Rather Interesting Tuesday

[ Posted Tuesday, May 17th, 2022 – 15:45 UTC ]

Today is a big primary day, and it could perhaps be the most interesting in this year's election calendar. It's not officially "Super Tuesday," but it might at least be considered "Rather Interesting Tuesday." There are multiple close races to watch, there are both ideological battles and personality contests in both parties, and the punditocracy is going to go into high gear afterwards drawing all sorts of conclusions on a nationwide basis (on races that may in fact only be limited to very local issues, or the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates). So it's going to be a big night, no matter what happens. But everyone should keep in mind that these are just the primaries -- which means a big win for one faction or another tonight might translate into a big loss for the party in November.

This isn't true everywhere, of course. There are primary races taking place in either deep blue or deep red districts or states that are, for all intents and purposes, the general election. Whichever candidate wins tonight in these places will be almost guaranteed to skate to victory in November. In many of these contests, winning an ideological battle means increasing one faction or the other's clout in the new Congress next year (or the governor's office). But there are plenty of other races where the general election race will actually be competitive, and in those the big question is going to be: "How extreme is too extreme?"

The best historical examples of this phenomenon from the recent past come mostly from the Republican side. Republicans have nominated plenty of candidates for the House, the Senate, and governors' offices who were seen as so flawed by the general electorate that they lost what most had assumed would be an easy race. In Senate races alone, we still remember their names and why they were perceived as too extreme: Christine "I Am Not A Witch" O'Donnell, Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, and Roy "Mall Predator" Moore all immediately spring to mind (although there are others in this category alone). Many in the Republican Party are now worried about this happening again -- nominating red-meat candidates who delight the base party voters but are seen as toxic (or even radioactive) by some voters in their own party and -- more importantly -- seen that way or worse by the independents who often decide close races in purple states.

This time around, "extreme" on the Republican side mostly equates to "too MAGA." Although it is entirely possible that by November some GOP candidates also might be seen as too extreme on the issue of abortion -- which has never really been that a big thing with Donald Trump or his devoted followers. But candidates being too MAGA and/or being too stridently or punitively anti-abortion might come back to haunt the party in the general election, at least in purple or purplish states.

The most obvious example of this is in the Pennsylvania governor's race, where Doug Mastriano already seems to be the likely winner of today's GOP primary. Donald Trump, always looking to boost his won/lost record by late endorsements of sure winners, took the plunge and endorsed Mastriano Saturday. Mastriano is full-on MAGA, an avid Big Lie conspiracy theorist about the 2020 election, and an apparent adherent of Christian nationalism (a very theocratic view of what America should be, to put it mildly). All of this plays well with the base, but could very well repel voters in the general election.

The Republican establishment in Pennsylvania knows all of this, and already a blame game has erupted with calls for the party's chair to resign -- for not being effective enough in defeating Mastriano in the primary. This obviously shows how serious the doubts are about Mastriano's chances in the fall. They also have the same fears about the Senate race, should either of the two current frontrunners (Mehmet "Dr." Oz or Kathy Barnette) win tonight. Both could be seriously flawed candidates in the general election race -- with Oz, in particular, already seen very negatively by a large proportion of Republican voters. That doesn't exactly portend well for party unity after the primary dust settles.

So far, being too MAGA hasn't really politically harmed many Republicans. Quite the opposite -- those perceived as not MAGA enough are the ones who are now worried about re-election. The party had a pretty good down-ballot year in 2020, and the GOP backlash against Trump by sitting officeholders represents only a tiny sliver of Republicans overall. To put this another way, there are no clear examples that establishment Republicans can point to and scold: "See... we told you so!" That may drastically change after this election cycle, especially if the Democrats manage to hang on to control in the Senate. Rabidly MAGA candidates losing otherwise-winnable races would certainly bolster the establishment's argument that some GOP candidates can actually be "too MAGA" to win, and therefore should be avoided.

The issue of abortion is likely not going to become a center-stage issue until after the Supreme Court issues its final ruling, which will likely happen around the end of June. All candidates -- those who have won their primaries and those still facing upcoming primary dates -- will be asked their stance on the issue at this point, and if the past is any prologue, some Republicans are going to say some extreme things which will come back to haunt them at the ballot box. But, as I said, this is going to develop more slowly.

