As mid-term elections approach in November, establishment politicians are pulling all sorts of sleazy tricks out of their hats to win seats and get ahead of their opponents. The Democratic Party and affiliated groups have spent almost $44 million on ads that promote far-right Republican candidates in primaries in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Maryland. They apparently believe that these candidates will be easier for Democrats to defeat in the general elections.
In Illinois alone, the incumbent Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, and the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), spent $35 million on ads highlighting the far-right Republican candidate, Senator Darren Bailey. This puts the Illinois gubernatorial race on track to be the most expensive non-presidential U.S. election ever. The ads paid for by the DGA were more than three times what Bailey was able to raise for his own campaign.
In Maryland, the DGA spent $1 million on a TV ad highlighting the positions of the extreme-right, Trump-endorsed candidate for governor, Dan Cox, supposedly to emphasize his danger to the state, but in reality promoting Cox to the Trump wing of the GOP base. And the Democrats are seeing results: Bailey won the Illinois nomination and Maryland Republican voters selected Cox as their candidate for governor by a wide margin. Both were elected over the more so-called moderate Republican candidates.
Cox, who is currently a representative in the Maryland House of Delegates, organized a bus caravan to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021. He also called former Vice President Pence a “traitor,” prompting condemnation from his own local party officials. In addition, he aggressively opposed state and local governments’ meager efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, suing and trying to impeach Governor Hogan over pandemic restrictions and introducing a bill that would ban vaccine and testing requirements for schools, employment, and travel. Cox has also denied the effects of climate change, compared a healthcare rights bill to the Holocaust, and publicly aligned himself with the QAnon movement.
This deeply cynical strategy by the Democrats does not serve the workers and families of Illinois, Maryland, or anywhere. Certainly, the Democratic Party’s plan could fail and Cox and others could win the general election, setting up four years of Trump-like rule. But regardless, as a result of their election, the far right’s dangerous rhetoric will be spread in widely-aired debates, in newspapers and media websites, TV and print ads, and throughout social media.
The actions of the Democratic Party show very clearly that the only thing they have to offer us is not being part of the extreme right – a pathetic, non-substantive offering. Meanwhile, we are facing inflation, the ongoing COVID pandemic, climate change, gun violence, racist police violence, and attacks on voting rights, labor organizing, and reproductive rights. We can’t depend on the Democrats or the Republicans to address our needs. We can only look to ourselves to take action to have any chance at addressing the real problems we face.