In yet another worrisome sign that the underpinnings of democracy in this country are weakening by the month, MAGA candidates, especially those who are privileged enough to be found worthy of a Trump endorsement, are ducking primary debates.

According to the AP:

Ted Budd has skipped four Republican primary debates in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. GOP candidates for governor in Ohio, Nevada and Nebraska have also refused to engage with their opponents from the debate podium.

And on Tuesday, Herschel Walker is expected to miss a second debate against his Republican rivals for a crucial U.S. Senate seat after skipping the first one. For some gaffe-prone candidates such as Walker, avoiding the debate stage reduces the chance of an embarrassing moment.

“Gaffe-prone” regarding Walker is charitable. Indeed, in some cases, with Walker and others, the classic political definition applies. A “gaffe” is when too much truth slips out. In Walker’s case, it might be that he’s ill-equipped to serve in the U.S. Senate. In Budd’s case, he might be trying to squeeze the Trump endorsement to the finish line.

But some Republicans understand what it all means long-term:

“If you can’t get on the stage and debate fellow Republicans, how the heck are you going to debate with Raphael Warnock in the general election?” asked Latham Saddler, a Navy veteran and former Trump administration official who is among five Republicans challenging Walker, referring to the Democratic incumbent. “Usually if you’re hiding, you’re hiding for a reason,” Saddler said in an interview.

The decision to avoid debates may also be a way to hide the fact that Trump endorsed candidates almost solely upon loyalty, not ability, and that lack of ability would expose the candidates’ weaknesses as well as Trump’s selfishness when it comes to endorsements.

The worrisome aspect is that there was a time when voters would punish candidates that refused to debate. Now, too many see it as a badge of honor, evidence that this MAGA won’t be playing by the old rules… the old rules being some of the pillars of democracy.



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