The "How extreme is too extreme?" question is also going to be present on the Democratic side of the aisle, but to a lesser degree. I say this because the progressives who are running and have a solid chance of victory are, for the most part, candidates for deep blue House seats. So even if progressives chalk up some big wins, it isn't likely to be that big an issue in the general election, except perhaps in a few purple House districts. This isn't universally true, though, as there are a few candidates making the Democratic establishment lose sleep.

On the Democratic side, of course, being seen by the establishment as "too extreme" equates directly to "too progressive," which mostly means "too willing to actually achieve some things like tuition-free college or subsidizing child care" (none of which is really all that "extreme," since many progressive agenda items poll incredibly well with the general public). It's not so much an ideological battle as it is one of incrementalism versus bold actions, to put it another way. The only exceptions to this general rule are positions or slogans from the left that have already been successfully demonized by Republicans ("defund the police" springs to mind, here). Continuing to advocate for such positions can indeed hurt Democrats in close races in purple states, but even most progressives have moved on from these positions.

The biggest contest where this is all in play is the one that I wrote about yesterday; the nomination battle for the open Senate seat from Pennsylvania. The clear frontrunner in the nomination race is unapologetically for things like marijuana legalization and scrapping the Senate filibuster in order to pass a robust Democratic agenda, while the favored establishment candidate's positions might be summed up as: "Whoa... hey... let's not get too crazy, here!"

Progressives have never really had the fight they've been itching to have -- running a strong progressive against a strong Trump supporter. They were denied what would have been the defining test of this when Bernie Sanders failed to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to run against Trump himself. Since then, there hasn't really been a standout race between a Bernie-style candidate and a MAGA candidate. This is what makes the Pennsylvania race so interesting, because it could finally be such a defining race. Is being too brashly progressive actually too extreme to win a general election in a purple state? We might all be about to find that out, one way or the other.

In any case, while watching tonight's Rather Interesting Tuesday primary results roll in, I will be separating the races into these two categories -- those where the general election contest will be a true test of whether candidates have gotten too extreme, and those contests where it really won't matter one way or the other. Because while many -- both the candidates themselves, their avid supporters, and the media pundits -- will be celebrating big wins tonight and drawing all sorts of conclusions, I will be reserving judgment in those races where the ultimate victory is still a very open question.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


49 Comments on “Rather Interesting Tuesday”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    PA results starting to come in...

    Things not looking good for Madison Cawthorn, down in NC...


  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Fetterman's looking pretty good in PA, but only 14% in so far...

    Cawthorn still lagging.


  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Well hello there stranger! Have you by any chance considered the implications for pie?

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    PA called for Fetterman. As he is lying in the hospital -- a rather extraordinary circumstance...

    Cawthorn's race has tightened a bit, but he's still trailing with 70% in


  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    You'd have to draw me a pie chart...



  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    I've heard of dead candidates winning before, but this is the first one I can remember where the candidate who got an emergency operation on Election Day won!


  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  8. [8] 
    andygaus wrote:

    If Cawthorn really loses we can all say, "Cry less, lib."

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ...and in Mike Doyle news...

    apparently pennsylvania's 12th will pit democrat mike doyle against republican mike doyle. my guess is that most folks will vote for mike doyle.


  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    no wait, the democratic mike doyle is retiring, so the republican will be the only mike doyle on the ballot.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    sometimes a pie is just a pie. as if anything more were necessary.

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    wow, that PA dem primary wasn't even close. the GOP primary is tight though, less than 8k votes between Oz and McCormick. Spicy!

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    make that 5,126 votes, (0.5%) with 68% of the returns counted.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    4,911, with 69% counted. wow, this is looking like recount territory.

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Madison Cawthorn concedes!

    Woo hoo!


  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    nice to know you madison, don't let the door hit ya.

    and it's a dead heat in the PA GOP Senate primary. 73% in and 3,021 votes (0.3%) separating oz and mccormick, with barnette seven points back.

