebecca reports the trees are correctly heighted, as he insisted. THEY ARE A REALLY GOOD HEIGHT, she types in all caps, THE MICHIGAN TREES. JUST RIGHT.]

Democrats shouldn’t lift a finger to assist election deniers, just on general principle. This isn’t the time for three-dimensional chess. Besides, Republicans have consistently demonstrated that they’ll usually support the bananapants extremist candidate over the reasonable Democrat. We should’ve learned our lesson when the Hillary Clinton campaign thought “elevating” an obvious kook like Trump would help her win.

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said he fears this tactic, which a political lifetime ago once worked for Claire McCaskill in Missouri when her 2012 Senate campaign elevated “legitimate rape” kook Todd Akin. A decade later, Akin could’ve easily won.

Marshall Cohen, the political director of the Democratic Governors Association, defends the playing-with-matches strategy, even in a highly flammable political climate. He said:

No Republican running is willing to say Donald Trump should not be their nominee. Every Republican is flirting with the Big Lie. The crisis our country faces is not any individual Republican, but an entire party embracing and defending groups attacking democracy itself.

This is true. The Republican Party as a whole is a threat, but at least 120 Republican nominees for Senate, House, governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are outright election deniers and democracy rejectors. As a comic book fan, I recognize the difference between lawful evil villains like Liz Cheney who might grudgingly team up with the heroes against a horde of zombies and, well, actual fucking zombies. Not helping flesh-eating zombies win political office is sort of a no-brainer.

Republicans will never be so terrible they’ll disqualify themselves to center-right voters who believe Democrats will tax them into oblivion and force their children to use different pronouns. Now Cox is the Republican nominee for Maryland governor in a tough year for Democrats. If he wins, he’s vowed to conduct “a forensic audit” of the 2020 election, ban all abortions in the state, and end “sexual indoctrination” in Maryland public schools.

Democrats have a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature, so there’s at least some limit to the damage Cox could inflict. However, we have enough sleepless nights ahead before the midterms. We don’t need to also worry about Maryland.

During her concession speech, Kelly Schulz said, "My Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and John McCain. And that is exactly the party that I will continue to fight for.” I tend to think the candidate stuck in a "West Wing" rerun is probably easier to beat than the insurrectionist. Dan Cox is a member of the Republican Party that actually exists.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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