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    79% in, and mccormick still clinging to a 1,662 vote (0.2%) lead.


  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    McCormick doing surprisingly well tonight...

    OR-6, Salinas is ahead, but only 24% in

    PA-12 is a battle, Summer Lee ahead but just barely...


  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    less than barely, that's a 40 vote difference - small enough that a recount could easily swing it the other way.

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    84% in, mccormick still hanging on in the GOP senate primary. lee in PA-12 has leapt ahead to a massive 534 vote margin. half a percent, it's practically in the bag.

  21. [21] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Oz staging a late-nite surge, though...


  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:


    No, that's the right you are fantasizing about. It has little to do with actual laws passed or not dealing with abortion.

    Once again, you change the subject because you can't address the subject..

    The subject is the law that Democrats just tried to pass..

    And THAT law allowed abortion right up to the point of delivery..

    From what you have said, you are against that law.. As is JL..

    Ergo, ya'all are like me.. You support baby killing AKA abortion restrictions..

    The only point of divergence is WHEN those restrictions kick in..

    No, just your weird fantasy again.

    Nope. Not a fantasy.. A FACT...

    The Women's Health Protection Act would allow baby killing up to the point of birth..

    That's why 2 pro-choice GOP'ers voted against it..

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:


    So kinda the same thing that you did when you joined the military? Isn’t what she said what everyone actually does when they sign up to serve — do their job and then decide when it’s time to recommit if you want to stick with it for life?

    Not even close.. :D

    Did you see Spock's speech??

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse. . .
    By Greg Ganske

    Before I retired from reconstructive surgery, I cared for toddlers who bit into electrical cords and burned their lips. Maybe that is why I feel like I am bound in a chair, gagged, arms and legs tied, watching a two-year-old chewing through a plugged-in electrical cord when I watch the nightly news.

    I see one Biden disaster after another on TV and feel as if I am helplessly waiting for the next to occur. Just when it seems it can’t get worse, something even more worrisome, and in some cases more absurd, happens on the national and international stage.

    It starts with the failing mental acuity of President Biden. A year ago, I wrote a column for the Des Moines Register on Biden’s failing cognition. Sadly, his gibberish has gotten worse.

    Recently President Biden spoke about his administration’s request to Congress for additional Ukrainian aid. The president’s inability to even read his teleprompter causes the White House to alter the official transcripts of his word mishmashes.

    Biden said the plan would “enhance our underlying effort to accommodate the Russian oligarchs. . .” Accommodate! Then a weird laugh, “We’re gonna accommodate them.” Then he couldn’t pronounce kleptocrats, “Klep–the guys who are in the kleptocracies. Ha, ha, ha,” accenting the laughs.

    One really has to wonder if Biden is even going to make it to the mid-terms..

    With the uber nuclear biblical shellacking that Democrats are going to receive, it's going to be interesting to see how Biden's handlers react..

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ooops My bust..

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democrats have really gone off the deep end..

    Middle schooler worried sexual harassment accusations for using wrong pronouns could ‘shatter’ college chances

    Schools should be focused on education, not pronouns, said Rosemary Rabidoux, the mom of the accused student

    JL, before you characterized this action as "bullying".. I disputed that notion, pointing out that it's children adhering to SCIENCE...

    But even allowing for your claim of bullying, does it constitute sexual harassment??

    Of course it doesn't..

    Democrats have REALLY gone off the deep end here..

    Now, Russ like to accuse me of painting all Democrats with the brush of moron Democrats like these school officials..

    OK.. Fair enough..

    So, prove to me that ALL Democrats are not like these moron school officials..

    Show me that ya'all don't agree with these moron school officials and I'll be happy to note the exceptions..

    From all available facts... THESE ^^^^ Democrats represent the Democrat Party as a whole..

    But hay.. I am open to being proven wrong.. :D

    Balls in yer court..

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    MAGA lost yesterday?? :D Let's nip that BS in the bud, eh? :D

    Trump stumbles but MAGA still wins inside Pennsylvania GOP: The Note

    The primary season is about far more than Trump's batting average.

    President Trump is firmly in control of the Republican Party..

    And, given the hysterical PTDS from Democrats, it looks like President Trump is fully in control of the DEMOCRAT Party as well.. :D

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ta think that there were people who actually BELIEVED all the President Trump false accusations.. :D

    PTDS is strong with those people..

    FBI agent at Sussmann trial says he rejected Alfa-Bank claims within days

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democrats REALLY scroo'ed da pooch with this one..

    Elon Musk Announces He’s Switching To Vote Republican
    "This election I will."

    If you don't vote Democrat in your 20s, you have no heart..

    If you don't vote Republican in your 50s, you have no brain..

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Column: Ron DeSantis is setting the agenda for the GOP, and Democrats should worry

    Democrats should REALLY worry... :D

    I love it when Democrats worry.. :D

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Oz up 2,672 votes (0.2%) with 95% counted

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting to note on the Alito draft leak..

    According to sources, there are no other draft opinions circulating...

    So, one could logically deduce that the Alito draft will be the final word...

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oz up 2,672 votes (0.2%) with 95% counted

    -Urgo, STARGATE SG1


  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump wins again.. :D

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hay JL,

    Have you ever caught any episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES?

    It's fan fiction but some of the episodes are REALLY good.. Most notably, the one that featured the Greek god APOLLO from the original series...

    And another episode that had John DeLancie in it was especially awesome..

    If you haven't seen any, lemme know.. I'll point you in the right direction..

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:
  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Roe v. Wade ruling has Biden administration bracing for wave of violence: report

    Biden admin anticipates violence if Roe falls

    President Biden's administration is bracing for a wave of violence from pro-choice activists if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in June, Axios reported Wednesday.

    A leaked May 13 memo from the Department of Homeland Security reportedly details ongoing investigations into threats to "burn down or storm" the Supreme Court building, according to Axios. Threats against the court arose last month after a draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked to the press. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down the ruling next month.

    Ahhh yes.. The "peaceful" and "tolerant" Democrat Party..

    Simply adding more to the 22+ years (collectively) of Democrat riots and attacks on hundreds of government buildings all over the country.. :eyeroll:

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    "The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics does not constitute domestic violent extremism or illegal activity and is constitutionally protected."

    Ergo, President Trump had absolutely NOTHING to do with the 6 Jan protests that got out of control..

  39. [39] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    The rally before the attack on the capitol was not generalized philosophic embrace, it was a specific call to halt the certification of election results.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    The rally before the attack on the capitol was not generalized philosophic embrace, it was a specific call to halt the certification of election results.


    Democrats are making specific calls to kill babies at the moment of birth..

    People can call for whatever they wish..

    Stacey Abrams made specific calls to overturn the GA Gov election..

    What's the point??

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    More Than 200 Arrested in D.C. Protests on Inauguration Day

    217 people were arrested and six police officers suffered minor injuries after some protesters set fires and smashed windows in the nation's capital.

    Where were the complaints then???

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Oh well.. THAT's different."

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Yes, as different as apples and starships

  44. [44] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Once again, you change the subject because you can't address the subject..

    The subject is the law that Democrats just tried to pass..

    And THAT law allowed abortion right up to the point of delivery..

    No, that's a political talking point that has nothing to do with the medical procedure of abortion. They did not add the language you fantasize about because it is not a problem. At all. Even in your wildest fantasies...

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yep.. One was Right Wing..

    The other was Left Wing..

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since you haven't even read the WHPA, there is no sense in trying to discuss it with you..

  47. [47] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Back peddling? Considering I quoted the relevant sections from the WHPA, that is blatantly false...

  48. [48] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    Would you post a set of interview questions that you would typically ask someone running a PAC in the comments section so RonDon can answer them here? It will force him to actually answer the questions we have asked in the past with something other than “I answered that already”. Little questions like who sits on his board that oversees the nonprofit, is it legally a “nonprofit” organization, and other basics that he believes aren’t important.

    It would be highly informative and entertaining, I am sure!

    Just a thought…


  49. [49] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Ah, two f-bombs and not a peep from the administration.

    *sips rye*

    EAT PIE!

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